Not too long ago I met a man named Shirley. When he said his name, I was rendered speechless for a few seconds. I then introduced myself and mustered up the courage to ask, “Shirley is an interesting name, there must be a good story behind it?”
The eighty-year-old gentleman rolled his eyes up to the ceiling as if he had told this story more than he care to admit. “I’m the eighth child in my family and when my mother was in labor with me our neighbor came over to help her. She asked my mother if a name had been picked out yet. My mother replied that she had not done this yet. So, the neighbor asked if she could name me.”
I quirked my eyebrows while waiting for his answer.
The elderly man chuckled and shook his head. “Well, she wanted to name me after her.”
As I listened to his story, I was thinking that this lady must have been short of a few potato chips in a bag. Good grief, who would name their boy Shirley?
The gentleman continued. “It was awful growing up with this name. I asked my mother why she let this neighbor name me with a girl’s name and my mom replied that Shirley, the neighbor, had assured her that it was a good standing English name for a boy.”
I immediately grabbed my smart phone and googled the name. Sure enough. Shirley was originally a male name, but its use in Charlotte Bronte’s novel Shirley (1849) established it as a female name. Now that’s quite a tale about a name!
Names are fascinating especially their meaning. I truly believe that there is no mistake in the name we are given. Somehow, someway our name fit us.
“Your name is the most important thing you own. Don’t ever do anything to disgrace or cheapen it.” — Ben Hogan.
My name, Gwen, means Fair, Blessed, White browed, White circle. Well, I must admit that I am blessed beyond measure, so the name fits me well. I suppose someday the white browed will apply to me too.
My son, Andy, means Manlike or brave. I see this in him especially when he champions for others who cannot fight for themselves.
My sister, Denise, means Dedicated to God. I totally see that in her.
In the Bible a child’s name was bestowed on them with great honor and lived their lives coinciding with the meaning of their name.
“A good name is rather to be chosen than riches.” — King Solomon.
Even Jesus’s name has a meaning, Savior. I think the name describes him pretty good.
But there is one name that overshadows all. God. The one and only living Deity who has over one hundred names. Each of the many names of God describes a different aspect of His many-faceted character.
Here are just a few of my favorites.
Jehovah-Jireh – The Lord will provide. He is the sustainer of life. Gen 22:14
God Heals – He is the healer. Ex 15:26
God is my Refuge – He is my hiding place. Ex 17:15
God is There – He is ever present. He always hears, always knows, always understands. Ezek 48:35
God our Peace – He doesn’t just bring peace. He IS our peace. Shalom is a deep, complete, and abiding peace. Judges 6:24
Friend – He’s not just a friend, He is the Friend of all friends. John 15:15
God is our Hope – Hope is the confident expectation of what God has promised and its strength is in His faithfulness. Hebrews 11:1 (Sometimes it’s difficult to see hope in a situation. But the Bible says that true hope is unseen.)
El-Olam – Everlasting God – He is without beginning or end. He is spaceless, timeless, and immaterial. He is independent of all of creation. Psalm 90:1-3
“A name represents identity, a deep feeling, and holds tremendous significance to its owner.”— Rachel Ingber.
All names have a meaning including yours. Have you ever asked what your name stands for? Check it out, google your name. I bet you’ll be surprised that your name really does fit you.
Remember, God knew you before conception that’s how much He loves you. Regardless how your name was bestowed upon you, the one and only living God is still fulfilling the meaning of all His names just for YOU!