American Idols

This weekend, our pastor convicted me of something I already knew. In fact, I've even confessed this thing to my husband. Have I confessed it to God, though? No, not that I can remember. That's the part I was convicted about. Even though I knew I had this sin in my life, I hadn't asked for forgiveness. I hadn't asked the Lord to give me victory in this area, and I hadn't pursued repentance. Until now...

What am I guilty of? I idolize my children. It's kind of odd to "say it out loud." It just seems like, as a mom, idolizing our children is surely an impossibility. Don't they drive us so crazy that there's NO WAY they could be held that highly in our hearts and minds? I mean IDOLS??...seriously?? Or maybe it seems a little weird to call the people we spend every waking (and sleeping, let's be honest) minute of every day with "idols," because OF COURSE we naturally think about them all the time, do everything for them, and LIVE for them. I mean, isn't that our job?

I want to share a list of questions our pastor referenced. This list nailed the truth down in my heart. I don't just think about my kids all the time because it's my "job." I don't live for my kids, because it's what a mom is "supposed" to do. Here are some of my answers to those questions...

  1. What do you most highly value? on a good day, the Lord...consistently? my children
  2. What do you think about by default? easy, my kids
  3. Who or what do you most delight in, your greatest joy and treasure? I mean, really, I have called my children my "joys" and "treasures!!" (not that there's anything sinful about that in and of itself...keep reading...)
  4. How do you define yourself to people? mom to four boys
  5. What do you brag about? Again, on a good day/week/month, every day conversation with "every day" people? my kids!
There were many more wonderful questions to help sort through heart issues. You can read all of them here. It was very obvious to me (and shown to be true for sure by my yet again guilty conscience) after answering the questions and hearing the sermon that my children are absolutely idols in my life.

This is my struggle now: In almost every aspect of life, the key always seems to be balance. In the area of mothering, like I said above, OF COURSE we think about our kids all the time. Our job (especially when they are young) is to be their ever-present help, their guide, their comforter, their shoulder to cry on... We serve them (and I mean that in a good, non-spoiling/non-slave kind of way) all day long and even into the wee hours of the night. To do all of that and NOT have them be our idols? That is a difficult thing.

After confessing this sin to my Father, and after praying for HIS strength and help in this area, I must now "make war" as John Piper says! How I'm going to do that, I don't yet know. That is what I'm leaning on God to show me. How can I still love and treasure my children in the way God intended for me to when He called me to mother these four boys...and yet still keep them at the right "level" on my priority list? Again, it will be a learning process.

"Lord, come with your fire,
Burn my desires; refine me
Lord, my will has deceived me
Please come and free me
Refine me

My heart can't see
When I only look at me
My soul can't hear
When I only think of my own fears
They are gone in a moment
You're forever the same."

(lyrics from Jennifer Knapp's "Refine Me")

This much I kids are here now but could be gone in an instant tomorrow. That, thankfully, is in the Lord's hands. What I need to do now is to pry open the tight grasp I have on them and LET Him have them. They are His, they will always be do with as He pleases.

HE is, has always been, and always will be here. He is a jealous God, and He has commanded that I have no other gods before Him.

Lord, help me put YOU first...


chrissy said…
Wow. Anna- What a lesson. And challenge. I know I do this. Not just with them but I know with other things. I need to really search my life, my heart and see what is hindering in my growth with the Lord. Thanks for sharing this. Love Chrissy
Cindy said…
Great post, Anna. I will admit that I learned this lesson the hard way :(
Jeannine said…
I feel like I am reading my own story. I have always lived for my kids and have struggled with similar dilemmas as you describe. I have always felt like being a mother was my mission-God given. It is the core of me and the most important "job" I have. It is the title I hold most dearly. Thanks for the insight......
Christi said…
Had this same conviction after Chandler's sermon this past weekend. Thanks for your honesty Anna!

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