Someone may have to shampoo my hair for me today, because I spent a long time bent over in the garden yesterday, weeding rows of potatoes and spinach. My arms and shoulders are sore.
Gardening makes Tim Keller’s words, in Counterfeit Gods, more meaningful to me today:
When you “pull your emotions up by the roots,” as it were, you will often find your idols clinging to them.
That’s definitely what I went through recently, in pulling up paralyzing feelings of inadequacy I struggled with on a daily basis. Low and behold, there was the idol of people pleasing clinging to those long roots. There I was, bending my knees in worship of the judgment of other people, even worshiping my own self-judgment. And I found Tim Keller’s words to be true, that idols always disappoint.
What uncontrollable emotion gets the best of you regularly? Anxiety? Anger? Guilt? Fear? Hopelessness? Self-loathing?
I ask you a simple question today: Is it possible an idol is wrapping its life-choking tendrils around the root of what you feel?
“I am the Lord your God…You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything…” (Exodus 20:2-4 NIV)
Since recognizing my idolatry, repenting, and learning how to replace that idolatrous practice with a gospel-centered practice, I feel an indescribable emotional freedom. It has been a painful process, but I find myself begging God, Are there any more? Show me every idol clinging to my heart and let’s pull it. It’s a good kind of hurt to gain freedom.
Of course, if we discover idolatry clinging to the roots of the emotion, we are then required to take responsibility for what we feel.
Do you know what I’ve been praying for my church? That God would dredge up the idolatry –bring it to the surface and help each one of us see it for what it is. And I pray this for you today, that God will pull up your out-of-control emotion(s) by the roots and let you see what’s clinging there. The root problem may not be idolatry, but maybe it is. Can you imagine how emotionally healthy we could be with the purging of idols?
Emotional peace. Aaaaah. It’s what we’re all looking for.
So let the pulling begin.