Monday, August 29, 2011

Casting Idols & Soli Deo Gloria Party

Welcome to Soli Deo Gloria.  This is a place to share what is on your mind.  It is a place where vulnerability is accepted, where heart cries are honored, where struggles are heard.  It is a place where we are unconcerned with the quality of your words, but about the state of your heart.  We are a community of women that seek to encourage, support, love each other with our words.  There is laughter.  There are tears.  There is everything in between.  No matter where you are, who you are, where you have been, I want you to know that you are in the fold and that as you leave your link, you are prayed for.  Desire more information?  Please click here for the full scoop.  

This is a growing community (Thank you, Jesus!), so please don't feel that you have to visit every single person that links up.  We are all on a time budget.  That being said, I do invite you to pray and ask God which blogs to visit simply because there may be words for you left in that place or words that God has given you to share to those specific people.  And, while you are there, as you write in the comments of another's blog, would you offer up a prayer for them?  (If you would like to be on the email list for reminders and the occasional prayer request, please let me know in the comments.)
photo source
Last week was hard.

Hannah went to kindergarten.  She had a great transition, but for me, I spent several days feeling quite aimless.
My friend's husband died.
My other friend's grandmother died.
Steve Jobs resigned from Apple and so I started to fear some instability in my husband's workplace.
We are still without rain and are continually bombarded by triple-digit heat.
My best friend is trapped in the Bahamas with the after-math of Hurricane Irene.  (update:  She and her family are back safe and sound -- praise God!!)

I'm done complaining now.  I simply tell you these things so that you know the circumstances that surround my most recent revelation:

I've been casting idols.

As I have seen health and security falter and (from my viewpoint) a lack of provision with the rain, I have started to unravel a bit.  And through a conversation with my ever-loving, gentle husband, I realize that all of the above events have shaken me so because I had been putting my hope, trust, and faith in something other than God in different areas of my life.

Who do I trust will provide for me ultimately?  Apple, Inc... or God?
Who do I trust will always be there for me, no matter what I need?  My husband and friends... or God?
Who do I trust to carry out the most perfect, redeeming plans?  Me... or God?

I have much clasped tight in these fists of mine.  I am desperately holding onto the things that seemingly make my life complete, and so, when confronted with loss or the potential of loss, I bury my head in fear and my grip tightens even more so.  My heart starts to sink.  I wander aimlessly, without purpose. Or, at other times, I start clinging to tangible things that give me temporary buoyancy in a sea of uncertainty.  And when they no longer satisfy, I sink deeper still.

I'm entering in a hard, but needed process of casting down my idols.  I am examining all of them up on the shelf and asking God how I get them down so that they never get back up there again.  I'm venturing on a another road in my faith journey and am so glad you are with me to share it...

Blessings to you, my friends.

"Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings."  ~ Victor Hugo

36 comments :

  1. I so understand the darkness you seem to be traveling through. My father died last year. I've allowed it to affect me terribly. It was so sudden, and life seemed so frail and sometimes rather pointless. Light is peeking through the darkness. Good news comes again. God is so good.

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  2. Jen, I feel like you are writing much heart these days. We may express it in different ways, but we are dealing with similar issues. Or should I say God is dealing with similar issues in our lives. I realize that I have many idols in my life too. But God! Thank you, sweet sister.

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  3. Jen, I set up idols the same way. Perhaps we all do. It is grace calling us to cast them down to make room for something better. It is grace showing us that they're there at all. This is a journey toward hope. Be of good courage. The Lord Christ is with you (us) every step of the way. At least, this is what I preach to myself. :)

    @journeytoepiphany: I'm so sorry for your loss. Thanks be to God for beginning to lighten your darkness. May His comfort continue to abide with you.

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  4. I can relate a little. I've been trying to figure out what to do about selling my house. This week the county auditor reassessed the values in the area and I lost all of my equity in one short moment. Now I know I cannot sell it anytime soon. I actually was a little relieved, because it's out of my hands and now I can focus on what God wants me to do, not what I wanted me to do. I'm pretty sure he wants me to quit worrying about me and start helping people with bigger issues.

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  5. Jen, I have walked where you're walking. The last 4+ years have been a complete roller coaster that sometimes feels like all the hills are the falling kind. We always trusted God, but these last 4 years have given us opportunities to demonstrate it. I think you've picked up on the lesson very quickly and your response is such a godly one. Way to go girl!

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  6. This is just the reminder that I needed today. Thank you.

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  7. I have just realized that I linked the wrong post. =/ If you could remove the first one and keep the second one, that would be lovely.

    also, this is true beauty. so much to ponder. honestly, i wonder how often we get so caught up in the day to day lifestyle that we entirely lose sight of this sinkhole we lower ourselves into with each passing minute. casting down our idols, ourselves...letting Him be King.

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  8. Jen, I struggle with this at times, too. I think we all do at some point. When Luke was in the hospital it was a wake-up call for us that God is in control. Yet, part of us was wondering..is God trying to teach a lesson so "this" happened..it's hard. I think it's just those growing pains.

    So I have linked up again this week, feeling back on track..yay! Wanted to let you know that this particular post is a review of an awesome book about helping our kids defend their faith..and let me tell you, the book is amazing. I hesitated linking up, but felt like maybe one of the SDG gals would like to enter the giveaway so they can share this book with someone who has questions.

    Anyway...done rambling here :) Sending a hug and prayers to you :)

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  9. Jen - I have posted so often this summer about the heat and the lack of rain that I vowed not to do another "pity party" post. Yesterday in worship we sang "rain" songs - Healing Rain, Grace Like Rain, Jesus Bring the Rain. We gathered in groups to pray for relief from the drought and also for protection for those affected by the hurricane. But our pastor pointed out that God is in control of all of this. He holds all things together and all is in His hand.

    So yes, I've looked daily at the forecast. I see predictions that the drought may last another year and the heat through October. I haven't thought about when I trust those things rather than God, that it is an idol. Thank you for this insightful and thought provoking post.

    Blessings,
    Joan

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  10. It seems that the physical drought is a reflection of a current spiritual place...at least for me. Having trusted in other things (and myself) above God, my faith has become small. I believe He is revealing those things that have been hindering our relationship or preventing us from entering into our Promised Land so that we can move forward into our destiny and accept His call with abandon. It is a good place, this place you are in...God is pursuing you...allow Him to propel you into His purposes. There are greater things to be done.

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  11. Hey Jen- This may sound stupid, but last time I was going through so much. One wave after the other. God planted this thought in my mind - "Without the storms you will experience drought."
    It is in the storms - all be it they STINK- That we learn more about Who He is, how HE is our provider, sustainer. I learn to trust Him in a Deeper way than I ever could. Etc.

    I don't say this to you like you don't already know it - Because I know you do. But sometimes when I'm in the midst of it I need someone to remind me that Psalms 30 is on my horizon :) I am SO Sorry for all that you are facing. I will be praying for you, but I pray that you will come out the other side stronger from the storm.

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  12. I'm always refreshed by your honesty, Jen. Thank you for sharing. Oh, how we need to constantly cast those idols, don't we? I'm so prone to put my trust in the wrong things. This is a good reminder for me tonight.

    Blessings sister,
    Mel

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  13. Nice to know I have a friend in the "casting down" business...seems I find myself repeating that process. Thanks for the reminder.

    The good thing about all that casting down? It builds strong muscles that'll help next time!

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  14. Look at all these long comments, Girl! I think we all love such an honest heart. It's truly refreshing.

    And I love your Victor Hugo quote.

    Thanks for your prayers, by the way. Mike will be home later this week. A co-post will be up in the morning with some firsthand info from Africa!

    May God be so near you, Jen, as you forsake all to serve Him.

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  15. Oh dear friend...this is us all you know. Just saying to a friend tonight "He loves us too much to keep us comfortable" and I love how He is stretching you and showing you that you might be changed from one degree of glory to another...beautifully written and succinct representation of the 'every-heart'. {p.s. I kept trying to link and it didn't work...here's the link to my post in case I still can't get it to work: http://findtheflametofan.blogspot.com/2011/08/cocooned-part-1.html} xoxo

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  16. I can so relate to this.

    Here's the thing. I don't read enough blogs to be taken seriously as a blogger. I want to, and I always start each hop with good intentions...but I am so overwhelmed with other things to read.
    A few weeks ago, I took a break from "trying to read all the blogs I needed to read and hoping to all the places I needed to hop" I forced myself to NOT BLOG HOP for a week and I picked up a great book called Counterfeit Gods by Timothy Keller. I strongly recommend it. It starts of with the common things that many non believers make into idols (money, sex), but eventually as I read the chapters on Power--I saw myself.
    I began to see the deeper idols that were hidden. The need to be "liked" and the need for attention can become idols.
    I was able to trace it back to a very young age. It has been very freeing. I am still unable to read enough of other peoples blogs to get people to remember mine, but that is okay. My motives were not pure anyway. I was reading to comment so that they would read and comment. It was never going to satisfy.
    Anyway, I love that you are casting down your idols. I do want to share one thing I learned. You can never REMOVE an idol--you have to REPLACE an idol. Otherwise you will just replace it with another idol. I know that you will find your way through. Thanks for sharing. :) Jackie

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  17. Great thoughts, Jen and something I've struggled with in my life to. Anything can be an idol. Not sure why we are such slow learners sometimes. He is the only one who will completely satisfy us. Everything else will eventually leave us wanting.

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  18. Your husbands reassuring words stand out. What a blessing to have that kind of support!

    We are like clay and He continues to mold us - you! Thank you for your honest words to reflect upon.

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  19. Jen, I love this theme you have going in your life right now of purging and then filling yourself full of God, and all the lovely things being full of him has to offer. Thank you for sharing your life here for us to read and glean from.

    Blessings to you as you seek to be in shalom with your creator.

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  20. Love you Jen....God is always in control, even when bad things happen, so we can grow. I linked up with you today.

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  21. Oh don't I know about those little "g" gods as I call them. I have too many and have been slowly working to not focus on them but the real capital "G" God. Kelly Minter has a good study on idols called No Other Gods. It's good and made me realize what I was worshiping instead of God. Praying for you sister.

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  22. I'm sorry. I messed up my first link, and now it won't let me take it down. I'm redoing it, if you don't mind deleting my first link.
    Thank you!
    Stefanie

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  23. Oh, sweet friend...Aren't we just twin, kindred spirits? I HEAR YOU on this HUGELY and right now I walk through it. You know what I love though? I love that He knows what we are ready for and when - layer by layer, we are made more like His son. The whole point, eh?
    So thankful you are so self-aware that you can reflect on this and grow deeper with Him. So many people walk around feeling this way, feeling like there is something just not right in their lives, but they can't figure out what that something is. Kudos to you for listening, sweet girl.

    Natalie at Mommy on Fire
    http://www.mommyonfire.com

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  24. Jen -- I am in the same boat. When I get all idolitriffic it usually manifests in worry. I somehow forget that I am not the one running the show. Worry is the thing I do to keep it all going. But when I lay that down I am so much more peaceful. Thanks for sharing your heart you beautiful girl!

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  25. I just commented on another's post--same topic, the idols we cling to. As you know, I just took my son to college, and we are still recovering from Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene. I have carried the idol of responsibility for so many years of my son's life--thinking I was the one who had to make life work out for him. And you know what? I really can't right now. I mean, there is nothing I can do to help him--I have very limited internet access and can't look stuff online for him. I need to entrust him to the care of Jesus, which is something I say I do, but now I really have to do it!

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  26. "Asking God" -- that is the key. I'm reading the OT for the first time through...and I see a refrain repeated over and over: inquire of the Lord, inquire of the Lord. He will set you straight...but you need to ask him for help first. You have taken the first, and the hardest, step: recognition and asking.

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  27. It is so easy to slip slowly into dependence on "other than Him." What a wonderful Mercy He offers us when He reveals our hearts are not standing in Him. He Faithfully reminds me, too!! Of the same thing! :)

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  28. You are so right about casting idols, Jen! I know I do it, too, and I don't realize it until they are being taken away. Thanks for the reminder to be ever asking Him if there is any offensive way in me (since I can't seem to see it on my own :).

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  29. Your post goes so well with mine today. Thank you for the beautiful insight!

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  30. Oh, Jen, what a week. Praying for you friend.

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  31. You are a blessing, and I just wanted to say it right here: It is so cool to see your community grow.

    Your heart beats like this: Jesus ... Jesus ... Jesus....

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  32. That is a lot of stress, uncertainty and loss. You sound a bit like me . . . it sometimes takes a lot for me to "get it."

    Praying with you, dear Soli sister.

    Fondly,
    Glenda

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  33. interesting post - my heart goes out to you and I really identify with you AND all the comments are full of wisdom. I think you could write a n article or book just on the info here. lots to digest and ponder....

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  34. Yesterday when I was going through a progressive muscle relaxation exercise with one of my patients, I had him clench tight his fists and then relax his hands, to notice the difference. Instead of my usual script, I heard myself saying, "Just let your hand relax, resting open. Let go of all that you are holding on to. To receive the gifts God has for us, we must first open our hands and give up what we cleave tightly to..."

    I've never said those things before in a PMR exercise, and I knew those words were for me. It's so easy to fall into, isn't it? We focus on good things, but not the BEST thing...not the BEST PERSON. Still working on letting go. Everyday.

    Love to you, Jen.

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  35. Wow... this is me... "I have much clasped tight in these fists of mine. I am desperately holding onto the things that seemingly make my life complete, and so, when confronted with loss or the potential of loss, I bury my head in fear and my grip tightens even more so. My heart starts to sink. I wander aimlessly, without purpose. Or, at other times, I start clinging to tangible things that give me temporary buoyancy in a sea of uncertainty. And when they no longer satisfy, I sink deeper still." I can hardly believe my prayers just now and then reading your post. Thank you for sharing your heart, I had no idea when I came here this morning that I'd be getting a glimpse of my own. Lots to pray about... blessings!

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