Monday, March 9, 2009

Idolatry & The Real Jesus

I'm really having a hard time with blogging not being an idol. There. I said it.

Wrapped up in comments. Overly aware of statistics. Competing with myself in a contest that's never ending.

And it hurts. It hurts to think it owns me and it hurts to own up to it. But that's sin for ya.

Some things are going to change. But there's one thing that won't. Let me talk about that first.

To me, we've grown into a community I never expected to value so much. I pray for you when I read hurt in your comments. I laugh with you when you're laughing with me. You've extended the community over to Facebook, and we've talked back and forth. Months ago we were strangers, today you are friends. You are an amazing blessing.

I seriously considered giving up Stacy From Louisville completely. I went back and forth but finally found peace with taking you along with me on this journey. It took lots of soul searching and waiting on God to come to this decision. That is why I haven't posted in over a week.

So here's the deal. Most likely, I will be posting less often, an only when I have something worth saying. As always, when I find something funny I'll share it with you. Laughing, sarcasm, chatty - that's who I am. But trying to conjure up fantastical and being worried about Stacy From Louisville Superstardom - that's over. Dead. Audios.

In its place you'll see me chronicle my journey about seeking the real Jesus.

What? The real Jesus? Read on.

I had this amazing conversation with a counselor friend at church about my blog and my faith in general. I said, "I feel like I've shut myself off from God." He said, and I think this is brilliant, "Have you shut yourself off from God or from your preconceived notions of who you think God is? If we knew the REAL God, instead of what we have him made out to be, no one would shut themselves off from Him."

That, my friends, is idolatry. I put my baggage - hurt from the past, misunderstandings, even false teachings - on God. So much so that when all that stuff piles up it blocks God from the picture and I don't even see Him anymore. Without realizing it I throw God under the bus and settle for a craptastic substitute.

Like a blog. Or over-eating. Or arguing with my spouse. Or my health. Or my discontent. Or a million other things that amount to nothing when it's all said and done.

In talking with my friend I told him about how, for a long time, I've felt disconnected from the physical community at my church. I was in a long-term Bible study that offered academia and legality but no connection. I skimmed the surface of friendships, afraid to invest too much out of fear of being hurt. I've tried to be a square peg in a round hole instead of finding other square pegs to hang with.

My friend was quick to remind me that by isolating myself from investing in the Body of Christ I was cutting off a major avenue to the love of Christ . He was right. He is alive in His body. Often I've wasted time being critical of the church instead of finding my place in it, and I'm putting an end to it. That means I stop whining, be a big girl and pursue relationships instead of waiting for them to fall in my lap. So that's what I'm off to do.

You're more than welcome to journey with me.

Hearing my children sing the chorus of this song is one of the things He used to keep convicting me. Sing along if you know the words.

In case you stop by one day and there's no new post, please check out 97seconds. Jon Acuff of Stuff Christians Like did 28 days on Proverbs 12. It's extremely well done and worth your time.


Candace Jean July 16 said...

Dang, that's about my favorite TobyMac song but I never cried over it til now! We're hanging with you, Stacy, where ever you're called to be. This season you're in is just part of your journey toward Him. Praying for you, Sista of Awesome. Peace.

Donna said...

lurve you, GIRL!!

katdish said...

I love the person you are and the person you are becoming. Your honesty is one of the things I have come to admire over these past several months. I am glad that you have decided not to shut down SFL. I have struggled with some of the same issues, but in the end we ARE a community, and while I think it's important to invest time with the fellowship of believers in our immediate vicinity, the opportunity to share my struggles and triumps with you and others online has been an incredible blessing.

You have convicted and encouraged me so much; and made me laugh on days when I found it difficult to even smile. I consider it an honor to call you a friend, Stacy. I pray that we can meet face to face on this side of heaven.

stacie said...

Stacy -

I've missed you (especially since I've been taking a break from facebook while you've been taking a break from blogging - I've felt like I must be missing out on what's going on in your life)!

I've been worried about you, and I've been praying for you - which sounds odd to say to someone I've never met, but...I feel like we have! (And there's that whole "cat butt air freshener" thing that bonds us more tightly than most!)

Seriously, I relate to much of what you said here, and I will continue to pray!

We love you, Stacy!

K Storm said...

Wow, thanks for your honesty. I can really relate. I have made a concious effort to back off of some of these things lately because I sensed a strange dependency on it. Your comments help me find some perspective.

And I love to hear my kids singing that song too. We asked my daughter what it meant when it was just released...and were pleased she understood it so clearly. That we would all truly understand what God says to us in His Word, in prayer, in song, and in those placed around us.

Praying for you....

Skerrib said...

You are one smart lady, Stacy from Louisville.

Ranee said...

I think you are right that we need to make sure we are not putting things before God, or trying to fashion Jesus into our image and that anything can become an idol.

However, I am going to take exception with this:

"Have you shut yourself off from God or from your preconceived notions of who you think God is? If we knew the REAL God, instead of what we have him made out to be, no one would ever, ever shut themselves off from Him."

I do not think that is necessarily true. The world hated Him because they loved their sin more, they loved darkness. The rich young man knew exactly who and what he was walking away from, but he did it anyway. I think that there are many people who have and who will reject the Lord, even knowing who He truly is. It is a sad truth, but it is part of our free will.

Alison said...

Thanks for your honesty Stacy. We'll be along for the ride, and know God will use you for His good in whatever way is best. Thanks for laying it out there about the idolatry. I'm starting a new season in my life, and think I've let a few idols get in my way lately. You won't be the only one trying to figure out how to handle them.

Luckygirl said...

Wow! I had never thought of overeating as a substitute for Jesus. Going to be praying about that one for sure. And your post reinforced for me the direction I was considering with my church. And I hadn't heard that song before but it's great!


Marni said...

I love, love, love this song. Thanks for posting the video...I hadn't seen it yet. Made me cry too...

I want to join you on this journey. I do. I'm just not to the "stop whining" part yet because the hurt my family and I have been blindsided with at the hands of our church is profound, and I don't know how to let it go. I'm trying to hear God on this, and I know I'm getting in the way or I would hear Him.

I'd appreciate all of your prayers, your advice, or even your admonishments to pull up my big girl panties and learn to deal. Whatever you feel God leading you to say to me since I can't hear Him right now...

I'm so proud of you Stacy :) I know you know that, I just wanted to say it publically! :)

Julianna said...

I'm so glad to hear that you are doing whatever is necessary to strengthen your relationship with Christ.

This last August I came to the same realization regarding church. We were actually about to leave our church when our former pastor and his wife graciously pointed out the selfishness my husband I were clinging to. We were expecting people to come to us and for things to just magically change. Our relationships with people at church got much better when we changed our mindset and started getting involved again. I am so thankful now that the Lord kept us where we are and for the wonderful friendships that we would have missed out on.

I'll pray for God to bless you as you strive to please Him in all that you do. I appreciate your transparency and look forward to participating in your journey. I, too, feel like you are someone I've met and chat with periodically on here. Thank you very much for your encouragement to me a couple of weeks ago! God is so great to give us just what we need when we need it.

eastern ky pastor said...

@ marni

I'm sorry to hear that you have been hurt by a church. I don't know the specifics, but may I humbly suggest a couple of things.

First, realize that forgiveness is not an instaneous thing. It is a process toward reconciliation. It requires surrendering your right of justice so that you can give mercy. Just as Christ forgave us.

Second, ask yourself what you are gaining, with your current attitude. I don't know what yours is, but examine yourself to see if you are gaining a sense of being better than someone else because you would never do what they did to you. Bitterness over an injury grows from a seed of superiority planted in the soil of victimhood.

Third, realize that God's reward by working toward reconciliation is greater than the pain you feel.

I hope these are helpful. I'll be praying for you.

jenn said...

"That means I stop whining, be a big girl and pursue relationships instead of waiting for them to fall in my lap."

Yeah, that's what I'm working on too lately. I'm learning... slowly.

Marni said...

easter ky pastor...thank you for your words of wisdom. I truly suspect I am going the way of bitterness and superiority. Clearly I needed to read what you wrote. Thank you for that. That's a direction I will pursue working on.

sharilyn said...

yes, blogging can be addictive and 'stroking'... billy coffey wrote a great post about it a couple of weeks ago ( i had to address it myself once. and i had a friend who looked at my stats with me recently and immediately said, 'whoa! your percentage has gone down!'. i had decided that didn't matter... God may only speak to one person through my post, or maybe even to none...but if i'm doing it for HIS glory, the purpose has been served.

good for you for taking a hard look at your motives and for pursuing God in your blogging! your words and your response to God's nudge is inspiring!!

bman said...

Stacy, you are a constant reminder of how much I need to focus on God. I've been struggling for a while now with my blogs vs my writing career and the constant battle of which gets my attention and I've been getting beat up and worn out.
God's called me to write creatively. To write for young adults so that His message can be spread among that age group in an entertaining fashion.
He has not called me to whine about how hot it is in FL or whatever. So, that's over.
Thank you for following my various blogs as much as you do.
It's been a pleasure, and I hope to join you along your journey. Heck, fewer posts = me being able to read them all! w00t!
PS - Hope your health is going well, and I hope slowing down on the blogging will allow God to move in a mighty way. I'm still praying for you!

bman said...

Okay... this was just too funny.

wv: hommoo
A gay cow. Ha!

Karen (KayKay) said...

What a wonderful thing it is that you recognize this in yourself, and that you've discovered where you need to go. I'm glad that you have decided to keep blogging and take us on the journey. I can't even imagine how many people that will help.

The part of the post that completely spoke to me is at the end when you talked about the church community. After have bad church experience I too have been "skimming the surface of friendships." I've known it was time to get over it, to trust again, to change. Thanks for the kick in the pants.

fb said...

I am catching up...This is a great thought.Very timely for me as we have just had a very bad church experience and are "church shopping". I told my husband there is no way I will get involved again. It is just to hurtful to put yourself out there for "the church" to stomp on...but, I know better. I know we will be involved again - and maybe we can be a part of something really revolutionary in the new place we find. Maybe we can love and be loved like Christ called us to do - wouldn't that be great????