The Words We Believe Become Our Identity

“He who created you, He who formed you, has called you by YOUR name” (Isaiah 43:1 AMP, emphasis mine)

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me. I am not sure what planet this phrase originated from – but it couldn’t be more wrong. Words hurt. They can sink deep into the very core of our soul and twist our insides into knots. If you’re human at all, you’ve had a moment where careless words spoken over you made your heart drop to your toes. You see, words matter – because the words we believe become our identity. The picture of ourselves that forms from negative words thrown around and painful experiences can become cemented in our hearts – making the truth of who we really are hard to accept.

In order to experience freedom, we must know and embrace our true name, the name given to us by the one who created us. The God who created you longs to show you how He sees you so that He can transform the negative self-perceptions that have developed within your heart. God’s Word says, “The moment I entered the world he named me” {AND} said to me, “You’re my dear servant … through whom I’ll shine” (Isaiah 49:1-3 (MSG). “He who created you, He who formed you, has called you by YOUR name” (Isaiah 43:1 AMP, emphasis mine). Let’s be seekers of His name for us!

What’s So Important About A Name?

Psychologist Erik Erikson wrote, “There is no feeling of being alive without a sense of identity.” The messages we received from our earliest relationships either help us feel alive or far from it. Names become directional markers. How likely will the little girl who was always told she was stupid and worthless become all she was created to be? There are unfortunate consequences to negative messages. This little girl will likely believe exactly what she was told and refuse to try anything that would be deemed a “smart person’s” tasks. Limiting mindsets are often planted in our formative years of life and grow increasing stronger with age. Therefore, it is important for us to discover where the first seeds were planted and by whom. Taking an honest look at our family of origin helps uncover the roots system that produced the fruit of our self-concept.

In Biblical times the name a child was given held great significance. A name not only designated who they were to become but also the character traits they possessed. Therefore, parents often chose names that declared their future hopes and aspirations for their child. Jabez, however, had quite the opposite experience. We meet Jabez in 1 Chronicles in a short tucked away passage. The first words spoken over his life were literally a curse. Remember the Bible says that words are either “poison or fruit” (Proverbs 18: 21 MSG). His mother named him Jabez meaning “sorrow maker”. Right from the start Jabez was face with a label that could have become his identity. As Jabez grew older he cried out to God believing he had been created for more (4: 9-10 AMP).

Jabez is not the norm. We often don’t question as children the names we are called. We accept them as truth. Yet, Jabez, reached out to the true name giver nullifying the label he had received and the Lord answered his prayer for blessing. His life did not follow the label placed on him by his mother. He realized through Christ he was never meant to be a “sorrow maker”. God had a completely different view of him and his life transformed from sorrow to blessing.

God Renames To Reclaim

What I dreamed of parenthood and what transpired were two totally different movie reels. If I am being completely honest there were many moments I wondered what Tasmanian you-know-what had taken over my little girl. I had numerous names to describe her that I wouldn’t want anyone to know crossed my mind. Her behaviors were unpredictable, impulsive, and dangerous at times. In these moments, she acted nothing like her sweet, little self.

I had worn my carpet thin from praying late into the night over her and gotten to the point of shear desperation. My 2-year old had never grown out of the “terrible two’s” and actually had only grown worse with size. At age 4 the developmental pediatrician’s only answer was strong medication. Given that I was in the mental health field, I refused to believe that was my only option. In my experience, way too many kids had been placed on medication too early causing more symptoms to arise. “Most drugs prescribed for children have not been tested in children. By necessity, doctors have routinely given drugs to children ‘off label,’ which [ultimately] means the drug has not been approved for use in children based on the demonstration of safety and efficacy in adequate, well-controlled clinical trials.” (

So, if there was another way, I was going to find it.

In the book The Love Dare for Parents, Kendrick states, “God repeatedly changed people’s names to honor them, encourage them, and help them view themselves differently.” He named them not after where they had been but for where they were headed! I knew my little girl hated how she reacted in the moments where she lost all control. Sadly, she had reached the point of not liking herself at all. It is heart breaking to hear your 6-year old say they want to die. When behaviors are so ugly and out of control it is almost impossible to begin speaking the opposite. Something had to change in my perceptions though if I was going to help her see herself differently. She was not her actions she was beautiful, she was a gift to me, she was creative, pure, and lovely. I realized I had to begin to speak over my daughter all that God saw in her even though with my earthly eyes it was far from what I was experiencing.

Many doctors, OT’s, holistic practitioners, and nutritional changes later we came to find out she had Sensory Processing Disorder along with severe Speech Articulation Disorder. One made it hard for her to express herself and the other made her body feel like she was wearing steel wool. We found with further testing that the main contributor to my daughter’s outburst was red food dye. We are beginning to discover more and more that the additives, preservative, genetically modified organisms, and dyes we are consuming are severely affecting our health and mood. This blog post is obviously not about healthy eating but I encourage you to do some research, because many of our mood problems and physical ailments can be dramatically changed by natural methods and dietary changes alone.

Some of you have been in your situation or reacted the way you have for so long that it has become your identity. My daughter began to perceive herself as this bad little girl who only brought pain to others. We can mistake our outward behaviors for who we really are. When we have hurts that are not dealt with, pain we are avoiding, or negative messages that replay over and over in our minds they seemly take over who we were created to be. I believe God renames us to help us see ourselves differently and to reclaim what the enemy has taken. How we see ourselves is so important to God because he knows that the enemy uses the pain of this life and hurtful words spoken over us to steal, kill, and destroy our destinies. God is the name giver! He longs to tell you how He sees you because he has a destiny to prepare you for!

Be blessed ~ Be a Light

*This is an excerpt from my new book Shining Freely, coming end of 2017!!

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