I've had an idol for a large part of my life and have spent many years ignoring facing it. To give myself a little bit of a break, I don't think I fully understood that I was holding onto this idol so tightly until recently.
My idol is marriage.
For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to be a wife and a mother. I was naming my future children from as early on as I can remember and have notebooks filled with sketches of wedding dresses and home layouts. (it's alright to pause here and laugh at my inner-nerd) As a child, I remember thinking that everyone I knew who was truly happy had a family. My parents were an incredible demonstration of love towards each other and us kids and I always wanted what they had.
On one level, I think it is strange to think about marriage as an idol - after all, isn't it a good thing? Isn't it something that can be completely beautiful and God honoring? If so, how can it be made into an idol?
We all know the truth - too much of a good thing can be bad for us.
For me, marriage became something that I wanted so bad that it not only began to cloud my judgment, but it began to pull me away from God and his plan for my life.
And this is where I take my step of vulnerability in this post. In my past relationship I was dating a man who is an incredible Christian and has a true heart for God and others. I will never have anything bad to say about him and I truly cared about him. But I think the reality is that I allowed myself to get so emotionally pulled into the idea of creating a life with this man and having a family together that I ignored the questions my family raised and the doubts I was having in my own mind.
At the end of August I knew things needed to end. And the moment I realized that I was petrified. I realized that I could stay in the relationship and things would probably continue on fine and I knew that eventually there would be an engagement and marriage. On the other hand, I could face the feelings of frustration and confusion and choose to walk into a place of complete vulnerability.
The moment I chose the path of vulnerability was the moment I surrendered my idol to God. I gave control over his plan for my life back to him and released my clutch on what had been my plans and my idea for the perfect future. From that moment on I truly felt peace - yes, the next days were difficult and I felt sad and lonely at times, but I also felt a peace in knowing I had made the right decision.
I think marriage can often be an idol for young (and old) women. We live in society that idealizes weddings (which is ironic considering we have such a high divorce rate). I think getting excited about a wedding and praying for your future husband is a fine thing - but are you thinking about what happens after you say "I do"? Are you with someone just because you want to make it to the alter or because this truly is the man you believe God has chosen for you to spend the rest of your life with?
Most importantly, don't be in a rush. I've had to learn that just because my friend's are getting engaged, walking down the aisle, and becoming momma's doesn't mean that I have to do it too. God has a plan for each of us - and it is a perfect plan that is superior to anything we could ever plan on our own.....and that might mean serving him in the role as a single adult.