“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” Matthew 7:24-47
Sure, we were in an argument, but the words were too valid not to cut like a jagged knife into my already tender heart.
"Someday," my husband turned toward me with a furrowed brow, "you will have built an amazing castle, but you will turn around and find you are there all alone."
Days later, those words memory had tears sliding down my cheeks as I brought them before God. I knew they were true. I had put my loved ones on the back burner again while out chasing achievements. I wasn't chasing them for the power or the money, as one might imagine. Fame and fortune have never been important to me. But, I had learned enough about my broken heart to recognize I was seeking to bolster my low self-esteem with well-done projects and accolades from my peers.
I have struggled for all of my days here on earth with feeling good enough just as I am. My chosen source of filling the gap has often consisted of working for others' accolades by accomplishments and attempting to be the best at everything. These were the castles keeping me away from my other essential roles, like mom and wife.
And the problem with building these castles that take up my precious time is that they are useless. They are castles made of sand. The completions I work so hard for are easily washed away by the next wave of things to accomplish. All the hard work can be blown away by the winds of change, and the accolades can be stomped out by one negative critique. Sandcastles aren't made to last, and we were never meant to boost our self-esteem by building our own kingdoms.
God created us with a longing to be significant, and He called us to work as well. These are gifts and part of how we radiate His image in the world. But works, even good works, do not add to our significance, because our real significance is that we are beloved children of God created in His image. Period.
The rock on which to build our identity is God alone. He is the source of our significance and the fountain with which we can refill when running low. He is the caller of the works we are to accomplish and the equipper of everything we need to complete them with excellence. Unlike our unstable sandcastles, His ways are easy, and His burden is light (Matthew 11:28). He calls us into works that reflect His glory, fill up our hearts, and give us plenty of time to pour out love in all of our roles. And He lovingly guides us back with infinite grace when we find ourselves veering off the path again and again.
Friend, if you have been building your very own sandcastles, God is inviting you to let them go and go His way. You do not need to strive for worth because God already proved how worthy you are to Him when He chose death to win you back. This truth is the rock we should build our lives and self-esteem upon.
Father, only you are worthy to build our lives upon. Building any kingdom besides is like building on sand. And yet we fall into this trap again and again. Thank you for rescuing us with your amazing grace as we repent and turn back to you. Help us to learn to commit our whole lives to you and find value only in being your beloved child. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Is it time to rebuild your identity on the rock?
After a career demotion and personal crisis, Micah Ruth found herself weary of striving for achievements and approval. You Are Loved & Free recounts her story to win the war for her soul and reshape her identity as a beloved and free child of God. The book also provides practical application tools with devotions and journal questions weaved throughout to help you also break free from shame, develop a deeper faith, and discover new gifts and purpose for your life.