An idol is anything that takes God's place in your heart.
1 John 5:21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols.
Little children have this need to look up to someone, be like someone, follow someone. Which is why they tend toward making a person their idol.
As moms we tend to make idols to fill a need that we have that we don't think God can or will take care of.
Whether its loneliness (finding our comfort in the arms of man instead of the hands of God.).
Discontentment (looking to people or things to make us happy instead of finding contentment in God alone.). Value (seeking the approval and praise of man instead of looking to God for purpose and seeking our value in him alone.).
Love ( God is love, seeking it anywhere else will inevitably lead to disappointment. He alone can give us perfect love and the "affection" we would receive from the world will only end up disappointing us and leaving us lacking.).
Any of these and many more become idols in our heart because we are trying to fill our needs instead of allowing God to.
God has promised that he will provide us with everything we need!
He has also promised to give us good things.
So we need to stop trying to take care of ourselves and rest in the everlasting arms of our almighty God.
That is a very hard thing to do especially if you are a single mom, don't have a very loving or supportive husband or your support system is lacking.
But I've learned that sometimes the very thing it seems your lacking, is the very thing God uses to draw you closer to him. And let me tell you, there is more joy, contentment, freedom and comfort in the arms of God, than you could ever find in even the most "perfect" man.
Timothy Keller once wrote "What is an idol? It is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give you."
We as moms are surrounded by things vying to take God's place in our hearts. The very FIRST sin ever was when Eve thought there was something she needed that God didn't or wouldn't provide and she sought to take care of it herself.
That's hard! As moms we are used to picking up the slack, doing the things that need to be done that frankly no one else is going to step up and do. How many times have we waited for help or for someone to just do there job so we didn't have to. We just pull up our "mommy pants" and get it done!
While that's not always a bad thing, sometimes I know I get impatient, I decide when I need something and if its not provided right when I need it I assume its up to me to do it!
The problem starts with our impatience and then we usually grumble in our heart "God isn't taking care of this, so I have to." Your means of fulfilling your needs is to look to the world. The world can NEVER filll a hole God has made. Yep, I said A HOLE GOD HAS MADE! If we didn't have those holes we wouldn't need him, so he creates our hearts like a colander! Full of holes only he can fill, thereby causing us to turn to and rely on him and him alone! Turning to the world might temporarily feel fulfilling, like plugging the hole with tissues, you might even feel proud of yourself that "you did it!". But eventually that "tissue" is going to dissolve and you will be left feeling even more empty.
Sometimes we wonder why God won't just give us the "good" things we ask for. Well, I have learned that sometimes the "good" things are not the "best" things. And sometimes He cannot give us a "good" thing because we have shoved him out of the way to make room for the very thing we are asking for, therefore making it an idol and God will not give us anything that will take his place in our heart.
God recently showed me this very truth! I had been asking, praying and hoping for a husband for many years, and it seemed like I never received an answer. Everyone I knew was married, all my friends had been married for years and still I waited. Of course every well meaning and (some not so well meaning) person asked the same question "Why aren't you married yet?" I mean there are lots of verses in the bible about husbands being "good" things! So what was wrong with me?
Finally I received his answer. I was at the park with my kids and a male friend and I was trying to help my boys navigate the monkey bars. My friend came over and decided to show my boys the "manly" way of doing the monkey bars. Apparently its easier and shows off your muscles more! Anyway, in a moment it was like God gave me a glimpse of what it would be like to have a husband and for my kiddos to have a dad. It was amazing, it took my breath away, it was like a feeling of contentment, joy, security, comfort and happiness rushed over me and it was in that moment that I knew his answer to my longtime prayer.
I am not married, because I would find contentment, completeness and fulfillment in the arms of a man and I would no longer turn to God for those things.
I would have what I always wanted, longed for, dreamt of, but at the cost of losing my dependence on God and him alone. My husband would be my "tissue" and until God is enough, He can give me nothing else.
Like Timothy Keller wrote "An idol is whatever you look at and say, in your heart of hearts, "If I have that, than I'll feel my life has meaning, then I'll know I have value, then I'll feel significant and secure."
That is what I wanted in a husband, I wanted him to make me feel valued (he picked me over anyone else) to make me feel significant (I wasn't forgotten, see someone wanted me) to make me feel secure (I have three boys and I am terrified I'm going to mess them all up! And I'm scared the day will come when me parents are gone and I have no one, its just me and the kiddos, and I don't think I can do it!) and to make my life complete.
Thank you God for not giving me a "good" thing, but loving me so much to withhold the very thing I thought would make me happy and show me that He alone can fill the holes in my "colander" of a heart!
There is my quest! To be complete in him, find security in him and look to him for significance and value! And until I do, I my "good" thing is not the "best" thing for me!