Saturday, October 11, 2014

mining your heart

Day 11 of

I can not even begin to count the number of conversations that I have had the last 13 months with different family members and friends, and every one of them is near and dear to me because it reminds me of the tangible love and care we had right there walking this road with us.  But, there are two conversations, one in person and one through text, that I had with our pastor at the beginning of this journey last year that will always stick out in my mind.  These two conversations brought wisdom that has continued to grow and wind its way into all aspects of my life.

We were sitting in my living room the day after I found out the whole story for a check up of "how are you doing right this second", and he told me that I needed to remember that none of this was my fault.  There was nothing I could have done or could have said to change it, and there's nothing I did or didn't do to cause it.  For a guilt struggling girl like myself, these were refreshing words to hear.  He went on to share that if I learned anything else, that would just be a bonus to what God was already doing and going to do in the heart of my husband.

These words were the beginning of the road to a restored marriage.  These words did not give me an excuse to sit on the sidelines with a pompous "I didn't do anything wrong" attitude.  These words became an invitation to think and ponder about myself.  To reach for that bonus, for the extra growth that could come through changes in me.  When you watch the man you love walk the road of Psalm 51, when you see him struggle under the guilt of his actions and the pain of mining his heart and going through the refiner's fire, sitting on the sidelines is not an option.  Walking that road with him, mining my own heart and walking through the fire myself was the only place I could be because I needed it too. So do you.

When we ask God to create in us a pure heart (Ps 51:10), the only way to do that is for Him to clean out the bad stuff within.  The things we put in front of him.  The idols in our lives.  It took me (way too) many years of Christian life to realize that when God says to not put any other gods before him, he was not just referring to golden calves, little pagan figurines in tents, and buddhas that sit inside local restaurants.  He was talking about anything that you place in the front of your list of priorities, anything in front of the number one spot He should always sit in.

“Idolatry' is the practice of seeking the source and provision of what we need either physically or emotionally in someone or something other than the one true God. It is the tragically pathetic attempt to squeeze life out of lifeless forms that cannot help us meet our real needs.” 
― Scott J. HafemannThe God of Promise and the Life of Faith: Understanding the Heart of the Bible

Some of the idols in your life are obviously damaging to you and you already know that. But many of the idols in your life might not look like bad things.  Your kids are adorable, most of the time, but if they drive every decision you make they have become an idol.  Your husband might be a hot and awesome fella (much like mine) but if your desire to please him goes above your desire to please God, he is an idol.  The ministry work you do at church or a local ministry is wonderful and helpful to many, but if it feeds your pride and is what your identity is based on, it's most definitely an idol.  Work, money, exercise, ministries, volunteering, crafting, sports, video games, and anything else you spend your time doing are not bad things, but it only takes a little twist to turn them from good things to enhance your enjoyment of the life God gives us on Earth, to idols that suck that life out of you.

“Could it be that desire for a good thing has become a bad thing because that desire has become a ruling thing?” 
― Paul Tripp (a.k.a "P-diddy-T" or at least that's who he is in our home)
Think about it.  Think about those things that have become a ruling thing in your life. 

God mined both of our hearts as we walked that road through idols of pride, self righteousness, people pleasing and others, and on the other side filled us more with Him and less of ourselves.  That's great news, and even better news is that He will continue to do so as other idols pop up or resurface, no matter how long it takes to fill us completely with Him, and it will more than likely take a lifetime!

Just remember an important thing...

“If you uproot the idol and fail to plant the love of Christ in its place, the idol will grow back.” 
― Tullian TchividjianJesus + Nothing = Everything

So begin, travel and end that road with Hope.

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