I hate it when someone misspells my first name. Okay, maybe “hate” is too harsh of a word, so I’ll say “extremely dislike”. I mean, how hard can it be to spell “Deone” correctly? This was my thought last night as I read through my work emails. I had received one from a coworker about a program he was having issues with, and the first thing that caught my eye – I swear it was pulsating on the computer screen in red – was the misspelling of my name: “Deon”. Really. You couldn’t have put that “e” on the end?? What made it such a crime was that my name was spelled correctly in the recipient line of the email. Ugh!
I have issues.
As always, God uses moments like these to teach me valuable lessons. My thoughts went back to earlier that night when I was checking my newsfeed on Facebook. All of my friends’ posts were ones of such fun, canoodling, and whatnot. And there I was surrounded by bible commentaries, study notes, and concordances. “Hmph! Must be nice”, I found myself thinking, “to be able to just go through life all carefree. If they only knew the sacrifices I have to make to be a minister.” Oh, yeah! I was having a good old-fashioned self-righteous pity party! Before I was through, I decided to pull out the big guns: the victim card. “I didn’t ask for this! Why did Dad have to go to that stinky o’ church service back in the 70’s and ruin life for me? Why couldn’t I just have a normal life??”
What an ugly moment! Look, if you haven’t realized by now, I tell it all: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Ain’t no shame in my game – well, the thoughts were shameful, but I am not ashamed to share them. It helps keep me honest. I must’ve concluded that sulking wasn’t going to change anything because I brushed off those thoughts and prepared to go to work. It wasn’t until after I’d gotten funky about my coworker’s error, that I was able to put it into the right perspective.
Aside from social security numbers, our names are what we are commonly identified by, right? We hear or see our name, and know that we are the ones being addressed. Chances are I am not going to get a response from you if I call you by the wrong name. Well, maybe not the response I want. Plenty of relationships have been dissolved because someone was called the wrong name… I’m just saying. Okay, let me get back on track. Names are important to us – we want them spelled correctly and we want them pronounced correctly. But guess what? Even if they aren’t, it doesn’t change who we are. No need to get all in a huff and act insulted unless someone is truly trying to offend.
You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this. Trust me: at this point in our (His and mine) conversation, I was asking God the same thing.
Just like my misspelled name didn’t change the fact that I was indeed “Deone”, my life’s beginnings didn’t change what I was destined to do. Even if my dad hadn’t accepted Christ when I was three years old, I was still destined to minister. Why, you ask? Because I can only be who I was created to be. As a matter of fact, I am more a minister than I am a woman named “Deone”, meaning I can change my name tomorrow – if I wanted to cough up the $250 fee – but I will still be a minister. Jeremiah 1:5 says “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”
I am not a victim of circumstance. What I am doing today is not the result of some haphazard event. I can no longer use the whiny “If my dad hadn’t…” retort. This is who I was created to be. This is who I am – whether my name is spelled correctly or not.
“This is who I am. This is what I do. I’ll spread the gospel – share the good news.” Kelly Price “This I Who I Am”
This is who I am.