This concept has been nagging me for a few weeks now (I’ve since seen it as conviction). It’s the idea of “first place.” As a first born I have a lot of tendencies that drive me to want to do a perfect job, get all A’s, exceed everyone’s expectations (including mine) and know I did a good job when I complete a project. When I ask myself “why?”, I have to admit that it is because I want other people to think highly of me. I want to be a good example and I want to feel good about how hard I have worked and I want to be loved by all… no wait… adored by all.
All of my little loves, school, a clean house, excelling at work, wanting to be financially secure, looking like I have it all together, being happy and cheerful all the time, being healthy, getting enough sleep, being a “wonderful” wife and “best” friend and even simply entertaining people… all of them are fighting with each other in my life, trying to be the first priority. Trying to be the thing I love the most. Trying to be my god – the thing that I worship. They want to be idols. And the funny thing is, they are all unattainable. The idea of idols is old fashioned but they have spread into so much of life that we don’t even recognize them anymore for what they are. In my life they aren’t tiny golden statues, they are more “worthy” things. I was listening to the first sermon in the Gospel Treason series and Brad Bigney said to stop and think of why you are discontent. What is the root of my joy, or in other words… where am I trying to get joy from? Two words popped into my head. Approval and comfort. I want a clean house because I want to have the approval of my husband and of other people that come over and I want the comfort of not living in clutter. Therefore when the house is messy, even a little, I get angry and frustrated at myself and Xavier because my “idols” aren’t happy. Same with any of the things above. When I let them be the place where I am trying to find joy, I get so disappointed and discontent. Almost all of the pet peeves, annoyances and frustrations that I allow to rule my actions can be traced back to the fact that I’m not getting approval or I’m not in my optimal comfort zone.
The amazing thing is that God is at work in my heart to change me. God has been lovingly breaking down and taking away some of my idols, showing me that He alone is best. A great grade point… dissatisfying. Being an amazing cook… disappointing. Trusting God in my bad grades and failed dinners… peace despite the circumstances. He should be my first love, the one I can’t stop thinking about, the one I long to worship. He ALONE is worthy, so why do I create all these counterfeit gods that don’t make me happy? Because I want to be in control. I think I know best and I want to be right. Sound familiar? It was the same thing that the first humans wanted… the thing that brought sin into the world… the desire to be like God.
It is hard to begin to see all the things that I have improperly idolized and chased after because it makes me see how empty those goals are and much time I have wasted chasing them. But when God shows me my sin and causes my heart to repent, it is the most freeing feeling. On Monday, I walked out of work with a huge smile on my face because God had shown me over and over again that He is better. In Him there can be joy, even when I mess up at my job and I seem silly in front of my peers.
This is just one of the ways God has been working on my heart over the last few months and I struggled with wanting what I wanted even today. But He is faithful to finish what he starts. I am so thankful for God’s plans and how He pursues my heart, emotions, loves and life.