Words by Andrea Nwabuike
When I was a kid, I had an astonishing level of confidence. There are countless stories of four-year-old Andrea marching up to older kids on the playground to offer them the privilege of my friendship. I had no problem sharing my assessment of any situation, regardless of how shocking my comments might have been. I knew exactly who I was, and you couldn’t tell me otherwise.
This childhood version of myself is somewhat baffling. I can’t quite comprehend how I was so sure of myself. As I transition into adult life I constantly question whether I am making the right choices. I doubt my competency and downplay my successes. I can’t help but wonder what caused this gradual shift from a self-assured child to an anxious adult.
I suspect this change was precipitated by a shift in the source of my identity. Growing up, my family laid the foundation for my how I saw myself and my place in the world. They consistently pointed me towards Christ as the true source of my identity. The theme song of my childhood was, “You are a child of God.” I had no time for fear or anxiety because I was sure that a big and loving God had my back. My confidence had nothing to do with what I was capable of and everything to do with what He was capable of.
As puberty and teenage angst crept up, I allowed myself to get distracted by other voices. Instead of listening to who God said I was, I began to listen to television shows, music videos, and my peers. These sources directed me to define myself by my appearance, my intelligence, and what I could accomplish.
The problem being that I was never enough in any of these areas. By these standards my boldness was threatening, my appearance not up to par, and my confidence unfounded. So, I started turning down opportunities and avoiding challenges, allowing myself to sink in insecurity and doubts. Building my identity on such shaky and fickle measures was like trying to build a house on sand.
Jesus warns us of this danger in Matthew 7:24-27. After outlining His commands for how we ought to live, Jesus tells the parable of two builders. One builds his house on the rock, securing his structure to withstand any storm. The other builds on sand, causing his home to be washed away by the rain and wind. The man who builds his house on the rock is the one who listens to the words of Christ, believes, and puts them in to action. The one who builds on sand is the one who discounts the Word of God to listen to other voices.
When we allow the voices of the world to lay the foundation of our identity, we invite anxiety to take residence in our lives. We will fear the wind and rain because a house cannot stand on sand. But when we find our identity in Christ, and allow Him to define who we are, storms will not shake us. The world will point to our lack, but we will respond by pointing to the all-sufficient God whose grace abounds. No challenge will intimidate us, because the King of Kings goes before us.