Thursday, January 24, 2013

Idols in My Life

Back Again!

 Idol #1 Relationships: 
This past year God has done some incredible things in my life. Overwhelmingly so. I went through losing someone really close to me (not a death, but probably worse). Someone I had put my trust in and relied on too much. I think God had to remind me where I need to be again. I've been there before, when I first started reading the bible and developing a faith in God. I felt the only way I was able to get to know God more was if i removed that one thing in my life that I depended on for identity, worth, love and promise. A relationship. Giving up someone that you pictured yourself with for long term wasn't an easy pill to swallow but looking back, it was the best choice I have ever made, and I cannot explain the strength I developed because of it. I feel with the help of God, I truly developed confidence in who I am and what I want out of this life. Once we become dependant on others for our worth, it becomes so dangerous (idolatry). I used to think that Idolatry was just spending too much time in the mirror, or rubbing Buddha's belly instead of praying to the one and only God. I didn't realize that idolatry can come in many forms. Idolatry to me now is what we are spending the most of our time on. It's those things that we put on our priority list above God. I am guilty still of so many idols in my life - but the first step is recognizing it. Having that friend or friends removed from my life made me realize that their friendships were idols in my life. I respected their opinions and cared so much about how they thought of me that often times I would take their word on anything - and thats where it gets dangerous. I held them up on a pedestal and didn't challenge anything that was said, I didn't look into biblical principles myself and often times got lost in the glamour of "belonging" and "purpose". I now know there is SO much value in challenging one another, asking the difficult questions, digging deeper and pulling out the bible to hear the honest truth and get God connected to us. I dont need a group of friends where we all agree and become one, I want people who will challenge my faith, who will be real with me when they feel I'm falling off course, who will be honest with me about their own struggles. I have that in the small group I am attending at my church now. These girls are incredible and given the opportunity, we are able to open up conversations that I have never been able to touch before but that are integral to the development of my faith in God and as a Christian. Some of the topics we open up in our group I will begin to write about on here because I feel that is where I am growing the most is in those conversations and it always helps to write it out. I do not claim to be right, or wrong, but I am simply attempting to find my way through decisions, opinions, and debates to get to the truth.

  Idol #2: Busyness 

Idolatry in my life comes in many forms. Im ashamed to say that I have developed this crazy need to be busy. I was NEVER that girl that had to over achieve or be involved in everything, but now I am. I feel once I gained more confidence and realized that I can be successful in what I want to do, I just went overboard. I worked 8 hours for free at an internship during the day, then would go to a part time job afterwards for 5 hour shifts, work on the weekends, go to church and church events as well as keep up dance twice a week. I still dont know how I managed to do it all. I am proud that I was able to push through that season *as I needed a way to make money for the internship* however, I never stopped after! It hit me that this was a problem when plans weren't going as I had thought one weekend and I was sitting home alone, on the couch, with nothing to do and I was just crying. I felt like I wanted to jump out of my skin, run around the block or something! I couldn't just be still. I am clearly a work in progress and I need those people in my life to be honest with me and help me along the way with these issues. Because I don't have a family that has the faith foundations, I look to my friends and coworkers for prayer support and honesty. I cannot explain how much I appreciate those who are deeply rooted in their faith and continue to reach out to me through honesty and respect.

  Idol #3: Money

This year I got hired on my first full time, salary job. An incredible blessing and I do not take this for granted. I don't idol money in the way you may think. I have never been a big spender or a really awesome saver. The problem in fact is that I have never had to pay for anything big in my life. My car was a gift from my parents and I never had to pay that off. I haven't told anyone this but I actually didn't pay any bills (other than my credit card) until recently in my life. I've pretty much been able to get away with paying for the gas in my car, sometimes food and rent money and then all the rest is luxury (dance, art supplies, new computer, new camera, etc.) I am still unsure if its an idol, but I do know that if I did not have the money I do now, that I would feel anxious. I look at money as a promise for the future. That I will be able to have nice things, provide for my family, and be that woman that doesn't have to worry about any financial things unlike the struggles my family has gone through. The sad thing is, I am pretty scared that everything will fall through because I have not really exercised responsibility with my money. I don't know what it's like to live pay check to pay check or to save up for something really nice. I don't know what it's like to budget or to stop yourself from buying something you really want because you need the money for bread. I need to take more responsibility and tithe more and stop robbing God of what is rightfully His. I need to trust that He will provide my daily bread, my daily need. Again, i will remind you, I am a work in progress. I've been spoiled all my life, and with that comes lack of responsibility or understanding of how the world works.

  Idol #4: Beauty 

Not going to say much about this but when my skin isn't perfect, when I am not at the weight I want to be, when my hair is not participating, when I don't wear make-up or when I have no clothes (that I like), I feel people will judge me or think I dont have it together. I feel people who love me will change their mind because of how I look. I have insecurities like most girls - to the point where I am hesitant to talk about it on here, but for the most part the problem is that what I see in the mirror each day has a big influence on how the day is going to go or how I am going to act.

 Idol #5: Love

Love. We all want love. We all want to be praised for our good works. We all want to be recognized for the awesomeness that is us! I feel I lack in confidence on many levels in my life, I have insecurities and issues that i deal with on a daily basis. I have anxiety that develops commonly when I find out someone doesn't like me, or when I just think someone doesn't like me. This is where I find my purpose. Its wrong, I got that part down. But having someone tell you your beautiful in an audible voice, someone telling you that you are doing an awesome job at work, that you are someone they look up to, or that you are improving at dance. Having that person look at you like you are the only person in the world. That is purpose in my heart and let me explain why this is wrong. My God is the one who created me for his purpose, not mine. His will and his plans for my life are good. He gave his one and only son to cover my sins and forgive me for my mistakes and inequities. For that reason ALONE I should only be looking to Him for love and purpose. Heres the issue: human love, the kind we promise each other daily, is imperfect. Since we are imperfect people, I don't think it's possible for us to provide true and pure love to one another. Based on 1 Corinthians 13 (love is patient, love is kind), just those two definitions of love we fail to uphold. The definition of love in God's eyes is SO DIFFICULT for us. But here's the good part. It isn't for Him. God IS love and he does not go away from this kind of pure love. He will not forsake us or fail us. He longs for our love and he provides his love daily. Now don't get me wrong, I believe "love" exists in human relationships, absolutely! I just think we have two different terms here: one is a feeling, and one is an action. The reason this is idolatry to me is because I actually respond to and value human love in my life daily more than I do God (I don't in my heart, but that is what my life is showing right now). This is something I am also working on. I want to be so deeply rooted in God that someone has to get through God just to understand my world. I want to love him and accept his love daily so that my purpose is not dependant upon whether someone likes me or not. I want to be so understanding of his kind of love that every day I am striving to reflect that in my own life: forgiveness, selflessness, kindness, patience, never giving up, etc. Ive been studying the definition of love for a while now and I asked God to teach me each part of love and I will tell you, the PATIENT part I literally was stuck on for MONTHS.... it's not easy. But this is where it points back to God and how incredible He is. HE IS GOOD! I have no other way to say it but all I know is that I have learned that I can trust Him and I have no reservations about putting my life back into his hands. The only thing in the way is the distractions of my life.

 I rambled on for a while and most of this probably doesn't make sense, but I really feel like I just need to type sometimes and get my thoughts out onto the page. I have SO much more to say on the topic of idolatry and would like to post more from a biblical perspective as well - do some research. Ill also be posting some of my journal entries from when I first became a Christian - I was learning so much in that year that some of the lessons I took in, need to be reminded in my life. And thats what I have to say about that!

My Prayer:
God, I feel that sometimes we have a tendency of turning the blessings you've provided to us in our lives into sin. Everything from new careers to new relationships. Father help me to receive these blessings and treat them with respect. Help me to not take any of them for granted and to always point back to you on a daily basis. Father, thank you for your love and I pray that every day I am keeping you on the top of my priorities. May you reveal all the idols in my life and provide the strength to remove it from focus and redefine its role in my life.  Thank you for the opportunities you have given me in this life and please forgive me that I don't appreciate every breath I have here on this earth.
I pray in your son's name, AMEN

 xox S.