Hi Friends. This post is a struggle and a bit vulnerable. If you aren’t a Christian, I’m so glad you are reading my words but please know that it might not make sense culturally and I hope you can still take something from it. If not, just keep scrolling. If you are a Christian, I only ask for grace.
I’ve been reading through Counterfeit Gods by Tim Keller this month. I’ve made it through chapter 1 so this will be a completely comprehensive post about it. He says:
“When anything in life is an absolute requirement for your happiness and self-worth, it is essentially an ‘idol,’ something you are actually worshiping. When such a thing is threatened, your anger is absolute. Your anger is actually the way the idol keeps you in its service, in its chains. Therefore if you find that, despite all the efforts to forgive, your anger and bitterness cannot subside, you may need to look deeper and ask, ‘What am I defending? What is so important that I cannot live without?’
As I’ve been reading, the issues of control and security in my heart seem to be sticking a somewhat ugly head out. How many times have I been angry because of what didn’t work out as it should? Because the house is a disaster? When the kids don’t like my super fun plan for the day? Or when I can’t control my opinionated daughter/calm a toddler mid tantrum/ get the baby to sleep exactly when I want?
The very fact that 1. it makes me angry and 2. my happiness is dependent on it shows me a lot.
I had been thinking through this post a lot and how recognizing those two ‘idols’ have made it so much easier to depend on God to meet my needs. How it’s made my day-to-day easier and more joyful when I’m not depending so much on my circumstances.
I thought what a great, encouraging post. It isn’t snarky or rude or short. It’s not my go-to advice of “it sucks, sorry.” It’s not overly vulnerable and tosses people to a really good book if they want to know more.
I had a few more quotes, a nice little wrap-up, and a picture.
Check and Check.
Lauren is awesome.
All it took was an email with a foster care related schedule change and something with just enough of a safety concern to send me spiraling this evening. My heart racing. Anger at something that should’ve been scheduled months ago. Fear that something will go amiss. Sadness that we don’t have this situation figured out quite yet. Denying that it’s going to happen. Wanting so desperately to get out of it somehow but also knowing just how important it is. Feeling completely frustrated that my morning tomorrow is gone. F*$%.
“Something is safe for us to maintain in our lives only if it has really stopped being an idol. That can happen only when we are truly willing to live without it, when we truly say from the heart: ‘Because I have God, I can live without you.'”
Oh man, you guys. How often have we said we can’t do something because we feel like it’s too hard. I almost said no to this whole extravaganza. With the premise being healthy boundaries. Funny how we can use that one if we want.
How often have we thought that the world would end if we lost (insert husband, kids, house, etc). What Tim Keller is saying here is not to be taken lightly- those words change everything. Can I live without…. because I have God?
“When an idol gets a grip on your heart, it spins out a whole set of false definitions of success and failure and happiness and sadness. It redefines reality in terms of itself.”
If I know that God wants me to love my neighbor (Mark 12:31) and to invite the poor and cripple and blind and lame into my home (Luke 14) and that his grace is sufficient for all the muck (2 Corinthians 12:9), it should, in effect give me some peace about tomorrow.
But I’m not sure I’m willing to truly be comfortable tomorrow without my idea of control or my idea of safety and security.
Losing those two things still make me angry and frustrated. No matter how amazingly awesome Tim Keller puts it.
Which is why I’m going to keep reading, praying and processing and get back to you.
False Definitions of success and failure, of happiness and sadness.
Whew. How’s that for a wrap-up?
(insert cute puppy pic)