"As long as you want anything very much, especially more than you want God, it is an idol."
I'm sorry for dropping off the planet these last two weeks. I've been battling a relapse in my anxiety, as well as some killer migraines. Finally came out safe and sound of the anxiety tunnel; the migraines however are still a major issue. Thanking God for a fantastic doctor who is taking care of me. Your prayers are more than welcome.
I had a great three days at the beach to celebrate my sister's birthday this past weekend. I went intending to plan my next post about this body image idolatry, but God in His power and wisdom humbled me and stilled my heart with the stunning beauty of this world He created.
The ocean always centres my focus on God. Even before I was a believer, I remember looking at the vastness of the waters, the endless panoramic horizon and the magnificence of the sky and having my heart stirred by...something, someone powerful. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.
That last sentence was a verse by the way. Not my words. Romans 1:20.
I'm back home now, and many thoughts have been on rotation in my head. How absurd would it be for a wrist watch to turn and look at The Watchmaker and say, "You could have done better. I needed a thicker strap, made of genuine leather too. My face should have been wider, my hands made of gold. Why did you make me a Casio and not an Omega? That was unfair, making Omega more beautiful, more expensive than me. Nobody really wants a Casio; they all wish they could afford Omega. I'm not what people want. Who is going to buy me? Who is going to love me? I'm not enough."
Doesn't it sound downright mad, utterly foolish? Not the watch speaking, LOL, but the things the watch is saying to The Watchmaker.
Or the pot to the Potter.
Or the created man, to The Creator.
(Or for that matter, an atheist watch/pot/man declaring ad nauseam that in fact the Watchmaker/Potter/God does not exist and it's foolish to believe He does. *oooooh, no she didn't!* )
Doesn't it make you want to shout at the watch, at the pot, "You know nothing about anything! Everything you do know I have allowed you to know. You are made exactly as you should be. How are you now giving me feedback? You are not the Watchmaker. You are not the Potter."
You are not God.
Every time I have looked in the mirror and despised the width of my hips, the shape of my nose, my not-quite-an-hourglass waistline...I have said these same foolish things to my Creator. Whether I've realized it or not, this is what I have been telling the God I serve. Spitting in the face of His all-knowing, all-powerful, eternal nature that creates things from nothing. Yooohhh! How merciful is He? I'm here bowing down to my own opinions and those of the world...and He does not strike me dead. He does not banish me to Hades. Lord Jesus, thank you for your mercy.
And it isn't just the self-deprecating thoughts. It's also the private assessments of others, to reassure ourselves.
"Wow, she's got so many rolls on her back; I'm actually not that badly off."
"Man, she's really been successful hasn't she? Heh; her clothes, her heels...those handbags. I wish I could live her life. But her acne is so bad. I would take my glowing skin any day."
"She's so happy in her marriage. Where am I ever going to find myself a good man? But she really fell off the grid. She was doing so well single, flying high; she could really have done great things; now she's a housewife. She's been tethered to that kitchen since she said 'I Do'. She's gotten so fat. She's got no independence. Yeah, I'd take my life any day."
The reverse applies. "Look at her; single and living her life like it's golden. If she wants those Jimmy Choo's, she just buys them. If she wants to go tour Europe, she just goes. No husband to consult. No baby to breastfeed. No diapers to buy. Her money is hers. Her time is her own. She sleeps all night, every night. But coming to an empty house day in, day out? Enduring the blind dates, the failed relationships, having no husband to hold her every night? No thanks, I'm better off across the river."
Friends. Our hearts are EVIL. Pure evil. Are some of you surprised I would write such thoughts down? Are you thinking I must have interviewed some women for the article? Nope. All thoughts are mine. My righteousness is filthy rags before God. My heart is more deceitful than all else; who can understand it? I have sinned, and fallen short of God's glory. My mind and conscience has been defiled. I have loved the darkness, rather than The Light. By my thoughts, I have denied Him over and over and over.
I'm not being fatalistic here. That entire paragraph is based on verse after verse from the Bible. I don't think we will ever fully understand the depth of depravity into which we are born. You cannot appreciate Christ's death on the Cross, without first really seeing how much you deserved the death He died on your behalf. Only then will the magnitude of Christ's sacrifice split your heart in two. He literally became our sin on the cross that day. And it's the only time in history and eternity that Jesus was separated from His heavenly Father. On Calvary, for the only moment in all eternity, God turned His back on His Son and poured His furious wrath on the only sinless man that ever lived and will ever live. There are no good people. You are not a good person. Good people do not exist. Only God is good. It is that goodness that allowed His Son to pay the penalty that was to be on our heads, and should we put our faith in Christ, become perfectly righteous before Him. It's all to marvellous, too mysterious for me to ever understand.
So; this depravity of ours, is the root of our self-inflicted pain of an unkind body image and self-pity. It is the root of the oh-so-rotten sin of covetousness. The grass is always greener when it comes to beauty, money, power, sex, success. We have no anchor to hold us fast in our identity, Who we belong to, and His love for us exactly the way He created us.
Please don't leave just yet. Don't go. It's not a hopeless end. No.
There is nothing but hope at the end of this story.
When we are done with this series, these three will remain.
Christian, wife, mom, doctor, and an alien on earth, on my way to the city of God.