There is a podcast I use to follow and I recently picked it back up and started following it again called www.crosspoint.tv. The pastor of this church, Pete Wilson, started a new series called “Empty Promises” that basically centered on idolatry and what we seek after that only Jesus can fulfill. Things in our lives that we consistently meditate on to the point of consuming us, and in the end, it’s never enough. Now idolatry can be anything that takes the place of God in our lives and it’s not necessarily always another god like Buddha, Baal, or anything else we typically think are idols. Idolatry can also be things like appearance, success, money, relationships, acceptation, and anything that we think we need in our lives that can deliver us to that next stage and make us “truly happy”.
I admit I really hesitated on writing this post because throughout this series God has opened some pretty dark doors I’ve had in my life that I chose to keep shut. Doors that I didn’t want to acknowledge therefore I would continue to live my life as I always have. I chose to post this because of the possibility that there are other readers out there who might be caught up in the same idolatry that I am, and are screaming to get out. Therefore I’m choosing to be obedient, and reveal something that honestly not very many people know about me.
I guess you can consider me a likable guy. I am like this because I am a people pleaser. I am always making light ended conversation with people, making them feel comfortable, and if I can get you to laugh or smile then my job is done. What you don’t see on the exterior though is this incredible need to feel accepted. I long for it. If I’m not accepted by one person then it literally consumes my thoughts until I can either resolve in my mind that I’m right or I can convince this person to like me. But it goes deeper than that. To be accepted I feel that I need to have the “perfect” life. I need to have the job to appear that I am successful. I need to have the money to make my family feel secure and in my mind the life “they” deserve. I need to have the house that I’ve always wanted, and take the trips to build memories with my family and friends. If I feel that I am lagging in one of these areas, I take drastic measures to change my situation. If I don’t feel that I am making enough money I hit the career sites frantically looking for the next job that will fix all my problems. In my mind I’m looking for the right salary that will make everything right, the right benefits that will allow these vacations and family time, and the right job that will turn heads when I tell them what I do for a living. When I do this I end up robbing myself when the phone doesn’t ring or the “Although your qualifications are impressive….” email that always follows. I am robbing myself because when you consume yourself with something and you don’t get it, you feel like a failure.
Another setback of mine that comes with being a people pleaser are my highs and lows. Now my wife, the one other than God who knows me the most, will tell you that I rarely get depressed. My depressed days, on an outward appearance, will typically play off of me just being in a bad mood. If I get an email at work that praises my actions, recognized for something great I did, or as a soloist, complimented on a song I sung, then I am on an extreme high. However with extreme highs come extreme lows. If I am chastised for something, do something that has let someone I care for deeply down, then I am in an extreme low. It might not show, other than a bad mood, on the outside, but on the inside I am devastated. Being in an extreme low I begin to revert back to the fact that I need to “fix” my situation taking me right back to the paragraph above. It is a continuous cycle because I am constantly trying to find the one thing that will fulfill my life that in the end will never be enough. I am seeking a fulfillment that can only be filled by none other than God.
It may seem after reading this that I am a non-Christian, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I know without a doubt that I am a child of God’s, and I accepted Him into my life to be my Lord and Savior. However, being a Christian does not mean that every day will be a day of perfection. In fact God uses the circumstances in our lives so that His love, grace, and mercy can shine through brighter than ever before. I have simply replaced God on the throne of my life with this overall need for acceptance. Whatever is on the throne of your life, this is what consumes your thoughts, desires, and actions. God has sat on my throne many times throughout my life, but every now and then I replace Him. Not intentionally and not in one swift movement, but I slowly replace God with other desires of my heart. When God is sitting on my heart’s throne then I am truly at peace with my circumstances regardless of how large or small they may be. I have no doubt that God allowed me to pick back up on this podcast at this particular time, because He needed me to hear this series. He needed me to realize that He is not on my throne seat and He wants what is rightfully His. After going through this series I came home the other night to an empty house. This is a very rare occasion, but the family was over at my in-laws and I needed to pick up a few things before joining them myself. In the quietness of my bedroom I laid face down on my bed and with great conviction I spoke with my God. I asked for forgiveness for replacing Him with this feeling of acceptance. I asked God to take His place back on His throne, and I asked God that His name be praised through the circumstances He allows into my life. No job, no income, no, appearance will ever give me what my God can give me. I will be provided for because my God will meet my every need. All of these things that I feel will make my life complete mean absolutely nothing because they will never fill the void I am looking for. My God has given me and will continue to give me peace as long as He is on the throne of my heart.