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)
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?