Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The idol I didn't know I had (that you may have too)

OK, so we all have our struggles. But on a basic level, aren't many of our struggles based on our identity being somewhere other than Christ? Here's what I mean. So many of us (myself included) are on a quest to lose weight, get to a certain size, or a particular level of physical fitness. Nothing wrong with honoring the body God gave us-keeping it healthy and as pure as a possible. But for many of us (again, myself included), it goes way beyond being healthy. This quest becomes who I am, what I am, and how valuable I am.


 As my dear friend and I were discussing this unhealthy focus on our weight and body image, she said that this very thing had become an idol in her life. Whoa. Idol is a big word. As in "Do not have any idols before Me" (says God Himself). But in my heart I knew she was right. An idol is anything that replaces, in time and attention, my adoration of God. It occurred to me the amount of time that I spend worrying about what I eat, feeling guilty about what I eat (oh, those 3 jelly munchkins I ate today!), and thinking about how to eat perfectly is completely out of balance with the minimal time that I spend with the One who thinks that I am perfect exactly as I am. Not perfect as soon as I lose 15 pounds. Perfect now. As in today.


And how much do I break the heart of my Creator? Every single day that I feel like I wish I was better, prettier, or thinner I put a small distance between He and I. I am saying that He is insufficient for my needs and not enough to make me happy. I am telling him that I will be valuable as soon as I meet my goals. Even as I type this, I keep backspacing and retyping because it looks ridiculous in print. But I know that I am not alone in my thoughts.


So how do we rid ourselves of this idol? When people in the Old Testament wanted no part of idolatry the bible says they had to "Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and burn their Asherah poles in the fire; cut down the idols of their gods and wipe out their names from those places." (Deuteronomy 12:3)
They weren't told to ignore the idols or put them out of reach. They were commanded to completely destroy them so that the idols were beyond repair or potential worship in the future. My friends, we must do the same thing with our idols-any idols-that are taking our time, our attention, our joy.


Until I have a clearer answer, I will begin by saturating my heart, mind, and soul with God's word that affirms my identity in the God who creates, loves, and finds me precious. Just as I am.


Oh, yes, you shaped me first inside, then out. you formed me in my mother's womb.
I thank you, High God-you're breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration-what a creation!
You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted  from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared before I'd even lived one day.

Psalms 139:13-16 (MSG)


Oh, Lord. May I allow you to speak over me instead of speaking over myself. You long for me to find my value in you as you sing over me. I just need to listen to how much you rejoice in me exactly as I am. Exactly as you created me. Please forgive me for acting as if you are insufficient to make me happy and complete, lacking nothing and highly valued. Please help me to tear down my idols. I know this is what I have to do. Thank you for loving me with an everlasting love. Thank you for delighting in me even when I don't feel delightful.




*Thanks to, Keshia, for her perspective and honesty on this subject that is sensitive to so many.
 Love you and your transparency. We'll knock down these idols that have been up for so many years!

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