Naming, a Practice as Old as the Garden

Naming, I’m intrigued.  The whole process and act of naming appeared a second time on my radar when I read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  Ann without an e.  Apparently it was disturbing to her too and you should always name your Ann’s with an e.  Her name led her on a journey of naming, though,  naming the gifts and the graces God gave her. She calls it a practice as old as the garden.  In naming the gifts, she discovered the meaning of her name “full of grace” and began living it out more fully.

Now, this counts the second time this concept of naming startled me.  You see, I hear people talk about naming and I have the bad habit of being inclined to think something different is wrong until I discover it for myself.  Don’t be like me.  Naming seemed like a fancy way of being deep, articulate, and super-spiritual.  “It is what it is!  Why be so fancy?” my heart would rail.

To Be Told started the blip a blinking on my radar.  Name.  What is in your name?  Why did your parents name you the name they did?  I’ve named 3 children–naming children is quite revealing.  I’m not very creative is what naming revealed about me.  Some of my friends are very creative.  After naming 3 children and then finding out that each time I’ve inadvertently picked a top 10 name challenged my view that I was original.  It pretty much describes my husband and I.  Prone to play it safe, blend in with the crowd, all the while having rather lofty aspirations that we would be significant.

Adam sat in the garden and God caused the animals to file past him and he named every one of them!  Was he laughing when the giraffe walked by?  “Wow, God, that sure is different!”  Was God delighted to hear what man, His highest creation, came up with?   I delight in the way my kids name things, was God delighted to hear Adam name his parade of creativity?  I think so.

God has created us to name things.  Maybe He still parades creation past us and grins as we ponder it, name it, and hopefully give thanks for it.  The very act of naming requires the very characteristic of man that is different from all his other creations–our uniqueness in perspective and thought.

Naming encourages me to write.  It dispels that thought that what I write is just a drop in a large bucket of sameness.  I am just saying something old in a new way.  Nothing is new under the sun and that is true (because its in Ecclesiastes) but naming reveals my heart and stokes my relationship with God and others so I will write and reveal and speak.  I think God might be grinning as we look at life together and I name it.


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