“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'”
How often do we think about the future?
If you are anything like myself, then this thought is a perpetual repetition. Like a broken record, our minds spin around problems we have yet to face. However, if I were to say, make a pie chart ( I know I’m a nerd) out of my thoughts, about 70% of those thoughts would be on the issue of success.
I don’t know whether this is normal. Everyone is different. Plus, I do not actually think normal exists. If it does, it would be boring. Either way, I seem to be spending the vast majority of my “anxious” and “worrying” thoughts thinking about success. How will I do on the next exam? Where will I be in this job? Will I get a promotion? Am I doing good enough to deserve my pay? Will I get to go to school? Can I achieve my dreams?
On and on and on. The thing that I had to learn this year, and I am still coming to grips with this, is that I have made the idea of success an idol. It’s the typical daydream situation. I strove to get established, to get my degree, to be successful and become rich and famous. I know its cliche, but honestly, our society puts so much focus on the famous, and we see so many potential advantages to being well off, that we spend time and energy chasing after success.
This is what I had done. I wanted not only to be a good dancer, but to be the best. Not just one, but someone unique. Someone worth paying attention to. Because of this desire, I put my success above my health, my family, and my relationships.
Let me tell you.
It does not work.
It tore me apart. To the point where ever day felt like this:
Of course, it only takes so much time before we get sick and tired of life when we run ourselves into the ground. Chasing after any idol is a dead end. Success is no different. Timothy Keller talked about this in his book Counterfeit Gods. He says this,
“More than other idols, personal success and achievement lead to a sense that we ourselves are god, that our security and call rest in our own wisdom, strength, and performance. To be the very best at what you do, to be at the top of the heap, means no one is like you. You are supreme.”
I think I have talked about this topic before. However, I realized yesterday that talking about something does not mean you have overcome the problem. When going over school choices with my mom, I kept on disliking one school, Colorado Christian University. Eventually, I told my mom that I honestly had no idea why I disliked the school so much. It fit every criteria I wanted in a school It’s Christian, its small, it has excellent academics, good teachers, and phenomenal housing and student life services.
Yet I still did not like it. I realized I had literally no rationale as to why. When I told my mom this she said, “It’s because CCU is local. You know people who are going there, some you like and don’t like. But you dislike that because you want your own special place.”
While this comment did not particularly cause anything, I knew instinctively that mom was right. Her comment reminded me of Timothy Keller’s chapter on the idolatry of success. Ultimately, success is one of the most selfish and greedy idols we have. It puts us in supreme command, it puts us in the position of God.
This is partly why I was so off-hinged by my mother’s comment. She saw in me, whether she gave the exact name or not, the makings of the idol of success. I have not defeated it. Every day I struggle to put God in command. In a way, I am really a self-absorbed control-freak.
I am not saying that to bash myself. Rather, I want to put into light a problem so that I can begin to move on. When I know that I have been consciously pushing God out of the control seat, I know that the first thing I must do is get out of that seat and give God the command I usurped from Him.
To truly love the Lord with all of your heart, soul, and mind, requires that we let Him. Love links hand in hand with faith. Especially when it comes to future problems and trusting God, one of the hardest things is finding the faith to let go and let God.
Something that has really helped think of faith is the picture of a wagon wheel with spokes. I particularly love this illustration because I happen to like this picture.
The illustration is like this; God is the center of the wheel. He controls the balance, the connection, the ability to love others, all in His power going out from the center. As such, He should be the center of our lives. Along the edges of the wheel is the world. All of us are on it, directly or indirectly affected by God no matter where we are. However, faith is the spoke of the wheel that gives us a direct line to God. Think about it.
In America, you could never just call the President, you would have to go through security. Scanners, bomb sniffers, surveillance, usually a body guard and almost all of secret services checks and probably some secretaries before you would actually reach the guy in charge. What a privilege it is that we have the ability to connect straight to the ruler of the universe!
“Faith is the communication link between heaven and earth. It is on this link of faith that God’s messages of love travel so quickly that even before we ask, He answers. And while we are still speaking, “he hears us” (1 John 5:14). So when we the connection of faith is broken, how will we obtain His promises? Am I in trouble? I can receive help by expressing faith. Am I being battered by the Enemy? My soul will find refuge by leaning in faith upon God. But without faith, I call to Him in vain, for faith is the only road between my soul and heaven. If the road is blocked, how can I communicate with the great King?” -Charles H. Spurgeon
To love God fully, I need more than to just give up an idol. I have to give up my life, my future, and give my faith to the One who knows and directs me future.
Be blessed today.