It’s hard not to have idols in this day and age.
Well, duh, guess it’s always been hard since God had to make a commandment about it.
But in modern times, we don’t carve idols out of wood and stone and worship them, believing that they are deities. These days, our idols are much more subtle: money, cars, career, Facebook, and – my personal downfall – famous people.
Yes, I, The Great Emily Josephine, have been guilty of the sin of worshipping idols in the guise of famous people. Yes, I was made to memorize the Ten Commandments as a child. Yes, I’ve heard at least a hundred different sermons about the evils of idolatry. But it’s so easy to slip into. So easy to put someone else you can see in the place of the Someone you cannot see.
But God is good, and not willing for me to stick in my idiocy. So He has been tearing down my idols, two in particular that I’ve noticed.
I grew up Catholic. So I probably heard about Mother Teresa more than the average elementary-aged child. As I hit puberty, I began to seriously admire her. I wanted to do what she did, live among the poor and help them.
Wanna know the truth? I considered becoming a nun at one point because I thought only nuns could live among the poor and help them.
I also had no use for any of my male peers, and didn’t see how that would change once I became an official adult.
Eventually, my admiration turned to idolatry. So, you know what God did? After Mother Teresa died, He put a biography of the woman on my local library’s shelf. Right where I could see it.
And I checked it out.
And my eyes were opened. Long story short, Mother Teresa was a control freak. She also turned down doctors who offered to work with her to help keep the dying she cared for from actually dying.
Yes, you read that right: Mother Teresa had an opportunity to keep them alive, and she chose death on their behalf.
Gee, thanks, Terry. Much obliged, I’m sure.
In that book she was also quoted as confessing that she frequently felt so distant from God that sometimes she doubted His existence!
BANG! One idol shot down.
A Rock Singer Who Shall Go Unnamed
Shh – don’t tell J, but from my late teens to early twenties I had it bad for a Particular Rock Star who has at least twenty years on me in age. I was eighteen or nineteen when I read in the newspaper that he had recently married, and though heartbroken, I – good Catholic girl that I was – immediately repented for committing adultery.
Yes, I was having those kinds of thoughts about him. Mostly like at a Certain Time Of The Month. But for two years I had a poster of him on my bedroom wall, so those thought probably came with more frequency than I’d like to admit.
Even after marrying a really cute guy (and it’s not just me; every female I knew when we were dating told me how cute he was), I thought this Particular Rock Star was better looking.
Skip ahead a bunch of years, during which time I sometimes had to fight hard against the urge to look up his website and stare at pictures of him. Two things happened. First, I accidentally-on purpose saw a photo of him (on Wikipedia) from around 2007. I was thirty-seven at the time, making him near sixty.
My eyes widened with surprise when I discovered that at least nowadays, he’s not any better looking that my DH.
Second, I recently got back into 80s music, the music of my youth (and the peak years for this Particular Rock Star). I decided I would start downloading clean 80s songs to listen to.
Well, I don’t know about you, but I didn’t understand a lot of the lyrics to a lot of the songs on the radio when I was a teenager. And if I did, and they had some secret meaning, I didn’t know about it.
So when I came across a title of a song I used to “love”, and I wasn’t sure about the lyrics, I’d end up on either metrolyrics.com or azlyrics.com to find and read them.
Again, my eyes have been opened. Especially about this Particular Rock Star.
Okay, so some of the songs had the vex more subtly couched than others. But, good grief! It’s there, in almost all of his pre-1986 songs. I like the music that goes along with the lyrics for the older songs…as with so many other songs that I “loved” as a teenager that have turned out to be either explicit or full of occult references.
However. I am not going to listen to any of them.
I’m not going to lie. I have actually been dealing with some serious disappointment over this. But you know what? I think that’s been God’s plan all along. This man was an idol in my head for longer and at a greater intensity than Mother Teresa ever was. I needed to see that I was wrong-wrong-WRONG to have him up on the pedestal where I’d had him.
What’s Tony got to do, got to do with it?
In part, this is why Tony Ramirez, my first rock star character in my romance novel series, writes clean songs. You know, Tony in Tony’s Rose. You know, my latest novel that you really, really want to download, read and leave a five-star review for?
And maybe that’s why I made Rose to be a young woman who couldn’t care less about being pursued by a famous rock singer, who didn’t even know who the guy was when she first met him. Maybe my subconscious wanted to make amends for the past.
Anyway. Long story short: knock down the idols in your life, or God will eventually knock them down for you. And it will be more painful if He has to.