4 Ways to Know You Have an Idol in Your Life

14305256_1737031053206700_2219233568440604115_oConfession time: I’ve had an idol or two in my day.

I’ve been reading in Isaiah the last several days and there is a constant theme of idols in the lives of God’s people. Perhaps, you think you can’t relate; it’s not like you’re carrying around a golden calf in your pocket. Or are you?

Many years ago, I was a working mom with a strong desire to stay home with my children. And, by strong, I mean a cry every Sunday night, stalk every stay at home mom on Facebook, imagine all the ways my children were going to suffer because I worked desire.

Then, after ten years of patient waiting, calm petitions, weeping and wailing, God granted my request. Here’s the thing, I love being home. In many ways, it’s everything I hoped. But, y’all, it comes with a whole different set of issues. It wasn’t the be all – end all that I believed.

Fast forward a couple years. I’d been blogging and writing my little heart out with my eye on the prize – my own book. It seemed like everybody and their mama had a book deal and I wanted it something awful. When someone chose to take a chance on me and offer me that opportunity, I was certain it was going be awesome in every way.

And it was. For a while.

All it took, for that idol to begin to crumble, was one person leaving a mediocre review. Not a bad one, mind you. Just meh. Some random somebody left a review that they really enjoyed the book, that it was a great addition to their morning Bible study, and the person gave it…2 Stars. In my flesh, I was offended. Seriously, what did they want it to do for them? Make their morning coffee as well?

Here’s the scary part; in the moment, I didn’t realize these things were idols. So, as I was reading through Isaiah, I began looking for idol signs – things that would be warnings for those of us who wish to avoid the pitfalls of idol worship.

FOUR WAYS TO KNOW YOU HAVE AN IDOL IN YOUR LIFE

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You are loved. ❤

Keep Your Hands and Feet inside the Ride at all Times

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I almost died last week. You might think that is an exaggeration but that’s only because you did not see the ring of death that I rode at the local Strawberry Festival. I don’t know if rides have gotten scarier or if I’ve just gotten older (okay, fine, I do know!), but there is no reason for an almost forty-year-old woman to be dangling upside down for a sweet forever.

My brother has always had this theory that you shouldn’t ride anything that can be put up and taken down in less than twenty-four hours. I used to think that was just fear speaking but, perhaps, it was wisdom at an early age. After all, as I was standing in line for the tilt-a-whirl, I did see the two workers have a pow wow in the corner. Then, one reached behind a curtain and pulled out a small bag of parts and proceeded to crawl under the ride. Were these the parts they had forgotten to put on? The “spares”, perhaps? Were they replacements for the parts that come off on the regular?

What would make a normally rational woman ride the ring of death fire? In my case, it was a little boy who rides the bus to our church on Wednesday nights. He came up to me as I was working a booth and begged me to ride this particular ride with him. He continued to check on me every thirty minutes to make sure I had not forgotten. So, at 6:00, I walked to my doom and rode the ride.

For the rest of the weekend, every time he saw me, he smiled and gave me a thumbs up. He would yell over the noise of the rides and crowd, “You did it!” He’s right; I did it. But, I’ll tell you, it was frightening and uncomfortable.

God often calls us to frightening and uncomfortable scenarios. If you commit yourself to following Him, you may just find yourself hanging upside down trying not to embarrass yourself by begging the workers to stop the ride when all you wanted was a funnel cake.

The Strawberry Festival draws you in with the cotton candy and bright lights. You’ve already bought the armband and gotten on the ride before you realize the cost. Christ, on the other hand, is quite upfront.

Pick up your cross.

The world will hate you like it hated me.

Everyone who wants to live a godly life will be persecuted.

You can never say that you weren’t warned. But, one day, when it’s all said and done, we will lay eyes on Jesus Himself. On that day, over the noise of the angels singing and trumpets blasting, He will yell, “You did it!” And you can know that, yes, it was often frightening and uncomfortable, but you did it.

Just hold on tight and enjoy the ride.

 

 

Broken Things

I drank from the very same coffee cup for over ten years. It went with me everywhere. Everyone in the house knew not to put it in the dishwasher because it had to be always at the ready.

I will readily admit that I was probably overly attached to an inanimate object. But it had been with me through ten years of life.

A miscarriage.

A painful place of ministry.

A near death experience.

Moving.

Moving.

And moving again.

Broken relationships.

Betrayal.

Goodbyes and missteps.

Just plain life.

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That cup had been through it all with me and it had a thousand tiny cracks to prove it.

All of the cracks were on the inside; on the outside, the cup appeared fine. So, we just continued on – my coffee mug and me.

Then, the other day, I went to place the mug on the Keurig and I placed it just the slightest bit off the platform. In an instant, the cup fell over, hit the counter and, just like that, my friend was gone.

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It was a break that had been a long time coming. It was not completely unexpected and, yet, was somehow a surprise all the same. It was the final letting go of many things. I had been holding onto hurt feelings and old wounds just as tightly as I had that mug. The person who gave it to me was no longer in my life and her absence was evident with each refilling of the cup.

Oh, but friend, brokenness is never the end of the story. Just two days later, I walked into church and there was a gift bag on my pew. In the bag was one of the most beautiful gifts imaginable.

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A sweet lady saw that something was broken and she cared enough to restore it. She didn’t have to know the history of the mug or the cause of the countless cracks.

All too often, we fear brokenness. We try to keep our distance from broken people. We attempt, at all costs, to remain unbroken ourselves.

Thankfully, there are people brave enough to engage the broken. To come alongside and restore what they can. To show us that there are fresh starts and new beginnings.

Now, when I take that first sip of morning coffee, I see beauty where there was once brokenness. I see restoration where there was once loss. And I am reminded that, in Christ, all things are made new.

Be brave enough, sweet ones, to engage the broken. You don’t have to know the cause of all the cracks. You may never know the storms that another woman has weathered. But the smallest act of kindness on your part can be the reason another woman makes it through another day.

You are so very loved.

Are You Living Devoted or Distracted?

It’s the middle of February and I’m still working my Read through the Bible in a Year plan. I just entered Leviticus which, in all honesty, is usually when I tap out. This time, however, something in the very first chapter caught my attention.

The beginning of Leviticus is all about the offerings – and God was very specific as to how it should be done.

Is your burnt offering a sheep or a goat?

It must be a male. Without blemish. It must be killed on the north side of the altar. The blood must be thrown against the sides of the altar. It must be cut into pieces with the head and the fat placed on the fire. But the entrails and the legs? Those get washed with water.

Then, if your offering is a bird? Well, there’s a whole different set of instructions for that.

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I have to tell you. I have made corn casserole approximately 12, 657 times and I still have to pull the recipe out when I make it. There are only four ingredients. I just can’t remember the details. Not to mention, I will most likely stop several times to settle an argument, get somebody a snack, change a diaper and, in some instances, completely forget that I was making a corn casserole to begin with.

Can you imagine someone like me trying to make the offering exactly as required? The north side of the altar alone would throw me for a loop. The word north means nothing to me. I need a landmark, people.

These people had to be completely devoted to what they were doing. There was no room for distractions. You get caught up in someone’s conversation or what kind of offering someone else is making and there would be dire consequences. Talk to Uzzah about what happens when you attempt to go about God’s business while distracted (2 Samuel 6:6-7.) Oh, wait. You can’t ask him because God struck him dead!

Whatever we do, we are to do it as unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23.) We are to live devoted lives and not distracted ones. Just ask my children what happens when mama is distracted while making their breakfast. They will tell you that cumin toast is totally not the same thing as cinnamon toast.

Think about the things you’ve done this week or have planned for the days ahead. Do they serve to strengthen your devotion to Christ or are they distractions?

You are loved. ❤

Ten Tips for Navigating Motherhood

13226801_1107791052625520_6856197906297404978_nI found myself sitting in the bathroom eating a candy bar last night. I had the shower running to give the illusion that I was doing something productive. I know that some of you just cringed at the thought of eating in the bathroom. I regret to inform you I just don’t care about stuff like that. I also don’t care if the McRib is made out of real meat or if my children are wearing matching socks. I do, however, care that Toby from This is Us is not really overweight. I feel lied to now that I know he’s wearing a “fat suit.”

I just choose to not get worked up over certain issues. As I sat there alone with my Almond Joy, I was thinking about a conversation we had in Sunday School on the humility of Christ. How was He able to not get worked up all the time and to maintain humility when the people treated Him so poorly? Here’s what I think. Jesus was completely confident in who He was as God and in His ability to do what God had sent Him to do. It didn’t matter if the people mocked, questioned or refused to believe. He knew He was God.

People who are confident in who God created them to be and the task God has given them to do can be humble. They don’t have to be the loudest voice in the room. They don’t feel the need to air all of their thoughts on all the things. Humble people hear other people. They are not threatened by the opinions of others. So, when that mom sees your photo on Instagram and is all, “I can’t believe she doesn’t

roses1have her child rear-facing; he’s only thirteen,” you can smile and move on with your life.

I’m about to tell you something that will set. you. free. You don’t have to attend every argument to which you’re invited. You can humbly decline the invitation when you are confident in your God-given mothering instincts and abilities. 

You can handle this mothering gig, my friends.

You are loved. ❤

 

 

Ten Tips for Navigating Motherhood

  1. Have a heart that is humble.

  2. Have a faith that is firm.

  3. Be careful with criticism.

  4. Choose the Word over the world.

  5. Have a character that is kind.

  6. Let go of guilt.

  7. Embrace grace.

  8. Follow Christ – not the crowd.

  9. Be more concerned with authenticity than appearances.

  10. A side of yogurt makes any meal healthy.