Juliet asked that question first. “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet.” I often wonder if Juliet…er, Shakespeare was right. Would I still be me if I had been named Margaret or Daisy or Sugarpie? (Thank you, Mom and Dad, for not naming me Sugarpie.) Is God behind our names, or are they the random whims of our parents?
I never loved my name. Perhaps if I’d known other Robins growing up, it might have been different. Every Robin I’d heard of was a boy—Batman’s sidekick Robin, Christopher Robin, Robin Hood, and Robin Williams come to mind. So it was me, a bunch of boys, and backyard birds. Yippee.
Then one day, I wondered if perhaps my name had some special meaning. I did a little research.
According to Behind the Name, Robin is a “medieval diminutive of ROBERT.”
Not particularly helpful. Okay, let’s click on Robert and see if that sheds any light on the essence of me.
From Behind the Name: “From the Germanic name Hrodebert meaning “bright fame,” derived from the Germanic elements hrod “fame” and beraht “bright.”
Bright fame I can live with—as long as I’m shining brightly for Jesus—but “Hrodebert.” Doesn’t that just roll off your tongue?
The research didn’t make me appreciate my name any better. But a couple of weeks ago, I had an epiphany about my name, and since then, I’ve had a few more. There are other ways the name “Robin” reflects me:
1-I tweet a lot (as in Twitter. I don’t walk around chirping.)
2-I’m flighty, just like the little birds in my backyard.
3-Like Christopher Robin, I love to play.
4-Like Robin Hood, I yearn for justice. (But I can’t shoot an arrow, and I look terrible in green.)
5-Like Batman’s friend, I make a great sidekick. (What is it with Robins in tights?)
6-Like those simple little birds, I love the woods.
That last one I’d forgotten. I live in the OKC area, and around here, the trees aren’t tall, and the forest is sparse at best. Recently I was blessed to attend a writers conference in Mt. Hermon, California, about 40 minutes south of San Jose. Now that’s a forest. I was in awe of the amazing, majestic redwoods, the hills and trails and stream. If I could have talked my family into joining me, I would have stayed there forever.
So maybe my name does reflect who I am. And even if it doesn’t, God has a new name for me. He revealed one to me last week when I was exploring that forest. Maybe I’ll share it with you sometime. But there’s another one, a lasting one he’ll reveal to each of us in His time:
“To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.” Revelation 2:17b (emphasis mine)
So someday, we’ll all get new names, and they’ll be perfect for us, given by our Creator-Father, who knows every single thing about us. I don’t know about you, but that gives me hope. Because God knows me, God has named me, and God is all I need.
Have you ever researched the meaning of your name? If not, I urge you to do so. If so, what did you learn about the meaning of your name?
Has God ever revealed a new name to you?
Robin Patchen lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, with her husband and three teenagers. Her third book, Finding Amanda, is available now. When Robin isn’t writing or caring for her family, she works as a freelance editor at Robin’s Red Pen, where she specializes in Christian fiction. Read excerpts and find out more at her website, robinpatchen.com.