Do not make any idols. -God (from Exodus 34:17)
I have no silly statues or superstitious nonsense in my house. I do not speak to the dead. I don't play with Ouija boards or tarot cards or any type of divination. I don't even read my horoscope. But I have idols, as surely as you do.
I thought that I was doing well. Church mostly every week, pray often, give what I can, stop drinking & smoking and cut down on the cussing (except in extreme emergencies), you know, the right behaviors. Perhaps I was doing well. Perhaps it is just that the tentacles of sin reach deeper than behaviors. They reach into our hearts, tangling it.
Work has been challenging in the last year. Sure, I know work is supposed to be tedious for the descendants of Adam. (But do I have to get hit with multiple curses just because I work and am a woman???) It got bad. I was betrayed. I was lied to. I was devalued. I was broken. I was whiny. I had discovered an idol.
That isn't to say that one shouldn't or couldn't be upset when things at work fall apart. For me, I came to the realization that work was not just bad for me, it was devastating who I supposed that I was and what my life would look like.
Work had begun to give my sense of self a shape, an identity. Work had begun to be my purpose. Work had begun to show me my value. I had begun to live to work rather than work to live.
It is sneaky, of course, to people who have jobs where others depend on you. Knowing that pride is an area of weakness for me, perhaps I should have been more vigilant, but I wasn't. I was enticed with the respect of my employer, that I was valuable, and by the need from my staff, that I was necessary. What I forgot was that I am not my job. I have a family and a home and hobbies and friends. And I was not spending enough of my life in relaxation with them. I was ruled by a Blackberry (BB) and on call 24/7. I became indignant when my husband tried to pry the BB out of my hands or off my mind.
I was not addicted to technology. I was addicted to being valuable.
This happened before, of course. I told you that pride is a place where sin jacks me up time and again. Several years ago, working in an intensive care unit in a hospital, I was quite concerned about something. I don't even remember what it was now. Either way, I was standing in a church parking lot one evening when a truck driving friend said to me, "You know that you aren't the one who is saving lives, right? If it isn't God's will, that person will die."
Needless to say, I was quite indignant. Who did this guy think he was? I had gone to school to be able to save lives! He was just a truck driver, and often an arrogant jerk.
Today I smile at who was the arrogant jerk.
Of course, when I thought about his words, I stopped taking the credit that was God's. Whether it was God who kept the patient's soul from leaving or gave me the size of hands to bag ventilate the patient adequately or the DNA that made me interested in working such chaotic situations, I was certainly not the power, just the vessel or vehicle.
While my sinful heart may tell me otherwise, I am not a god. Nor is my work a god. How is it so easy to forget?