I’m just opening my heart to my readers today. I’ve been burdened recently about identifying, confessing, and overcoming things in my life that I sometimes elevate to the level of idolatry – meaning, I sometimes let these things distract from my time with the Lord, dominate my thinking, or rob me of my sleep. Here are some of those things I allow to grip my heart too often:
- Worry. I’ve written previously about why worry is such a problem—and how to overcome it. Foundationally, it can be idolatry. I’m still learning. . . .
- I-phone. It’s always near me. In fact, it’s almost hard to believe that we once lived without these things—and life was still okay.
- Lust. I thought I would eventually outgrow this issue of the heart, but not entirely yet.
- Recognition. I would be lying to say there’s no part of me that wants people to know who I am.
- Sports/working out. I realize that exercise really does matter, but it’s a problem when taking care of my physical body trumps care for my soul.
- Work. I don’t rest well, and it’s partially because effectiveness and recognition in my work build my self-esteem.
- Dollars. My issue isn’t that I just want to be wealthy; it’s instead that I get too anxious and untrusting if our financial cushion isn’t as big as I want it to be.
- Perfectionism. I don’t like messing up—and this post will show how my striving for perfection has cost me. I linger far too long on my mistakes.
- Anger. I work hard not to let the anger with which I grew up consume me—but it’s there. Even when I express my anger only in my mind or under my breath, I’m choosing to do what David Powlison warns against: talking to myself rather than talking to God.
- Self. Particularly, I have to think about this possibility when I don’t pray like I should. Prayerlessness says to God, as I’ve written elsewhere, “I don’t really love you like I say I do” and “I don’t need you very much.”*
Here’s the good news, though, I must cling to even as I’m evaluating my own life:
- “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding so that we may know the true one. We are in the true one—that is, in his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.”(1 Jn 5:20)
- “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 Jn 1:9)
* Chuck Lawless, The Potential and Power of Prayer: How to Unleash the Praying Church (Church Answers Resources) (p. 33). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.