Our Identity in Christ

Do you live in fear of being judged by others? Brandon Hatmaker discusses finding his identity in Christ and learning more about unconditional love through fatherhood. 

Questions for Discussion and Personal Reflection

  1. How has the fear of being judged by others held you back in life?
  2. How might it make sense that one could learn more about God through the lens of parenthood?

I didn't get my first tattoo until I was in my early 30s and a lot of my life, um, even as a pastor, I lived, um, with a fear of others and not being accepted or like, uh, an outcast or I, I honestly lived in fear of being judged by other people, especially within the church. But I went through this season in my life where I think maybe for the first time I began to understand what it meant to find your identity in Christ. And the more I pressed into that, the more permission I gained to be me and I've never, I've never been more me than I am today. I've never been more me than I am in Christ, and I feel it gives me that permission to be an expression of, of my, of my journey, of my stories. One of my tattoos on this arm— I have three roses which, um, represent youthful innocence in the tattoo world, which I have three children— biological children— and while I was waiting, that period when we knew we were going to adopt in Ethiopia, we were just waiting to bring them home, I had the two rosebuds put on, as I was thinking about them and, uh, who they were to me in, in my life. I have "beloved" on this side with my kids' names on them just to re— remind me about just family, love, mercy, grace. I have never learned more about God and his love for me than I have, um, than from being a father and looking at my own kids. But it's funny that I've learned more about myself by looking at my adopted kids, as I look at their unreasonable fear and distrust of me and wondering, "Do they— does he really love me? Does he really care, uh, if I do this? Is he still going to love me? Is he still going to welcome me into my family? What does, what does— how do I have to perform?" And I've realized that no matter how safe God says I am with him, and, uh, I still in my nature, I want to question, I want to wonder, and I want to struggle with that. So it's a reminder to me that, um, just as no matter what my kids could ever do, they didn't do anything to earn my love. They could never do anything to lose it. Um, those kinds of reminders now I have forever.