Monday, January 01, 2007


I drove through the WalMart parking lot on my way to the tire and lube bays. I’d just hit the seek button on the radio when I heard some (I’m sure famous) Christian speaker on the radio quote another (I’m sure famous) Christian speaker. I lowered the volume and repeated the quote over and over in my head until I could park and write it down on a scrap of paper. I think I still got it wrong—WalMart parking lots are immensely distracting to me—but this is close:

“When I’m discouraged, God is shattering the idols of my heart so He can make room to move in there.” (I hope the probably-famous-Christian speaker will forgive me for not assigning proper credit.)

My first thought in reaction to this quote was, “Lord, just how many idols have I set up in place of you?” My second thought was, “Please finish the job and take possession of me!”

Consider this: we’re discouraged when life doesn’t turn out the way we want. When things don’t happen as we hope. When people disappoint us. Or hurt us. Or frustrate us. When agents and editors turn us down. Or friends turn their backs on us. When people misunderstand us. When we can’t be the superwoman (or man) we want everyone to think we are. When we don’t get the promotion or recognition or appreciation we feel we deserve. When God doesn’t answer our prayers or heal us or bail us out.

Or maybe that’s just me.

But think about this: if those things discourage me so easily—and they do—then I’ve set my hope on the object of my discouragement. Circumstances. Other people. Success. Praise. Myself. A “make-a-wish-god” instead of the Creator and Sustainer of heaven and earth.

I used to teach history and cultures and world religions. One of the most notable things to me about idol worship is how worshippers often make great sacrifices to the idol, yet receive nothing in return.

And I don’t want to live like that anymore, sacrificing my joy, time, relationships, and heart to idols that offer nothing in return. It’s powerless. Fruitless. Careless.

So, Lord, break the idols. Move in. Make me wholly Yours. And holy Yours.

Though I’m certain even then WalMart parking lots will be a challenge.

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