I recently heard a familiar song on the radio, Mac the Knife, and thought, “That’s a guy I’d like to emulate.” “Sounds like a hip, cool dude with a lot going on.” Somehow even the nickname “Mac” seemed inviting, even with the huge association with a certain hamburger.
Then I downloaded the lyrics. Hadn’t really listened to those before. Cold blooded murderer apparently. Not really a man to emulate.
But all this got me thinking. Thinking long and hard about inspiration and what we buy in to. How we can so easily follow along with the simple tunes we find on the radio of life, whether in books, movies, media or even friends – and absorb the many messages as if written “just for me!” All the while forgetting to ask some simple questions, like “Do the lyrics really apply to my life?” “Is that at tune, philosophy or worldview I want to live by?”
I recently read an ancient story about a man named Gideon. Simple guy who lived amongst his people who were being persecuted by outsiders. God sends an angel to talk to Gideon, asking him to fight these enemies and defeat them, even though outnumbered and with no military experience to speak of. What’s interesting is that the angel, instructed by the Almighty himself, calls him by a new name – “Mighty Warrior.”
Long story short, with many details left out, Gideon buys in to this new identity and lives up to his descript name Mighty Warrior and defeats forces far greater than himself or the frightened nation he inhabits.
So I’ve thought long and hard about a man’s name. I’m more than curious about how we define ourselves and what we stand for. Something about our name has power, direction and meaning. I’m not talking about the name our parents gave us, although connected to this overall idea. What I’m referring to involves the name no one sees. What you call yourself when you’re afraid and uncertain. How you think of yourself as you look in the mirror and ponder life – the meaning of life. What you stand for and represent that no one can take away.
I love questions that provoke us to think about who we are. What we stand for. Let’s take a look at a few that get at our real name – how we see ourselves when we’re at our best. Who we truly want to be
- As I reflect on my life’s story, what name best represents the decisions and choices I’ve made along the way? Don’t beat yourself up with supposed failures. Look at your journey, what has happened and how you’ve overcome in life. Our stories point to the name we carry, want or have the potential to inhabit.
- Am I living out a powerful life with a succinct purpose and direction? Does my name reflect that deeper meaning I’m here for? So much starts by knowing my calling – how I’m supposed to make a real difference in this world.
- What do I stand for in the core of my being? What values, beliefs and thoughts would I would die for, fight for and let no one take away? If we can identify the key values we live by, our inner core that gives us “masculine” definition, we live differently – we live better and more powerfully.
- Do I live out commitment to my name – my livened, invisible, name that represents the best me, my best self? Take a sheet of paper and list 10 attributes that defines your “best self” – the self that shows up in power and strength to fight for good, to love others, to support virtues that so often get ignored this day and age.
- What names do I need to shed? So often we live out a negative identity. We may spend our whole life wishing we were different or felt better about ourselves. Let me suggest re-naming yourself. Chart out the life you want and begin creating it – step by step. Sometimes we have to work our way into our real name. I’m sure Gideon did.
I’m pleased I didn’t let “Mac the Knife” become my new self. And there are way too many tunes out there hoping to seep into my unconscious and tell me who I am. Most of these have nothing to do with my true potential or what I stand for in the recesses of my heart and spirit. I have to find my own name. And so do you. Let that journey begin.