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Chosen and Honored

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I attended a retreat called Sacred Rhythms and we did an exercise of Lectio Divina which went like this: the leader read through Isaiah 43:1-4:

But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
    he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
Because you are precious in my eyes,
    and honored, and I love you,

Our instructions were to listen and notice what word or phrase stood out to us (from our guts, not from our heads), maybe something sounded louder to us than the other words; if so, that would be our word. The leader would read it through a second time and we listened for what part of our lives this fit into. The third reading we listened for the invitation that God has for us around this passage/word/phrase and respond to Him. The fourth reading was to release and return to a place of waiting and resting in God’s presence.

I was so nervous going into this exercise because we were to share our words with a small group of 4 people and I was worried I wouldn’t receive a word, or know what it meant.

As I listened the first time through I listened so close to each and every word so I wouldn’t miss mine….I thought it was “I have called you by name” but then as I kept listening the word “honor” sounded much louder to me; so that was my word.  My group turned out to be just my husband, Bill and I so I don’t know why I still carried my nervousness with me into this exercise but I did. I told Bill that I had two words and what they were and then listened to the second reading. Where did this fit in my life?  I didn’t know but in a flash “my story” came into my head. I’ve been working with God for 7 months now about being excited about and owning my story so that’s where it fit.  I listened to the third reading and got nothing….I tried to figure it out in my head. What was God’s invitation to me around “I have called you by name” and “honor” and what did that have to do with my story? I just went with my best guess — that my story had a place of honor with God or something like that.  The fourth reading we were to release it and go back to a place of waiting and rest with God.  I couldn’t get back to that place, I felt I failed the exercise (Bill got such an awesome message – one he couldn’t have made up, it had to be God) and I was discouraged and disappointed that I missed hearing from God.

On the way home I was still thinking and praying about it and it wasn’t until the next day that things started to fall into place. As I got quiet and sat with God and meditated on the phrases I realized that being called by name was an honor. It meant that I was known, seen and chosen by God and that’s a beautiful thing!

I was still holding all of this on Saturday night; and God showed me again that I had indeed heard correctly from Him. We had a praise and worship service at church and one of the songs a girl from the worship team sang over us had these lyrics:

I knew what I was getting into when I called you                                                                                                                                                           I knew what I was getting into when I said your name, but I said it just the same.                                                                                               I knew what I was getting into and I still want you,                                                                                                                                                     I knew what I was getting into.

I knew what I was getting into and I still chose you,                                                                                                                                                     I knew what I was getting into and I still want you                                                                                                                                                     I knew what I was getting into when I said your name, but I said it just the same                                                                                             I knew what I was getting into.

Wow, this song just wrecked me! Jesus knew what he was getting into when he called me by name but he said it just the same. That fits with the scripture the night before.

The very next song was “I am New” and I was dancing, worshiping and singing my lungs out in the back of the church. Toward the end of the song there’s a list of our new names:

“Forgiven, beloved, hidden with Christ
Made in the image of the one who gives life
Righteous and holy, reborn and remade
Of all things we’re worthy
This is our new name”

One by one the people in the auditorium stood to take a stand and claim their new name; their new identity. It was a very powerful time. We kept singing the chorus over and over and each time we did it was louder and more powerful, it touched me in the deepest parts of my soul. We could’ve sung the list of names about seven more times and I still wouldn’t have gotten enough of it!  Each time we sang it I could feel it building in the room; we owned it more and more each time. We claimed it. Doing this in a corporate setting with a community of believers was an awesome experience.  What a way to top off the retreat!

I am blessed, I am known, I am seen, I am chosen and I am honored!



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