Messes, Failure and Other Gods

You shall have no other gods before me.
Graphic by Jennifer Shipman / Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

I worship the One True God. Idolatry is abhorrent to me. But what if I have other gods and I don’t even realize it? What am I putting before Him? Idol’s aren’t just wood and stone.

February 18. I’m sitting at the dining table reading my Bible and trying to “have quiet time”. This morning I’m distracted. The overhead light seems glaring and it shows up all the mess of our cramped little condo.

The Christmas tree is half-dismantled because I’m still trying to remove the “pre-lit” lights – half of which died this Christmas. There are fake pine needles All. Over. The. Floor. Most of the Christmas decor boxes are still sitting behind the couch and in the hallway, making navigation treacherous at best. (Did I mention it’s February 18?) Our daughter’s new scooter is in that mix somewhere; Daddy tripped over it last night. Scattered among the pine needles are bits of dried play-dough. (Four is not old enough for play-dough. Just saying.) I’m picking last night’s dinner crumbs off the table runner and a sauce spill on the place mat is staring at me.

This is what life looks like. I’m telling myself it’s from battling never-ending rounds of colds, planning birthdays and leasing cars. Despite these things I feel like a failure. I “only” work part-time. I “only” have one child. Shouldn’t I be able to be able to manage better than this!

And then God speaks through Exodus: “you shall have no other gods before me”. It hits me: I have made my mess, indeed my perceived failure, into a god. But the One God has chosen me; set me apart as holy. He desires a relationship with me. My failings do not make me a failure. His grace covers them all.

So when one of God’s many blessings comes down the stairs with blond hair tousled and the world’s sweetest smile, and I hear the words “Good morning, Mommy”, then I kiss her and hug her tight and remember: the messes will get cleaned and the tasks will get done. If I will focus instead on my Creator, the Giver of all good things, then all other gods fall away. I have been given this daughter, this husband, this home, these gifts, this life. And it is so, so good.

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