Name tags. Don’t you just love those things?
Truth be told, I don’t really care for them. I somehow feel like I’m “above” that. Like I shouldn’t have to wear one because I know everyone and everyone knows me. (I know…how arrogant!)
What if, however, the universal rules of name tags changed? What if on your name tag you couldn’t even put your name? What if on your name tag you had to identify yourself some other way? Some deeper way. A much more personal way, sharing a deep, perhaps dark, truth about yourself. What if you had to write a truth about what’s on the inside of you rather than the identifier you’re known as on the outside?
- Hello, my name is…broken
- Hello, my name is…severely depressed
- Hello, my name is…insecure
- Hello, my name is…alcoholic
- Hello, my name is…chronic liar
- Hello, my name is…huge debt
- Hello, my name is…bitter
The fact is we would cringe if our name tags revealed anything more about us than our name. We’d be humiliated, embarrassed, or mortified. You see, we go to great lengths to hide the messy parts of our lives, don’t we? Most of us don’t want people to know much beyond our name and a few surface facts about us.
Here’s the thing…Though we may not advertise our hurts, struggles, and messes outwardly for public knowledge, God knows them all inwardly. And the cool thing is He loves us in spite of them. No, He’s not proud of our junk, nor does He blow it off as minor details, but He loves us wholly, completely, and unconditionally even when we make a mess of this thing called life.
Is this hard to comprehend? Can we even begin to fathom the magnitude of God’s love for us? My initial thought is why would God even want to hang around a mess like me? And even further, I wonder why would He keep wanting to be a part of my life with all my baggage and my laundry list of screw-ups?
The Apostle Paul wrote to a church in a town called Ephesus a couple thousand years ago. In his letter he prayed hard for them to grasp this very thing: “and may you be able to feel and understand, as all God’s children should, how long, how wide, how deep, and how high his love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves, though it is so great that you will never see the end of it or fully know or understand it. And so at last you will be filled up with God himself” (Ephesians 3:18-19, TLB).
I join with Paul in praying that each of you would know…really know…and experience just how much God loves you. Whatever name tag you’re wearing today—whatever brokenness or baggage you have—know that you are a child of the Most High God, you are special, and dearly loved.
(On a side note: The day I wrote this post I got to work and guess what? I had to wear a name tag because the state inspectors were there. God has a sense of humor, doesn’t He? And yeah…I was grateful my name tag had just my name and nothing else.)