Have you ever told anyone or has anyone ever told you that they would never hurt you?
Long before Gordon and I were married I had a huge crush on him, so much so that all my friends were tired of hearing about him (it was a 4-year-long crush). I knew that God was supposed to be front and center of my life and I knew that no man could fill the longing in my heart, but I wasn’t completely convinced. Of course we were only ever friends and he made sure I knew that he had no intention of pursuing anything further than friends. But my heart still longed to be with him. And little by little the God of my heart was replaced by a man.
It wasn’t until God took me on a journey to the other end of the world (Australia to be exact), that he showed me who I had put on a pedestal in my life. I remember clearly getting an image in my mind of myself looking at a white board in front of me with a picture of Gordon’s face on it. Gently a hand took mine, we grabbed the eraser, and we erased Gordon’s face from the board. In that moment I knew that I had put Gordon above God in my life and God was asking me to replace a man with himself. Gordon had become an idol that I worshiped without even realizing I was doing it.
That’s how tricky idols can be.
It’s easy to let people be the rulers of our hearts; to put them above other things, especially in romantic relationships. The infatuation of new love can be intoxicating! It can erase our good judgment and, if we’re not careful, pull us into unhealthy, obsessive relationships. This is where distorted love begins. We think we are loving someone by placing them at the front and center of our lives. But there are consequences to allowing people on the throne of your heart.
Here is a picture of what we are really saying and what our idols are experiencing when we make people the center of our lives:
You are asking them, “Will you be my god?”
They are experiencing unrealistic pressure. Because asking someone to be the god of your life is a lot of pressure. You are telling this person, “I am putting all my happiness & wellbeing in your hands.” No one in their right mind would allow such a thing because they know they can’t come through. But so often we aren’t in our right mind in relationships and we allow it anyway. Why? Because it makes us feel needed. But can we really fill each other’s every need?
The truth is that no human being can live up to the pressure of filling your every need. Only God can.
You are saying to them, “You need to jump this high!”
They are experiencing unreachable expectations that will leave you sorely disappointed. You are making the bar so high that they are bound to fail. Whatever they do is just not enough. And even when they reach that bar, the thirst for more is just too great.
Only God is enough to fill your expectations. And he’ll often surprise you with more than you expected when you give him your desires and trust in his plan. The deepest joy can only come from the One True source.
You are accusing them, “It’s all your fault.”
They are experiencing irrational criticism. We are all irrational at times and it’s unreasonable to criticize someone for what we wanted them to do without making it clear of what you were hoping for. When you tell your husband, “I just wish we’d go out more,” he is probably going to take that as criticism and not want to take you out ever. You will never find contentment in being critical of others.
We often criticize the ones we love because we want someone to do for us what only God can do for us and they are always falling short. Let God fill that emptiness inside of you.
Obsessive love starts by putting someone on the pedestal of your life. The end result? You experience feelings of disappointment and are left unsatisfied in your relationship.
We can’t expect things or people to fill a God shaped void. And we don’t need to love people less, we just need to love people less obsessively. Obsessiveness comes into the picture when we make a person our god instead of the One true God.
Have you experienced those distortions of love mentioned above? If so, it is time to realize that you have placed the god of love (usually a boyfriend/spouse/ close friend) on the altar of your heart and it is time to take them down. Extend grace to the people you love, love them regardless of your happiness because happiness is not found in relationships. That is just a bonus of an already happy heart. Your happiness can only come from putting Jesus back on the throne of your heart.
Relationships do not substitute but heighten the happiness that you have already found in Jesus.
In the months after I removed Gordon from the throne of my heart, I felt more freedom than I have ever felt in my life. I didn’t realize it but I was putting pressure on not only him, but on myself by trying to someone I wasn’t. I can’t even tell you how low my self esteem got just trying to be someone I wanted him to like as more than a friend.
But of course our techniques are often so complicated and distorted. God just had to remind me whose I was and that he wanted to be the center of my heart and my life before he would ever allow there to be anything more than friendship with Gordon.
And to this day I am always reminded of this. When something is really good, it’s easy to make it an idol. I could easily make Gordon an idol in my life, especially now that we’re married. And I do at times. He is a great husband, we have an amazing marriage, he leads us well and I am a better person because of him. But we wouldn’t be where we are today if not for the personal, intimate relationships that we each have individually with Jesus. He is our center and when that begins to change even a little, we take notice because we begin to feel distant, dissatisfied, and disappointed in each other.
That’s when we remember to realign our hearts to Jesus and start afresh.
And from experience, there is nothing more beautiful and more fulfilling than a relationship centered on Christ.
Is there a relationship in your life that seems to be the determining factor in whether or not you are happy and joyful or sad and depressed?
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
All my Love,
P.S. If you love to read and are eager to find your confidence and embrace this season of your life, please read:
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