Saturday, July 2, 2016

Confronting my Idols

I don't think I'm in any danger of bowing down to golden calves, as people did in the time of Moses.  But there are certainly times when I choose to let things in my life push God away from being in first place.

I wanted to expand on some of the examples of my own idols that I wrote about in my last blog post:

*If I'm crushed after a conversation with someone because I wasn't affirmed by them, then to me that's a sign that I care too much what they think.  Their positive opinion of me matters more to me than anything else, and has become an idol. 

In this case, I find it helpful to stop and consider my priorities.  I try to shift my focus away from what this one person thinks of me, and onto better patterns of thinking:  How can I best love this person?  How am I doing at showing love to those whose opinions I'm not so concerned about?  Those are the things that I know are really important.

It can be helpful to remind myself, "What matters is that God is great; I don't have to be seen as great".   

(Perhaps different response are helpful to others, but this seems to be the best way for me to deal with those feelings)

*Sometimes my plans are my idols.  Whether it's staying in a location or a role that I love, taking part in a certain event, or even my family size.  When these desires more important to me than following God on the journey through life, wherever it might lead, my plans have become idols.

I know that I need to lay down my own plans, and be willing for them to change.  I need to have a trust in God and a hope for the future that isn't reliant on things going in the way I think they should, or am planning on.

*When 'wanting to be helpful' goes from being a healthy desire to being an unhealthy 'need', then I'll notice it in my feelings.  If losing an opportunity to help someone brings out extreme emotions in me, then I can tell that this desire to be helpful has become an idol for me.

I need to remind myself that God is the healer.  He may or may not choose to use me in the lives of others.  My desires for God to be glorified and for others to receive healing need to come before any longing I may have to be involved in the process.

*If I find myself unwilling to press 'send' on an email because of my fear of making a mistake, then I know that my desire to get things right has become too important to me. 

Things go better when I decide to trust God with the outcome, even if my obsessive fears are still trying to convince me that the world may fall apart as a result of my actions.

And as I listen to my emotions more, I'm sure I'll find further areas where a change of priorities is in order, and where calmer emotions often follow as a result of this change.

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