Psalm 49:7-9 (the message)
Really! There’s no such thing as self-rescue,
pulling yourself up by your bootstraps.
The cost of rescue is beyond our means,
and even then it doesn’t guarantee
Life forever, or insurance
against the Black Hole.

Last night I had the privilege of attending a Bible study with a couple of women who poured into my childhood. I laughingly told them I was there to glean from the older generation. Smile…but really, I was.

There is something powerful about God’s Word in an intimate setting. Makes you want to open like a flower, turn yourself toward the light of the Son.

As I sit in the pre-children quiet of morning, I open up to the Psalms and land on chapter 49. My heart catches here..

There’s no such thing as self-rescue

If you read the entire chapter you will find the Psalmist clearly lumps the “haves” and “have-nots” together. The foolish and the wise all see death. Great wealth, and those who boast in it, cannot purchase a rescue.

My thoughts are led to the most intimate realities. We are all broken and in need of repair. Sometimes we refuse to hear it and so miss the answer for our dilemma. We live and die proving but never admitting.

We project, we hide, we assume, we even lie.

Anything to hide our not-enough. Our worth is propped against the shaky timbers of “likes” and “comments.” Square footage, numbers on a scale and letters by our name. The right school, the right church, the right position, the right friends, the right bumper stickers and gadgets and gadget covers!

It seems like everything, everything, is a measure. And every measure is an attempt at self-rescue.


Perhaps you are reading and thinking, Lighten up sister! Smile. Certainly wealth and ambition hold great potential for blessing. Certainly wisdom in choosing churches and schools is good and right. Certainly enjoying technology and expressing our personalities can provide much-needed downtime from the mental pace we live in.


Might it also be possible that opportunities and blessings become burdens because joy is lost in the proving? We think it means something it doesn’t. We think the purpose is something that it’s not.

We want it to mean we are enough. We did enough. We became enough. But with each new rung on the ladder we find ourselves still facing this foreboding sense of incomplete. Our efforts to fill ourselves fall short. Hope fades with the newness of our stuff, accomplishments and latest post.

The cost of rescue is beyond our means

We need a rescue from eternal separation from Creator. And we need a rescue from our striving, our incomplete.

We need Jesus.

I share because I too battle the ever-pressing, ever-mounting pressure to prove.

I’m reminded in unexpected ways, in vulnerable moments, that we are all the same underneath the proving and pretense. We long to be enough. We long to rest. We long to be held.

Safe. Secure. Forever.

We long to enjoy our blessings, run after destiny, bloom in every way–outside the bounds of proving. God plants within us our passions, our desire for destiny, our abilities to run after it. God blesses wisdom. He looks for open hearts and arms willing to carry His purposes, His resources, His passion for hurting people.

I believe He likes to see us smile. I believe God enjoys watching His children flourish in their blessings.

What if it grieves His heart to see destiny, purpose and blessing drain us of joy because we assign false meaning to it all?

What if Jesus sits closely by, walks at our side, leans in closer to hear our hearts…and we hardly pause to talk with Him?

What if we live proving and attaining and projecting, never actually enjoying, and miss His heart?

Creator enlarges our influence, give us more, to be a blessing. Our more is never meant to fill us. Never meant to disprove our not-enough. Only Jesus can do this for us.

More is not our bootstrap. We can never self-rescue from the pit of insecurity.

Our more is simply a reflection of His More…

More than enough.
More than willing.
More than we deserve.
More than we can ask or think or imagine.

Self-imposed proving and striving is shattered with every collision of hammer and nail, every drop of blood that flowed and in every life that fully embraces Jesus-Alive.

Fulfillment lies in His divine purpose for every aspect of our lives.

And divine purpose, God’s direction in our details, takes the sting from our not-enough. Our frail humanity is swallowed in this rock-strong God who fills us, uses us and pours Himself into our lives in ways that can never be measured.

May we all live tugging at His heart and not our bootstraps.


One thought on “Bootstraps

  1. So beautifully written. Spoke right to my heart. Once again the Lord uses the words you share to minister to women. I am so thankful for you dear Vanessa!


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