Idolatry

If I had to pick one topic in Christianity that pumps me up the most, it would hands down be idolatry. I’ve read every book and listened to every sermon I can find on this topic and it still blows my mind EVERY SINGLE TIME. Idolatry explains every and all sins and is applicable to each and every one of us in our day to day lives. And if you’re not exactly sure what idolatry is, here’s my quick and easy definition:

Idolatry: worshiping something other than God, putting something above God

I contribute all of my knowledge on this topic to Kyle Idleman and his book, Gods at War. If you have not read this book, read it. And if you need a copy, hit yo gurl up. That is if you don’t mind that every page is highlighted and has a million notes on it 🙂

So I don’t remember exactly who put it this way (probably Idleman) but it all comes down to this:

Idolatry is not sin, it is the ROOT OF ALL sins. Idolatry is not AN issue, it is THE issue.

Let me explain: every sin comes back to putting something above God. I mean, think about it. If you’re:

  • cheating on your significant other, lust is your idol.
  • a workaholic, work is your idol. Success is your idol. Achievement is your idol.
  • struggling with an eating disorder, ED (your eating disorder voice) is your idol. Appearance is your idol. Beauty is your idol. (And yes, this is my personal example.)

Make sense? Everything comes back to worshiping something other than God, whether that be yourself or an idol of this world. And given the world we live in, it’s hard not to fall under the temptation of the idols we are exposed to today.

I was watching a CCV sermon the other day and they asked some good questions for those of you who might not know what your idol(s) is. If that’s the case, listen up:

  • What do you spend most of your time doing?
  • What do you spend most of your time thinking about?
  • What do you spend your money on?
  • What keeps you from getting closer with God? From going to church?
  • What area of your life do you feel like you need to control?

If you spend most of your time working out, maybe appearance is a God for you. If you can’t make it to church because you’re too busy watching or playing sports, maybe athletics is a God for you. If you freak out when you don’t get all A’s, maybe perfectionism is a God for you. There’s a multitude of other things than can become Gods and here’s the part to keep in mind:

These things usually start off as good things, but GOOD things can easily turn into GOD things.

Let’s take grades, for example. Wanting to get good grades is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s an excellent thing. But if your grades are controlling your life and you view them as an indication of your worth, that’s where the issue is. That’s when you know a good thing has turned into a God thing.

Now here’s a toughie: relationships. Relationships are good, relationships are healthy. We are meant for connection. But a relationship with a person should never come before a relationship with God. Ask yourself: are you more concerned about spending time with _________ or spending time with God? Are you more worried about the approval of others or the approval of God? If someone is straying you away from God, is that relationship really worth it?

When it comes down to it, we were CREATED to live a life with God as our #1. That’s why life starts to get messy when we start living life differently. And I get it, I really do. Life is busy and there’s so many things vying for our time and attention, but remember WHO created you and WHY He created you: to serve Him.

Regardless of whatever idol you might find yourself a slave to, we’re all searching for the same thing: love, fulfillment, acceptance. But here’s the catch:

We’re searching for THINGS to fill that void when GOD is the only one who can.

A “perfect” body? Good grades? A high income? Not gonna do it. It’s deeper than that, it requires something greater than that. It requires Jesus.

And don’t get me wrong, I’m still working on this myself. I still struggle every day with the gods of this world. I constantly have to remind myself that in order to have God first in my life, I must die to myself. I must keep God on His throne. I must remember that:

  • NOTHING is more important than God
  • I am loved and valuable REGARDLESS of my appearance or achievements
  • If I’m spending too much time thinking or doing something, it may be a god for me

This is not something to be ashamed of. You must address and confront your gods before you can tackle them. This was KEY in my own recovery. Once I realized it was a spiritual battle, the game completely changed.

And please know this: you are not alone when it comes to this. We ALL have gods. Some just look different than others. Some are more hidden than others. But maybe the most hidden ones are the deepest ones? Maybe the people who seem to have it all together are the ones who are struggling the most? You never know what someone is going through. You never know what gods they are falling victim to.

That is why we must constantly be aware of the gods that are trying to attack us. We live in a world of spiritual warfare, a fallen world where we so easily get tempted and teased by sins every day. They sneak in and present themselves as good things and before we know it, they’re God things. That’s how the devil works. He’s a sneaky one.

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” -1 Peter 5:8

So keep watch, my friends. Take a look at your idols. Focus on your priorities. Keep God #1 and I’m telling you, your life will CHANGE.

Love love love you!

Tate

Date Yo Self

Sometimes it scares me that I like to be alone so much. Sometimes it concerns me that I have a hard time when others are around, that my mood drastically changes in the presence of others. Is this what it’s like to be an introvert? A highly sensitive introvert? A highly sensitive introvert in a world of extroverts? Hmm.

I don’t think liking to be by myself is a bad thing, but I think it’s a bad thing if I can’t adapt to being with others. Sometimes I wonder why I don’t crave people, why I don’t crave that community? Life is all about people, right? Community and connections and relationships. At least, that’s what pastor Dan always says (and churches in general, and people in general, and life in general). But if life is such a social thing, why do I prefer to be alone?

It’s weird to me that some of my best moments and memories have been by myself. It kinda makes me happy though. There are some things that have happened that no one else knows about and no one else will ever know about. They were moments that were meant for me and only me and I feel special knowing that it was a unique, personal experience. Moments with God, moments on my yoga mat, moments in nature. Moments when I was depressed, moments laying in bed during treatment, moments when I literally had to pep talk myself into doing something I was scared of. But I did it, I did all of those things. By myself, I might add. Emotions and experiences all by myself. I am my own best friend.

I suppose that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Some people can’t stand to be by themselves and I feel sorry for them. I have spent so long trying to figure out who I am and now that I finally have a grasp on it, I like who I am. I want to be around myself because I have worked so hard shaping myself into the person I want to be around. Truth is, you have to be around yourself forever so the sooner you start liking yourself, the better. There’s no getting rid of ya.

 

there is you and you.

this is a relationship.

this is the most important relationship.

 

– home

Nayirarah Waheed wrote this poem and I absolutely love it. It speaks truth, like all of her work so beautifully does. You and you is a relationship. You and you is the most important relationship. We spend so much time trying to create and strengthen relationships with others, but why don’t we work on creating and strengthening the relationship with ourselves? It takes just as much time and effort as any relationship does but hear me on this one: it’s worth it. The time spent is worth it. The effort spent is worth it. YOU are worth it.

So take yourself on a date. Explore your hobbies. Figure out what YOU like and what you “like” because everyone else likes it. Buy yourself a milkshake, or a bath bomb, or a book. Sit at a coffee shop all day. Sit on a mountain top all day. I don’t really care what you do, but do something. You deserve to spend time with yourself.

Think about when you start dating someone new. You want to know everythinggggg about them. Now do that with yourself. Find out who you truly are and then seek out things that support and honor that person. Things will change after you start “dating” yourself. You’ll see that some people in your life are not good for you, so off they go. Some things you spend so much time doing really aren’t getting you any closer to your goals so to the trash they go. The clothes you wear, the music you listen to, the environment you surround yourself with: do you even like these things? If not, why do you do them? Why do you force yourself to be someone you’re not?

I’m at the place where I know myself so well. I know what things make me happy and what things don’t. I know the type of people I want to be friends with and the people I need to keep my distance from. I’ve accepted that I’m an introvert, I’m creative, I’m outdoorsy, I’m sensitive. I’ve accepted that I’m complicated, I’m moody, I’m strong-willed, I’m a morning person. These sound like little things but they are the things that make up ME. I can’t change them, nor do I want to. I may not be like everyone else but I’m at the point where I don’t really care. I remember I used to care so much about what people thought of me. I would cover my face in makeup and spend so much money on clothes and I was highly affected by other people’s opinions. But now? I wear what I want. I barely wear makeup. I’m proud of my freckles. I know that I am so much more than what I look like. You can’t tell anything by what someone looks like. I’m confident in WHO I am as a person rather than WHAT I look like and let me tell ya, it’s been a beautiful transformation. And I only hope that happens for you too. Because remember:

You’re worth it. You deserve it. You’re unique and awesome and the world needs you to be authentically YOU.

Kbye I’m taking myself out on a date!

Tate