I have recently stared reading Mark Driscoll’s book Who Do You Think You Are – Finding Your True Identity in Christ. Throughout the book Driscoll refers mostly to the New Testament book of Ephesians in an attempt to explore the question “What does it mean to be ‘in Christ’?” In the process he dissects the fale-identity epidemic and, more importantly, provides the only solution – Jesus.
I am only 28 pages into the book, but have already been struck and challenged by it. In particular, Driscoll writes this in reference to suffering being one of our many idols;
‘As long as we’re alive, we’ll suffer…When we suffer, we can easily allow our hurt to become our identity. Our pain can become all-consuming and overwhelming. Admittedly, it’s hard to tell a cancer patient, divorcee, or rape victim that his or her pain isn’t the defining aspect of who that individual is. But if we truly love those who suffer, we must humbly, graciously, and patiently explain that to be a Christian is not to live a life free from suffering, but rather, suffering should lead us to identify with Jesus, who suffered more than anyone in history on our behalf.’ (pg. 12)
Now, to be honest, my first thought when I read that section earlier today was; If anyone comes to me and says that – no matter how humbly or graciously – I will punch them in the throat and tell them to shove off! How can they tell me that my pain doesn’t define me? If they stood in my shoes for even a minute they would reconsider! (And if they don’t…I’ll punch them in the throat!)
That being said, I have had time to stop and reflect on what Driscoll is saying here, and I have to admit that I have let my suffering define me. The thing is, I honestly can’t see any other option right now. It’s all-consuming. It’s overpowering. It seems to be unending. It is the first thing that hits my mind when I wake up, and it is the last thing I am thinking of before I sleep. I think that, for me, even time is measured in relation to Matt’s death. Today isn’t the 23rd of May, it’s just shy of 3 months since Matt died. It’s not 2013 AD; It’s 3 months AM (after Matt). For me everything is either ‘before the accident’ or ‘since the accident.’
So, I have recognised that I need to find my identity in Christ but; (1) I don’t know how to get there, and (2) I don’t really want to. I know that sounds strange, and I don’t know why it is, but I miss Matt so much and I can’t imagine that pain ever not being a major part of who I am.
I hope and pray as I continue to read through this book alongside Ephesians, that God will help me regain my identity in Him.