I never thought of family as an idol.
I mean how could wanting your family’s love and approval be idolatry?
For many years I longed to be loved and accepted by my family—but loved and accepted for myself.
Unfortunately, it was that longing to be myself that created a great many of my family problems.
I was an introvert born into a family of extroverts so instinctively I felt it. I just didn’t fit with everyone else’s idea of how I should behave.
The others in my household were life-of-the-party types—outgoing people-lover’s who hated being alone.
But rather than loving the stage and it’s limelight, and being the center of everyone’s attention, I often craved solitude. I didn’t fear solitude. Actually, I was serenely at peace with my own company. I loved doing simple, quiet things, which was good, for I often found myself in our house alone.
This sent the message,”What’s WRONG with you? You don’t fit with us unless you are willing to become, like us.”
“Going Along” is often the price to avoid rejection.
I wanted to feel a part of the group, but the price for their acceptance was to increasingly become someone I was not.
While I blamed my family for their pushing and pulling, badgering and bullying, one day I finally realized, they were not my biggest problem I was!
I had traded who I wanted to be for their approval.
Even in my adult years, many times I surrendered who God was calling me to be, for the “love and approval” I thought I could not live without.
It took me a long time to face the truth. Paying emotional extortion is not love, it’s slavery.
I began to see that I could vainly attempt to please my family for the rest of my days, and hope for a few grudging crumbs of approval and affection, or I could accept myself exactly the way God had created me to be, and obey His vision for my life.
I knew what “the price” would be.
I’ll confess, I did everything in my power for years to earn my family’s acceptance first… but in the end I think I always knew that their rejection, and the pain that went with it, would be the price for obeying God.
Inevitably, my choice was no choice at all, God would not relinquish His demand to be my FIRST love. (He made me no apologies for it.) And, I knew my choice would be all on me, no matter what I decided. So, I prayed for the courage to let go of my family’s approval.
It has been painful and difficult living with the price of isolation and no family to connect with, but Jesus has always been brutally honest.
With no apology at all He reminded me,
“Anyone who wants to my follower must love me far more than he does his own father, mother, wife, children, brothers, or sisters, yes, more than his own life, otherwise he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26
I see you there mourning for what is lost.
(You think, it’s over, all over.)
Child, Am I over?
Have I abandoned you?
(Sometimes, you feel I have.)
But feelings are not facts; no.
I AM here, right beside you.
“Shammah,” honey, “Shammah.” I AM beside you in your tears, beside you in your confusion and pain. I don’t leave when things get tough. No, dearest.
Lift your eyes, your lovely tear-filled eyes, to Me. I have comfort for you; encouragement for your fear, and HOPE.
I would say, “Trust Me.” but I see your trust for the moment is buried beneath your grief.
But, Sweet Heart, I have heard your prayers! I know you thought My silence was disdain and disapproval, yes? But to listen, truly listen, you must be silent, yes? I have heard you, never fear.
Your Father has not forsaken you though others have; forgive them. It is the only way.
Leave your family to Me.
Meanwhile, let Me lift that chin of yours because, “Yes, I AM the One who lifts your head.”
Your tears are ever before Me. See… I have kept them all!Comfort yourself child, your answers are on the way. Why, before you were done speaking? I was in motion!
Surprised? (You shouldn’t be.) I AM always listening.
(Love does that you know.)
“…Don’t cry any longer, for I have heard your prayers…” Jeremiah 31:16