“Old identities feel familiar and comfortable to us, even when God is calling us to new identities. . . . Even though many of us want our new names to erase our old lives, our new names are meant to put the emphasis on God and what He has done inside us. Thus, painful parts of our stories are required.”- Esther Fleece Allen
Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and have overcome.”- Genesis 32:28 (NIV)
In Chapter 5 (“Wrestling between Names”) of Your New Name, Esther Fleece Allen underscores that even if our new names come overnight, our old names just don’t go away. Furthermore, like Jacob in the Old Testament, some life circumstances cause us to wrestle with our new names. Therefore, Esther asserts, we need to give ourselves grace and space to enable God’s transforming work within us.
Also, Esther notes, life’s complex, along with our stories and emotions. How then, do we wrestle in faith with God for our new names? Because the alternative involves wrestling against others or trying to prove our worth. Hence, Esther stresses: “It’s a much better use of our time to wrestle with God than to prove ourselves to those around us.”
In addition, it’s crucial that you hear what God’s saying to you. It’s counterproductive to avoid the wrestling and stay in your old name. Consequently, Esther explains why wrestling must occur:
“Why is wrestling necessary? Because our identity change is intensely personal. It cannot come from afar. . . . It’s a gift that can only be received up close and personal and by stepping away from the noise of the world and quieting our souls to hear the voice of God.”
Today’s question: What Bible verses come to mind when our old identities feel familiar and comfortable? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Our wrestling seasons and God’s character”