Supposed To Be
This post is by Ashley Bowie, Jesus lover, coffee mistress, wordsmith, in Christ.
I have always known that I wanted to be a writer. I remember constructing stories for my barbies from earliest memory. I remember doing my chores and having to redo them because I had been day dreaming when I was supposed to be dusting. I wrote my oscar acceptance speech for best original screenplay when I was about 12. I was supposed to win that around age 25. I was supposed to be a well established writer with a vacation home by now. While I'm at it I was supposed to have a husband and children by now also. I was supposed to win a thousand souls to the Lord, and I was supposed to fall asleep at night feeling satisfied that I was living the life I was supposed to.
It's an interesting thought isn't it? "Supposed to." It means, this was my expectation and it's not what I'm seeing. It means this is what was expected of me and I have not measured up. I think we have all been there. You feel like you're not doing enough or enough of the right things. You have an image in your head or heart of what you wanted to be, or you want to define yourself a certain way and you get frustrated because it’s not looking like you thought it would or coming as easily as you expected.
We all battle this in different ways. I was supposed to get that promotion, I was supposed to forgive that person, I was supposed to have succeeded, I was supposed to provide for all my family's needs, I was supposed to stop worrying, I was supposed to grow faster in this area. It means, in so many words, I've failed. And to be fair, we do fail, regularly and spectacularly. But the problem with "supposed to" is that it revolves primarily around our own expectations.
Last weekend I attended the Bible and breakfast event for the women of Redeemer. Our speaker Danielle Dow spoke directly out of Ephesians 1 and something she said hit home so much more clearly than it ever has before. She said, "your identity is in Christ." Earth shattering revelation there right? Maybe I'm a little slow because I think most of us only hear that about 10 times a week. Danielle agreed that it was not new information but went on pressing that our entire identity is in Christ.
It does not mean that your identity is hidden somewhere in Christ and that if you dig around long enough you can find the title you were meant for. As though you're putting on a name tag that says "disciple maker," or "mother," or "christian business executive." If you get a title it's this "In Christ." It's stamped on your soul, written on your heart and grafted into the fibers of your brain. If God is "I am" then I am "in Christ." This is my name, my dwelling place, my purpose and my life's ambition all rolled into one.
It's not like your home, where you sleep and eat and then go out into the world to do the things God has given us to do. It's more than clothes that we put on to show the world who we are and who we want to be known as. It's more than a job title with responsibilities, more than a relationship that we delight in. Being "in Christ" is your very skin. It's your heart and your heart's rhythm. It's neurons and fingerprints. In Christ is every piece of your identity.
I have shortened the passage that we walked through, but if you have time you should read the whole thing.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us IN CHRIST with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us IN HIM before the foundation of the world, … according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. IN HIM we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, … making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth IN CHRIST as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things IN HIM, things in heaven and things on earth. IN HIM we have obtained an inheritance… so that we who were the first to hope IN CHRIST might be to the praise of his glory. IN HIM you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed IN HIM were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance…”
Look at the rich depth of description of all the things you are. If your name and all that you are made of is "in Christ" you are blessed, you are chosen, you are adopted, you are redeemed, you are a worshiper, you have an inheritance, You are sealed with the Holy Spirit. How much grander is this than a job title or a list of accomplishments? How much more satisfying is this knowledge than chasing down dreams of earthly glory?
When I recognize that my identity is "in Christ" pouring coffee for eight hours a day becomes worship and blessing, my life and work becomes disciple making work simply because I "In Christ" am doing it. Struggling through scriptures in search of understanding, or working through forgiving others becomes the holiness he is working out in me. There is no greater level to be reached by getting a promotion, no better version of myself to be found by adding a relationship. Sure these things are tools of God used for sanctification, but they don't redeem me any more, they don't increase my inheritance, they have no impact on my adoption, and they are not worthy of my worship.
This means that the only thing that I am "supposed to be" is IN CHRIST. There are commands in scripture to remain in Him to abide in Him, to listen to his voice and carry out his will. This does require action on our part and certainly we get it wrong from time to time. But it is your name to worship Him, it is your blood to be blessed in Him. So when you start feeling weighed down by all the things you thought your life would be or look like by now just remember that who you are is IN CHRIST, and as you remain and abide, he is guiding you to exactly what you are supposed to be.
Hello, I am in Christ and my name is Ashley