When I live as if I am the builder and watchman of my own existence, I’ll slowly starve myself to death on “the bread of anxious toil.”
I’ll be “anxious” because I’ve convinced myself that my life, my purpose, my happiness revolves around and depends upon me–my willpower, my wisdom, my diligence, my strength.
“Toil”–continuous, exhausting effort–is the perfect word to describe what it will take to construct and maintain the façade that somehow I’m up to the task.
I might be able to convince myself and others for a little while that I am the Definer of my identity, the Maker of my purpose, the Conqueror of all obstacles, the Captain of my happiness, and the Savior of my story, but I won’t be able to sustain myself forever on the breadcrumbs of such “anxious toil.” Eventually, façades crumble, illusions fail, and masks fall off when we try to fill roles we were never created to play.
But, if I submit to the LORD as Architect and Builder of the house of my life…
You are good and do good;
teach me your statutes. (Psa 119:68)
Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
and observe it with my whole heart. (Psa 119:34)
Incline my heart to your testimonies,
and not to selfish gain! (Psa 119:36)
…if I will depend upon the LORD as Watchman of my heart and my hope…
With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments! (Psa 119:10)
Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
and give me life in your ways. (Psa 119:37)
This is my comfort in my affliction,
that your promise gives me life. (Psa 119:50)
…that’s life, the way it was meant to be.
How staggeringly, profoundly amazing that the perfectly-wise, all-powerful, ever-present, one and only God would love … me. That if I will submit to his will and follow his lead, I can confidently live, move, have my being, and ultimately rest in his gracious promises.
Doubt any of that? Just listen to Psalm 127:1-2:
Unless the LORD builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
It is vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.
Don’t starve yourself on the crumbs of self-centered, anxious toil when you’ve been invited to feast at the table of the King of the universe.