Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Identity and Community

It's the last link-up of #fmfpartysnailmail round three! This week we're joining Kaitlyn Bouchillon to write about community. For more posts, head here.



I've written (and talked) before about my love of the knitting community. The way that a group of people with only that one thing in common can come together and enjoy each others' company is a beautiful thing. In part, I think that it works so well because they're able to lay aside their differences and focus on commonality through their craft - but at the same time, knitting isn't most of these people's identity. They remain a student, an engineer, a mom, a nurse, a counselor,  a lawyer, a mailcarrier, a school teacher... whatever they are outside of knitting is still a part of them, and that's how they're able to accept advice, help, and even constructive criticism without becoming upset, defensive, or frustrated. They have not become their knitting.

Unfortunately, this is not a quality that I've found often in the wife-and-mommy world. Obsessions form and sides are chosen, and opinions touted as undeniable facts are hurled across the internet when any variance is discovered, because the perceived insult is taken as deeply personal - not just a comment about a different way that something could be approached, but an attack on very identity. To some extent, it's even worse among church-goers, because they have Scripture that can be twisted into a weapon and wielded against anyone who does the wife-and-mommy thing differently than they are. A friend and fellow blogger has been writing a series on these "polarizing" points - today's post struck me especially, as she presented multiple perspectives along with a plea for unity and grace toward others.

When our identity is found anywhere but in Christ, community begins to break down. Finding our identity in lesser things sets up an automatic us-versus-them mentality, so we form groups based on shared identity - but because we're all individually unique, any circle formed around a temporal interest will begin to break down as differences are discovered. Only in Christ can we maintain unity and find true community as our primary directive to "love one another" supersedes all other differences.

So I am a woman that is married and has a child, that enjoys reading and writing and knitting and crafting, that eats gluten free, as organically as possible, and mostly without dairy, that prefers shopping local and is passionate about doing something about slavery (of every sort) --- but if anything on that list becomes Who I Am instead of What I Do, then I have enslaved myself and will forever be searching for peace, fulfillment, and lasting happiness in things that were not designed to provide any of those.

"For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery... do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another." --- Galatians 5:1, 13b

3 comments:

Karrilee Aggett said...

Yes! This: "but if anything on that list becomes Who I Am instead of What I Do, then I have enslaved myself and will forever be searching for peace, fulfillment, and lasting happiness in things that were not designed to provide any of those."

Amen, my friend! Great post!

Rebekah Ellis said...

Love how Galatians is sinking in to all of us. Such good words here friend. Such good words. I am standing with you in this firm belief that our foundation is Christ alone and that we need to have some "what I do's" but only one "who I am." Amen.

Amy said...

YES YES YES !!! At times it is so hard not to let the What I do become the Who I Am. I know when I take my focus off Christ the line between the who and the what gets blurry. Thank you for the bit of re-focus I needed today.