“Therefore I repeat that the chief explanation of this point is that to have a god is to have something in which the heart entirely trusts… Thus it is with all idolatry; for it consists not merely in erecting an image and worshiping it, but rather in the heart, which stands gaping at something else, and seeks help and consolation from creatures, saints, or devils, and neither cares for God, nor looks to Him for so much good as to believe that He is willing to help, neither believes that whatever good it experiences comes from God. Ask and examine your heart diligently, and you will find whether it cleaves to God alone or not. If you have a heart that can expect of Him nothing but what is good, especially in want and distress, and that, moreover, renounces and forsakes everything that is not God, then you have the only true God. If, on the contrary, it cleaves to anything else, of which it expects more good and help than of God, and does not take refuge in Him, but in adversity flees from Him, then you have an idol, another god.” ~Martin Luther
God has been speaking to me about idolatry recently through friends, blogs, and sermons: you know, magnifying other things instead of Him. (And by magnifying, I mean the act of making other things bigger, more important than Him and what He wants). And the question has been posed several times: what are my idols? What am I trusting other than God? What do I believe is better than God or that will take better care of me than God will?
My biggest idols today are related to my job search. My job search is an idol in and of itself. I spend more time applying to jobs than I do on any other activity, and even when I’m doing other things, looking for jobs is constantly on my mind. A job is a good thing, and since I’m only able to work part-time right now, looking for a job is a good thing, but neither the job nor the search for it are everything. So I have to dig deeper: why is looking for a job so important? Well, I’m twenty-four, have been graduated from college for two years, and I struggle even paying my bills. I feel like a failure, and I know there are people besides me who think I’m a failure as well. I don’t want to be a failure, or dependent on anyone else for what I need. I want to be independent. (Whomp, there it is). After all, people who can take care of themselves are way more respected in our culture.
Relocating to Seattle is an idol. I mean, I really love the idea of Seattle. I spend a lot of time thinking about where I’ll go to church, where I’ll live, what activities I’ll do when I get there. Provided God opens the doors first, of course. A few months ago someone asked me why I couldn’t do the things I want to do in Seattle here. It’s true: I can pursue an M.F.A. in creative writing here, I can reach artists here, I can minister here, I can do outreach here. Anything I can do there, I can do here. I do believe I’ve been given a vision for Seattle, but that vision has grown clouded since August with my timing and my assumptions about how things should go. Plus, there’s this part of me that knows if I move to Seattle, I’ll finally be independent: making my own decisions, not having to worry too much about what people think. (There it is again).
In both of these things, my desire to control, to make things happen is telling of my mistrust of God. I’m worried He might not have a full-time job for me, and that I’m in this job search thing alone. Also, I worry about how humbling my circumstances are going to get before He provides. I’m worried that I might miss out on something great if I don’t move to Seattle.
As if God is in the business of withholding good things from His children.
I have a lot to learn. A lot needs to change, especially in my independent spirit and my struggle with believing God has the very best for me. I am a work in progress.