Identity and Expectations

When does trying to meet the expectations of others become unhealthy? Most of us have found ourselves on a wicked treadmill of being driven or consumed by the expectations of others.

I’d like to suggest that the only way to not be constantly blown around by the expectations of others (or by the ridiculous expectations we sometimes place on ourselves) is to live in a state of confidence in your own identity. Who you truly are. Who God has made you to be.

Ah, but where do we acquire such confidence? Most people I know have only the vaguest sense of who they really are. If you ask them who they are, they’ll start telling you what they do. Push them a bit farther and they quickly grow quiet. Only God can give you such confidence because only God can give you your identity. Only your Creator can tell you – accurately – who you were created to be.

Furthermore, only knowing who we really are – at a heart level – can direct us toward what we are to do (our calling or vocation), and by extension, away from what we’re not to do.

Sadly, many (most?) people are deaf to God’s “still, small voice.” Many (most?) people cannot hear God speak into their Iives his message of peace, love, healing, and identity. This is so because they have not created any space in their lives in which they could hear God.

Intimacy with God is the cultivated space in which God can do the work of deep healing and identity formation in the heart of the disciple.

We will never move beyond the warped sense of self we all possess until we create the space in our lives in which God can begin to work on our hearts – shredding the false self and all its attachments, props, and masks – breathing life into the shell that remains, and recreating a new person – redeemed and transformed into his image, and thus confident in their identity.


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