Friday, August 12, 2011

An Idol Exposed

The past couple of weeks have been particularly challenging for me and although I could say that about the last year, I think what I am feeling are the effects of "cumulative challenge".  Difficult situations that I find myself in the middle of and overwhelming circumstances all around me seem non stop these days.

As hard as I try to control what's happening and "minimize" the collateral damage, it is of no avail.  Maybe you have experienced this seemingly relentless "pressure" - a constant weight exerted upon your very soul?  I confess that every part of me wants to resist it, every part of me wants it to just be over, every part of me just wants an escape!

My reaction to unrelenting difficulties has for the very first time in my life caused me to seriously examine exactly what is going on.  Everyone experiences difficulty and challenge, and all of us (at some point in our lives) find that things are not going the way we had planned.  All of this "turmoil" has caused me to seek some wise council and ask one simple question: "What is the idol I'm clinging to?"  "What is it that is causing me to respond the way I do in seemingly impossible situations and circumstances?"  This "idol" otherwise known as the thing I am trusting in more than God, has so consumed me that I find I experience less hope, less joy and less contentment in the midst of struggle.

A couple of very good friends have helped me to see where my reliance falls.  We need each other to see things we don't have the perspective or clarity to see.   Although my list of "precious" (for all you Lord of the Rings fans :) substitutes for God is long, one friend was able to so isolate a huge idol of mine with the precision of a surgeon!  It is control!

a : to exercise restraining or directing influence over : regulate
b : to have power over : rule
c : to reduce the incidence or severity of, especially to innocuous levels

While each of the definitions above would be bad, put them all together and it's pretty ugly.  Rule, have power over, restrain!  And, if I'm not wanting to rule I am at the very least desiring to minimize or reduce collateral damage as I mentioned before.  Keep it contained, not out of control - I like tidy and neat!

Before there is a cure there must be a diagnosis.  Before the Surgeon picks up His scalpel there must be a reason for the surgery.  I am praying for the death of the desire to control that lies very deep within my heart.  Its' many many layers have yet to be uncovered.  I'm thankful for friends who have not shied away - neither from honesty and neither from love. As God in his mercy has intervened I see a bit more clearly the only cure.

This idol must be put to death!  It will not go without a fight, it is an invasive ruthless opponent.  It appears as the most attractive option in the moment, but offers emptiness and futility instead.  

That's what idols do - appear beautiful and fulfilling.  But they are merely an inadequate substitute for God.  Christ is the only one deserving of that position in my life. He alone is the Beautiful One.

When I go searching for acceptance, love, and praise of man through my efforts to control everything and everyone around me, I need to remember that in Christ, God has already given me all the love, all the acceptance, and all the approval I will ever need or want.  Christ alone is my sufficiency - I don't need to be in control.  He who died for me is in complete control.  I am free to give up!


  1. Wow. Great post. That idol of control is one that I wrestle with as well. Thanks for sharing this!

  2. Thank you Luann! Good to know I'm not alone with this one. Learning to let go is very scary...but very freeing! It is a day by day "preaching the gospel to myself". Thanks for stopping by :)