I’m so guilty of walking around in less than what I’m called to.
In the Bible, names and new names (and their meaning) are really important. Abraham becomes Abraham, Esther became Haddasah, Jacob became known as Israel and probably the most popular name change was when Saul’s name was changed to Paul.
I wore several nicknames throughout my childhood: “Gina” (primarily my mom), “Girlie” (mostly my dad) and “Reg” by cheerleading friends in middle and high school. These were welcome because I did not always like or feel I “fit” the name Regina until recently.
Regina means QUEEN.
It is a Latin noun and also a geographical location (Ey Der Canada, Ey!)
On the campuses, at the jobs, in the organizations, churches, places of employment, there was always one person who knew a Regina and its meaning. I just don’t ever recall any of them connecting its meaning to me and my life. It often felt like they couldn’t picture a black queen or me in that current state – becoming queen-like – and the conversation always stopped at letting me know that they knew what it meant. It was awkward.
And it hurt.
Which, let me just confess right now. I have often judged mothers of football players when they name them these “very black” or “very ethnic” names. I’ve done that. And I wish to apologize to anyone who has heard me do that – I was wrong. It’s that very judgment that contributes to people walking through their lives doubting who they are meant to be. It’s oppressive and not my place.
I know why I did it. And it’s not right. But, I did it to others (from the “safety” and privacy of my home or a friend’s home) because it’s been done to me. Which is the problem: wanting and needing other people to validate you.
Which is probably why queens get a bad rap…it seems they are able to detach themselves from popular opinion to do what they think is right. However harsh, wounding, and mean it seems.
As a result of feeling disconnected from the good qualities of being a queen (or seeing the often characterized “bad qualities” as good or strength because well, women are complicated), I quieted my creativity. I silenced my words. I kept my opinions to myself and I often replaced potentially positive associations for the word “queen” with the aggressive, more horrible, negative things people threatened by a woman in this role say, believe and perpetuate.
This has been a revelation in helping me to better understand why people did not call out the positives when they learned the meaning of my name. Nevermind the movies and TV shows like “Mean Girls” and “Once Upon a Time” where the queen or queen bee is portrayed as hellish and ungracious. We’ve been fed so many stories and have typecast the “queen” as something to avoid and steer clear of.
And like a sucker, I’ve swallowed it along with everyone else.
To help me step into more with God, especially as it pertains to my name, I’ll be studying up on the 13 queens mentioned in the Bible this year. I know I can learn something from these women and their tenacity; they had to be tenacious with the treatment of women being so brutal back in the day. How did they fight? How did they love? How did they stay focused? How did they serve the people? How did they as women and queens live? So many questions.
Maybe you’ve changed your name. I get that. Our identity can be tied to our names; especially as a married woman. While preparing for my divorce in 2014, the paperwork that would be filed asked what I wanted my new legal last name to be. I didn’t realize it, but I had allowed so much of my identity to be wrapped in my last name that I’d lost the meaning, power, and love in my first name. My last name has had five iterations in my 45 years. And this last one (Sather) fits like a glove.
Do you know why?
Because it’s the first time that the power and meaning of my last name don’t completely swallow up the meaning and power of my first name.
As I get older (and God matures me) I’m learning to embrace His perfect grace which helps me to continually learn and grow into more of who He wants me to become. For His glory. Which means allowing Him to define my name and how He wants me to walk it out in my life.
When I looked up verses in the Bible that were related to “royalty”, I found 1 Peter 2:9 (But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”) and Isaiah 62:3 (You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.) There were others, but these two laid peace deeper within my soul. They reminded me that I am not on my own nor am I to create my own my concept (or grab hold of the concepts of others) in connection to what it means to live out the meaning of my name.
So with that, I’m on a mission to be more queenly.
Not sure that’s the right way to say it, but I imagine me living up to my name and all it can mean is connected with being bold, saying hard things in love, walking away when people think I should stay, showing up in uncomfortable situations, while sometimes being willing to be the reason others are uncomfortable and refusing to be silenced when God tells me to open my mouth or limited when God tells me He has more. I am ready to wear my crown.
I believe my mother knew what she was doing when she named me. She is a woman that hears from the Lord and they together laid a calling on my life that I’m finally finding the courage and strength to live up to. I am grateful that she has been so patient in watching me get to this stage in life where I’m walking in this calling and even more grateful that she’s here to see it.
I’m not afraid of it anymore; my name and what it means. I’m ready to stand in the wonders of what God has set aside for me. I’m eager to witness the beauty and grace that comes from shedding so much shame, wrong thinking and, hurt that have held me back. It means putting on new garments, royal garments.
Y’all, I’m ready to get to living the legacy of my name. Who’s with me?
What does your name mean and how will you be living it out this year?