To listen to my father, inheriting the Glenn name was a prize to be treasured above all else. Whatever my brother and I did, we were to bring honor to our name. More than that, we were never, ever, under any circumstances to do anything to dishonor the name. I was told I was to do certain things and to NOT do certain things simply because I was a Glenn. It didn’t matter what everyone else did or didn’t do, I was a Glenn. I was different. I lived with different expectations.
As I listened to my dad, I began to think we were the descendants of European royalty, with castles and kings and stories of great battles. Imagine my disappointment to find out we were just another clan of Scotch-Irish immigrants who wondered from the original colonies through Tennessee and down into Alabama and Mississippi.
But to me, my dad had a name to honor and I believed him. And you know what? It did make a difference. There were times in my life when I kept promises, worked harder, pushed through setbacks for no other reason than I was a Glenn.
Some of the saddest conversations I have are with people who don’t know who they are. Because they don’t know who they are, they grope through life trying to find the moment or the people who will reveal their identity. How many times have you heard someone say, “I just don’t know who I am.” They aren’t being evasive in their answer. They really don’t know. Perhaps their parents didn’t call out their identity. Or, maybe like the prodigal son, life’s choices have caused a type of existential amnesia.
Some of my more shallow friends will say, “Just look on your driver’s license. Your name is written right there.” True, but the issue is more complicated than that. Truth is, we’re created to be in relationship with Christ and it’s in that relationship that we discover who we are.
Let me make two quick points about the uniqueness of finding your relationship in Christ:
- The reality is that Christ names you as a member of the kingdom family. You belong. You have a name. The value of that can’t be overestimated.
- The name not only carries your identity, but your destiny. The name is always aspirational. That is, the name reveals who Christ is calling you to be as well as who you are now.
Abraham wasn’t a father at all when God called him to be the father of a great nation. Peter certainly wasn’t the rock Christ portrayed him to be. Not yet. The name always brings hope that energizes our future.
The Yes of God in Christ brings both our identity and our destiny to us. We’re created on purpose for a purpose. And it can’t be found anywhere else but in Christ.
And the good news? Jesus is eager for you to find it.
Today’s hard question:
- Do you know who are?
- If you do, how is your identity guiding your behavior?
- If you don’t know who you are, how are going to find out?
You can find a deeper discussion of our identities and destinies in Christ in my book, The Gospel of Yes.