The Best Nickname I Ever Received
There is something about a good nickname that can make you feel completely loved and known.
My Daddy gave me my first nickname on the day I was born – Peanut. Today—even though I’m 26—he still calls me that, answering the phone with “Hey, Peanut!” It’s a little silly, I know, but I love it.
I won’t even try to list the number of goofy nicknames my husband has made up for me. I’m pretty sure he comes up with a new one every month, but the one that has stuck the most is “Monk.” It’s a shortened version of monkey, I think. It might be a weird name, but it’s a name that reminds me of the fact that my husband adores me.
Nicknames have a sweet way of reminding me who I am—cherished by my father, best friends with my husband. They shape my identity. Even some of the not-so-nice nicknames I got in high school influenced how I think about myself.
I learned recently that John is the only disciple of the the twelve who gave himself a nickname: “The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved.” (John 13:23, John 19:26, John 21:7)
It’s odd if you think about it – John essentially named himself “The Favorite One.” It’s a pretty bold thing to say in front of the other eleven disciples, don’t you think?
The beautiful thing is John’s self-assessment was accurate. “The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved” is a perfect nickname for John, and it’s absolutely true for us as well.
We are completely known, adored, and chosen by God. That fact is resoundingly clear. God’s love for us echoes through Scripture, is painted throughout Creation and was dramatically demonstrated on the Cross. (Romans 5:8, John 15:13, Ephesians 3:17-19)
But this is my honest question: How in the world can I delightedly embrace “Peanut” and “Monk” but find it so difficult to claim “The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved”?
With songs of His great love reverberating all around me, I tend to focus instead on my shortcomings, mistakes, and improvement areas. Our performance-based culture and my own perfectionism beat the drums of “more, better, faster” until I can no longer hear the life-giving melody of 2 Corinthians 5:21.
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Cor. 5:21
At some point I gave up on being loved and settled on being impressive.
I can control impressive. I can work harder, run faster, write better, love bigger.
But “The Impressive Disciple” is an exhausted, enslaved disciple. She is ruled by achievement, distracted by people-pleasing and caged in a hollow prison of perfectionism.
If you feel locked up in that prison, I would love to remind you of something simple but deeply profound. It’s something you’ve probably heard a thousand times before, but I pray it brings you a holy peace and deep delight when you read it today.
Christ has set you free.
The all-powerful God of the Universe views you as his daughter—His Peanut. He views you as His bride—His Monk.
Not only are you adored and cherished, you are enough. You do not need to be impressive or better or faster or stronger.
You are The Disciple Whom Jesus Loves.
When we wear that nickname boldly, it will set us free.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, do not be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1