It was one of those moments where an imaginative light bulb went off over my head.
My husband and I were about to make the two hour trek from his parent’s house to our home. As we topped off the gas tank, my husband ran inside to purchase some headache medicine. I realized, when he returned to the car, that he had also bought some Starbursts. I quickly asked him, with excited eyes and an outstretched hand, “Where is my treat?”
I was more than slightly annoyed by Jason’s suggestion that we could “share” his.
I love food. Truly, I do (confession: I am eating a bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream right now). While sweets hold a special place in my heart, Starbursts don’t count because I live by the rule that if something contains fruit (or is fruit flavored) it isn’t a dessert. Jason offered to go back into the store, but I declined with the excuse that, “It wasn’t worth it.” My husband began to drive while I crossed my arms, stared blankly out of the passenger window, and sighed heavily (maturity isn’t my strong suit).
I was frustrated and upset that my husband didn’t buy me food. My thoughts went something like this, “After being married for nine years, he really should have known that I wanted him to romance me with sugar!”
That’s when the light bulb went off.
While I thought I was mad at my husband, I wasn’t. He had done nothing wrong and I couldn’t pin my foul mood on him. This had nothing to do with our marriage and everything to do with my worship of food.
My love for food is an idol in my life. While that may seem like an outdated religious word, the truth is, anything can be an idol and everyone struggles with them. Kyle Idleman states it best in his book, gods at war, when he writes,
What if it’s not about statues? What if the gods of here and now are not cosmic deities with strange names? What if they take identities that are so ordinary that we don’t recognize them as gods at all? What if we do our “kneeling” and our “bowing” with our imaginations, our checkbooks, our search engines, our calendars? What if I told you that every sin you are struggling with, every discouragement you are dealing with, even the lack of purpose you’re living with are because of idolatry?
My eyes were opened, undeniably, to my struggle with food when I read gods at war this past summer. I quickly turn to food for comfort or as a reward. I feel happy when I eat and grumpy when I am hungry. As we were driving back home, the Lord whispered gently, “you can’t be mad at Jason for your own struggles.”
If I had a healthy relationship with food, then I wouldn’t have been so frustrated that I didn’t get “my own” treat. My enjoyment of a car ride should not be based on whether or not I have candy to eat.
I struggle with many idols; food is merely one of them. My pride is another. My selfish nature yet another. Romance, sex, my hidden agenda, materialism, the opinions of others, our children, comparisons, and even my husband himself are other idols that I regularly wrestle with.
For a while now, I have surrendered to the fact that idols hinder my walk with God. My heart is so easily divided and I am in the ongoing process of defeating my earthly idols by removing them and replacing them with Jesus (no easy task). However, during our journey, my eyes were opened to the scary truth that idols disrupt not only my walk with God, but my marriage as well.
This time last year, my husband and I were disagreeing on where we were going to send our children to school. I argued the case that we should homeschool, but my husband remained unsure. I kept telling him that it was “my greatest desire” and “my calling” to homeschool our children. I even voiced that he was “taking away all of my dreams” with his suggestion of sending our children to preschool. A few weeks into our disagreement, I remember clearly the moment when the Lord asked me,“Do you think you are a better mother if you homeschool?” (yes) “Do you find your value and worth wrapped up in being a homeschooling mom?” (yes) “Do you think homeschool is an idol in your life?” (yes)
This whole time, I thought my homeschool idol was a conflict between myself and the Lord. I was searching for worth in something aside from Him. Yet, my disobedience extends deep. As I remember the marital stress that surrounded our schooling decision and as I recall the tears I cried, the accusing words I spoke, and the harsh looks I gave… I deeply regret the strife that my idol brought into our marriage.
Marriages crumble under the pressure of a golden calf.
Can you recognize the idols that may be present in your own life?
Will you join me in striving to be a wife who no longer punishes her husband because of her own sin struggle?!
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