Short and simple, it's not my name.
Here's the longer answer, though...
It started out as a legend, actually. I used to share crazy stories from my life with teens whenever we'd go on a road trip together. We'd call these "legends" (i.e. the "Legend of White Castle") and only those on the trip knew the legend shared. However, the students could then "trade" the legend with others (for any legends they had missed out on). One particular legend that the kids were begging me to share was the "legend of Veronica."
The truth was, though, that this all came about from a phrase I started saying for no reason other than to be clever. I'd sign my emails with my name, then "Don't call me Veronica." Maybe this was a concept inspired by watching too much David Letterman, but I imagined hounding people with questions while all the while calling them Veronica. It would be my hope that at some point they would simply say, "Don't call me Veronica." (Unless, of course, that person was actually named Veronica - in which case I'd just be a loon).
After leaving that church, I went on to another and did a lesson where that happened - I called three students up on stage for a "game" where I did nothing but call them Veronica. For this lesson I had made up a couple of t-shirts that read "Don't Call Me Veronica," which then took off as a set of shrts for the student ministry (after all, what teen wouldn't want to wear a shirt that makes no sense?) For unless your name is Veronica, this is a perfect shirt for everyone to wear.
I still wear mine all around town and on trips whenever I can. It's a great conversation tool and (believe it or not) can even be used to lead people to the Lord. Picture this...
- When the average person asks you, "Why can't I call you Veronica?" you can respond back with the intelligent answer, "Because it's not my name. My name is Kenny." (Unless, of course, your name isn't Kenny, because then you'd insert whatever your name really is).
- At this point, most people would give you an odd look and would be ready to walk away. This is your chance to ask, "Have you ever had someone put a label on you that wasn't true?" Most people would respond with a "Yes," a nod, or at the very least a mild grunt. You'd then continue with, "So have I. And even though these labels aren't true and we know they aren't true, so often we just accept them without claiming out loud who we really are instead. In this case, my name isn't Veronica and so I want everyone to know what my name really is. It's Kenny." (Unless, again, Kenny isn't your real name. To which we've already covered such madness in the prior paragraph).
- By now the person you were speaking with would begin to see you weren't a crazed loon at all, but rather a genius. After all, who wouldn't appreciate such a conversational banter?
- Here's where the kicker comes in, though. You'd then say, "In the same way, people sometimes put labels on God that aren't true, simply because they're trying to box Him in to being something He isn't. I kind of think it's important for God to define who He is, and He did that in the Bible and through Jesus Christ. Whether or not we like it, that's who He is. And so instead of us labeling Him incorrectly, I just wanted you to know I'm willing to stand up for who He really is and the awesome things He has to offer your life."
- You could go several directions from here: You could ask them about the labels that people put on God to suit their own needs. You cold even ask the person if he/she would like prayer for a need in his/her life related to people placing incorrect labels on him/her. Of course, you could always just wish them well and tell them to remember that your name isn't Veronica... it's Kenny. (Unless, of course, Kenny still isn't your name. Which by now, shouldn't it be Kenny? After all... it really rolls off the tongue better than Buford. And we've already established this pattern of conversation around the name Kenny, so why not? Unless, of course, your name isn't Kenny and never will be Kenny. To which I'd have to ask what you have against Kenny, anyway? He's a good guy... sure, it's odd that he has a chain of chicken establishments and was single-handedly responsible for country music becoming pop music during the 8-track era, but overall he's a real good apple. So give Kenny a break already? And don't call me Veronica.)
So to recap...
- My name isn't Veronica, so don't call me Veronica. I am who I am and I will not accept false labels but will speak up if you say I am who I am not.
- God's name isn't anything other than what the I AM defines... so in this case, I am not but I know I AM and will proclaim the truth of His identity in a world who likes to call Him, well... "Veronica."
Thanks for reading, Kenny.
- "What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!" (2 Cor. 5:17, NLT)
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