Posted by: JackRyan88 | December 8, 2010

Idols of the Heart

This past week I have been reading about an interesting topic, “Idols of the Heart and ‘Vanity Fair’” (See the link to the PDF document).  This was suggested reading from my counselor and lead down a path of understanding of how I was idolizing my significant other, and placing all my burdens on her.  When she couldn’t resolve them for me, it was my failure and I took that out on myself.

Here is an excerpt of an email I sent to my significant other, after we had a discussion about locking doors (hence the title to this blog):

When I have said, “I cannot live without you” or “I would die without you in my life”, I am idolizing you.  In the last line of 1 John, he says to us: “Beloved children, keep yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:21) (See the “Idols of the heart and ‘Vanity Fair’”).  What I have done by saying and feeling these thoughts, is that I have placed You as an idol.  I have placed You as a substitute for God.  I am not saying that I do not love You, or that my feelings for You are not genuine.  But where I place them cannot come before God.  God is the one who rules my behavior, and it is in him that I place my love, my soul, mind and might.  It is in him where he rights the wrongs, forgives my sins, and leads me in his way.  “Idolatry becomes a problem of the heart, a metaphor for human lust, craving, yearning and greedy demand.”

I thought I had control of my depression and could handle it when things went awry.  My problem is I left counseling thinking I had it licked, and what happened was much worse.  What got me through those struggling times was God, and what I did was replaced God with You.  It is so evident and clear in how I have acted these past couple of months.  You are right I cannot expect you to pick me up when I am down.  Even though I consciously know that, subconsciously I went to you to pick me up.  I placed You before God, and broke what is the right order of God’s laws.  I placed my burden on You, it wasn’t You who wanted them, it was what I was doing subconsciously because I held you as an idol.

Two weeks ago [my counselor] introduced this idea to me, and she assigned me some homework.  Over the past couple of days I have listened to sermons, and read the Idols of the Heart article as I had referenced earlier.  This morning it is just like it all made sense and I never thought how profound of an impact this would have on me and how this relates and explains so clearly to me the importance of keeping God first.  As summarized in the Idols of the heart article, “it’s a matter of being hunger-driven rather God-driven.”

Placing God first, does not necessarily automatically fix the problems of shame in conflict or suicidal thoughts.  But it is a starting point for moving forward.  For rebuilding the skills I had for seeing and avoiding that downward spiral.   It doesn’t forgive the hurt I caused you or my family either.  I do ask you and my family for your forgiveness, for placing the suicide motive on you in the hope of gaining your attention towards me.  The motive was selfish and controlling in nature and not something I am proud of, nor something I ever want to repeat again.  Ultimately, in time it is God who will forgive me for these sins, and I will certainly ask him for forgiveness.

I have always known that suicide would emotionally hurt my family, my children, and you if followed through.  It was never my true intention to follow through with such a motive.  At the time and in the utter despair I was feeling, it is the only way I felt I could reach out for help.  What I didn’t realize was by reaching out in this way I was hurting you and those who love me.  Realizing this now it was a poor decision, and one I used to many times for a selfish need.  I wish I could turn back the clock and take back the scars I have created.  All I can do is give you my word that this will never happen again.  And although my word may be tarnished, I ask you to have forgiveness and faith in what I am saying and time to heal the scars.

I invite anyone who is placing someone before God or Idolizing to read the “Idols of the Heart” article.  Your relationship with God defines your other relationships.  The past couple of weeks have been so dark, but finally as of yesterday I can see sunshine ahead.  Not every day will be like that but like I said, it’s a starting point.

I have a wonderful Girlfriend who stuck by me through this, working with me to see what I was doing with my burdens and troubles, and placing them on her.  As she said, “…it is more than any mere human can handle.”  How true, burdens and troubles cannot be handled by just any human, only God can help us, Our Lord and Savior.  It is in God that he takes and carries our burdens, and walks with us down that path for his will.  It is God’s will in how we live; we live for his plan not our plan.  It was also God’s intervention that made the Idols of the Heart so clear and relative to my situation.  What started out with not locking a door; opened and closed a door.  It opened a door to this concept of idolizing and placing God first, and started the process of closing the door on managing my depression.

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