If you grew up in the church at all, or even if you didn’t, you have probably heard the song, “The Wise Man Built His House Upon the Rock.” The song is based on Jesus’ words right after he gives his famous Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 7:24-27, he says this about what two people do with what he has just taught:
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Untitled design
That paragraph boils down to this: Life is hard. Bad things happen in this imperfect world. Choose to build your life on things you can never lose. If your life centers on things you can lose like money, or your job, or praise and affection from people, when the going gets tough it’s gonna be a rough ride.

Building Our Daughters’ Self-Worth

I’ve seen a trend rising that says we shouldn’t tell our daughters they are beautiful. If we do, we are damaging their self-worth. For example, see this article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/10083124/Dont-tell-your-daughter-she-is-beautiful-parents-told.html

On the surface, I think this is a good thing. Women and girls absolutely should be praised for more than their looks. They are worth way more than what the eye reveals. However, the author suggests that we replace our praise about beauty with praise for skill. As I thought about it and compared this idea to what Jesus says, I realized that both of these forms of praise are sandy ground.

All other ground is shifting sand-2

 Consider this scenario:

Let’s pretend I have praised my daughter for how quickly she completes puzzles, or how beautifully she paints, or how accurate she is in her math work. Let’s imagine that her self-worth, in part, is built on this praise.

The rains are about to come down.

Another day she is putting together a puzzle and is having great difficulty, or she can’t get her painting to look the way she wants, or she is learning a new, challenging math concept and receives a poor grade on a test. Where does this leave her self-worth if it was built on this praise?

The floods are coming up.

The winds of her heart are blowing and that part of her self-worth on which this skill was built is torn down.

So, should we praise our daughters (and sons) for how kind they are rather than appearance or ability? For praising them for things of the heart, so to speak? Wouldn’t that be better?

Let’s say I have praised my daughter for having a kind heart. I see her being tender with a friend in need, or I see her showing compassion and empathy toward a sibling.  I praise her for it, and in part, she builds her self-worth and identity on being a kind and compassionate person.

Another day there is someone for whom she feels no empathy or love. Her feelings are mostly annoyance and she acts rudely. Or perhaps she snaps at her siblings and despite her efforts, she cannot regain her composure and yells at them. Again, the floods are coming up and the winds are starting to blow.

If you stop reading here, you might think I am saying that we should not praise our children for these things laid out above.

I am not.

We need to and ought to praise our daughters (and sons) for their accomplishments and for their kind, compassionate, and beautiful hearts. I praise my children every day for these things. I even praise them for their physical beauty and handsomeness, because my goodness, they are so cute!

What I am saying is that all of this is not enough.
This praise is not worthy to build self-worth on.
All of these are sandy ground.
There must be something else in addition to all of this.

We need to build on the rock.

So what is the rock?

 

“Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress,
I will not be shaken.
 God is the Rock.

 

He is the only one worthy of supporting and carrying our self-worth. Why is He worthy? Unlike beauty trends, human ideas, affection from people, and our emotions, He does not change like the shifting shadows (James 1:17) or move around like the sandy ground on the beach. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Our appearance, our skills, and our emotions change too frequently and are too unstable to support something as valuable as our self-worth.

 

What He says doesn’t change either. Here is what God, our Rock, says in His Word about your daughter’s worth and yours too.

 

You are created in the image of the almighty, all-powerful, and all-loving God of the universe.

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”

 

So I will teach our daughter this truth: God is unfathomably amazing. To be created in His image is astounding.

You are perfectly and wonderfully made by His own hand.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

 

So I will tell our daughter how beautiful she is. And in the very next sentence, with God’s help, I’ll set her worth on the Rock by reminding her that God knitted every single part of her body together. He likes her just the way she is because He made her that way and all His works are wonderful. I pray she knows that full well.

 

He has a plan just for you with jobs He created for only you to do and that only you can do.

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

 

 

I will praise our girl for her hard work and her talents and her kind, loving heart. Then, with God’s help, I’ll set her worth on the Rock as I also tell her God knows her inside and out. He has planned certain tasks just for her, and He created characteristics in her to accomplish those tasks. The Creator knows she is the right one for these jobs.

 

He loves you with a beautifully fierce and unconditional affection that movies, books, songs, and other people can never replicate.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 6:37

With God’s help, I’ll place her worth on the Rock by reminding her of His unfailing love for her. I’ll do this by reading to her His words. I’ll point out His acts and displays of love in the little and big things that happen in her life. I’ll remind her that God’s love for her doesn’t change whether she fails or whether she succeeds. And when her heart is broken, while she may be sad, her worth will not be shaken because it was never wrapped up in human affection.

 

You are worth dying for.

 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this; While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

I’ll be sure to tell her the Creator of the universe deems her worth dying for. That Jesus paid the price for all of the wrong she has done and will do. He paid it because He thinks she is that worthy and that valuable. He longs to spend eternity with her and have her make His home in heaven her home too. So when she messes up, like we all do, her worth won’t slide because it was not built upon being a “good person.”

 

It was built upon the rock.
And the wise woman builds her worth upon the Rock.
What other ways can we teach our daughters to build their self-worth on the Rock?
Meredith P

Meredith P

Hello, there!  I grew up as a military kid who loved adventure, so I fell in love with and married a military man right after college graduation.  The two of us had adventures together as we traveled for a while, but we finally settled in cozy Southern Indiana.  However the excitement is still alive, because God has given us four kiddos that I homeschool.  I love nerding out on anything from school curriculum to thrift store bargain hunting, from rockin' recipes to theological debates, and pretty much any lively discussion in between.  Thanks for reading!
Meredith P

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