“What’s your name?” a TSA agent asked me as she checked my boarding pass before allowing me to go through security at the airport.
“Christine Stroud,” I replied without hesitation, watching as she glanced between my boarding pass and my new driver’s license.
This exchange happened this past weekend when I traveled to Texas for an author event (Go Big by Cory Cotton of the trick-shot basketball entertainer group Dude Perfect…check them & the book out!). Slowly I realized that after nearly two months of marriage, I’m actually getting used to my new last name. It didn’t seem as strange to say it out loud for all the times people asked me for my name (getting my rental car, checking into the hotel, etc.). It seems like a small thing, but it’s actually quite significant.
When I first came back to work after my wedding and honeymoon, I couldn’t even answer the phone with my first and last name anymore. It just felt so weird to say “Stroud” instead of “Wong.” The name felt foreign coming from my lips when referring to myself. At the same time, it was strange (and exciting) to see my name differently on my new social security card, my new license, in the “from” line on my emails, and even just signing cover letters with my new name.
After this weekend, I realized that telling people my name is Christy Stroud is becoming more normal. I’m coming to a point where I’m embracing my new identity and if people still accidentally refer to me as Christy Wong, I’m thinking, “But that’s not my name anymore.”
It’s the same way in the Christian life. I’m not saying this to spiritualize it, but it’s something that I really thought about as I realized that my new last name is becoming more normal to me. Once we become Christians, we have a new identity–a life transformed by Christ. Our outer appearance may not have changed (and my appearance after marriage hasn’t changed much either), but the way we view ourselves does. I should no longer view myself as a sinner, but as a saint saved by the grace and blood of Jesus Christ. I also no longer view myself (as much) as a Wong, but I’m starting to see myself in my new identity as a Stroud and as a wife. Ultimately though, the only identity I should be the most concerned about is understanding who I am in Christ. Even though I went through a name change, my identity in Christ is the one thing that stayed the same. I’m glad my parents gave me that reminder too in the name they gave me–“Christine” means “follower of Christ.” I hope that in all the other roles I take on over the years, I will remember that my worth is found in Him (not even in being a Stroud) :).
Do you know where your identity lies?