by Meredith Mills
Sometimes you’ve got to give yourself a time out.
For several months, I’ve been very intentional about writing regularly, trying to post here on a weekly basis. But last week, I chose not to write. At all.
God told me not to.
I had lots of work to do – A book proposal waiting to be revised, a book in process, a weekly blog post, a monthly contribution to Just18Summers and another article to complete by the end of the month.
Clearly, I didn’t have time to take the week off.
But God showed me that writing had become an idol.
It’s a rather church-y word, one that’s lost much of its meaning to modern American Christians. We read about idols throughout the Bible, but they can seem like distant relics of the past or an unfamiliar element of cultures somewhere else in the world.
Maybe we need to rethink the word.
Maybe addiction is more relevant to our modern minds.
Unlike statues of gold, addictions can be much harder to recognize, but they’re just as insidious.
Some addictions are big and ugly and obvious. But most of them aren’t. Most start as good gifts, designed by God for our enjoyment and use.
But they become addictions when we find our identity in them.
When we panic at the thought of losing them – even temporarily.
When we can’t stop thinking about them.
When we look for comfort, peace or healing in them.
When they drive and control us.
That’s what happened with my writing. I had taken it up as a hobby several years ago. It was a refreshing way to process my thoughts and emotions and a means of sharing with others what God is doing in my life.
But I’ve grown to love the feeling of completing a piece and meeting a deadline. I get excited when I hear how God ministered to someone through my words. I enjoy reading comments and feedback.
Those good things, however, took root in my heart and seeped into my identity. They began driving and controlling me like a task-master.
What started as a good gift became an addiction, an idol.
When God showed me this, I asked Him what to do about it. Not all idols can, or even should, be completely discarded. I’ve wrestled with a food addiction for much of my life, but I certainly can’t quit eating.
As I prayed, Jesus reminded me of this verse: “…Take every thought captive to obey Christ” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
Just as my thoughts need to obey Jesus, the gifts I’ve received need to be under His control as well.
My writing needs to obey Jesus – the time I spend on it, the projects I undertake, the very words I say.
My eating habits should obey Jesus – what I eat, when I eat, how much I eat.
My parenting ought to obey Jesus – how I speak to my kids, the way I train and discipline them, the activities we chose to do as a family.
My role as a wife needs to obey Jesus – how I talk to and about my husband, how I respond to him, the priority I give our relationship.
My people-pleasing personality should obey Jesus, so that His pleasure is my heart’s desire and satisfaction.
My use of time needs to obey Jesus.
Absolutely every area of my life needs to obey Jesus.
Because this is what following Him is all about – my whole self living in full surrender to the God who invites me to find rest in Him. Rest from the idols that drive me, rest from the law that condemns me, rest in Christ’s work and rest in the nearness of God.
While idols and addictions consume those who cling to them, Jesus offers the abundant life for which our souls were created. (See John 10:10.)
How about you? Are there any idols lurking in the shadows of your soul? Any addictions strangling your abundant life?
God loves us too much to let us continue worshiping at the feet of things that will destroy us. Will you bring your idols to Him and let Him show you how to bring them under His control?
I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments! Please respond below.