“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.”
Who hasn’t heard those memorable words penned by the Bard in his famous play Romeo and Juliet? The sentiment behind that poetic phrase is clear: the significance of a thing does not lie in its name.
Admittedly there is some truth in that idea. Still I’m not convinced that Shakespeare (or Juliet, as it were) had it entirely right. Names are more than mere words. Names have power.
This can be a bit hard to grasp in the context of a culture that has diminished even the naming of a child to a flippant act of self-expression, rather than an assignment of significant purpose or meaning. Think Apple, Denim and North as recent examples. I think it’s fair to say that those celebrity parents missed something!
A person’s name is more than a random label. A name can serve as inspiration, reflect expectation, impart value and even prove a self-fulfilling prophecy. More than one Bible story demonstrates the power of a name to impact a person’s identity. On more than one occasion the calling, anointing or transformation of an individual was signified by God giving them a new name: Abram to Abraham, Jacob to Israel, Saul to Paul.
God demonstrated the importance of names when He assigned the first man, Adam, the monumental task of naming the newly created fauna in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:19-20).
Naming my Blogger-Self ∼ In considering a name for my blog I was immediately overwhelmed by the endless possibilities. I knew it had to be a name that reflected my heart and my purpose for blogging.
In contemplating my options, I remembered my mother’s testimony of how a simple story told by a pastor in her early life impacted the formation of her faith. Her childlike view of God came into focus when she learned that the Father whose ‘eye is on the sparrow’ (Luke 12:6-7) gazed upon her with that same love and cared about even the smallest details of her life. That simple Truth has been an anchor in the storms of her life.
It seemed fitting that, as a beneficiary of her unwavering faith, I should settle on “A Joyful Sparrow” for my blog name. More than simply a catchy moniker; it is a faith proclamation, an affirmation, and a goal I aspire to.
But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful. Psalm 68:3
Lord knows I’m not always joyful. Being so came far easier to me in my youth when I was known to be naturally cheerful; bouncing around the house like some kind of joy bubble. My mom even nick-named me her ‘jack-in-a-box’ and has remarked more than once on my inclination to explode in delight over the simplest pleasures.
I suspect the valleys of my life journey are responsible for quelling my effervescence. I have always felt things deeply and perhaps too privately. The ups and downs of life have taught me to be more transparent —but at the same time less joyful. Like a stale bottle of soda, I find myself emotionally flat at times; more often fighting the tide of melancholy than exuberance. Even my joyful moments are often intermingled with tears.
Yet joy is more than an emotional state —it comes from recognizing that reality goes beyond what we feel in the moment. It is not the product of circumstance. It does not originate from an external source. True joy is birthed within a thankful heart.
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy. 1 Peter 1:8
I believe each of us is empowered to choose which thoughts and emotions reign in our life. Therefore I am fully committed to practicing the joy that is already mine. I will endeavor to live up to my blogger handle. I have determined that joy will color my journey, because I understand that a joyful heart pleases my Father.
Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Psalm 100:2
Beyond my own willpower to walk in joy, is the fact that I possess a secret weapon —the source of TRUE JOY lives within me. I am promised the fruit of JOY will be born out in my life as I yield to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to transform my thinking, my perspective, and my heart into the image of Jesus Christ. Joy will become increasingly innate as I become the new creature I am destined to be.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control. Against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22
So I continue the journey toward the heart of my Father – the One whose eye is on even the lowly sparrow. I know that He cares for me, and has a purpose and plan for every single day of this incredible life. That is the reason this little sparrow can sing.
In His Love,
Tabitha ~ A Joyful Sparrow
Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young— a place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God. Psalm 84:3