“Hi, I’m Hannah.”

It’s how I typically introduce myself, a simple and straightforward greeting. As I’ve come to realize, though, the implied meaning makes all the difference.

See, when I introduce myself, I’m not just announcing a random collection of letters. I’m announcing a name. My name; and there’s meaning attached to that. The connotation that those letters elicit in the mind of another has a lot to do with my reputation, the way I carry myself. Over 23 years, H-A-N-N-A-H has amassed a variety of meanings for those who know me.

I’m Hannah, daughter of Richard and Heather. Hannah, the girl who ran for Olentangy Orange High School and then for Butler. I’m the one who writes for Women’s Running, works for College Park, loves adventure, and is just quirky enough to be cool. Those are all things that my name can mean to others– granted, that last one is a stretch.

But if I’m being honest, that recognition has never been enough. My prideful heart longs for those letters to communicate a character of gold. When people hear my name, I want them to recall all the positive things they’ve heard about me– how I’m godly and loyal and motivated, funny and loyal and creative. I want them to love me before they’ve even met me.

See how problematic that is?

Not only is it a lot of pressure, but it’s highly dangerous. There is only one name that should guide the way I live, and it isn’t mine. The name “Jesus” is far weightier, truer, and beautiful. The very mention of His name makes the demons flee (Luke 10:27).

I was reminded the power of that name recently, by the song “Tremble.” Oh how I love that song! I could sing it over and over, letting the truth wash over me. It has helped me to approach stressful or difficult moments with a greater peace. Even when I don’t have a clue how to address a problem; even when I don’t know what to pray: His name alone is enough.

So sometimes I just say Jesus. I say it once, twice, even twenty times–as many mentions as it takes my frightened heart to come to rest once more.

The truth is, when we are seeking wholeheartedly after the Lord, it’s not our names that we cling to.

More than 70,000 people in the U.S. are named Hannah. I bet you can name at least five of us with ease. I’m not the first Hannah and I certainly won’t be the most famous Hannah. But the Lord never ceases to remind me that it’s not my name that truly matters. Not my name or yours.

What’s your name? That thing people call to summon your presence, to greet your arrival, to gossip your failings. Your name.

When people hear it, do they think, “Jesus.” That, friend, is what I long for. Instead of focusing on my own name, I long to focus on living a life that reflects my Savior so clearly that people can’t help but think of Him when they think of me.

Note that I’m not saying, “I want people to think of how godly I am.” I guess that’s a bi-product of righteous living, sure, but it places the focus on me. If I’m honest, I would love that. But it’s not what I’m called to, and my sinful heart can let go of that once I remind it how much greater and lasting the name of Jesus is.

Friends, there’s no comparison. When it comes to being remembered and esteemed, we waste our time if we spend life trying to build up our name, our brand, our image. The communications professional in me knows this full well. So what do you do when you have a measly, unrecognized name? You partner with an established brand, a recognized and worthy name. That name is Jesus.

So if you’re hurting today, cry Jesus. If you’re in love today, cry Jesus. If you’re halfway out the door to call upon the name of another, stop and cry Jesus.

“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

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