The Power of a Name

by | 30 January 2018 | Life | 31 comments

I’m stepping out of my normal blog post space today (and a little out of my comfort zone 😉 ), and this is more of a post about some thoughts I’ve been thinking lately. Specifically, thoughts about names.


Names are powerful things. It’s not uncommon to have a book scenario where the character has a special secret name that only they know. And where the knowledge of that name gives anyone else a sort of power or connection to or over that character.

In fact, that happened in one of my book adventures this month—Knife by R. J. Anderson. Each faery has a secret name that they tell to no one, because if someone calls the faery by her secret name she must come and obey.

But of course, there’s always that one person who gets trusted with the secret name, because they’re a friend. And it got me thinking.


My name isn’t a secret, by any means. But it’s still special.


I actually had a few thoughts on this topic at a homeschool conference a while ago. We’d been to the conference before and met new people and had a heap of fun, then a year later the conference happened again and it was great to catch up with everyone again.

The thing that really suck with me, though, was every time someone used my name. Right now, I can recall at least a dozen snippets of memory that are solely when someone said my name—calling from across the room, or the group of friends, or just from right next to me.

Every time someone called out my name, it hit me. She knows my name. He knows my name. She’s my friend. He’s my friend. They care.

I very much doubt that any of those people saying my name had any idea how special it was to me. Just that tiny little reminder that they’re my friend and they care about me.

Not only then, but countless other times. It might seem strange, but I really notice whenever friends use my name.


Names are important. They might not be secret, but they are special. They belong to you and you share them with the people you meet.

Last names are similar. We use them to say “I belong with this family” and “These other people here? They’re with me.” I think that’s a beautiful thing.


It’s so easy to forget that a name is a precious thing, a little part of the person it belongs to. I know some people are very touchy about the spelling on their name, or the pronunciation. From the outside, it looks like “Oh, she’s just picky” but I think it’s much more than that.

Knowing how to spell and pronounce someone’s name—if it’s particularly difficult to do—means that you took the time to learn. You cared enough to take note and to remember.

If someone misspells your name over and over and doesn’t even seem to notice, it makes them look like they don’t care. Your name is a simple thing and if a person doesn’t seem to bother to get it right…It’s hard to trust them with anything deeper than that.

I’m fairly average when it comes to remembering names, but I really want to try. I get mixed up and confused and forget a lot, but I’ll still try and I get there eventually.


How a name is used can make a big difference. It can be an encouraging, special thing—a reminder that you care. Or it can go the other way and show that the person doesn’t matter enough to you for you to remember even that smallest piece of them.

I definitely want to use my friends’ names the first way.


I’ll wrap up there, but I’m curious. What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you feel the same way as I do? Have you thought about this much before?

And if you haven’t introduced yourself here before—hello to you. My name’s Jane. What’s yours? 🙂

[Small note: I’ve decided to change my posts from Fridays and Tuesdays, instead of Mondays. Just letting you guys know.]

Jane Maree

Jane Maree

Jane Maree is an Australian writer, adventurer at heart, beloved daughter of the King of Kings, and believer in at least six impossible things before breakfast. Raised on fairy tales, scraped knees, and makeshift swords, she has yet to outgrow any of them. In her day job, Jane teaches music and freelances as an editor, but by night she crafts daring stories of broken heroes overcoming extraordinary odds.


  1. Priscilla Wiens

    Loved the post!!! Unfortunately for me, I have the worst time remembering names unless it’s only one or two at a time… three is already a bit of a stretch. But I really try to remember names as much as I can, because I learned the same thing: it’s special if someone calls you by your name.
    As for getting your name spelled wrong, it has happened a lot to me. My name has 4 variations that people could generally use, and more if you stretch it XD My aunt once took it a little outside of even grammatical correctness and spelled it ‘Pricsilla’, which I found quite hilarious XD

    • Jane Maree

      Thanks, Priscilla!
      Remembering names can be really tricky sometimes.. Yes! Particularly when trying to remember more than two or three new faces and names. 😛
      Ah yes, I can see how ‘Priscilla’ would be ‘one of those names’ which everyone spells oddly. (It’s a lovely name though <3)
      'Pricsilla' though. XD That's hilarious. xP

  2. Jake T.

    honestly SAME
    I actually didn’t realize it until I read this post, but it’s so true!!! I really do like it when people actually use my name.
    awesome post, Jane

    • Jane Maree

      Argh, it’s so cool that you agree though.
      It’s like this secret code that people wield without knowing what power they hold. 😛
      Thanks, Jake!

  3. Sally Farrelly

    Is this the verse you were looking for? Rev 2:17
    He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. 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.
    Lovely post Jane

    • Jane Maree

      Ooh yes, that sounds like the one I wanted. 🙂

  4. Clare L Farrelly

    Yes totally, if someone can’t spell “Clare” they don’t know me enough and are therefore not entitled to know me more than they already do.

    But I am terrible at remembering names….. I need a way of remembering them so I can call people by their names.

    • Jane Maree

      Hehe, I may have been thinking of you while writing some of this post… 😛

      Ah yes, remembering names can be tricky. Maybe you can come up with some way to connect their name to something else memorable about them?

  5. Krystal

    Hmm, I hadn’t really put these thoughts together before, but they’re very true, and I like how you put it. *nodnod*

    *hides behind ninja pen name from most online people except for a few* XP It took quite a while for me to tell anybody, and even then, not very many. It’s very much a trust thing, I suppose.
    And then when those people(like you did today)(or even people irl, to be honest) use it, it’s sort of like, ‘oh hey, they remembered my actual name’ or ‘oh yay, I’m not totally invisible.’ *warm fuzzy on the inside* XD


    yes, I like this post very much. *nods*

    • Jane Maree

      Aw yay, thank you. <3

      Hehe. *whispers your secret name* Ack yes, that's exactly how I feel too. ^-^

      (It makes me feel all happy that you trust me with your name too though <3)

  6. Sarah

    Ahh yes!! It’s kinda a cliche thing to say these days; But I really thought I was the only one who felt that way! (a dumb thought, obviously xD).
    But yeessss, I like it very much when people call me by my name. Dunno why, but it just always makes me go; “Awh. They do care.” …Amazing how such a small thing thing can mean a whole lot to someone– Particularly to someone you’ve just met. ^-^

    • Jane Maree

      Same though. I think that all the time, and I honestly didn’t realise that everyone else would agree so wholeheartedly so…I guess that makes for two of us. XD

      SAME. Gah, it’s just so…so cool. I don’t even have words to describe the way it makes me feel but yess. <3

  7. J.A.Penrose

    Oh wow! On Sunday, the sermon was actually based on the importance of names! So, not only is this post cool, but it really feels extra cool that God would make these align.

    We were looking at Jacob’s name defining him, and then how his name was changed to Israel. So, often we act one way under one name and another way under a different name, or at least, I know I do. Jessie is different to Jess, who is different to Jessica who is different to Legless, who is different to–etc.

    But yeah, a really cool point also on how much they MEAN! Ah, yes, names are such beautiful things.

    Loved the post Jane!!!

    • Jane Maree

      Ooh nice! That’s so amazing.

      That’s so true, names are beautiful things. Thanks for your thoughts! Seriously though, that’s so cool that the sermon and my post aligned. 😯

    • Aposhipolepo

      I have heard many messages and studies over the years (though none terribly recent) often focusing on Jacob/Israel, Abraham Peter and Paul also get a mention. The unifying point in all these is: God made a great change in someone’s life and gave them a new name to match.
      One related funny memory is discussing Jacob and his name in a small group (<20) one of whom was named Jacob.
      Also, to the post in general, Deep and Thoughtful post Jane!

      • Jane Maree

        That’s a really interesting point—I hadn’t really thought of that much before.
        (But, oh goodness, that sounds like it could be confusing. 😛 )

        Thanks! 😀

  8. Brie Donning

    Ah yes, names. Those tricky things. (Actually I’m good at remembering names, I just have a bad habit of not using them.)
    I know you weren’t talking about writing, but you got me thinking about the importance of giving characters a name that fits. Sometimes hard, sometimes, easy usually very important.

    As for my own name, I was always called my my full name, or just B, until recently.
    At home, I still prefer Brianna. Mum will call me Brie, but sometimes it seems that she’s changing to suit me, and it just doesn’t feel right in those moments. Brianna is the responsible homemaking me, Brie is the cool, slightly more outgoing me and the weird writer(simultaneously).
    I don’t know who Anna is or was. Maybe the nerdy science, history and language me. Bria was friendly teenage me. Brielle is the fancy me who usually pretends she doesn’t exist.
    And now this sounds like I have a split personality when that’s nothing near reality. It’s all mixed up and jumbled together.

    • Jane Maree

      Ah yes, that’s such a good point too! Naming characters is very important.

      Ooh that’s really cool. I find it interesting that each of those names is like a different aspect of your personality. 😛

  9. Audrey Caylin

    JANE I LOVE THIS SO MUCH ADFJKL; I’ve totally felt the same thing before but never really pondered on it — when someone says my name (minus my family, I guess, since I’m always called by a nickname; it’s easier to shout one syllable up the stairs than two xD). But YES, exactly what you said, it’s so special and means a lot.

    I’m personally REALLY sensitive about my name. Growing up, everyone would misspell it and mispronounce it or use a nickname. When I started blogging/writing I decided to go with a pen name. It’s a lot easier to remember, in my case. 😉


    • Jane Maree

      AHH YAY THANK YOU AUDREY. <3 Like, really, names are so cool. How did I go this long without realising that it felt so special? *mindblown*

      Ack yes, that's really hard with a sort of name that's difficult to remember, but it wouldn't be that much more effort for people who know you to learn how to spell and pronounce it.

      Audrey is a very nice name too though. 😛

    • Jane Maree

      Ahh yes. <3 I think a lot more people feel that way than I realised! 😉

  10. Gray Marie

    Great post! I’m the worst at remembering names, it’s something I’m working on. XD

    But yes, I agree that names are so important and that they have power. 🙂

    • Jane Maree

      Hehe, yep. It’s a struggle a lot of people have to deal with. 😉

      Ah yes yes they are so powerful. I love how they can seem so small and yet they are so important.

  11. MiddleEarthMusician

    I LOVE hearing about names! XD I’ve thought about this a ton. I always try to remember people’s names and how they’re spelled because that is important to me. I also appreciate when people remember my name (spelling it right isn’t a huge deal; my name is spelled differently that most renditions of it :-P).
    Ooh, now I want to read that book. Is it good? 😀

    • Jane Maree

      Yes same! Aw that’s really cool that you intentionally do that. Keep it up, girl. <3

      I actually did really enjoy it! (5 stars, in fact) It was just such a sweet story and it gave me allll the memories of when I was tiny and I devoured every fairy book in sight.

  12. Jenna

    I think this was a beautiful post, Jane. So true. I used to dislike my name and wanted it changed to something more unique. But I love it now. I’m not sure what came over me, but I’m content with the name I’ve been given. It’s mine, it’s me, and that’s who I want to be. 😉
    Oh, my name’s Jenna😜

    • Jane Maree

      Aww, thank you. ^-^
      I think Jenna is a beautiful name. I’m so glad that you’ve come to love it too!
      Pleasure to know you, Jenna. 😉 *hugs*

      • Jenna

        Aw, thanks!❤*hugs back*

  13. S.F. Dekreel

    I love names! And this is so true! I tend to condemn my own name (my real one, I won’t blurt it out), but it’s not everyday that I realize: This is me. This is my name. This is a great reminder.
    Oh, and that book sounds amazing X)

    • Jane Maree

      Yes same! Aw, I’m sure your name is lovely. Because it’s yours. And you make it a wonderful name.
      Hehe, yes I loved it. 😀

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