From Kevin Funk…
We as a family have been very busy lately. For the Funk’s, this is our busiest time of year. I wish I could say this is not the norm but I’m not so sure anymore with so many activities to choose from. I don’t know how families with more than one child do it, but our daughter, Maddie, keeps us absolutely on our toes. With all this busyness, during this past week we had to deal with a family emergency. We ended up missing the first service sermon this past Sunday because of this. As creatures of habit, it just feels totally weird when we aren’t sitting front and center in the Crosspoint building eager to hear from God. If we ever do miss the sermon, we always try to listen to the podcast. It’s a lifesaver when preparing for community group.
Kristi and I agreed that we were going to get caught up with the message on Monday and then prep for group on Tuesday. The message really struck a chord with me and has a lot to do with who I am today.
While Dave talked about our identity throughout school, this flooded my mind with memories. High school was truly a defining time in my life. I grew up in the village of Roanoke and really enjoyed the small town life. I could ride my 3-wheeler all around town without being hunted down by the police. The farthest walk to a friends house was about 5 blocks.
I grew up with an older brother and an older sister. My bro was around four years older than I was so when I arrived as a freshman in high school, he had graduated and everybody already knew who I was. I was Frankie’s little brother. My brother’s name is Kourtney so don’t ask me how Frankie came about. So entering school that year, I felt about as popular as a freshman could feel. I was on top of the world for about a year until one day I let sin completely destroy my credibility.
My identity was in my brother as I entered high school. Everyone thought they knew me because of my brothers popularity. I ate it up. Every day during study hall I was allowed to go to the computer room and mess around on Windows 95. (If your under 30, Google it). Being Kourtney’s younger brother, I had a bunch more privileges with some teachers that most did not. One day while I was on the computer I installed a game and tried to play it. That was rule number one and I tried to circumvent it. That event, that sin, was the mark of a long destructive trail of sin that will still try to haunt me even to this day.
My teacher yelled and told me to get back to normal study hall and to never come back. From then on, the older students treated me different, the teachers treated me different, and I had a new identity. I felt alone and defeated with no one to turn to. My brother had graduated and my parents were divorced with stress involved all the time with that. I now have an identity crisis! During my popular time I considered myself a prep. That’s how I saw myself. After my fallout I tried to join the hick crowd. Yes I bought boots, flannel shirt, and even went to the homecoming dance in a cowboy hat. The hicks quickly saw right through me and rejected my attempt at the cowboy thing. My identity was quickly morphing from one thing to the next. The final crowd I landed into were the burnouts across the street. I felt at home with them because they didn’t give a care about what I looked like or what I acted like. They just didn’t care much about anything….or at least that’s what they wanted to portray. As I finished up high school, looking back, my identity was constantly grounded into a group or clique.
I kept changing my identity due to what I thought people thought of me or viewed me as. You can’t let compliments go to your head. You can’t let criticisms go to your heart. The degree to which you do either of these things is the degree to which you will be ruled by what other people think of you. And oh boy, I know from experience how dangerous it is to build the stability of my identity in anything other than the name of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 2:10 “Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.”
Once I had no identity even though I thought I did. Earthly identities are but a vapor in the wind. What defines you? What gives you identity? When people think of you, what’s the first thing that pops into their head? A fanatic of a sports team. Certain high end materials. A skilled or hard worker. Or is it maybe a good dad or mom. Or a really nice person. Or how about someone who is sold out for Jesus?
See my struggle was in what others saw me to be but now that I am in Christ, all that other stuff just fades away. Not that I’m perfectly immune to what others might think or say about me, but having my identity grounded in Christ gives me the strength to overcome any internal struggles I may run into.
We are called to rise above the chatter of this world and place our identity in the up shifting grace of God.