On idols, idles, and idylls

I took some time away from blogging recently, mostly because I was in a bad mood and figured it wasn’t wise to go passing that around.  During my week of irritation, though, I think I learned a couple lessons, and I think I’ll pass them on.  They’re not entirely related, but they make a cool blog title, so here goes.

Last week I asked my pastor a question, and I think he answered me on Sunday with a powerful sermon.  In fact, because I wasn’t wearing my glasses it seemed me he even looked right at me during the sermon as if to say “Jill, this is the answer to your problem.”  The answer to my problem was that I am an idolator.  The problem is I’m becoming sick to death of unemployment.  But it isn’t about unemployment.  Honestly, if someone showed up at the door and gave my husband a check for five million dollars, I would never whine again about unemployment.

So the problem isn’t about a job.  It’s about money.  More specifically, it’s about the illusion of financial security.  Financial security is an idol.  Take it away for a couple years, and I lose my mind completely, because it was supposed to make my life perfect, and now it’s gone.  So, time to call a horse a horse and deal with the idol of financial security.  Jesus taught us to pray for our daily bread.  Then he assured us God knows we need food and clothing–not that we can’t pray about those things, but if he gives them to the birds, who never pray for them, we can be sure they’re pretty much a done deal.  So, from now on it’s time to think in terms of my daily bread and not a great job that promises long-term financial security.  God will deal with the hows of the daily bread, whether it’s just given each day like manna or stored up in warehouses for the future like Joseph’s Egypt.

The next lesson has to do with idling.  I don’t mean being idle as in not doing anything, but moving in that slow, steady, mindless way a car moves when nobody’s foot is on the gas.  I realized this week I have a list a mile long of very good things I plan to do–meet with people, involve myself in ministries, spend time with my children, etc–and I never get around to them.  I just let time slide right on past.  I know it’s a good idea to live life with more intention.  The thing is, those are the easiest words in the world to say, but I have to do something.  To vainly quote myself from FB, I think I would have less time to worry about tomorrow if I put more energy into doing what I need to do today. The KJV Bible uses the phrase “redeeming the time” to describe how to live a life.  I need to redeem a lot more of my time from average tasks to Kingdom-worthy tasks.

Finally, it’s time to get the idea out of my head that this life can be heaven.  That’s the idyll, the image of the future I hold in my head that can’t be real.  In it we have a job that makes plenty of money, live on twenty acres, and don’t agonize over cars or medical bills or college for the kids.  Things just go well.  I struggled most with this right after I was diagnosed with diabetes.  I’d walk past homes in the neighborhood next to ours, an area of beautiful homes, and I imagined that within those homes people were eating whatever they wanted, and planning nice trips, and living this carefree lifestyle that would never be mine.  I do better now in certain ways, but I still spend too much time grieving something that can’t exist here, as though I don’t believe it will exist better than I can ask or imagine down the next road.

Time to start a new week.  Time to put things into perspective–something I seem to need to do on a daily basis–and put what I know into action.  Words are simple, but actual transformation…  well, I’m into the third year of a few of these lessons, and as the world’s slowest learner, I have to say transformation at the heart, mind, and body level can take work.  But with God’s help, I will keep at until I meet Jesus and find out the reward was worth all the difficult lessons.

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