your secret name read-along! (week 1)

Woohoo!!! Ready to dive into 50 Days to Discover Your Secret Name?? If you’re new here, we’re gearing up to read Your Secret Name (Kary Oberbrunner) together over the course of the next 50 days. You can find Read-Along details here and introduce yourself to your new friends right here.

If you just can’t bring yourself to click on links this morning, let me make it easy on you.

1. Get a copy of Your Secret Name and read 2 chapters every week until you’re done (at the moment, you’re 2 chapters behind, but no worries!).

2. Join us here every Tuesday until February 22. Read my post, leave a comment, link to your own post if you’d like, and be entered to win a cool prize.

That’s basically it! You can put in as much effort or as little as you’d like. Other options include reading other people’s posts and leaving them words of encouragement; starting some discussions here in the comments section, getting something going over on the Your Secret Name Facebook page…

I’ll try to keep my thoughts brief today (and every week).

The Intro:

I liked the part about us thinking that the names people give us will help “scratch our identity itch,” but they don’t. “Birth Names and Given Names were never hardwired to alleviate the tension.” (p.12) I’m guilty of looking to a lot of things besides God to alleviate the tension of Who Am I? What’s My Purpose in Life? Anybody with me?

Chapter 1:

I found the stuff about the creation account super enlightening. In the beginning, there was no need for names. “An environment devoid of sin also meant an environment devoid of human names.” (19) Wowza. And then the clincher–“Since the original man and woman knew who God was, they also knew who they were–an inescapable by-product.” Okay, that just knocked me flat.

I long to know God so deeply that my own name (and all that goes along with it) doesn’t even matter. (and those whopping Scrabble letters at the top of my blog are taunting me right now)

Chapter 2:

I loved the description of the God-confident, fully-alive-in-Christ person on the last page of the chapter. I want to be that person–“so full of life that I give energy to others,” “marked by a quiet confidence that allows me to heal the world.”

I’ve caught glimpses of that potential, times when I’m so focused on Christ–his word, his plan, HIM–that I’m able to bring his hope and healing and joy to others. God, may this characterize me more and more!


Zondervan is giving away a book this week! To be entered ONCE in the drawing, leave a comment answering one of the questions below. To be entered FIVE times, link to your own post about your thoughts on Chapters 1-2 (by Thursday). (Winner will be chosen Friday at noon.)

Choose a Question:

1. Share about a time you reached the end of yourself and were finally ready to experience the beginning of him. (p.11)

2. What are some inaccurate views you hold of God that might be yielding an inaccurate view of yourself? (p. 21)

3. How would your life look different if you were to embrace your Secret Name and “come alive?” (p.35)

This week’s book give-away… oh, I’m excited about this one!! … One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp! If you haven’t read Ann’s blog, A Holy Experience, it is just that. Amazing. And I’ve heard incredible things about this book already (it actually doesn’t release until January 16).

The Mr. Linky explains itself when you click below, but I’m more than willing to help if you get stuck. E-mail me here. And any other questions, let me know!

Happy Reading and Posting and Discovering and Healing!!

68 thoughts on “your secret name read-along! (week 1)

  1. Mary Hancock

    Wow! thanks for prayers ! In week two ..chpts. 3 and 4, I have jotted down “me” at several points! pgs.38/39*everyone but me” ….*”that day I learned to hold back, to stay (deeper) in my shell ….”. A line that struck me Was “whats in an name if I have to lie in order to recieve it?” OR PRETEND!
    More “me” marks on pgs. 43, 44, and 57!
    Seems this is a TALKING BOOK : )

  2. Rachelle

    I’m just now getting here…I think I have been avoiding posting b/c this book really hit home and brought up my, unpleasant, past. Anyway, I’m still in! And thankfully our God is still faithful! I know he is going to meet us here.

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  4. Heather Marshall

    I am a little behind on this week’s reading but better late than never, right?! I will be caught up by next week.

    So, how would my life be different? I share many of the same feelings as others who have already posted. I wouldn’t be fearful or worried about anything God wanted me to do. I wouldn’t worry what my neighbors or co-workers would think of me when I shared my faith with them. I would be confidence of myself in every circumstance too. I’m ready to know my secret name so I can more effective for God. πŸ™‚

  5. Lisa

    I’ve spent time with people who are “truly alive”. And I’m jealous. I’m jealous of their zest for life and how they seem to have things “all figured out”. I identify a lot with Karen in her post – it’s so much EASIER to stay in my comfort zone. So much easier to be in the backlight and hide behind my Given Name. So much safer to keep things as they are and only have to live up to what is expected of me based on my Given Name. I don’t have to challenge myself as much that way. But I long to be someone who is “truly alive”. I long to have the confidence of knowing my Secret Name in Christ. To have that energy flowing through me as I tackle life.

    I’ve appreciated all the posts and blog links. I’ve never done a read-along before, but I’m loving it so far… It’s definitely out of my comfort zone to commit to doing something like this, but I’m glad I am taking the challenge. I already feel blessed.

  6. Karen

    I’m embarrassed to admit that I am *just now* getting to this. I’ve been preoccupied by the baby, who has been battling an ear infection, croup, and either roseola or a reaction to amoxicillin. *sigh* Spiritual warfare, anyone???

    Okay – I choose question3:
    3. How would your life look different if you were to embrace your Secret Name and β€œcome alive?” (p.35)

    I have spent most of my life living up to my Given Names. So much so that they have become comfortable, like an old ratty shirt or pair of torn jeans. It is easier to remain in the cycle of what I have known, even if it makes me unhappy, rather that to take a risk on being something MORE. It is easier for me to be the Forgotten One than to strive to be memorable. It is more comfortable to remain Unloveable than to risk a broken heart.

    I have always envied people who have that life, that freedom, in them. If I were to find my New Name, my Secret Name, it would mean I was no longer able to hide, no longer able to keep silent. It would mean stepping out into the light. It would mean that I would have to acknowledge that God did something right when He made me – something that is hard for me to do. I have been told my entire life that I’m not good enough. Embracing my Secret Name would free me from that burden, and allow me to embrace the gift He has planted in me with no doubt, no shame, no guilt. So, why does that frighten me, just a little, too?

    I’ll link my blog post in a bit – Baby is fussing, now – after he goes to bed, although is might *technically* be Friday morning, by then… πŸ™‚

    1. Marla Taviano

      Thank you, Karen. I really, really enjoyed your post. You made such a good point about how giving up our given names, no matter how degrading or awful they are, is sometimes just too risky (or at least we think it is). I say NOW is the time to move into freedom!! So glad you’re here with us!

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  8. lisa

    hmmm .. inaccurate views of God .. i hate that i have them but when things are tough or i don’t get my way, i think of God dangling the carrot in front of me saying … here it is … you can’t have it but if you do a little more MAYBE i’ll let you have it. therefore making me feel like i’m not good enough, never good enough, don’t do enough, aren’t enough. yuck yuck yuck. somewhere in me i know i’m wrong and that God is good and loves me and is gracious but i still feel that way .. alot. like He’s holding out on me and i’m clearly not good enough for whatever He has.

  9. Jenn

    I have been a follower of Jesus for almost 15 years and been a leader of several different things over the past decade. God has been showing me over the last year or so that I haven’t even begun to truly experience him yet and that I am just now learning what it means to come to the end of myself. It is a humbling and scary place to be and yet it feels strangely peaceful and comforting to know that I don’t have to be anything – He is enough. And when I allow Him to be enough, His power is made perfect. Am am so excited to see how God is going to move in my life as I get out of my own way!

    As far as my life being different by ‘coming alive’, I would have a lot more confidence and overcome my perfectionism and fear of failure. I don’t do a lot of things because I am afraid I will not do it perfectly (by my own standards) and will fail or let people down.

    I will link my blog up soon…the Buckeyes are dominating my time πŸ˜‰

  10. Kathleen-NM

    This will be short and sweet, more on the blog site.

    I think understanding my Secret Name would allow me to walk in the FREEDOM of being known. We spend so much time trying to pretend to be someone we are not, or live according to how others see us. I am so excited about knowing that the only thing that matters is how God sees me. Challenged by these chapters. Loved the comments! Keep em’ coming!

  11. Laura Eckstein

    I love, love , love to read and learn different thoughts on the Bible and the wonderful teachings that mold and build our foundation. My foundation was so shaky for so long that these things really can only make me stronger. I have been deceived in so many ways by “names” that others have given me and most importantly given myself that sifting through them and finding my secret name seems huge….but I am excited to try. If I were to accomplish that I would not let myself be shaken and I think I would have so much more confidence in my ability to hear what Christ has to say to me. It would be exciting to not doubt myself!

  12. ellen

    I’m thinking once we truely grasp who we are in Christ — and who He want’s us to be — the things (names) other people call us will no longer matter. The church in general has not done a very good job of teaching us who we are in Christ — Finding out who we are takes responsibility — and Christians really like placing the blame else where — I like this book and really think it will open eyes and doors into an exciting new year

      1. ellen

        I agree marla — this new church body is exciting — and do want to follow hard after Him — I try to refrain from using the word desperate these days — I have come to believe that those who are in Christ should be desperate for nothing. But I know what you mean. Thanks for the book club

  13. Mary Hancock

    First of all..on p.11..”we’re all homesick for a place we’ve never been”.
    This was so true for me that I knew this book was “God thing” for me.
    Then ran into my memory verse on p.13 Ps 139:16 “that our true neme was written in God’s book before I was born!”
    Then p.35..that the world yearns for us to BE what our God-given Secret Name says we are..Alive ! Because when we are alive, EVERYTHING WE TOUCH BECOMES ALIVE! Please, Lord

    1. sandee

      yea….thats my momma!

      Glad you made it here! πŸ™‚

      You will hate that I do this (or maybe not) but asking for prayers for her (Mary Hancock) is sick this week and needs prayers, healing and comfort. And I know Marla and these loving ladies are just the ones to pray for that!

  14. Shalla

    It really is amazing the depth a name can take one one’s life. As a child, and still into adulthood I have had to constantly correct or pronounce the enunciation of my name. Growing up – my classmates enjoyed pencils, stickers, blankets, you name it – yep – all with their names on them. My name was never to be found – anywhere. It was not until adulthood that I realized how deeply rooted my emotions were and the lies I actually believed. Lies like – you are not important, YOU don’t mean anything…….

    In the introduction, I was struck with “Slowly over time, these labels become part of our permanent wardrobe. And as we wear them, we end up settling for so much less than we were born to be.

    I know that I am free in Christ! I am excited to uncover my Secret Name. And I have finally embraced and am thankful for my birthname πŸ™‚

    1. Marla Taviano

      I LOVE your name, Shalla. And I think it fits you perfectly. And my name was never on anything either. Maybe that’s why I like Scrabble letters so much. I can make my name whenever I want. πŸ™‚ I can make yours too. πŸ™‚

    2. Nina

      Shalla, I can so identify with your experience. My parents named me “Janina,” and I have yet to find “Janina” on a pencil, sticker, blanket, etc.! When I went to college, I chopped the “Ja” off the front, partly so I wouldn’t have to explain the spelling and pronunciation of my name to everyone I met. Of course, “Nina” isn’t nearly as lucrative in Scrabble points as “Janina” … oh well. πŸ˜‰

  15. Megan Bradford

    First of all, I actually read the two chapters!! I have a hard time committing to reading books with groups, not sure why. I think this whole given name/secret name thing is very interesting. I had never really thought much about the names I’ve been given or have thought of myself. It’s interesting to me that we can also be caught in a web of positive given names, not just negative ones.

    I could relate with what the author was saying about being with people who are ‘alive’. People who are really in touch with how their Heavenly Father thinks of them are people that you want to be around. I want to be a person like that, so confident of my Father’s love that people are attracted to Him through me.

    Looking forward to Chapter 3 πŸ™‚

  16. Kelly Sipan

    Response to #3:

    If I were to embrace my Secret Name(s?) and “come alive,” I would find myself confidently serving Jesus rather than insecurely considering all the things I want to do but all the reasons I can’t do them.

    My days would be filled with kingdom activity rather than laziness and a lackadaisical attitude that finds me watching tv or cleaning the house way more than I want.

    The jealousy, paranoia, and low self-image that I feel about myself and the way I look would be removed from our marriage, and I wouldn’t doubt that my husband thinks I am beautiful, because I would know I am beautiful in God’s eyes!

    I think I would find myself a lot more God-focused and a lot less me-focused, because I would know myself, and know God, in the way He wants us both to be known.

    In other words, it would be a really good thing. πŸ™‚

  17. sandee

    I think if we lived as He knows we truly are…his lavishly loved daughters, and embraced the names He calls us, it would turn our lives and hearts upside down. Truly.

    I am praying He will work this one deep, so it doesn’t seep out and away from me.

  18. Denise

    Wow, first one to link my blog post – I feel darn special! πŸ™‚ This book is going to be good for me – as I feel like I am defined by my given names…I don’t want to be defined by them..I want to know my Secret name and walk closer to God because I have figured out who he wants me to be…I can’t wait to discover me secret name.

    To answer question 3 – I think I would carry myself different. Rather than being ashamed and embarrassed and thinking all the world sees me by my given name. I feel like I wear the signs that say “hurt, victim, failure…yadda, yadda” Knowing my secret name will give me a new meaning, a new hope and a new future.

    So am I supposed to comment 4 more times since I linked my post??

    1. kary oberbrunner


      Thanks so much for sharing your heart and for your authentic words. I know God loves you dearly, holds you close, and wants you to walk in your new name, the name that He know you by. Keep pursuing Him.


  19. Teresa

    1. I was sitting in my counselor’s office…she prayed with me…I got on the floor of her office…down on my knees and prayed and cried and confessed…and knew that I had to find a way to like who God created me to be or my children would be in the same place as me and I love them too much for that.
    2. I believed that there were only parts of the Bible that were written for me…that I believed the Truth for everyone but me…I had done too much wrong…I wasn’t good enough for those Words of Truth to be for me.
    3. My life would be different….I would be bold, radical, unafraid to walk the path God is calling me to…I would share more, go more, love more….I would be a better mother…a better friend…a better disciple.

  20. Dean

    β€œSince the original man and woman knew who God was, they also knew who they were–an inescapable by-product.” Before sin, there were no identity problems. That’s big! (However, I wouldn’t push too hard on that as far as names go. There were only two people on the planet, so nobody else is going to turn around when she says “Hey, man!”)

    To me, Jacob is an even better example. Kary points out how Jacob lived down to his name. That is just so true and so sad. “Jacob wanted to create a new name for himself rather than receive” his name from God. That really made me stop and think about my own children and the way I want them to live up to there names. I pray that I’ll be a truly encouraging parent and that my kids will never doubt that I believe God can give them grace to live up to their names. I know it won’t be easy. God did indeed whisper in Jacob’s ear and give him a new name. But it came at the end of an all night wrestling match! I’m trying to take Kary’s advice and listen more. But I also know it won’t come easily and will be a fight.

    1. Marla Taviano

      Thanks for sharing, Dean. I definitely need to be more encouraging with my kiddos. I’ve noticed that with one of them in particular, I do a lot of reprimanding and correcting and not as much building up. πŸ™

  21. Nina

    For question #1, I have been “ready” many times (thanks to a history of depression and burning myself out), but not willing. I think the difference this time is that I’m finally willing (I think!).

    This book is not doing a lot for me so far, to be honest. πŸ™ Maybe I just need to read more. But, so far, I think the core message of not losing yourself in a false identity, and instead looking to God for your true identity, is a good one, and it’s one I’m reflecting on today.

    I’ve written a review but might not be able to post it until I get home tonight. Sigh.

      1. Nina

        OK, I’ve posted my response on my blog. And I’m such a dork–on the linky thing, I said my blog is called “Life Upside Down” when it’s really “Life Downside Up.” I am a serious scatterbrain today, I’m afraid!

  22. Liz Puffer

    In chapter 1 pg 19 -Who am I?- didn’t exist becasue seperation from God didn’t exisit. Wow that is pretty clear.
    Also pg 21 -idyllic resolution is still only found within a pure relationship with the Father.- Isn’t that what we seek a pure relationship with the Father? without “names or labels”
    pg 25 and 26 I am sorry to say i could relate to too many of the names
    Chapter 2 pg 32 – It is far less painful to pretend that God doesn’t care….than to believe that God is cognizant fo and concerned with every detail of our lives. We often prefer a distant God. Such thinking is safer and less complicated….He is in heave and we are on earth…He lives His live we live ours….the comfort in hiding….just like Adam and Eve_ wow that really got me, I know I do that think well God doesn’t really care about that or He isn’t paying attention right now. He does care about EVERYTHING I do, think and feel.

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  24. Brooke

    oops, i only read the intro and chapter one. i’ll do better next week i promise. maybe i haven’t read enough, but so far i’m just not feeling this one. πŸ™

    ps – if chapter 2 deals with control (as it appears by the poster above me) then it will probably knock me on my butt. i’m a control freak who freaks when she doesn’t have it all under control (in my mind at least.)

    1. Liz Puffer

      Brooke I finished reading the book last night and I have to agree i was not real into it in the beginning but I will tell you it gets better. I have enjoyed it but the 1st two chapters were not my fav.

  25. Angie Cooley

    In Chapter 1, I found it incredibly interesting that after Adam and Eve sinned, Adam IMMEDIATELY (p. 20-21) named Eve. “God never TOLD him to name her…By naming his wife, Adam attempted ineffectively to solve a riddle well above his pay grade. No other human can answer for us our deepest question of identity…sin seductively whispers the lie that we’ll find our true identity by naming others or by receiving names from other people.”
    So often I look to other people for validation or “for their opinion”. I need to go to God. He knows me perfectly – He knows my situation perfectly. He has the answers…not other people. So often I justify going to others because “I need someone with skin on”…so I’m telling God that He is not enough for me.

    And Chapter 2, “Better to pretend that we’ve got everything under control than to admit our own shame, frailty, and need” (p. 32) – WOAH….that thought hits home.
    I feel like too often, I “reach the end of myself” and desire for things to be different, but after a day or two of doing things differently, I’m back to the same old “issues” again. (hence the name, self-reliant) I’m tired of being in a frustrated cycle of that! (and very excited to read more in this book!)

      1. Tonia

        Angie, this is me too, me too! Thank you for sharing! I read the introduction last night and plan to read the chapters tonight. Sorry I’m behind. I will catch up!

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