Essentially, we're all homesick for a place we've never been. And so we live as nomads, groping toward a destination we can't quite define. As creatures we fumble along, hoping to find our way back to the One who made us — believing that as we discover who we truly are, we also discover a portion of who he truly is.

Anthropologists agree with this phenomenon, at least in part.

They understand uncertainty infects every person in every culture and that each one of us desperately desires the answer to the most basic question:


These three simple words hijack our brains at an early age, clutching onto our core, nagging us wherever we go. Children seek to answer this question in playtime by assigning titles like Mommy or Daddy when playing house or labels like cops and robbers when playing bank heist.

Adults seek to answer this question with more sophisticated strategies. Some of us climb our way up the corporate ladder, plowing through perpetual promotions. Others of us pride ourselves in maintaining our reputation of trendy and hip, manifested by securing the latest gadgets and trinkets. In the checkout line at the mall, we buy the lie that a new jacket or pair of shoes will somehow dispel the hurt we feel in our hearts. But the excitement soon fades, and our souls are once again exposed as naked and needy.

We incorrectly assume that names given by other people or other things will somehow scratch our identity itch.

Yet Birth Names (the names assigned to us when we arrive in this world) and Given Names (the positive and negative titles we inherit while walking in this world) were never hardwired to alleviate the tension.

On the contrary, they only fuel it, creating more space between us and our true identity.

And so many of us spend a lifetime running from our Given Names, exchanging our best years, hoping to escape these false words that reach out and long to define us. But transcending these titles is no simple task.

Slowly over time, these labels become part of our permanent wardrobe. And as we wear them, we end up settling for so much less than we were born to be.

We'd do well to swallow the truth — that such names are never enough. Neither our Birth Name nor our Given Names expel the ache or satisfy our souls. None serve as a substitute for our Secret Name.

Secret Name?

Probably sounds a bit cosmic or, at a minimum, a bit unfamiliar?

But that's only because our vocabulary doesn't often venture into epic realms, realms of destiny and legacy. Instead, we frequently prefer trivial topics, like other people's attempts at dieting, our favorite college team's road to the championship, or our friend's most recent status update on the latest social-networking site. But let's not be too hard on ourselves. We're not shallow people.

Rather, we've just gotten used to relating on levels that avoid soul issues.

For a thousand reasons, it's much easier this way. Good thing God has much more in mind. He wants to grant you a new name — a Secret Name, in fact — but you can only start embracing your future name when you stop running from your present ones.

You must accept who you are in order to discover who you were created to be.

This book is about giving up the Name Game.

It's about putting an end to chasing the false names that offer only a hollow promise.

It's about finally encountering your Secret Name, drinking it down, and allowing it to ooze into every quadrant of your life — the visible ones and the invisible ones alike.

As you might have guessed, discovering your Secret Name isn't a painless process. And Secret Names aren't bestowed to the masses either, only unto the remnant courageous enough to deal with their junk.

The first step is to turn down the noise a few notches. The world perpetually shouts and screams, seeking to brand you.

Your true name — your Secret Name — is granted only by the One who knew you before you were born.