If you asked my family to describe me, in their description they would most certainly say, “obsessive”. I definitely have a very obsessive personality. I do not get just a “little” interested in things. If something new sparks my interest or I come across a new hobby, I can think and speak of nothing else. If I want to know more about something, I research that topic night and day.
Some examples . . .
When my husband and I first started dating, he asked if I would go roller blading with him. Now, let me qualify this by saying that I hate roller blading. I have a fear of heights and the fact that my head is an extra two inches off the ground really freaks me out. Crazy, I know. Anyway, before buying the roller blades, I spent two weeks researching them. I can tell you about every different kind of wheel base, bearings, boot types, etc. For two weeks I ate, slept and dreamt about roller blades. Our roller blade date ended with my soon to be hubby wiping blood off my elbows with his shirt. End roller blade obsession.
The list goes on and on. The flute that I had to get that-very-day, baby-wearing, spinning, knitting, weaving, any Apple product and don’t even get me started on genealogy. The research on that one never, ever ends.
If I am honest with myself, though, all of these things become idols in my life. None of the above things are bad. In their proper place they can be very good. It is when they are placed in the center of my life, the place where only El Kanna or Jealous God should be, that they become a problem.
It is when I put all of my thought, all of my time, all of my effort, all of my money into something other than El Kanna that it becomes an idol in my life. When my identity becomes that of “knitter” or “runner” or “babywearer” or anything other than “child of God”, I have stepped out of God’s will for my life.
I once had a goal and dream that I spent seven years of my life pouring all of my heart and soul into. I was so single-minded that I could not imagine anything other than achieving that dream. In hindsight, I can see that it had become my god and that even my prayers were directed towards it.
In the end, my dream did not come true and I was completely crushed. I was angry at God. I knew that He had the power to give me what I wanted and He choose not to do so. In hindsight, I can see that El Kanna was jealous for me and was not willing to give me something that would take me away from Him.
I heard a great analogy once that goes like this: Can you imagine being married to someone who didn’t mind if you dated other people? Most of us would be hurt and would doubt our spouse’s own fidelity and love for us. Scripture speaks of God’s jealousy in terms of being like a husband’s for his wife when he finds out that she has been unfaithful.
How do we identify the idols in our lives? Ask yourself these questions:
Do I spend all of my time, energy and resources on something that God created, at the expense of my time with God and my family?
Is my identity wrapped up in something other than being a child of God?
Do I get more joy, comfort and peace from the created than the Creator?
Does this thing draw me closer to God or take me further away?
Other things that can become idols . . . cars, alcohol, sex, drugs, houses, boyfriends and girlfriends, even our own children.
Someone once told me if you want to see what you worship, look at what you have on the back of your car. If that is true, I worship a cartoon mouse and a little orphan girl who lost her shoe.
Once we have identified our idols, we need to go to El Kanna in prayer and ask him to help us lay them down and learn to worship Him alone. We need to change our habits and our focus to be completely on Him. Instead of being a “knitter”, I am a Christian who happens to enjoy knitting.
I have experienced the pain and heart break of having God rip my idol out of my life. I don’t want to make the same mistake twice, but I know that this is something that I will have to be constantly on the look out for in my life.
I would much rather willingly hand them over than have them burned up in the fire of El Kanna.