A New Name

Recently, a woman approached me in our church lobby in a secretive manner. “Psst. I know you write under the name Charismata. I’m sure you do that to give the glory to God and not yourself.” Chuckling to myself I thought, “I wish it were for such a holy reason.”I looked this woman in the eyes, smiled, and just shook my head. “Um. Not exactly. It’s an act of obedience. God told me to write under that name, because it’s a name He gave me. It’s more about identity, than me being so holy as to do that.”

Years ago at a women’s event, the speaker challenged us to go home and ask God what His name for us was. Reluctantly, I tried the experiment and heard, “I call you Charismata.”

My initial reaction was actually fear, intimidation, distress. I actually hated the name, and I wrestled with Him over it for weeks.

“Why?” you may ask? Well, I was terrified at the thought of power, because I was very afraid that if I was powerful, then I would hurt someone.

I looked up the meaning of the word. It had everything to do with having power and influence over people. Later, I found another meaning, that said the power of grace. That made me feel somewhat better.

So, why so afraid of power? Well, quite honestly, I grew up powerless, around those who would dominate me, in attempts to control and manipulate, and I saw what “powerful” people could do. Having power meant that I could destroy myself or other people’s lives. It was safer to remain powerless; better that, than become like those around me. My life revolved around playing it safe, erecting walls of protection, not just to protect myself from others, but to protect others from what I could potentially envision myself becoming: the Dr. Jeckle/ Mr. Hide.

So, when Abba called me “Charismata”, it was loaded with rounds of love ammo aimed at all those lies deeply embedded in my heart.

When He asked me to write under that name, He was saying, “ Sweetie, it’s OK to be powerful in me, in my grace. You are my daughter, and you will use power to help people.”

Power should be used to help others, not hurt them, to lift others up, not tear them down, to give others a voice, not silence them. Empowerment is to empower others. It is to stand for the widows and children, for the survivors, for the broken hearted, those who can’t stand for themselves.

When leadership or persons in power strip you of your voice, making you feel like you should just remain silent, condemning or devaluing you, you are standing in the face of the demonic, for that is a work of the enemy. I am not saying the person is a demon, but there is an agreement with darkness.

I recently read that if we are standing on the edge of the cliff of the world, then if we stumble we may indeed fall off the cliff. But if we are standing in Jesus far away from the edge, then if we stumble, we fall into Him. In other words, you don’t just wake up one morning, and abuse your kids. It’s a series of steps towards the edge of a cliff that if you continue, will lead you over the edge. I choose to stand on and in Jesus Christ. He is my keeper.

Through the years, Charismata has become a term of endearment to me, a name that, when He calls me by, I smile.

I still deal with the lies from time to time of “What if you lose it?” or thought-flashes of becoming an abuser. But I know that’s not who I am. He loves me, and He calls me by a new name, an intimate name, a name that brings joy when I hear Him say it over me.

What’s He calling you my dear friend? It may surprise you.

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