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God has a name for you

University Relations

Kary OberbrunnerMost of us remember the elementary school playground and the mean names kids called each other. Author and speaker, Kary Oberbrunner, visited Charleston Southern University Wednesday, Sept. 25 to talk about the secret name that the One who made us gives us.

Oberbrunner said, “My name is Kary, and I have a girl’s name.” He was no stranger to mean names on the playground. He went on to say that each of us has three names:

  • Our birth name – the name assigned to us when we arrive in this world
  • Our given names – the names assigned to us as we walk through the world. These names can be positive and negative, ranging from successful, beautiful, star athlete to those names assigned by mean kids, like concentration camp victim, stupid, addict.
  • Our secret name – the name granted to us by God Oberbrunner said the problem is our birth names and given names don’t ever fill up the void inside us. We pretend and wear masks.

He said, “Eighty-five percent of people struggle with imposter syndrome.” As humans, we are influenced about what others say. “We’re like Velcro,” said Oberbrunner. “When people say names, we let them latch on to us.”

When Oberbrunner was in seminary studying for the ministry, he said, “God asked me, what is your name?” He had an honest dialogue with God and admitted he was preaching on Sundays and was cutting on Monday. In his struggle with self-injury, he realized that pursuing the names the world gives us will never make us happy. “If you want the Lord to bless you, you have to stop running and pretending,” he said.

He walked students through the concept of their secret name, citing Revelation 2:17, “Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.” The concept of a new name on a white stone would have been common to the early church; it was symbolic of innocence in Jesus Christ.

The Bible talks about Jesus’ secret name in Revelation 3:12 and 19:12. Oberbrunner’s website, yoursecretname.com, offers a test to help people find the name God has for them and offers other resources for finding identity in Christ.

And what happens to those old names we used to carry around? Jesus nailed them to the cross, and in 2 Corinthians 5:17 it says, He has made us new.

Oberbrunner shared more about secret names at Solomon’s Porch, an open discussion time where students ask questions about contemporary topics.



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