June 27, 2010

I Confess: To Bowing Down to Other Gods

Chilling title, huh? 

I have tossed around writing this post for quite some time but I always know that when I write it...I am accountable to it.  I have a post started back in December titled Wife Confessions and I cannot finish it because it is so painful to realize the many things I do are not so "Proverbs 31ey and wifey." )or is it wifely?  Are either a word?)

Now I want to explain my wording.  I have found that I make light of the word IDOL. I mean, it sounds meaningless to me after learning to speak churchese for the last 13 years of walking with Christ.  Don't bow down to idols.  OK.  Like what?  Statues? Altars with pictures of the hottie from two doors down all over them?  The entrance to Neiman Marcus? What is an idol?  A television show where people sing?

Ahhh...but when I just tweak the semantics of this entrapping sin and call those same idols...GODS.  Whoa.

The term is then NOT lost in translation.  Nope.  It is pretty clear what an idol is and I am seeing them creep up in my life faster than I can gain victory over even one.  I just gather them in like berries in a basket.  And eat them.  One by one by one.  Then the basket becomes empty so I fill it again but with more.  So I can eat more and still have some left over.  Are you getting the picture?

And the other problem is that they seem innocent at first.  Harmless. Let me list some for you and maybe you can relate...

Food.  Ya gotta eat, right?  A basic need.  Of course. Ah yes but food can become my friend.  My "go to" for comfort and endorphin release. NOT to my GREAT COUNSELOR.  Food that only induces guilt and worthlessness.  Never conviction that prompts me to action and repentance.
Buying...anything. I jokingly call shopping my retail therapy but I think it grows into an unhealthy thing.  I can not explain to you what glee I have in buying just a little something.  I rejoice over a cute grocery list pad! New sponges bring me indescribable joy.  And bananas!  If I have bananas in the house I feel complete.  I am so strange.  But then we go in to the land of indulgence when I need to buy a new outfit for bible study because I fear recycling an outfit or shirt within the 8 week study.  Or I need a new bag because the one I am using is not seasonally to date.  Most assuredly, it becomes an idol when I feel that familiar discontent that is truly...coveting.
Media and Techy things.  I say this because this blankets a lot of things for lots of people.  Personally, I don't do facebook because I go to confirm a friend and some unseen force pulls me in to people's photo albums and I have no idea who they are but I am on photo 32 before I realize I am a modern day peeping tom.  Or as we say today...I am an active participant in this trend of voyeurism. 
I have a cell phone but can only dial a number and text.  
I don't have cable buuuuuuuut...hulu is a devious thing.  Hubbie and I used to read in bed and fell asleep at a nice 11:30pm.  Now the stupid LOST series has us up until 2 am and there is no stopping our need to see it to its completion.  It disgusts me.  Yet I will do it again tonight.  Because...I CAN!

These are only 3 of the many but I can honestly tell you that they are all consuming.  The funny thing is...the alternatives to all 3 become sin for me too.  This is a great tool of the enemy and I marvel at the subtlety. 

For example.  When I finally get off my rump and consistently run again, I will very possibly grow obsessed.  Again.  I will drive myself to run faster.  Run farther.  And I will calculate my pounds lost.  How many more to go.  Count every calorie.  And think about it every waking minute thereby increasing my waking minutes because I am...obsessed.
Or when I shut  the TV off and pick up a book.  I love to read.  Love it and prefer it to television.  But I will read a book in its entirety in a day or two.  And pick up another.  And if I am reading a particular author, I need to read EVERY book written by that author.  And I will do this at the expense of my kids and my husband who needs my attention. Because I am running the race to finish the book.  And when I finish I am sad too.  I need therapy.

Or when I save money and try not to spend money, I am discontent. 

In a nutshell, ANYTHING can become a God.  And I know why this is the case for me.

Because God is not my God.  At least not right now.  He is not my hope, not my comfort, not my shelter in time of need.  He is not my counselor, my living water, the lover of my soul.  He is not my heavenly daddy, my provider, my deliverer.

Because I am.  And I suck at it.

I tell you this because there are days that I have intentionally gone to delete this blog and not care what anyone thinks of me anymore.  I grow tired of not hearing from people, losing followers, or  wondering if people like what I have to say.  There are days I wished I was back to 3 followers and no expectations.  Just me.  Writing when I felt like it and posting crafts whenever I wanted to.  Now I feel like it is a burden.

Then I stop.  And realize another GOD has emerged.  One that I attempt to bless and cultivate rather than let God do all the work.  So now I am going to do just that.  I am going to let God be the head of this blog and not me.  And I am so excited to find out what it will look like.

In the meantime, are any of you wondering what gods are in your life that you don't want there?  Because I can tell you that there are far more for me than I even listed.  And I am here to say that I am going to have VICTORY and God will get all the Glory.  

I am tired of competing with Him for Glory. Because it is what I am doing.  I want praise.  recognition.  Attention.  Fame.

You know what I used to want?  To meet people.  Make friends.  Share Christ's love.  Influence women for God.  Be the best mom I can be. To be REAL AND TRANSPARENT was my passion!  What happened?  

I simply let other god's rule me.  And even as I write I fear no one will relate, no one will care about this inner battle I am putting out there for all to see.  But God cares and He sees my heart.  And I pray it encourages one of yours. I need to get real again.  And just be who God wants me to be in life and even in this blog. 

God,  please bless this post and use it for your glory.  Not mine.

19 comments:

  1. So many of us feel the same way. It's a constant battle and like you said, it comes in a subtle way. It's that constant looking and evaluating that helps us keep focused on what God called us to do. Because even when we are doing something He called us to do, we can still lose the original purpose. As for the followers issue, just delete the followers box and see it it can be removed from the page you sign into. Then it doesn't matter. I've been very tempted to do that myself.......

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  2. I think many of us have the struggle you have described, but either don't realize it or aren't brave enough to put it out there. But you have encouraged me and made me mindful of my actions, so thank you! xoxo!

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  3. Oh Jess- you go girl. This is the you I love. You have put it all out there and now you are accountable. Many don't want to see this stuff about themself and will be turned off and act as if they can't relate, wanting to remain blissfully ignorant so they can continue to live just as you described so don't be surprised if people are turned off by your confessions. Remember that Jesus turned them off too!
    Xo
    Jennifer n

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  4. Wow, that was amazing and so honest of you. We all struggle with this, but for you to listen and actually put it out "here" is not only a cleansing for you, but a wake-up reminder for all of us. Thank you for sharing your heart!

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  5. Big Sigh..Why do we have to be a work in progress? Sometimes it just exhausts me. The battle, the fight. But alas I realize I am not putting God first in my own life, which makes everything else a lot harder. Maybe not in the instant but in the long run. I love this post. It makes me sad that our flesh screams over our desire to serve and love God. And I think it's great that you put this out there. I know we're not the only ones. And I know the Lord will bless a number of women with your post and your honesty. Love you! BFF

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  6. I'm with you Jess. Thanks for this post and for being real.

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  7. I love stuff like this. This is real. This is an issue with every one of us. It shouldn't stop here though. What are we going to do about it?

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  8. very thoughtful. I am contemplating all this. Life is a balance. I was reading a really good book the other day while the girls were swimming and they kept interrupting me to say mom look! and I was getting irritated, and then I felt really guilty for even reading in the first place, when I should have been watching my girls. ok, hubby was in the pool so not a safety issue just an interested mommy issue. and I feel guilty even being on the computer right now, where does the guilt end? I am at times toooo guilt ridden, whether it's not sounding chipper enough on the phone (guilt) or making frozen pizza (guilt) cuz it's unhealthy, even though I serve veggies too. and that kind of guilt is not right, but I cannot seem to come out from under it. I have no idea how to find balance. wish I could help you. and now I feel guilty that this may be to depressing and may bring you down. but I'm going to post it anyway cuz you love real.

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  9. I am very much like you, in that I can take one seemingly innocuous idea...and become so obsessed it becomes idolatrous. I guess, reading previous comments, we're all like that. In the case of my blog (my most recent obsession), I started it to remember things about my children and to possibly help other mommies, but the more I write, the more I feel compelled to write. And not really in a good way. Like I want my children to go away for a little while, so I can write about them. (Is that sick, or what?!) I have been thinking about this lately too, and the only answer I have come up with (for myself), is prayer. I pray that God will help me stay focused on him and doing his work. Being there (physicaly & mentally) for my children & husband is my most important job, but helping others, while a distant second, is also important. One day, I'll probably stop with this blogging thing, but right now, I feel like it is part of God's work. Wow - I feel like I'm just talking non-stop here. I am excited to see where your blog goes and I really appreciate your posting this. It's a good reminder to us all.

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  10. Yes! I can so relate. Then I wonder when my days are in shambles....WHY? It's because I don't start my day with HIM, but with FB, email, t.v., but not with HIM. Thank you for keeping it real and saying the things we are afraid to say out loud. I love you girl!!

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  11. Hi there--
    I've only recently started reading your blog, so I may be out of line...I should also make the disclaimer that I am not a "Christian" in the 2010-American-style sense of the word, though I do believe in God.

    I think it is good to be introspective, to try to improve oneself, to examine yourself, your faith, your relationship with God.

    But....

    I think you are being a little hard on yourself. ??

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  12. Hi Beautiful, Jess!!

    THANK YOU for sharing your heart with all of us! I am RIGHT there with you! All of the above! I don't want any of it and realize that,just like you, in all the obsessing and passion going towards the pleasure items that seem to be for "relationship and connecting" that is what is becoming my God...not being able to rest in "Discipline" it's a life long struggle that we need each other to be blessing us with "Bearing each other's burdens and Speak Truth one to another"...our truth...our lives...being transparent and knowing that we are NOT ALONE! But that we DO have a GOD who LOVES US and seeks to have us TURN FULLY in His direction for Him to fill...and He knows our every struggle and our HEART's DESIRE to have all this "Idolatry" funneled TO and FOR HIM!!! IMAGINE what THAT would look like! TRULY!!! I am headed in that direction! That is my heart I lay full before Him every few days...when I see the creeping up of all those pulls...

    Jess, thanks...thanks for reading MY STRUGGLES and laying them out for others! I pray I was a blessing to YOU today and that you know Jesus WAS glorified in this post BIG TIME!!! == )

    Much love ~
    Cheryl

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  13. Very real. Very honest.
    This is all of us. Idols are sneaky and can change every day. Where do we draw the line between things that we need (such as me-time) to be better wives/moms/friends and things that we do that are a detriment to others/ourself? It's an issue of heart condition.
    Thanks for sharing your struggles.

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  14. I'm gonna go ahead and say you are not alone. And, it looks like there are more than the two of us in the room! I totally relate to getting a good book and then reading every book by the author and starting a new tv series (new to me) and watching EVERY SINGLE EPISODE as fast as possible. To the detriment of everything else. Even when my focus is something "noble" like getting/keeping my house clean (last year lol), or the art auction earlier this year, I obsess until everything else in my life is pushed away. If you ever figure out how to fix it, let me know, ok? : )

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  15. Don't ever doubt how important your blog is, Jess. I have told you before that God has used your words to tell me just what I needed to hear and I know I am not alone. You are in my prayers.

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  16. Why is it that you have the ability to speak right to my soul? I am the anonymous non-believer commenter from the “Exposing the Truth” post back in April. I feel so connected to you in ways that I cannot explain. And you have no idea that I even exist. Is that weird or what?  I think that you are so brave to be able to look at your insides and share those feelings with others. That is what I find amazing about you.

    Obviously, not being a person of Christian faith, this post means something different to me in the way I view my world. So often those “things” get in the way of me being able to listen to my own heart and what is important to me. All of the outside stuff keeps me from focusing on the inside. I struggle with food on a daily (hourly) basis. I get caught up in consumerism. I become obsessed with the computer, books, and even TV. I focus my attention on that outside crap when really the number one priorities in my life are my family. I do things for others because I try to be a good person, but also I like the praise. There is some selfishness and sickness in it.

    If I want to get real honest, I have some of that voyeurism thing going on, too. I have a couple of FB friends that I have realized I do not share a common interest with any longer. Our time as friends has passed, yet I still check their status updates out of some sick curiosity. I like to see the drama and feel like I am powerful because I am “in the know.”

    I am inspired by you repeatedly to look within myself. I appreciate that you are there in blogland. I hope that you can KNOW that you are making a difference to strangers… ones you may not even know are looking… and anonymous and undisclosed ones as well. You may not always know it, but your heartfelt posts are being created for a purpose bigger than yourself. And the crafts, well, they are just gravy!

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  17. Well, Jess......well. I don't want to comment on this post. I don't want to say I understand every stinking word of it. I don't want to admit my compulsive nature or my lack of faith or my laziness in walking it out. I just don't.

    But, once again, we seem to be sharing the same brain. I am just so sad with me. Things have to change. But how? That is always the question. I already know the answer....

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  18. I congratulate you for writing this post. I have battled with the same exact thing since the first day I started my blog. I cant wait to see what he does with this for you and yours either! Way to go!

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  19. I could have wrote this myself... in fact your whole blog just appeals to me because we have a lot in common... thanks for sharing- I am glad to know that I am not the only one struggling with this area...

    -Rachel

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I love, love, love, comments and I read every one! Please keep in mind that I sometimes moderate each one so it may take a bit before it appears on the post. Thanks my sweet friends!