Confession #1: I told our friend, Kary, a couple months ago that I’d review his new book, Your Secret Name, on Monday, October 25. I figured that would give me plenty of time to read the book and think of nice things to say in case I didn’t like it.
Confession #2: I don’t really like writing book reviews. Especially if they’re ones I have to write.
Confession #3: I read the entire book today (Sunday, October 24).
Confession #4: I loved it.
A little background (my new tagline apparently). Gabe met Kary at Grace College (in Warsaw, IN) back in the late 1990’s. A few years ago they reconnected here in Columbus, OH. I think Gabe might have been helping Kary with his website or something and Kary gave him a couple of his books. I was reading the acknowledgments at the beginning of one of the books and said, “Oh my word. Oh my word!” (I do this a lot.)
Turns out that I know Kary’s wife, Kelly. We were friends at Cedarville College. Small, small world. Unfortunately, I see a lot more of Kary than I do Kelly (she’s an even busier mama-of-3 than I am), but Kary’s pretty cool too. I’ve gotten to hear bits and pieces of his story over the past few years, and what I’ve always liked about it (and him) is that it’s real. A bit messy. And a sweet tribute to a God who never, ever gives up on us and loves us like crazy.
Your Secret Name.
The premise of the book is that we all have a Birth Name (Kary bemoans the fact that his belongs to a girl) and a Given Name (lots of them actually). Given names are names that other people give you (they can be good or bad, but they usually characterize what you do, not who you are, and certainly not who God created you to be).
Let’s say your Birth Name is Fancy (I’m trying to think of a name that doesn’t actually belong to someone I know–this is not easy.). And over the years, some of your Given Names have been Ugly, Overweight, Unpopular, Unloved, Left Out, Bulimic, Pretender, Unhealthy, Hopeless.
Or I could just make it personal (ouch). Let’s say your Birth Name is Marla. And some of your Given Names have been Tall, Gangly, Outsider, Smart, Nerdy, Goody Two Shoes, Crooked Teeth, Underachiever, Gifted, Coward, Jealous, Bitter, Don’t Belong, Indecisive, Self-Centered, Awkward, Independent, Overwhelmed, Tired, Self-Reliant, Stressed.
Too much information? I can share the rest some other time…
Kary tells us that what most of us don’t realize is that we also have a Secret Name, a name that God has for us, a name that describes who he has created us to be, a name that is the exact opposite of the most hurtful Given Name we’ve got. A name that reflects which characteristic of God (Provider, Healer, Shepherd, Savior, Friend, Prince of Peace…) means the most to us.
To be honest, I’ve always kind of thought of myself as pretty Got-It-Together (Hey! Another Given Name!). Books that help you explore your past or heal from hurt (like my friend Tammy’s Soul Healing) never really do much for me, because I’m pretty Whole.
God has been revealing to me the past couple years that I’m more of a mess than I thought. That his grace is sufficient, yes, but that it means relying on him, not myself. I’m questioning stuff, rethinking stuff and sometimes wondering if I’ve gained any ground at all in the last 34 years, 11 months, and 3 weeks.
Anyway. I think you should read this book. Especially if you’re not reading Radical. 🙂 A dear friend of mine pulled me aside at church a couple months ago and said, “I hope you’re not mad that I’m not reading Radical. I just have so much… stuff… that I need to deal with first.” I told her that of course I wasn’t mad and that I completely understood. And claimed yet another Given Name–Read-Along Nazi.
Do you have some “stuff” to deal with? (We all do; some of us just realize it before the rest.) If so, let me encourage you to read this book. It’s fascinating really. Part memoir (my favorite genre), part teaching, all just really, really good. Kary is gut-honest about his struggles (and some of them will make you cringe) and has a real heart for helping people heal and move into all that God has for them.
Or you can just Go Directly To Amazon and Buy The Book.
And if you’re feeling really brave, I’d love to hear what some of your Given Names are. Or better yet, your Secret Name.
p.s. Friendly Reminder from the Read-Along Nazi: We’re doing Radical Chapter 6 right here tomorrow. See you then!