When The Heart Waits: Chapter 3

Philosopher Soren Kierkegaard wrote that “the ultimate thing” is whether you yourself are conscious of that most intimate relation to yourself as an individual. This “ultimate” recognition is a necessary part of growing up. – Sue Monk Kidd

I’ve been blogging through Sue Monk Kidd’s 1990 classic about midlife spiritual transformation, When The Heart Waits. Click here to read earlier posts in the series.

Chapter 3 opens with a crash course in Carl Jung’s developmental theories, as interpreted through a Christian world view. These ideas have been fleshed out further in seminal works by James Fowler and by Hagberg and Guelich. I won’t regurgitate here except to say that the language of first few pages of the chapter may be a bit thick if you’ve never read about ego structures and false selves. Kidd herself reframes the language in terms of necessary brokenness and surrender before moving to a valuable discussion about the “they” forming our identity during the first half of our lives.

“We may like to think that we’re individuals living out our own unique truth, but more often we’re scripts written collectively by society, family, church, job, friends, and traditions…we need our roles and identities, of course, but we also need to live them authentically, in ways that are true to our unique and inner self. When we live exclusively out of the expectations thrust on us from without, rather than living them from the truth emerging within, we become caught in the collective ‘they’.” [Read more]

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