With all the foundational, identity, and internal work God has been doing in my life, I have been seeking to discover who God made me. Something that I considered a small reminder of God’s love for me has proven to be something bigger than I could have imagined. Let me explain…
I have gone by my nickname almost exclusively since late in college and post college. I use my legal name strictly on legal docs and for work. Even then I try to go by Lori Jo as much as possible. The nickname was given to me by my late grandmother, Mama Myrtle. This endearing southern nickname was a perfect fit for me and in my teen years I began to embrace it and signed my name – Lori Jo. You see, I was fine going by Lori when I lived overseas…there weren’t a whole lot of other Lori’s where we lived. However, upon returning to the US for college I was not thrilled at the multitude of other Lori’s that existed.
I have the need to be unique, as a type Four in the enneagram, and I don’t like being the same as others. (if you have the same first name, please don’t take this personally, this is simply how I perceived it on me). I felt that Lori was too boring, and I was not about to be boring.
And so Lori Jo it was. Urls, blog names, business ideas, email addresses, etc. lorijo dot everything etc….etc….etc.
Fast forward to Chicago… and I hear God whisper lovingly over me that my name is not boring. Lori is a crown of laurel leaves, a prize, such as the ones given to Olympians. It was a treasure. I was named after a favorite teacher of my mother’s. (a whole ‘nother blog post for another day) . Joanne means ‘God is gracious’ (boy do I need that reminder every single day of my life. And suddenly I just felt like God breathed his love over me.
I thought that was it. Until I shared this story with my pastor. And he looked at me and said, you are trying too hard to be someone that you’re not. You need to be who God made you.
And so I am taking the challenge of being okay with going by “Lori”
I still love my nickname…but that’s all it is.
My name is Lori Joanne. Or Lori. You can still call me Lori Jo, or LJ, but I need to continue moving forward to become the person that God made me, not the person I want to be, because the person that God made is who I want to be, not some made up wannabe.
That’s the story. It’s still me. Just trying to be the real me, under all these masks and layers and hiding places.