by Angie Thomas

As Laurie taught last week in a Who Am I in Christ lecture about our often subtle idolatry, the Lord lovingly took me back to a challenging day earlier in the week when my idolatry was clearly exposed.

That Tuesday morning started out rough. I woke up late, Ned was extra fussy, and this was my day to get the boys to school by myself, as Chris had left early for his men’s Bible study. There was a thin sheet of ice covering our yard and vehicles, making acrobatics necessary to get everyone into the car. This culminated in the boys being several minutes late to school. Let’s just say I wasn’t winning any “parent-of-the-year” awards.

I got back home, really feeling like I needed to spend some time with Jesus and get my heart readjusted. Within a few minutes of sitting down and opening my discipleship study, I realized my horrible error. I had done the entirely wrong week of homework. The gauntlet was dropped on my pride.

My flesh immediately sprung into action. I felt foolish and like an idiot. Wasn’t I the one who sent out the email, clarifying which week of homework to do? How could I possibly do 5 days of my homework today so no one would know? How was I supposed to help lead the small group discussion when I hadn’t read any of the lessons? This was going to be embarrassing. I am the leader after all. Tears started to fall as I realized there really was no way to correct the situation and I was going to have to confess my error to you all.

You see girls, I really like perfection. And as Laurie shared about idolatry, the Lord gently reminded me with this situation that one of my idols continues to be perfection and control. I like things to be completed and tidy and for there to be order. I like others to think well of me. I like the appearance of perfection even if that isn’t the reality.

Jesus has lovingly allowed many things in my life over the last few years that have completely wreaked havoc on my attempt to portray perfection. Many times it has felt horrible. My flesh and my pride have severely been wounded. Sometimes it has literally felt like being pulverized as the Lord has allowed various trails that have continually revealed that my hope and joy have not been in Him alone but rather in life’s circumstances going the way I had always hoped and dreamed. Even this little trial the other day continued to point out that my joy and peace are often dependent on my circumstances and my performance instead of Jesus and His Spirit who live in my regardless of my performance. Remember what Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).

So, I will continue to rejoice in the challenges and trials He allows, because they continue to press me into the heart of the Father, becoming more and more dependent on Him for my identity instead of the fake and faulty identity I often try so hard to craft and portray. I love Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 4:17-18: “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

May you allow God to use the current circumstances of your lives to press your heart into the heart of your Savior. The pain of your circumstances might be excruciating, but do not doubt the tender love of your Heavenly Father. He may be using those circumstances to break you from the bonds to your idols so you can walk in freedom. He is preparing you for an eternal weight of glory. How amazing is that?

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