There are many reasons why a person may desire to change their name... to make life easier, for sentimentality, for safety, or for a clean slate, just to name a few. One big reason why people actually change their name is because of marriage. A major life event followed by a legal and public marker to commemorate the event.
When I got married and changed my last name, it was kind of a big deal. I had to think through every aspect of my life, every account, every card, every website... they all had to be updated with my new name. There was something exciting about marking the start of a new chapter of my life with such a dramatic symbol.
Why am I talking about name changes? Because sometimes life changes are marked with something so public, so permanent. But, sometimes life changes are marked with something more subtle, something more personal.
Every time you determine to make a life change, you have an opportunity to mark the event with your own version of a public declaration. For people in recovery, going to meetings offers them an opportunity to stand up and declare their life change in their sobriety. For people trying to get healthier, there are before/after photos posted all over social media. We don't always have an opportunity or sometimes we choose not to make a public declaration, but that doesn't change what can or does happen in our hearts when we determine that life will look different starting now.
I can think of two things I've seen in the Bible that signifies something new. The first is when we see an altar (memorial) set up to commemorate a promise, for a time of praise and worship, or a reminder of an encounter with God. The second is when someone's name changes. We see that Abram receives a promise from God and his name becomes Abraham. Jacob wrestles with God and his name becomes Israel. Both of these times, God is doing something specific in their lives and every time someone calls out to them, the new name is a reminder of God's promise.
Regardless of whether or not you choose to signify your life changes publicly or only make a determination in your heart, setting up your own type of memorial is important. Studies have shown that it takes time to break a bad habit or to set up a new habit. Change is always tested with time.
If you are in the beginning stages of making a new life change or are already a little deeper in the process, let me encourage you to stay the course! Change can often be hard, even when it's positive change or for positive reasons. But, let me remind you of something you may have forgotten... you are enough. You are strong enough, especially when your strength comes from the Lord. You are worth the investment of time, energy, money... you are worth the time and work required.
What will you do to mark this new life you are creating?
xo, Katie Joy