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Beloved: Your First Name

What’s your first name? Aubrey Sampson suggests it may be different than you think.


Beloved: Your First Name

By Aubrey Sampson

My forehead is pressed against a cool airplane window, the pressure of which is relieving my nausea and mercifully preventing me from vomiting. Getting sick in one of those small, white bags is an unacceptable option right now, especially because I am sitting next to a guy who just dumped me.

We’ve been dating almost a year, and just before this weekend getaway with our little group of friends he told me that he loved me . . . wait for it . . . for my potential.

What, in fact, he means by this, is that if I begin educating myself on meaningful authors, improve my taste in music, and generally see the world through different lenses, then I will be worthy of his love. He mentions that I should consider a bit more exercise as well. “One day, I could totally see myself falling in love with you . . . when you are ready for me.”

I just sort of just blindly accepted this dangling-carrot dynamic of affection for a time. That is, until this flight. It is here on this airplane that I finally realize what a twisted mess the whole situation is.

Some context for my decision …

The flight attendant is handing out burritos for the in-flight meal, and the guy keeps going on and on about it. He’s reading some pretentious book, but he keeps setting the book down on the tray table in front of him to complain about the audacity of burritos on an airplane.

“I could never eat a burrito on an airplane. It’s so unappealing. Can you imagine anyone ever eating that?”

I recognize that airplane burritos might not be the best version of a burrito. And the truth is, I don’t really even want to eat the airplane burrito, but I also realize that this moment is a watershed for my entire future.

I understand that if I don’t eat this burrito, I will inadvertently allow myself to remain stuck in this inequitable relationship. This moment isn’t truly about this guy at all. It’s that I suddenly have this new sense of urgency. I don’t want to stay trapped in a pattern of desperate dependence on others’ approval.

So, I flag the flight attendant and ask her for a burrito.

With that, the boyfriend eyeballs me with disbelief and dumps me. And so, with several more hours of flight time to go, my forehead is pressed against the plane’s window, not because I am heartbroken over him or because I am nauseated by the burrito. But because I had voluntarily placed myself on a scale of his own making, and in many other ways, on many other occasions, on countless others’ scales—frantic to achieve some tenuous measure of worth.

What about you, friend, and your own view of self? Do you also have false or tender identities you need to set aside?

“The heart’s hunger is infinite,” writes author and philosopher James K. A. Smith. And the reality is, our hungry and hurting souls need constant reminders about who we really are.

Even decades after that plane ride, I catch myself striving, hustling, achieving, earning. Not from joy—from desperation. Due to stress or fear or discontentment, I suddenly grow anxious to hit some ever-elusive target of enoughness.

Whenever that restlessness creeps in, I have to stop and speak grace over myself: “Breathe, little soul. Slow down, little heart. What are you striving for? What are you after? You already have God’s approval and love. You are already known and accepted. Be loved, beloved.”

It is your first name and your truest name: Beloved.

This is not an I love you for your potential kind of love.

Not a put you on a scale and measure you kind of love.

Beloved, God’s love for you in Christ is nothing short of all-consuming. His love is a love that triumphs over every abusive tactic, prudent or otherwise, of the enemy. God’s love is anointing oil. His love is warm, soothing wine. His love is a bandage that binds. His love finds you, abandoned in your trauma and rejection, lifts you out, and brings you home, where your hungry, hurting soul can at last find its fill, can at last find its rest—in him.

So breathe, little soul. Slow down, little heart. What are you striving for? What are you after? You already have God’s approval and love. You are already known and accepted. You already have victory in Jesus. So return to your rest, for the Lord has been good to you.

Be loved, Beloved.

Taken from Known by Aubrey Sampson. Copyright © 2021. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries.

Aubrey Sampson serves on the teaching and preaching team at Renewal Church in West Chicago, which she co-planted with her husband, Kevin. Aubrey writes regularly for Christine Caine’s Propel Women and has contributed to Proverbs 31, Ann Voskamp’s A Holy Experience, Christianity Today, and more. She also speaks at churches and events around the country. Aubrey is earning her master’s degree in Evangelism and Leadership from Wheaton College and is the co-host of The Common Good daily talk show and the Nothing is Wasted podcast. Deeply passionate about helping hurting Christians find healing so that they can fully embrace their God-given identities and purposes, she has authored three books, Overcomer, The Louder Song, and her latest, Known. You can connect with Aubrey @aubsamp on Facebook, Instagram and



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