Sunday, May 5, 2013


“Sticks and stones will break my bones
But words will never harm me. 1.

This children’s rhyme is meant to help the victim of name calling, taunting, and labeling to ignore painful words and refrain from retaliation. But this adage just isn’t true. Truth is that Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words are what really hurt me. 

The wisest man of the ancient world wrote: Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its' fruit.2. The Message Bible says it this way: Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit — you choose. According to King Solomon the words we speak have far greater power than sticks and stones; they can impact the hearer in life giving ways or cause them to die on the inside. 

In Matthew West’s ground-breaking song Hello, My Name Is, he sings:

Hello, my name is regret
I'm pretty sure we have met
Every single day of your life
I'm the whisper inside
That won't let you forget

Hello, my name is defeat
I know you recognize me
Just when you think you can win
I'll drag you right back down again
'Til you've lost all belief

These are the voices
These are the lies
And I have believed them
For the very last time

Who or what defines you? Without a healing work of God, the hidden messages you internalized in the first eighteen years of your life may impact your identity more profoundly than reading the first part of Isaiah 43:4: You are precious to Me, and I have given you a special place of honor. I love you (easy to read version).

Why is this? We were born into a world that is at war. I’m not talking about Afghanistan or Iraq, but of the secret unseen warfare between God and the fallen angels (demons) who are led by Satan (the commander of the powers in the unseen world). Peter describes this enemy of your soul as just waiting and hoping for the chance to devour someone

As children and teens, when others said or did hurtful things to us we came to believe lies about ourselves, God, and others. As the father of lies Satan is always looking to gain a foothold in our lives.  A "foothold" is an entry point into your heart, mind, and being. It’s like a pesky salesman who comes to your house trying to sell you something. When you open the door, he puts his foot in the doorway so that you can’t shut him out. Once the enemy gets his foot in the doorway of your life through lies believed, evil practices, or occult involvement, he seeks to convert it into a stronghold that places you in captivity and makes it next to impossible to get free.

More often than not we’re unaware of the enslaving lies we've believed especially when these lies focus on how we identity ourselves. One friend I met with had been repeatedly told by his alcoholic father that he was a loser who would never amount to anything. A statement like this is a pronouncement or curse that can shrivel how we perceive ourselves and prevent us from experiencing God's incredible love and grace.

Another way lies get sown deep within us arises from how we interpret formative childhood events. We may unwittingly believe we are invisible to God because dad neglected us or that we are unwanted because our parents fought like cats and dogs. Children are very astute learners but lousy interpreters.  

The chorus of the Matthew West song goes on to say:
     Hello, my name is 
     child of the one true King
     I've been saved,
     I've been changed,
     and I have been set free
     “Amazing Grace” is the song I sing
     Hello, my name is 
     child of the one true King

What identity are you living from? Have you inadvertently turned to the creature to define yourself via comparison and what others have said or done to you? Or have you allowed God to name you and call you into real being by listening attentively to His voice?

Don’t let others tell you who you are – be transformed and let God define you! (Romans 12:2 in three versions). Supernatural transformation powerfully occurs when God speaks into the lies we believe and sets us free (John 8:32, Psalm 107:20 and Jeremiah 32:17). This is the same power we see in the first chapter of Genesis as God literally spoke the world and all the eye can see into existence. What the sheep can't do the Shepherd can!

If you sense God stirring your heart, I beleive you'll find this spiritual formation exercise on The Issue of Identity to be extremely helpful. Click here to take a look. You can also access this study off of the “Tools” menu above.

Where are you at in your journey? What's your story? Take the time to share your pilgrimage so others can learn from you. We are all on a journey of becoming who we were created to be. None of us have arrived. 

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1.   This is an English language children's rhyme first reported to have appeared in The Christian Reporter in March of 1862. The last line of this children’s rhyme morphed into "but names will never hurt me" in 1872 (Source:

2.  Proverbs 18:21.


  1. Rusty, I wanted to let you know how my experience with the listening prayer movement, skills and practices that I learned from reading your book continue to bless me and my ministry. I work with university students and have been sharing with other young women some of these concepts. And the video I'm linking to has given me words to some of the type of ministry I have intuitively done in the past and will intentionally do in the future. The resources here on this website are wonderful. I will be starting counseling school in the fall to prepare for the work I feel called to do, which will include much listening and hopefully, leading others to Jesus to find healing. Thank you for what you do and the impact it has had on me.

  2. Deanna, It's exciting to hear of what God is doing in and through you ... and it blesses me to know that what God has been doing in me and gave birth to the book and blog has been beneficial to you in your journey. It reminds me of a verse I memorized years ago: "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that you also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ" (1 John 1:3). Though I've usually applied this verse to influencing people toward Christ for salvation, it also applies to what God is doing in and through us as we journey through life. I have also learned from you and appreciate your blog very much ( Appreciatively, Rusty

  3. Rusty,

    Did you read the back story on this song? Maybe people would like to know. The last two paragraphs below are powerful.


    The Story Behind: Hello My Name Is

    Out of the Darkness of addiction and into the light of recovery….

    “Hello, my name is Jordan and I am a drug addict.” That was the first sentence of this young man’s story that he sent to me. He went on to tell me how for years that was how he identified himself. A two sport all star athlete in high school, Jordan received a college scholarship to run track and play football at a university in Kentucky. But during his sophomore season, Jordan broke his ankle. That is when he received his first prescription to Oxycontin. He wrote about how addiction quickly took a hold of his life and sent him spinning out of control. After two failed drug tests, the university kicked him out and removed his sports scholarships. Jordan had lost everything he had worked for. He landed at a place called Teen Challenge in North Carolina. Teen Challenge is a Christian rehabilitation center in the business of restoring lives with the hope of Jesus Christ.

    Jordan said it was during his time in Teen Challenge that he began to realize that God wasn’t done with him yet, and that all of those defeating titles like “addict,” didn’t have to be attached to his name the rest of his life. His story is far from over. He told me that in the years since his recovery, he went back and got his master’s degree from the very college that kicked him out. Now, he is a teacher and a coach and a newlywed. And he has recently felt God calling him into full time ministry.

    He closed his story by saying, “These days I introduce myself a little differently than I used to. Hello, my name is Jordan and I am a child of the one true king!”

    What a powerful example of God at work in someone’s story. I read Jordan’s story and couldn’t help but wonder how many people in the world are walking around defined by the defeat and the regret of past mistakes, believing the lie that they will never be able to kick an old habit or move on from yesterday’s mistakes. Jordan’s story is powerful proof that we are not defined by our past. God can restore, redeem, and renew our hearts and lives. He can set our feet on a new path that will lead our lives to a destination far greater than where we used to call home.

    “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old is gone and the new has come!” Jordan is standing in the light of a new beginning, forgetting what is behind and taking hold of his new name.

    1. Thanks KTJ for the background behind the song "Hello My Name Is." Very inspirational!