Somebody I know compared the Holy Trinity to water and its three states: solid, liquid, gas. They all are the same element, just in different forms. No one state is better than the other. Sort of like how God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are one and the same.
Science can be fun sometimes, yeah?
Or do you admire from the distance?
Sometimes, we let idols be our “gods” instead of our true God. We base our self-worth on these things, we look to these idols for guidance, we stray away from the Lord. Last night, I was feeling low because my faith life has been super bumpy - I feel like some days I’m scraping the side of a dark hole. Instead of talking to God about it, I tried calling my friends and people who I thought would “get it.” No one answered. It was not till this morning when I realized the Lord is trying to show me something - I see friends as my “idols.” I base my self-worth and confidence on acceptance.
I’m a pretty outgoing person. I can talk up a storm, and usually make friends pretty easily. However, I’ve had the worst of luck finding people that I can connect to at both of my colleges. And I couldn’t understand why. Until now. I might be completely off base here, but the Lord wanted me to come to Him, no one else. It explains how my college life has gone so far. Because God wants our undivided attention, and He’ll do things so that we will listen.
Idols can be what you consider “good things” like friends or family. It does not necessarily have to be alcohol, drugs, school, your high-stress job, etc. What makes it an idol is when you worry or obsess about these things and turn away from the Lord. The worry signifies that you do not trust in the Lord. Worrying itself is not a sin, but the mistrust behind it causes you to drift away from our Creator.
Think you don’t have idols? Or have no clue what they are? Or maybe you have multiple idols. Here are some really cool questions that David Powlison wrote in Seeing With New Eyes to help us identify our personal idols.
1. What do I worry about most?
2. What, if I failed or lost it, would cause me to feel that I did not even want to live?
3. What do I use to comfort myself when things go bad or get difficult?
4. What do I do to cope? What are my release valves? What do I do to feel better?
5. What preoccupies me? What do I daydream about?
6. What makes me feel the most self-worth? Of what am I the proudest? For what do I want to be known?
7. What do I lead with in conversations?
8. Early on what do I want to make sure that people know about me?
9. What prayer, unanswered, would make me seriously think about turning away from God?
10. What do I really want and expect out of life? What would really make me happy?
11. What is my hope for the future?
The conversation I had with one of my friends (C) at 3 A.M. this morning:
C: We need to find DQ (one of my best friends) a boyfriend
Me: Yeah, she thinks she’s never going to find someone
C: It’s because she wants to marry Jesus. No offense, but there are a lot of guys out there, and you’ve got to date a few bad ones before you meet Mr. Right. She’s too picky.
My best friend hasn’t met “the one” yet. She thinks that she is going to be forever alone and all that melodrama (we nicknamed her DQ for Drama Queen). She’s given up that she’ll have find the guy of her dreams - a man rooted in his faith.
To be honest, I was like C a year or two ago. My thoughts at the time: Why do we have to marry a Christian? There are so many people out there who don’t have faith, but are good, moral people. It sounds harsh just leaving them out of the dating pool because they aren’t believers.
The truth: Dating a non-Christian is dangerous to your faith, no matter how good, nice, or moral they seem to be.
There are plenty of Bible verses on this that I’m sure you’ve already seen before. For example:
14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial[a]? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? - 2 Corinthians 6:14–15 (NIV)
Ironically, DQ was the first one to have a conversation with me about marrying a Christian. But I didn’t understand or agree with what she said at first, because I wasn’t deeply rooted enough in my faith. C mentioned that DQ wants to marry Jesus. In a way, yes. But DQ isn’t looking for Mr. Perfect, everyone has flaws. She is looking for a guy who is rooted in his faith, and loves Jesus more than anyone. If he loves God more than her, he’ll be her Mr. Perfect. And that’s not a too high of expectation. The Lord will provide. And deep down, she knows this. I think she’s just getting impatient because she thinks there’s supposed to be a set timeline for her love life.
I talk about this subject in “a little on love,” but when it came up in conversation this morning (it seems like all these conversations happen at strange hours), I couldn’t help but write about it. While I’m in sort of the same boat as her (I haven’t yet my Mr. Perfect yet), it is not a problem I’m currently dealing with. I know I’m not ready to meet my future partner. I’m striving to be a godly woman, but I mess up all the time. And my future husband, whomever that may be, might not be ready either. When we’re both ready and the Lord has worked out all our kinks (or enough of them), we’ll meet each other. The Lord has already hand-picked our partners out for us. And like I said in my last post about waiting for the right one, “I’d rather wait than meet a dozen Mr. Wrongs.”
I don’t know exactly how eloquent I was about it, but I talked to my roommate late last night about my faith. She currently is a self-proclaimed atheist. While we both believe very different things, my roommate and I grew up with similar religious constraints even though I come from a Catholic background, and she comes from a very strict Muslim upbringing. There are many differences between the two religions, but our conversation ended up coming down to faith and loving God.
I wrongly assumed she was like my roommate (also an atheist) last year, and would get scared off if I even brought up the topic of God. That was the absolute last thing I wanted to do. Like me in high school, she shut herself off from her religion (the Lord included), hardening her heart to the idea of a Creator. But when our conversation segued into the topic, I realized while she denies the Lord’s existence, there’s already a nugget of knowledge in her head that is open to the idea. She mentioned dreams she’s had about God’s presence, and while I have no idea what exactly they entail, I was so surprised she even mentioned it to me. It was eye-opening, and sobering because I realized I put a label on her and where she is when it comes to her faith.
But by having the strength to tell me that, she gave me the courage to tell her a little of my story. It was easy to relate it to her, because I’d gone through the same hardening of my heart. But instead of going south and completely shutting the Lord out, I went the opposite way and opened my heart up. And it’s been the scariest, most difficult road I’ve taken. But it’s also the most rewarding, and there’s no way I can deny His existence. He’s there, and while there’s been ups and downs in my faith life, I have a relationship with Him. When I told her this, I realized how in the wrong I’ve been these past few months. She knew that I believed, but I don’t think she knew the extent, and that makes me so ashamed. She’d heard a rant or two I’ve had about religion, but religion and faith to me are two completely different things.
I told her how that in the beginning, I felt like I was talking to a brick wall. How I didn’t even know if God was there. And she asked me how I knew/finally realized. It took months for me to realize that the Lord was listening, He’d always been listening. I realized it was me who wasn’t listening. I asked and talked and refused to hear what He told me. This part was so hard to put into words, and I have no idea if I said anything correctly. In the end, I told her to try praying - not a prayer she knew, but a prayer from the heart. A prayer that was more of a conversation.
I have no idea if I made anything of a difference, but I’m so happy I got to share a little of who am I to her. Thank you, Lord, for using me. I feel like I completely screwed up, but maybe our conversation wasn’t a total diaster.