Idols and Approval

I don’t suppose I’ve ever mentioned this, but basically I write when I have something to say – which means that sometimes you get lots of blogs together, and sometimes I wander off into a corner.  Sorry for the drought, regardless.

……

Reading a new book for a Bible study with a friend at church.  She says I’m not allowed to read ahead (poo!) but it’s already been quite useful.   The book is called, “Idol Lies” and it’s by Dee Brestin.

The theme of the book is the hidden idols of the heart.  Now the church has been talking about idols in the life of a Christian for a while – people, activities, possessions, etc.   This book changes that up by focusing on the heart-attitudes of idolatry.  A need for approval, a need for control, a need for comfort.  Focusing on the sources rather than the results.

I always know when God wants me to pay attention, He says stuff twice.  :p  My last book as an intern was “Overcoming the Dark Side of Leadership” and while I’m not a leader, I took it seriously enough to look for my weakness, which landed me on a desire for approval.

I’ve been through the worst of the crucible of choosing other people’s pleasure with me over God… so I thought we were done here.  It surprised me to be called back to this – but there’s always a new stone to extract, even in a well-plowed field.   And the more I think about approval, the more I think, “Oh.”

As I said to my husband, I take out the garbage to make someone else happy.  There is very little in my life that I do that isn’t designed to please someone else or elicit their approval.  (If you want to know what I do totally for myself, it’s eat, sleep and read.  It’s a short list).  If you ask me if my need for approval is an idol, that I’ll put above God?  No.  As I said, I’ve been through that crucible.  The most important person in my life, I had to hold out.  It hurt.  But I know that I will make that choice when it comes down to it.

So what gives?  I’m growing in maturity.  And mature ladies don’t let themselves be knocked down by every disapproving glance.  And they don’t spend their time worrying about how others see them, they stay on course and worry about the other’s good and God’s glory.

I don’t see myself changing my nature any time soon.  I figure God made me to make the people around me happy, and doing so brings me joy.  It’s oxygen to me*, as t’were.  But being a joybringer doesn’t mean *I* have to let myself be tripped up.  I expect I might just be more effective if I’m spending less time worrying about what those I’m trying to love on think of me and just loving on them.  (Love is in my blueprint, can’t help it).

Well.  Only one way to fix a hunger – feed it.  And so I asked God to be closer to me, let me feel His presence more in my life and let me know when I have pleased Him.  The need for approval is never going to go away – I’ll just have to put it in its proper place, with everything else, at the foot of the cross.

This looks to be an interesting read, I’ll keep you posted if I’ve got more to tell!  🙂

*hat tip of the phrase to my friend L

 

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3 thoughts on “Idols and Approval

  1. expatdeborah

    (I’ve been a lurker for maybe a few months, not too long, but I don’t think I’ve commented yet. I found you through Elspeth–for whom I’m also mostly a lurker 🙂 )

    This: “Well. Only one way to fix a hunger – feed it. And so I asked God to be closer to me, let me feel His presence more in my life and let me know when I have pleased Him. The need for approval is never going to go away – I’ll just have to put it in its proper place, with everything else, at the foot of the cross.” So wise!

    I’m a people pleaser at heart, though I’ve also pretty much always been enough of a rule follower that it doesn’t get me into too much noticeable trouble–the problem is that I’m a rule follower not out of love for God and obedience to His command to submit to proper authority, but because when you break the rules … the authorities get kinda mad at you, and I’d much rather my peers be mad at me than authorities. So even though I definitely have that same hunger you describe, most people around me don’t know it–I feel it keenly when I disappoint/anger/displease them, and I think it is an idol of the heart for me; I just hide it well. That paragraph of yours that I quoted … I need to put my hunger in its proper place, allowing God to fill that need–obeying Him to please Him, rather than *just* out of fear of displeasing Him or the authorities He’s put in place over me.

    Reply
    1. hearthie Post author

      Welcome and thanks for the excellent comment. 🙂 We’re going to relate, I’m a hard-core good girl too. I’ll keep you posted on this book, might be something to read (and do the questions in the back, which are non-trivial).

      Reply
      1. expatdeborah

        Thanks 🙂 I took a look at the book on Amazon, and it does look like it would be really good. I had a sample sent to my Kindle–I’ll take a closer look at it next month after my “fun money” gets refilled … I already spent a little too much on books this month 🙂

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