Hayes and I built a house once. It seems like it was twenty years ago as so much has changed in our lives since then. In reality it was only six. We had only one little one at that point in time. A two and a half year old little one. But there was also a little one growing quickly inside me. Very quickly. And I was anxious to get our house finished so that I could do what every expectant momma longs to do…nest! But building a house is a process. A process full of decisions, choices, communication, and waiting. Patiently waiting. Excitedly waiting. Waiting.
The very first thing we had to decide was the blueprints. We had to pick out what we were building. Before digging the footing or pouring the foundation, we had to decide the blueprints. This took hours upon hours for us. So. Many. Blueprints. But you know, the blueprints and the foundation are the first steps. You have to know what you are building before you can build it. Right?
The same thing is true for our spiritual lives. The same thing is true for our marriages, for all of our relationships. We have to know the blueprints. We have to know what our identity is in before we can even begin to dig the footing or pour the foundation. We have to know what we are building before we build it. We have to know what foundation our lives, marriages, families will have. And friends, I am here to tell you that your identity cannot be in anything other than Christ. He designed us. We must follow His blueprints for our lives and marriages. This is the first step.
One verse that we cling to when we need help being reminded of this is 1 Peter 2:9-10:
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9
Ok, ladies. Let’s get real. What is your identity in? Career? Materialism? Your marriage? Your family? It is so easy to get wrapped up in worldly things. Even worldly things that are good like our marriages and kids. Especially for us mommas. Or this momma anyway. Getting wrapped up in my marriage and my kiddos seems like a good thing. And it is until it unrecognizably becomes my identity. My identity becomes being a wife and a mom first and a Christ follower second or third. And the enemy knows this struggle for me. He knows how easy it is for me to become wrapped up in these wonderful, precious titles that I so proudly claim. But, even these blessed titles can leave me empty. They become idols in my life and I serve and worship them instead of my Savior. The one who made me new. The one who brought beauty to my gunk. The one who is still bringing beauty to my gunk. The one who took my hand and led me to solid ground. The one who reminded me of whom I belonged, even when I could not recognize myself, He saw me. He knew me. He knows me. And, I know Him. He is my identity.
This is not something that comes easy. I am a sinner who struggles with this daily. But just like building a house, this is the first step to a great foundation. It takes waiting. Patiently and excitedly waiting. Because a foundation isn’t poured and made strong overnight. It takes decisions. Making the decision every single day to make my identity be who I am in Christ. It takes communication. Communication with other believers and communication with our Savior. His mercies are new every morning. He knows us. Do we know Him? Are we firm in His foundation? Are we following His blueprints? If you are like me, your desire is to be the best version of you that you can be, The best version of a wife, mother, daughter, friend, co-worker…the first step is to follow His blueprints, to dig deep the foundation He has already laid for us.
We are the providers, we are supposed to work. We are supposed to work hard and make money. So often though we can begin to wrap our identity up in our job, and a lot of times at the expense of our families or our spiritual life. I think there is a deeper issue there that many times we do not want to address, and maybe it is just something I struggle with; but I think behind a lot of our workaholism and power hungry pride is really a big case of insecurity. We feel the need to prove everything about ourselves. The main gunk in my life is insecurity.
For me this takes the form of the approval of other people. I hate it when people are not happy with me and when that happens I tend to do everything in my power to please them. I think that is why we struggle with working too much. We feel that if we do not work enough then our co-workers will not approve of us. We also tend to think that if we don’t make enough money then our wives and family will not approve of us. All of this, at least for me, is driven out of my own personal insecurity. The fact that I struggle with knowing that who I am in Jesus is enough. I can so quickly and easily slip back into the struggle of feeling inadequate because I don’t make enough money, or drive a nice enough truck, or take the nice vacation, and the list goes on and on. I begin to believe the lies that Satan tells me that I need that new truck, or a new job, or a bigger house or bank account to really have a full life.
When I fall into this trap I begin wrestling with even bigger lies like does my wife really love me? Am I really good enough to be a pastor? Who am I to be telling anyone else anything at all? My feet begin to feel stuck in this gunk and I am not able to move. I can’t move forward or backwards. Its terrible.
In my relationships, especially with my wife, this can become a real problem because I struggle to be truly open and honest out of my fear of her response. She has never given me a reason for this fear, it is simply driven out of my insecurity. So then I become this fake, make her happy kind of husband who just tells her what I think she really wants to hear regardless of if it is true or not. This is not reality. This is not even a relationship. This is sin, and when we begin to put our faith in something other than Jesus we have begun worshiping an idol. The only proper response is repentance. I repent a lot. A. Whole. Lot. Would you evaluate your life and join me if needed?
- Being really honest, what would you say the number one “identity thief” in your life is?
- Again, being really honest, how have you let your identity be based on who you are in your relationship rather than individually?
- What are some “good things” we can easily put as our identity?
- What does it mean to you to have your identity in Christ?
- What are some practical ways we can move forward to actively pursing our identity in Christ? How can we support each other through this process?
We encourage you to set aside intentional time together to talk through these questions. Write them down, pray over them and allow the Holy Spirit to continually shape your identity in Christ.