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  • Writer's pictureAndrea O Smith

God Met Me in My Idolatry

Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before[a] me.”

That commandment, the first of ten, seems simple, right?!? Why would I esteem anything above my Creator, Savior, Heavenly Father? That would be silly! How could I possibly esteem something higher than the One who spoke creation into existence? How could the engineer of galaxies be shoved out-of-sight-out-of-mind? How could the only being that cares to know the number of hairs on my head be an afterthought? It turns out, it's easier than I care to admit, but for the sake of transparency and learning opportunities, I will.

Late this Spring, my family had planned a blow-out vacation. It was likely the most extravagant vacation we’ll ever take as a family. We had everything planned well in advance (for once) and were all excited to dream about the day we would embark on the Smithventure of all Smithventures! Day and night, I would think about what to pack, what to give, where we would stay before and after, our transportation needs, but mostly dreaming of the looks on our children’s faces as they took in the experience. Here I was, a grown woman, dreaming all day of human sized rodents, ducks, dogs, fairies, furry alien and Princesses. We were going on a Disney Cruise!! I made multiple packing lists for each child and arranged the luggage to accommodate everyone’s everything. It was exhausting, but worth knowing that it was going to be a grand time. I wasn’t going to have to cook or clean for an entire week!!!!! Oh, yeah, and the other fun stuff too, but mostly getting out of housework was enough to sell me on the idea of a cruise. I had a pad of paper and pen on my nightstand to write down any last minute thoughts before bed and checked the social media page for that specific cruise first thing in the morning. Instead of reaching for my Bible or at the very least a devotional, I longed for my daily dose of Disney.

(Don’t hear what I am not saying. No, vacations aren’t from the devil. I’m not saying that we can’t treat our family to a relaxing, fun time away from home. If I thought that, I wouldn’t have booked a trip.)

One morning, after turning off my alarm, I immediately went to check notifications about the cruise. I felt like God said, “Really, Andrea?” I pretended that I didn’t know what the prompting was about at first. “Andrea…really?” I felt like He was asking me, “Do you love Mickey Mouse more than me? Is this cruise becoming your everything? When was the last time you read your Bible before you checked your social media?” He had me there. It had been a few weeks, if not more. In my excitement, I lost sight of the one who was making it possible in the first place. I was nudging my God to the side in order to give a rodent god my attention and my finances.

You may be thinking that calling it idolatry is a bit of a stretch, but it’s not! Idolatry is defined in the Oxford dictionary as “an extreme admiration, love, or reverence for something or someone.” I was loving all things Disney. I loved all of the Princess dresses. I even purchased my youngest daughter a swimsuit that looked like Snow White’s dress! That’s a little extreme. Again, there’s nothing wrong with having fun. I, however, had taken it to the next level and that took up a majority of my thoughts and efforts. I had turned a precious vacation into an obsession. That was not good.

Obviously, I couldn’t quit planning for the upcoming departure, but I did apologize/repent to God and did my best to make sure that He had more of my focus and admiration than the silly cartoon characters. I started noticing other areas of my life where I was twisting something good into idolatry. For instance, I am on my phone waaaaaaaay too much. Sometimes my kids have to vie for my attention with the little black box in my hand. That is also inexcusable and falls under the umbrella of idolatry. I am definitely on my phone more than I am in scriptures, by far! It’s embarrassing to admit, but I also know I’m not the only one. This likely isn't an “only me” type of struggle.

Friends, let’s be on the lookout for where we are turning something good into a problem due to our obsession. Is it the promotion you’re longing for that gets all of your time to where you neglect your walk with God and time with family? Have you been asking God for healing and trying all modern medicines, but are neglecting to pray alongside the treatments? Are we spending more time and money on sports/fitness than in our local church? Does our desire for a spouse or children outweigh our desire to follow God’s will? 

Lord, you are worthy of all of our time, resources, and praise! You are above all things and deserve all we have to offer. Please help us to continually turn our attention to you. Help us to remember that none of our desires are more important than yours. We know you want us to experience good things, but not at the cost of cutting you out. We are so easily distracted. Please forgive us for our wayward minds as we struggle to stay on the narrow path. We want to fix our gaze upon you and you alone. Thank you for your patience with us as we continue in our sanctification process. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

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Amen! Beautifully written, and a great reminder:)

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