When Your Heart’s Desires Become Your Heart Idols

So this the last in the series of recapping the women’s retreat I went to a few weeks ago. There was so much that I got out of it that of course I had to share it. If you haven’t already, feel free to check out my posts on forgiveness, jealousy, and bacon (aka an overview of the retreat).

When you think about idols, usually what comes to mind is some big tall statue or perhaps the golden calf. We joke about what and who we idolize, basically what is the most important things in our lives.

According to Shawn Lantz, the speaker at the retreat, the definition of idolatry is “centering our attention and affection on something or someone other than God himself.” Or basically what has become the most important focus in your life to the point where everything else has taken a backseat and you can’t see clearly anymore.  “I’m blind when I pursue other things that I think will satisfy me.”

She talked about exposing heart idols and gave these as an example

  • Control/Power
  • Comfort/Security
  • Approval/Affirmation

Our idols always demand a sacrifice. Our idols cannot be removed; they must be replaced.

When I look at that list, five out of the six apply to me. I can honestly say that I do not need power. It really is something that has never been tempting to me. I don’t want it. I don’t need to be in the top position because I know all the negative side effects that come with that. Honestly if that was ever granted to me as a superpower, I would turn it down. I do not and never will crave power.

However as for the others? *grimace*

With certain aspects in my life, those five heart idols definitely come into play. Probably because of how my life has been and wheres it’s going, these things are painful to admit at how important they’ve become in my life.

  • Control – I don’t necessarily want to have power, but I would like it when things go according to plan. MY PLAN.
  • Comfort – I don’t like being in situations that make uncomfortable and awkward.
  • Security – I want to know that I’m safe and will be taken care of. I don’t want to feel like I’ve been left alone.
  • Approval – I want to know that you like me and I haven’t made you mad. I don’t want to be a bother.
  • Affirmation – I want to know that you want to be with me because you want to and not because you have to.

While each of these can start off being just simple requests, it’s very easy to see how they can overtake you and especially when you combine a lot of them. You begin thinking, oh if I just get this then everything will become better and I’ll be happy. But the eyes of man are never satisfied and the heart is always longing.

Are there things in my life that I want right now? Yes. Have I placed very high importance levels on them? Yes. Will they completely satisfy all the heart idols’ desires and wants? Nope.

I know for me at least, I’m glad that I recognize that these are issues in my life. I’ve acknowledged them and though it makes me feel vulnerable, I know that by realizing what I need to work on is what is going to help me.

All who make idols are nothing,
    and the things they treasure are worthless.
Those who would speak up for them are blind;
    they are ignorant, to their own shame. (Isaiah 44:9)

“Remember these things, Jacob,
    for you, Israel, are my servant.
I have made you, you are my servant;
    Israel, I will not forget you.
 I have swept away your offenses like a cloud,
    your sins like the morning mist.
Return to me,
    for I have redeemed you.” (Isaiah 44:21-22)

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