by Joy Trachsel
An idol can be a costly thing. It can cost you financially, personally, emotionally and spiritually. What is an idol? I found the following definition on the internet: an image or representation of a god used as an object of worship. A person or thing that is greatly admired, loved, or revered.
Here is my definition: Anything that separates Joy from God! Anything that gives Joy what she should only be seeking from God.
An idol isn’t always tangible like a car, expensive items or a home. I feel that the most dangerous idols are those that you cannot see like a profession, a relationship, ambition, or even ministry.
Whenever I share my story, I am sometimes asked what I feel triggered my breakdown. Let me first say that from my personal experience, depression and anxiety can be triggered or brought on by various things. (life experiences, traumas, chemical imbalances , etc) I am not a clinician or doctor and can only speak from what I know. My response when asked is the following:
I HAD AN IDOL in my life.
Let me begin by saying that details of the idol are not important and I have chosen not to share in great detail on this blog for several reasons. First being I don’t want to create confusion. What I feel was my idol is something that many of us have in our lives and it is usually not a destructive thing. I also want to be sensitive to others and not hurt anyone in the process. Lastly, the "what" isn’t as important as you may think, what is important is the restoration process and giving God ALL the glory. I will say that nothing about my idol was immoral, unethical, illegal or inappropriate.
Six months before my world went out of control, I heard a gentle whisper from God reminding me that I was treading on dangerous ground spiritually. This wasn’t new to me. I began to see a change in myself and a restlessness that was unsettling. I excused the feeling away and convinced myself that I was doing ok and that it was handled. The sweet gentle voice continued to remind me and I soon stopped listening. We often think that our ways are best. How stupid of me. Who can argue with God and believe they know better.
I begin recognizing subtle reminders from family and friends that I had changed and not in a good way. People that have the right to speak truth into me were honest and I tuned them out as well. Pride got in the way and I acknowledged their care and stayed on this dangerous path. Let me stop and say something that I shared in part 1….God always gets His way.
Miserable months went by and I began to finally realize something had to change . Something needed to be different but I wasn’t sure the what or the how. I did what I would recommend everyone do when they are feeling this way. Spend time in prayer and seek the counsel of others. Their honest critique and loving counsel opened my eyes to what I already knew.
I knew what is wrong in my life….I had an IDOL.
There was no longer any doubt. I had something that was giving me everything that only God could give me.
I knew what I had to do. I had to “lay it down.” It was time to stop the charade of pretending that I had it all figured it out and that I could maintain a healthy spiritual life while clinging to a false god. I vividly remember the evening that I decided to lay it down. There was finally an inner peace and an emptiness at the same time. I went to bed that night emotionally exhausted and scared. The question that was spinning through my mind was “how do I rebuild?”
I would love to be able to write that an instant transformation came over me and I awoke to a new life. Nope!
What happened was the opposite. As I wrestled throughout the night with my thoughts and God I decided that now was maybe not the time. That with some minor changes, I could compromise and keep the idol in my life and still please God. Decision was made and I was continuing my ways with small adjustments.
What followed was scary, unexpected and needed….God took it away. God removed the idol without my approval. He removed it suddenly. God always gets His way.
As I look back I know that it would have pleased God if I had been spiritually mature enough to remove it myself. As a parent, it is always rewarding when a child realizes what they did was wrong before we have to step in and give correction and discipline. I feel it is the same with God but He loves me enough to intervene. Thank you God!
It reminds me of a time when I was speaking to a drug addict and begging her to allow me to drive her to rehab. She wanted so much to get clean but didn’t have the inner strength to take the first step. I will never forget when she told me she was hoping to get arrested so she would be forced to detox in jail. When she shared that with me, I suddenly understood what she meant. I didn’t have the strength to do what I needed to do.
The following weeks were challenging. I didn’t realize how much I gained from what I had laid down. I prayed for immediate answers from God and often felt He was being silent. I was frustrated and confused and very uncomfortable. Pruning times are always painful but necessary. This was taking a little longer than I wanted and I did what is a never good idea…I disobeyed God. I rationalized my thoughts and picked up my idol again. For a brief moment, it felt right and normal. Voids were being filled again and purpose returned.
How sad. How sad that I thought I knew better than the one that created me. How sad that I thought my humanness knew better than the divine. In my stubborness God had to do the following to get my attention.
He broke me!