An Unstable Rock

Posted on January 6, 2014 | 31 comments

I had a couple of interesting conversations over the holiday that both had an element of similarity.

In a chat with a young mother, she declared that “my child is my rock.”

Not to be outdone, in a later conversation with a middle-aged man, he mentioned that “my wife is my rock.”

While I understand the sentiment, declaring something as your rock is a significant statement.

A rock is solid.

A rock provides stability.

A rock is the foundation. In these cases, the foundation is that on which a sense of self – identity – is based.

Since identity tends to be the launching pad for many of my posts, I thought a quick reminder to start the new year was a good idea.

We build an identity that answers the core questions: what do I do?, what to I have? and what do people think of me?. By the answers we generate to those questions and by how we compare to others around us, we develop a sense of our worth and significance.

So, what happens when your rock is unstable? For the mom above, what happens when her child disappoints her? Or when that child begins to develop their own identity apart from mom? On what will her sense of self rest when the rock is unstable.

Same for the man mentioned above. What happens when his wife does not meet his expectations? Or she makes a mistake? Or she begins to feel weary bearing the weight of her husband’s identity? How will the man react when the source of his sense of significance is interrupted? (see The Rigid Relational System)

Which makes the core question of what is your rock? so important. And a very good way to start 2014. Because our hearts are deceitful and tend to be focused on self, it is important to regularly and honestly evaluate the foundation of our identity.

We humans can make just about anything a basis for identity. Maybe your declaration would not be a child or spouse, as in the examples above, but your rock may be fitness, eating lifestyle, sexual activity, sexual orientation, career, financial status, retirement, and the list could go on and on and on.

At some point, every foundation we construct will fall apart. They cannot bear the weight. We will become enslaved to maintaining our identity. Ultimately this is an act to cover our feelings of being without worth – our sense of shame. (see Covering Up the Broken Image)

There is only one solid, stable, unchanging Rock on which to base our identity – Jesus Christ. (see The Solution for Shame and What is the Gospel?)

One thing the woman and the man who started this post have that can be important is honesty. She knows she gets her worth from her kid. He knows that his sense of who he is and his value is tied to his spouse.

For many of us, the problem is that we are not honest. Especially as we have followed Christ for a while and feel like we expect that we should have everything figured or that we should no longer be struggling with sin and the old nature. (see All Fixed)

We say that our foundation is Jesus, and that may be partially true or simply and ideal, but we function seeking our worth in other areas. Some old, some new.

How do we know when this is the case? Examine your self (see Afraid to Examine Ourselves) and determine…

When, where and with whom you feel shame.

When, where and with whom you feel anxiety. (see Our Response to Anxiety)

When, where and with whom you are quick to anger. (see The Alarm)

These are highly likely places on which you are trying to rest your identity and gain a sense of significance.

The good news is that we do not have to hide it or be afraid of it. We can confess it. Bring it into the Light. As followers of Jesus we live in a constant state of grace.

In Christ, God forgives and redeems.

So, instead of resolutions (good luck with those), maybe a good way to start 2014 would be to search your heart, tear down the walls, and open your self to God.

What is your functional rock?

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  1. I met Angie Ryg a year ago at Proverbs 31 She Speaks. We have maintained contact for 12 months (all a blessing to me!) She invited me to her Inspire Me Monday and so I hooked up with your post! LOVE the truth in your writing. I was just reading Eugene Peterson’s introduction to Genesis this morning and he talked about the very same thing (our rock & foundation). Thank you for reiterating something that I suspect the Holy Spirit wanted me to hear! Blessings to you today.


    • Thank you for dropping by and commenting. It would be an honor if you signed up for email updates. God bless.

  2. This is such a good post, going to send it to my daughter who is struggling right now in this very areas. It is the foundation of our faith, the most issue that other issues will hinge on. So glad I stop by.

    • Thanks for passing it on. I’m glad you stopped by too. BTW, as a Mad Men fan, I love that I can now say Betty Draper stopped by my blog!

  3. I had a good conversation with both of my teenagers that encompasses much of what you express about our identity. It’s a sacred echo for me. Glad I stopped by from Angie’s link up.

    • It is a great time to start, with teenagers as they are developing a sense of self apart from parental authority. Understanding identity and lies of the heart will help with so many decisions.

  4. Thank you for your post on being a rock for someone as the persons feel that way due to their love and complete trust in the child or spouse. But as you stated, people can disappoint you and that rock gets moved and out of place. Jesus is the only solid rock and he is our foundation that does not move.
    Thank you for sharing your awesome thoughts with us here at “Tell Me a Story.”

    • People, things, jobs, goals all will disappoint us. Idols are very demanding. Thanks for reading!

  5. Great post and reminder that Jesus is our rock!

    • You bet! Thanks for dropping by and connecting.

  6. Great reminder that Jesus is our rock!

  7. This is one of those posts that needs to be reposted often. It is more than a great reminder for the new year, it is a good reminder for all of those days of the year when I fall off that rock of Christ that I think I am so firmly planted on. Identity is a huge issue and I know I need time with the Lord daily to be reminded of who I am to him. But even with that I still need words like this, from other people who understand and can remind me of my true worth in Christ. Thanks, Scott. I needed this today. Blessings! Rachael

    • Thanks Rachael! Many of the themes here will come out again and again.

  8. “…open your self to God.”

    Thanks for linking up at Inspire Me Monday! This was a beautiful inspiration to share and such a need for me and each of us!


    • Thank you for dropping by, glad you were affected by the post.

  9. My husband is my rock. I’d worry a little if my kids were mine- they are too young for such a burden.

  10. I so resonate with this, Scott. I also really appreciate the way you’ve identified the emotional triggers that happen when we are falling into this trap. Great thoughts! I hope you had a restful and joyful Christmas and New Years! Thanks for linking up too. 🙂

    • Thanks Beth. I always look forward to your comments. Things are good here.

  11. Thank you for sharing your fabulous post on Whatever Wednesday @ Thank You Honey.

  12. This is a tough one. I know Jesus is supposed to be my rock. I do. And I know He holds when all else fails, but in the day-to-day I get my identity as a wife and mother.

    • This is everyone’s struggle in sanctification. You are definitely not alone.

  13. great post! Thank you so much for helping to make the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop so much fun Hugs!

  14. I so appreciate the reminder to examine those areas where we may be deceiving ourselves, telling ourselves that Jesus is our rock but not truly allowing him to be so. There are certainly some areas in my life where I struggle with this. So thankful that I can confess it and live in His grace.

  15. What a great reminder. So many times we become “attached” to things that are not solid. Things that can be displaced when the storms rage. Jesus is the cornerstone. He shall not be moved.

  16. Thanks so much for linking up with our One New Thing a Week Challenge. We hope to see you again next Tuesday!

  17. Thanks for this great teaching about the only Rock who will never let us down.
    Thanks for sharing at Essential Fridays.
    Mel from Essential Thing Devotions

  18. Thanks so much for sharing them with Wednesday’s Adorned From Above Link Party.
    Have a great week.
    Debi and Charly @ Adorned From Above

  19. Thank you for sharing such a thought provoking post on the Four Seasons Blog Hop. It was an excellent reminder and I agree a much better way to start out the year than resolutions!

  20. I love your posts! I would love to add your post to my What are you Doing? Blog Hop Pinterest board, but there isn’t an image to pin. Could you possibly add a picture in future posts pretty please? Be blessed! Your sister in Christ.

    • Thank you so much, I’ll do my best with the pictures!

  21. It is something we need to work on everyday. It’s difficult when we usually turn to rely on something that is physical than on the solid rock. He will never fail us. Thanks for posting this on my blog hop. I’m catching up on old posts right now. 🙂

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