When you build something, does someone try to tear it down? You might need a firmer foundation. Recently I posted a testimony, but someone accused me of trying to get her to buy something. Huh? I asked her if she even read my heartfelt message. I knew it was only the devil, but apparently, she hadn’t even read what I wrote. She may have seen the logo for our company and the site address, but the message was totally missed. There were no sales tactics, sale items, nothing. It was just that, a testimony. And alas, here now was the test…
I had to remind myself that people don’t always see your good intentions. Sometimes people are too quick to judge, criticize and give their opinions especially online, so I sent a message back to the person sharing a whole lot of love and letting her know we’re in a season to bring others to Christ with our stories and testimonies. They want to and need to see proof of God working in our lives. She just took it the wrong way. The point?
If you’re using sand for your castles, you’re doing it wrong!
Have you ever wondered why it seems like every time you build something, someone always has something to say or they come and knock your stuff over? Well, let’s just say when attacks come, because they will come – it’s in the Bible, be prepared. You have to have a firm(er) foundation…
Shh, praise is not allowed in this church!
I was at a church years ago when they had a very quiet prayer service. It was a Tuesday night at my local Catholic church and I just wanted to be near God, so when they passed the Eucharist Cross around, we prayed. Someone in the church spoke out loud and was shushed right away! I was shocked and asked the attendants after the service why this happened. A lady politely touched me on the shoulder as if I was three-years-old and needed consoling and said, “Not here, dear. Not at this service. We praise silently.” I was in shock and decided to never go back, but then later, I kicked myself because while I never went back to that service, I also didn’t stand up for God and quote every scripture that I know about praising God publicly! Let the Redeemed of the Lord say so! Shout out to Jesus!
Who is shushing you? Maybe it’s someone on your job, at school or in your own family. You might even have someone in your church who thinks you’re too loud, too wild or too “out there,” but if you’re an instrument of praise, it might be that you’ve outgrown them or God is calling you higher…
Oh yeah, well I can do that, too.
My old job was funny. I had a few enemies who tried to undermine everything I did – and it was usually juvenile things that girls do when they’re in high school or diapers. I’d wear a new dress and one of my coworkers would run out right away and try to buy the exact same dress. I’d read about this with people who were insecure because if they were sisters or the little sister in the family, they usually had to fight for a sense of independence, so I didn’t take it seriously. I just wanted to understand the dynamics behind it so I knew how to respond and also how to pray for them. I didn’t fight with them during these really childish moments because I knew it would distract me from God’s work. Besides, I’m not here to compete. I want us all to win in Christ. That’s what Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In is all about, helping others achieve their goals, too. But when women are catty and insecure, you really have to have a brick solid and firm foundation.
Building better castles
We all know the parable about the houses made from sand, wood, and bricks. We also know the story about the 3 little pigs and the wolf and their housing debacle. There is so much significance to the elements that were used in both stories and here’s why:
Sand: Sand dissipates, dissolves, is grainy and can slip through your fingers. Add water to it and it can become really nice mud, but as soon as it dries, it’s tiny particles that can’t stand on their own. You can add the Holy Spirit (water), but when that sandy foundation dries, it can collapse because it’s missing binding elements.
Wood: Wood is great if you’re roasting marshmallows over an open fire pit or looking for new teak furniture, but try building a house with wood in an area that’s prone to brush fires and dry conditions. Use the wrong wood and a roof can collapse. There are also bugs that can get in through the crevices which can lead to dry rot and splintering.
Brick: Bricks are a solid substance resistant to wind, rain, and corrosion, for the most part. The more bricks that are used, the stronger the foundation. The problem with bricks is it takes longer to build to wait for the foundation to settle. If you’re growing your foundation firmly in Christ, it will take time, and trials and testimonies.
That brings us to an interesting point? What do you do in the interim?
Your mouth, your thoughts, and your actions…
In building that brick firm foundation, here’s where it will take time on your part. You may want to think about areas where you feel the most vulnerable or exposed around people like that house in the elements. Is it your mouth? Do you have a problem with your reaction? If you find that you can’t stop telling people off, then yes, your mouth might need a little work. And that’s okay. God takes us as we are and then He molds us and shapes us. Just don’t tell off the usher board or any of the deacons while you’re growing.
Whatever you feed grows…
Bishop Bronner had a great message on about your triggers and being careful as to not fall back into past mistakes. Sometimes we can be around the wrong person and they can try to set us off or you can be under so much stress that if someone doesn’t receive you warmly it really hurts deeper than it should and your defenses are down. So there needs to be a balance of a wall to protect you and a guard over your mouth to watch what’s being said.
As a man thinketh…
What about your thought life? Are you plagued with insecurities? Do you stay up wondering why they’re treating you like this? It may be that your thoughts are not secure in who you are and whose you are.
Consider this: As you grow, anyone around you who sees you grow faster than them may become jealous and try to undermine you because it’s not really that they despise you, but it makes them look like they’re not doing enough. And they may just despise you, too! But that’s okay. The devil is defeated. Walk in love and God will cover, lead, and guide you.
Look for articles about building self-confidence. These can help you love yourself just as you are right now. Fat thighs, wild hair, whatever it is that you have that you don’t like, love yourself anyway and be thankful for those legs that work and that hair that covers your head! Because here’s the thing:
Anyone who finger points at you is doing so because they’re insecure in their own abilities. This is common with narcissists who point the finger at others to make them feel bad so they (the narcissist), will feel better about how bad they really feel inside about themselves.
Okay, now let’s look at actions.
How are you reacting?
One area that can help is to back up and learn from the past. You see that sand castle? Maybe you shared that dream with the wrong person. Sometimes it’s how they act or how you react to them. If they always shoot you down, it might be that they’re not the right person to be around to help you build your dreams. Pray and ask God. This can be family, friends, co-workers, classmates or strangers. It can be anyone who is jealous because you’re trying to go further than they are. Like crabs in a pot wanting to pull each other down.
Keep in mind though, you can’t share your dreams and visions with everyone.
In the Bible, David was talented, but his brothers kept him in the background. Joseph was favored, but when he tried to show off his coat of many colors, it was colorful alright! His brothers covered it in blood and lied to their father pretending Joseph was dead. That’s why it’s so very important and essential to keep your dreams and visions between you and God.
What are your triggers?
If your reaction, on the other hand, is about your response, it may be that you need a bigger mental wall to protect yourself. Picture a child crying when someone makes a mean face at them. If they cry every time the face is made, it’s because they don’t know how to control their reaction to the action that’s taking place. For you to protect yourself emotionally, it might mean reading articles about building your self-esteem, understanding narcissistic personalities to avoid, and also ways to protect yourself mentally from attacks to better understand how to protect your heart, emotions and what is being filtered into your head.
Lastly, in guarding the tongue and the thoughts, it helps to walk away from tense situations which can avoid an argument. Sometimes it’s just a matter of keeping the peace and not giving place to the devil if you find yourself in a situation where someone is trying to undermine you. It may also be a test so if you feel the Holy Spirit telling you to walk away, just obey and pray for the peace of Jesus over the situation.
We hope this message inspires and encourages you to build a firmer foundation. Let God guide you. He has great things in store!
Prayer: Father God in the Name of Jesus, Lord we praise you because we are fearfully and wonderfully made. We ask for your grace and covering, wisdom and patience as we grow in you and draw closer to you. Help us, Lord, to be helpful and loving to others even when they are not. Give us strength to not fight back in the flesh and use words that hurt, but help us to walk away, stay at peace and walk in love, being careful to harbor no bitterness or resentment and help us to guard our tongues. Help us to trust in you more as we build our homes, marriages, education, businesses, pursue our goals and dreams and work to build your kingdom. Please surround us with people who can help us to grow in you. Send to us teachers and educators who can help us on our paths and we pray to stay humble, helpful and always walking in the love of Jesus. Let our light shine to honor you and so we can lead others to you. We give you the glory and victory in Jesus’s name, Amen. The Holy Spirit said to "Be strong".
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