Note from Team LO: We are SO excited to bring you this month’s post from our LO Fam member, Emily! If you want to know more, check out our online community of sisters here!
In Sunday school, when I was young, I learned the Ten Commandments, just as any other church-going child did. Some of you learned them as teenagers or adults, and some may never have learned them at all. Well let me refresh your memory of the first two: “You shall have no other gods before Me,” and “You shall not make idols.” In my mind these have a pretty straightforward meaning- we should only pray to God and not mold gold into statues that we pray to and worship. I always thought these were easy commands to follow, just like “do not murder” or “do not commit adultery.” (As a kid, the more difficult ones to follow were “honor your father and mother” and “do not be jealous,” but that’s another story). Anyways, as I am getting older, I realize that the first two commandments can actually be pretty tough to obey. I mean, I don’t pray to anyone but God, however the whole “idol” thing is an entirely different battle. I have all kinds of idols in my life that I haven’t ever quite realized how much emphasis I put on them until recently.
Things that pull me away from God, things that I want so badly that I convince myself I need them, and things that are of this world are all idols. Perfectionism. Social media. Relationships. Marriage. Work. Exercise. Comparison. Dreams. Television. Internet. Cell phones. These are just a few things in my life that I see taking up so much of my time and thoughts and energy. If I am consumed by all of this, what do I have left for God? A prayer as I’m falling asleep at night? A quick devotion once I’ve checked my phone for text messages or notifications? Not all of these things are bad, when cultivated in a good way, but when one or more of these things takes precedence over our relationship with God, then it becomes a problem.
Let me clarify something here- when I listed marriage as an idol earlier, I didn’t mean my own marriage…I meant I idolize the idea of marriage. I am single right now, but I’ve always dreamed of getting married someday. I think it’s a good dream, and I do really hope it is in God’s plan for me. However I have finally come to the realization that I have put way too much pressure on that dream. I have begun to idolize it in a way that is not healthy. For some reason I seem to think that once I get married everything will be better. I’ll be more whole. I’ll learn to do more things. I’ll always have someone to talk to. I won’t ever feel alone. My relationship with God will be stronger when I have someone to push me closer to Him. I will be CONTENT.
Another huge idol in my life is social media. I constantly am scrolling through Instagram, passing by other peoples’ seemingly perfect lives, wondering why mine isn’t as perfect as theirs. If only I looked like this person, or if only I got as many likes as that person, maybe then I would feel SATISFIED.
But whoa. Hold on a second…
How can another human being satisfy all of those things in me? How can something of this world make me whole and content? How could they make me like myself more then than I do now? How could social media fill the empty void in my heart? The secret is…they can’t. Only Jesus can satisfy me. Only Jesus can make me whole again when I feel broken. Only Jesus can help me find contentment in this world. The hope and promise of getting to see HIM one day is what will get me through this broken world. If I can’t be content with who I am in Christ right now, how on earth do I think I could be with another person? God has to be more than enough for me before I can even think of letting someone else in for the long run of marriage. Only He can complete my heart. That’s how it’s supposed to be. Sure, other people and talents and things can complement us, but only God can complete us. It’s not fair to me, my future husband, God, or anyone else to expect something of this world to fill all of those voids.
It’s impossible for a human being to live up to that task. I have idolized the man that I don’t even know and marriage so much to the point that I think they can fulfill me, and that is not okay. I have idolized people on social media that seem to have it all together to the point where I compare myself to them. If I could do this or that better, I’d be content.
No. We can’t fall back on things of this world. We can’t expect people or things of this world to take His place. He alone is worthy of all of our praise. Nothing and no one can ever come close to Him. He has done amazing things for us…the least we can do is offer Him our hearts and let Him in all the way. We don’t deserve any gift He chooses to give us. He just chooses to do that out of love for us. And even with all the good gifts He gives, He alone satisfies. Everything else is temporary. Everything.
What are you idolizing in your life? What have you let satisfy your heart? Take a step back and ask God to diminish the idol in a way that will put Him back in the number one spot of your heart. Whatever stage of life you’re in, He must always come first, or you won’t end up having room for anything else. Make space for Him and everything else will fall into place.
“My soul finds rest in God alone. My salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation. He is my fortress. I will never be shaken.” Psalm 62:1-2
“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then all these things will be given to you. So do not worry about tomorrow. Let tomorrow worry about itself. Living faithfully is a large enough task for today.” Matthew 6:33-34
Emily is a member of LO Fam and graduated from Malone University in 2018 with a degree in math education. When she am not teaching math, she enjoys Irish dancing, painting, journaling, and hanging out with friends! During the past year, Emily has navigated lots of life changes by learning more about God’s faithfulness and expressing that through writing.
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