No Other Gods

In the Book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon advisesCross that “a man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work.  This, too, I see from the hand of God.”  (Eccl. 3:13)

Over the years, Lindsay often asked the Lord to bless her with meaningful work, with a job that made a positive contribution and used her particular set of talents and abilities. That certainly sounded like a good prayer, but the Bible also warns us that “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9) Even our best motives can sometimes be mixed with worldly desires.

Eclipsing Passion
During one particular season in Lindsay’s life, God was very gracious and brought her an opportunity that ignited her passion. The work gave full rein to her creativity as a writer, producer and on-camera host. She threw herself into it with vigor and for eight years saw wonderful fruit that attracted many accolades. It was a thrilling and deeply satisfying season. However, it did come at a price. She thought little of working ridiculously long hours and putting her family last again and again—even to the point of arriving too late to say goodbye to her father just before he died.

Lust or Calling?
This last milestone was a rude awakening call and she began to realize that her priorities were not right.  She was forced to admit that her passion to make a contribution was also tainted with a deep craving for achievement and approval, a lust that was willing to sacrifice almost anything in its way. In some circles, such as in artistic communities, Lindsay noted that this desire is called “commitment” and considered a badge of honor– a necessary ground of being, in fact, if one is to be taken seriously. Lindsay’s earlier years as an actress had honed this tendency in her to perfection, and now, seasons later, she found that same focus and ferocity to be alive and well even though now she was as a committed Christian, and her allegiances supposedly had been realigned to a new paradigm.

Cruel Taskmaster
Lindsay also discovered that that this carnal ambition from the “old self” was a crueltaskmaster and that her passion had slowly transformed into a snare and a false idol. She looked to this created thing instead of God, the Creator, to meet her needs for significance and identity. Even worse, by worshiping the work of her hands, she was worshiping herself.

Revelations in Prayer
Lindsay is a woman of prayer, and the Lord revealed these things to her during times of solitude with Him. He also, of course, made it clear He was going to remove the idol and resume his rightful place in her life– or perhaps assume it for the first time in this part of her heart.

Spiritual Surgery
Although she knew what was coming and why, the spiritual “surgery” was nevertheless very painful.  When her series ended, she mourned very deeply the loss of worldly identity, recognition and creative expression. On some level, it even felt like a thwarting of her mission in life. But, God had a plan, a plan for greater spiritual and emotional health, and increased usefulness for His Kingdom.  She knew that meant that she had
to decrease and He had to increase.

New Beginnings
Another door soon opened and she transitioned, still mourning and wobbly, into a new work opportunity.  She hoped she would again soon achieve a string of new successes. After all, this is how Lindsay was wired.  Instead, she discovered that this new challenge required new muscles — muscles she didn’t even know she had.

God Reliance vs. Self Reliance
Over the months, she learned to lean on God as never before.  She looked to him, and not herself, for competence, inspiration and wisdom. She watched amazed as he scored victories for her time after time and developed new abilities within her that helped her succeed.

New Priorities
The season brought new insights about God’s amazing faithfulness. In gratitude, Lindsay began to feel her focus shift from herself to the people she worked with. She prayed for blessing of her colleagues and larger circle of influence. Instead of being the super-achiever, she started leaving the office at 6 p.m. instead of 10 at night without feeling guilty!  She got to spend more time with her family and these neglected relationships deepened profoundly.

Finding Balance
Lindsay has learned that God loves us too much to allow us to follow false gods. If we are truly His, we will constantly be moving forward, maturing in the faith and refining our priorities.  Today, she has greater balance in her life, enjoys healthier relationships and feels more peace than she has ever known.  She is again writing and producing, but with a healthier work ethic and life perspective.  And when she is tempted to return to more worldly ambitions, she finds comfort and guidance in the words of the apostle Paul who said:

 

 

“Whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things… Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus (Philipians 3:7 & 8 and 13 & 14).

 

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