I do not own the rights to this photo.
Hello everyone! Happy New Year! I know it's been awhile since I wrote a blog. I took a much needed break for the holidays. I have been processing a lot of what I am writing about today the last few weeks as well. I have also been processing some other things that you will see in the coming weeks. Today, I want to speak to those in the Church and those outside the Church. For those of you outside the Church, there may be ideas or concepts you are not familiar with in your own life. Please do not hesitate to reach out at my site email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. I love questions from readers so feel free to engage via email or simply write back on the blog site!
Without further adieu, let us begin.
If you read any of my blogs in late 2023, you know I have been removing unhealthy patterns from my life over the last two months. I have realized that those patterns can also be idols too! What do you mean those patterns are idols? Simply put, anything that competes with Jesus's love and reign in your life is an idol, and you have built an altar to such a thing. Jesus will not share lordship in your heart or life. These “idols” and patterns will not share lordship either. Jesus asked this question and provided the only solution in Matthew 6:24; “How can you worship two gods at the same time? You will have to hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other.” The time had come for me to despise the patterns and idols that had disrupted my life for so long. I could not serve two gods (or in my case three), and neither can you. I want to briefly describe these “idols” to you. They brought me so much pain and distracted me for so long from who I was and the love Jesus always had for me. However, it didn't end there. God provided a way out because He is faithful! He has a way out for you too!
Idol #1 Food
I have always been concerned with food, where and when is my next meal – as if I've been deprived of food. I can tell you for most of my life I have eaten what I wanted and filled my stomach with food and sugar, not really caring whether it was good for me or not. Food, especially chocolate, was an emotional calming mechanism for me. I filled myself with food when things didn't go well. I filled myself with food when relationships bombed. I filled myself with food most of all, when I didn't feel loved. Food always called to me “let me fill you up and make it and you feel better” or “let me fill you up and you can hide behind your unhealthy body since no one loves you anyway, then it won't hurt so much.” The problem is these were lies! Food never made me feel better in the long term. I became overweight, developed asthma, and pre-diabetes. Funny how these physical effects were never part of the “deal.” I felt worse about myself too, not better! Food did not love me, as much as I loved it. In fact, it didn't love me at all. You know what though? I was loved! I not only had people in my life who loved me, I have a wonderful King named Jesus who loved me better than any of them ever could! He has filled me with his lavish love! His love is better than too much food, even better than chocolate! It is this love of His that has given me the emotional and mental power to turn away from food as an idol and a pattern – to stop the dangerous weight gain and loss I have experienced throughout my life. He loves me so! I don't have to satisfy the appetite (lust) of the stomach (flesh) b/c the flesh has been crucified with Christ! (Galatians 2:20 TPT) He died for me because of lavish love! He died for you too because of lavish love! Food is nutrition, nothing more. I now use food, it doesn't use me, and it never will again! I have torn down that altar and I will never let it be rebuilt! King Jesus is better!
Idol #2 Spending
I have loved to spend money since my college days. I loved filling life up with stuff and experiences – it never mattered if I could pay for them or not – that's what credit was for in my mind. Little did I realize that spending was just a distraction for a woman that didn't feel loved. The spending was a like a dopamine hit for me. It satiated my hurting heart for a bit. It made me fell better for awhile just like the chocolate or the food. Funny things is, the “hit” didn't last. I always wanted more. “Just one more purchase, you can worry about paying for it later” it would say. “This will make you feel better” or “just love yourself with this purchase.” It was never enough. When the credit cards bills started rolling in, I didn't feel better and I didn't love myself. Again, this wasn't part of the “deal.” Are you starting to see a pattern here? Our idols and patterns never tell us the whole story. They lie to us. The chain us to the consequences of listening to them and making the decisions we make listening to their voices. My debt was my chain as my bad health was my chain. But God! I am going to say it again, I am so loved! All of the stuff and experiences in the world couldn't compare to Jesus' love for me! I know now that money is a tool for me to use, not a tool that has to use me (our idols and patterns use us anyway). I am filling my life with His lavish love and using money to give His love away! Money will be my tool, not my slave master! Do I have debt to get out of now? Yes, I do, no need to be deceptive about that fact. I can get out of that debt with the wisdom and common sense God gives me. I am shredding every credit card I pay off after I pay it off, and I will not open anymore credit cards ever again in my life. I may have to deal with the aftermath of worshiping money and stuff, and I am free of this idol. I have torn that idol and its altar down, never to be built again. I am no longer emotionally tied to money and stuff! Jesus' love has again given me the emotional and mental strength to say no to stuff that doesn't satisfy and to break the chains of debt! I don't have to satisfy the appetite (lust) of the eyes b/c the flesh (all the things I want that I don't need) has been crucified with Christ! (Galatians 2:20 TPT) King Jesus is better!
Idol #3 Chasing love and attention in men who could not love me
I had been worshiping this idol (and running in circles in this pattern) since I was 25 years old. I have chased men who could not love me, who were simply incapable for various reasons. Please don't misunderstand me, I am not bad mouthing these men, they were in their own pain for their own reasons, I am simply stating they were not for me no matter how much I wanted to make them mine. I was so good at chasing men who could not love me that one of them married me. It was a disaster. *The marriage was abusive and he later died by his own hand. I have been so good at chasing men who could not love me that I ended up in two affairs – not only could these men not love me, they weren't even available emotionally or otherwise! Your patterns and idols will take you places you do not want to go, hear me! They will even introduce you to violence! I've even had to deal with porn addiction in the men I chased. Men with porn addictions do not see you as a person, they see you as an object. Idols won't show you the fine print! Funny how this was not mentioned. The only thing I ever heard from these men were “I can take care of you” (for a price not mentioned), “I can love you” (usually with no real intention to and strings attached), and “what are you going to do for me” (and that expectation was real). None of these men were the man God had for me. They were Elizabeth's version of chasing her idol and when those relationships went south, as they were all guaranteed to, I turned back to my other two idols to make me feel better, food and spending. I was responsible for who I was chasing and have had to deal with some fall outs and consequences. If any of them ever read this blog, my hope and prayer for these men is they will all be set free and come to know how much they are loved by Jesus too. I have forgiven myself and them. I have righted (and repented of) what I could including breaking off the two affairs. I am working on healthy and helpful communication which is another topic for another day soon.
Did you notice something about this third idol? It was driving the others. Why? I did not know how loved I was for so long! This third idol was there for one reason and one reason only: to make me feel loved. Yet it did not come through on that promise did it? All this idol could do was keep breaking my heart. This idol is not love, it was counterfeit. It brought nothing but counterfeit into my life – men who sadly had the same idols in their own lives breaking their hearts too. This isn't the end of the story. Jesus didn't give up on men (and he won't give up on the either)! Jesus pursued me (and he pursues them even though they may not know it)! I fixed my eyes on the lover of my soul and this idol and its altar came crashing down. I want nothing but freedom for the men of that pattern. I bear them no ill will, and I will never turn back to chasing after counterfeit again! Entertaining the appetite of my flesh in the quest for love in fleeting moments to desperately feel loved by men no longer has any power in my life. I will take my pain to my Savior who already knows and loves me lavishly anyway. I hope one day they can and will too. I don't have to satisfy the appetite (lust) of the flesh b/c the flesh has been crucified with Christ! (Galatians 2:20 TPT) Jesus is better and who better to trust with my life than him!
Idols Are Counterfeits
My third and most pervasive idol (pattern) was a counterfeit. The truth is all three of them were counterfeits. They could never fill my need for love – the reason I worshiped them and allowed their patterns in my life in the first place. They offered false hope and never delivered on their promises. Their “feel good” moments were short lived and the consequences they never mentioned have caused me (and others) great pain and stolen time and money. Idol worship of any kind requires the sacrifice of our bodies, our health, our souls and/or someone else's body, soul, or health. My idols chained me to debt, people-pleasing, co-dependency, and poor self image for so long. They cost me too much. Hear me now please! Your idols will never fulfill you, never satisfy you, nor bring you any peace. They are empty, hollow shells that leave us spiritually hungry and thirty for more, more, more; yet we never get more, all we get are crumbs. Idols take from us and destroy our lives and the lives of others. All idols do is distract you from your purpose as they did me for so long. What are they costing you today? What are they taking from you today? I implore you, tear down the altars and idols in your heart! Give Jesus ALL of your heart and let Him reign as King of King's and Lord of Lord's of your mind, soul, and body! Let Him set his table for you today. Jesus is better! His table is better! His table won't have crumbs for food. You will be full and you will be satisfied! What are you waiting for? Come and see!
With much love and hope,
*To learn more about my story, please see my book The Road Less Traveled: A Story of Love, Pain, Hope and Everything In Between.