Changing My Floozy Heart
Want to grow, and change? Me too. But I frequently have trouble identifying what exactly it is that I’m trying to change. Like a black hole, I know something’s there - I feel its gravitational pull, but I don’t have light to see it. My heart does worship the way a black hole does gravitation: it is automatic - and profligate. It can’t not worship, and it pulls anything into its orbit - my heart is a worship floozy, prone to worship just about anything instead of God.
Because my worship is so automatic and promiscuous, I don’t notice when I’ve floated into a new idol’s orbit. I only feel its dark gravitation. Often the feeling is like death - I feel like I’m dying, though I’m literally not. As another writer has put it, if you find your life in, for instance, physical allure, it’ll feel like death every time a new wrinkle appears in the mirror.
But even then, it’s hard for me to see - is physical allure my idol? That I look for life in my appearance? Or in the approval of others? Or is it that I just need more sleep? Both? None of the above? Idol hunts can be productive, but they can also get confusing and unhelpfully introspective real quick. What to do?
A few things that have been helpful to me:
Go to God. He knows exactly what the idol is, of course. I forget that. And all true repentance ends up going to God anyway, because all sin is moving away from Him. So the first and best thing to do is to go to Him, talking, honest, open, confessing what is known, asking Him for light and sight on what is not. He is gracious and merciful to show us what we need to see - and blessedly not all at once.
Start with what you think the idol is. Even if you’re not quite right, along the way, God will bring truth that sheds more light and clarifies. And the labor and repentance you put into the “wrong” idol will supply some needed power to exit the orbit of the “real” idol anyway.
Open that Bible . . . To a book, not just a verse. Tunnel through the book, and then come up for air - what do you see now?
Seek criticism. This is maybe the hardest step. Look for someone who will gospel you: who will point out the faultlines, not to crush the wall, but to then apply the gospel mortar that’s truly needed.