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The Divine Has Called us by Name And We Are Enough

If I am whole and complete enough as I am for God to name me, then I am most certainly enough.
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I don't know what it is about January, but this time of year always makes me self-reflective. It happens twice every 12 months like clockwork. In September, I'm outwardly focused, on what I can get done, get organized.

In January, though, I turn a bit more introspective and start to mull over who I am.

I am a lot of things. They all have names. Some are relational. Partner. Son. Brother. Uncle. Friend. Community member. (It’s weird listing these all sequentially, as if to give one more weight than the other. In my mind, they’re all pretty much equal, particularly the ones toward the front of the list. It would be better if I could write them so they're all on top of each other, but then that would require a microfiche machine to read, and I don't think they even make those anymore.)

Others have to do with my work. Communications professional. Writer. Service provider. Advisor. Freelancer.

Added to all of that are a couple of overarching core values: I am a spiritual being living a life and I want to be a good person who is helpful and adds something to the world.

It's in January where I can feel pulled in all the different directions that are caused by the tension between those names and values. Sometimes, quite frankly, I don't feel like enough or that I'm living fully into all the interrelated expectations and responsibilities. There is only so much time and energy given to us each day. (And, yes Instagram inspirational quote people, I know Beyoncé has the same number of hours in her day as I have in mine, but she likely doesn’t do her own laundry.)

This mood overtook me recently and, in addition to wise words from people I love, a phrase from scripture kept popping into my head: "I have called you by your name." I've heard it countless times in sermons, hymns and other sources. I never actually bothered to look up where it came from.

It might be in other places, but I found it in Isaiah 43:1, which, depending on your translation, goes something like this: "But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear…I have called you by name, you are mine." (NRSV)

“Do not fear. I have called you by name. You are mine.” Those are powerful words, both for what they do say and what they do not.

What they say is that, from our very beginning, we were named by the Divine. Names are powerful. They define something. To be named is to be known and made visible. They call something into being. And we are named, defined, known, made visible and called into being by God. Just dwell on that for a minute, absorb it.

What don’t those words say? They don’t say “I have called you by name, but that is only valid in the context of other names people might associate with you.” They also don’t say “I have called you by name, which is provisional unless you do this, and this, and that, and, oh yes, this whole other list of things.”

Those words are unconditional. I have named you. You are mine. Full stop.

In other words, you have been named by God and are enough simply by existing.

Both those thoughts, of being named and being enough, have become my mantra of late.

“I have called you by your name, you are enough.”

“God has called me by my name, I am enough.”

“The Divine has named me, I am enough.”

If I am whole and complete enough as I am for God to name me, then I am most certainly enough. It’s all I need to be. This has been such a powerful realization and reminder as I get pulled in all directions and have times when I doubt my ability to live up to all those other names. All those relationships and roles, they are important, of course. But I can fulfil them, and exist within them, in a way that is uniquely me, without needing to be something else or someone else.

God has called me by my name. I am enough.

Kevin Aschenbrenner is a Victoria-based writer, poet and communications professional. He holds an M.A. in Culture and Spirituality from the Sophia Center at Holy Names University in Oakland, Calif. He blogs at www.dearpopefrancis.ca.

You can read more articles on our interfaith blog, Spiritually Speaking HERE: https://www.timescolonist.com/blogs/spiritually-speaking