Thursday, March 6, 2008

Idolatrous I

In a blog, there are easy posts to write, posts written during moments of exuberance. There are difficult posts, posts that reveal my weaknesses. Yet the most challenging posts, are those written in the midst of struggles, pouring from sane mind battling with hurting heart and confused soul.

During such times, it seems natural to blame external factors for the heaviness within. Yet I know that's not what God wants from me. This might just be one of those most challenging posts, a post without answers. Yet we'll see what God does with it.

As the title suggests, I've been having private battles with idolatry. People wonder when I say that. Aren’t I one of the most blessed Christians they know? Granted the fact that idols may not always be material ones, isn't my life filled only with good things? From whence come the struggles?

Quoting C.S. Lewis, "There is but one good; that is God. Everything else is good when it looks to Him and bad when it turns from Him. And the higher and mightier it is in the natural order, the more demoniac it will be if it rebels...the false religion of lust is baser than the false religion of mother-love or patriotism or art; but lust is less likely to be made into a religion."

Maybe my life isn’t beset by desires and practices clearly contrary to God's Word, but there are plenty of "good things" that are harmful in their rebellion. This family, these ministries, these wonderful friends...all these things that are "higher and mightier in the natural order"...they might just make my downfall.

For the past few months, I've been pretentious to almost everyone. I pretended to be just moody to my family, feigned strength to my friends, and exhibited unusually gleeful appearances at church. Yet inside of me, there was pain, confusion, and remoteness from God.

I appeared okay, but I was far from okay. No longer was God the determinant in my life. Although I obeyed Him and sought His will, although I remained faithful in my ministries, my life and heart were not under His control. The measure of my well-being was dependent upon other factors, not upon Him.

I was in idolatry. I was idolizing my ministerial accomplishments, I was idolizing "harmless" pleasures, and most of all, I was idolizing what position I held in others' hearts.

God called me back, with pain, and with things that offended my pride unlike others ever did. God called me back by showing how those “good things” had gone bad.

I did try to return to God, theoretically. Yet all the while, I was obstinately clinging on to the things that I wanted, the way I wanted them to be...I didn't want to let go of the "good things” that had come between me and God, since I denied that they did.

Last week, I gave it up. I don’t want to wait until God destroys those things altogether. I want to be near His heart again now.

I gave it up, I let go. It hurts, and it requires discipline daily. Yet I know it’s for the better. I don’t want further harm done. I want freedom to live my life the way God wants it…and He’ll decide whether those “good things” would return, and when they return.

There is an undeniable sting. It’s never easy to live without “good things” that have become part of my life. Yet at the same time, there is a peace within me. It’s the knowledge that I’m at peace with God. It’s the overwhelming comfort that I am once again an unarmed child in His hands, praying, “Lord, into Your hands I commit my heart.”

I know this post will betray me to many people. There are different readers… those who will think if I’ve been hiding anything from them, those who will be disturbed that there’s something wrong with the sweet wenslyn picture in their minds, those who will wonder if it had anything to do with them, those who will think less of me because of this.

I don’t want to think about that now. My pride shouldn’t matter.

Friends, please look around you. Be thankful for the good things in your life, yet never let them shatter your other priorities and callings. These things may be undeniably good and noble, but they might still hold misplaced value in your life, or the way you treat them might be wrong. I speak, I write, I weep from experience.

Now, I don’t have answers. I’m still slowly returning to Him. I just hope that this lesson stays with me better after this…and perhaps with those around me.


Waiting maiden said...

Hello! My name is Emily, and I'm a 16-year-old Christian who has been struggling with some very similar things. I just wanted to thank you so much for this post - it sounds so much like me, and I realize just how much I need to conquer some things in my life and ask God's grace and forvigeness. I'm going to do that, and try starting over. Try to be honest with myself and others. Try to conquer my selfish desires.
I know that God will be with you and help you as you endeavor to follow Him.
P.S. I found you on the Rebelution. :D (In case you wanted to know)

charlsie said...

I love you, but God loves you even more.

Atchie Joyce said...

God's GRACE never ceases to AMAZE me. You're a precious daughter of the King. May you experience the piercing of His word as painful but ultimately sweet.