by Vanessa Stimmel

Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love. – Jonah 2:8 (ESV)

Everywhere I look I see idols being torn down around us. The curtain has been pulled back on what we revere and look to for comfort and security:

Self. Money. Work. Government. Plans. Weekends. Vacations. Sports. Concerts. Shopping. Education. The list goes on and on.

At best, these are often the aspects of life that make us feel valuable and worthy. At worst, they’re the distractions that help us avoid asking ourselves hard questions – the daily activities that lull us into a subtle spiritual slumber. Now, they’re all whisked away for an unknown amount of time, like a carpet pulled out from under our feet.

Merriam-Webster defines an idol as, “an object of extreme devotion” and “a representation or symbol of an object of worship.” We can make an idol out of anything, can’t we? Even more, when I take a good close look at my heart, it’s easy to see how natural it is for one idol to easily replace another – an endless production of fickle foundations.

The enjoyable, productive, and entertaining aspects of life I listed above that are now in jeopardy – they’re not “bad” in and of themselves. Our problem is that we worship them. Money isn’t evil, the love of it is. Self isn’t evil, the obsession of it is. The tradition of church is certainly inherently good, but worshipping the manmade constructs of it is not. 

We’re made to worship One, and One alone – our Creator. Our loving, divine, supreme, perfect, infallible, joyful, faithful, and perfectly good God. When we look to anything or anyone aside from Him to fill us up, we will without a doubt face dissatisfaction, emptiness, and restlessness in the end. What’s even better is that when we do this, true freedom becomes ours. We live as we were always meant to, liberating us from unrealistic expectations and toxic self-centeredness.

For most of my life (though my actions may have said otherwise at times) I’ve known that there is only One who is worthy of this part of me. I want to be sure – particularly now more than ever before – that my eyes are to Heaven, and my hope is in no other.

I can spend this time replacing the earthly comforts I’ve lost with other things that make me feel good – or numb at the very least. The news, more television, more scrolling, etc. (I’ve already fallen into this far more than I’d like to admit). But deep down, I know that I want this season to be fruitful. I don’t want to “go back to normal” in my heart or home. I want to use this precious time intentionally to grow in all the ways that matter. To wake up each day to listen and see in a way that has stretches into eternity.