In my heart lies a dangerous mixture of pride and self doubt. They are potent enough by themselves, but together they create a deadly concoction. My pride holds on to mere shards of accomplishment, along with anything that makes me feel important. My self doubt keeps me in fear of losing them and tells me that who I really am isn't good enough. At the Making Things Happen Intensive a few weeks ago, I was able to put aside distractions and really deal with some issues in my heart. It was a beautiful time where God revealed a lot of my fears and helped me let them go. I have seen so much change in my life since then. It's been so wonderful. Part of making things happen is to strip away the things that aren't important in order to focus on what matters. As I've started to do that even more of my doubts and fears have been replaced with truth. However, I've realized that my self doubt isn't my only issue. There is also a problem of pride. (Gulp.)
I am finding that my pride is a whole lot harder to deal with than my fears. It is so interwoven in my sense of self and identity. It's roots are deep and it's hold more imbedded than I ever realized. I've wanted to ignore theses things and burry them, but God - my loving Father - gently confronts me with these things time and time again. After digging up much ugliness in my heart, He has revealed the source.
I have a worship problem.
Go back to the 10 commandments. The first two are about worshiping God alone. Break those and all sorts of sin crops up. We are worshipers by nature. If we are not worshiping God, we will worship other idols. It's just how it works. If He does not hold the highest place in our hearts, something else will. For example, someone who works all the time at the expense of the family doesn't have a money issue, they have a worship issue. They worship success, accomplishment, a standard of living or countless other things. An idol is not always something bad. An idol is often a good thing in the wrong place. Success, for instance isn't inherently a bad thing. Anything that is placed before God becomes an idol and leads to sin. As I've discovered, even ministry can be an idol.
Take a step back and think about what makes you most excited. What do you talk about the most? What makes your face light up? Look at your bank account. Where does your money go? What are you most afraid of losing? My friends, your answers will reveal what you worship. Your idols will be made plain. I'm not saying it's easy. Is sure hasn't been for me. Through many tears I see now that I have made "my mission" and idol. My excitement has been about a cause and not the Creator. What I claim to believe about Jesus just doesn't add up if what I do for Christ is more important than Christ. Jesus is to be first. My problem started when pride latched onto creating a ministry by using my talents, namely photography.
When the Lord closed the door on a trip to do photojournalism in Africa this year I was devastated. All of the sudden I feared losing something that was never mine to begin with. I needed it. I wanted it. I had to have a reason for God calling me into photography. I didn't want my identity to merely be "photographer" - there are millions of those. (Hello, pride.) I wanted to be more of a "wedding photographer-missionary-journalist-inspiration-success for Jesus" - someone who made a big difference in the world. Having a purpose, a cause and a mission had become my idol. The good desire of wanting my life to count, once mixed with pride, just created a pretty mask for my hunger for success.
But God. Aren't those marvelous words? But God, in His rich love and mercy does what we cannot. He knows our frame, our weakness. He remembers the dust from which we are made. Truly our hearts are deceitful beyond measure! It baffles me that I can even choose something over Him, when He is complete perfection and absolute satisfaction. He is the One that chooses to use me though I am not needed, and here I am saying "Look God! Here's where I want you to use me! This is what I think you should let me do with my life! Isn't it nice? Aren't I so sacrificial? Please bless it and let me make a difference...for You of course!" How arrogant! Thus, I am thankful that God is God and I am not. I'd be about fed up with me by now, but He hasn't given up. He hasn't given up on me! If that isn't humbling, I don't know what is.
I don't know where your hearts are friends. I don't know what is first in your life, but I felt like I needed to share this part of my journey. If you don't have an issue with this, great. I just want you guys to know that I am by no means perfect or have this following God thing down pat. I'm far from it...obviously. Still, I have found that surrendering my idols has brought so much joy. I am running, dancing and laughing with Him in freedom - I am free, so free! My Jesus is everything to me and I could care less what He chooses to do with my life. I think it took Him saying no to Africa for now for me to realize this. Before I was afraid to invest so much in my business because I was afraid it would amount to nothing. I feared that God might not use it like I thought. Now? I take the next step of faith simply because that's where He's leading. The rest is up to Him. My life doesn't make sense right now and that's ok! His ways are higher. My worship is renewed because I truly love Him above all else. I pray He will guard me against idols in my heart and will always win the war between my two natures. I pray that He will always be what I talk about most, that He will always be what I'm most excited about in life, and that NOTHING will ever be more important to me than Him.
To Him alone be all glory and honor and praise.