“In my anguish, I cried to the Lord
and He answered by setting me free.
The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?” Psalm 118:5-6
I ran across this verse in a bible study I have been doing. I am doing the study through the LPM Blog, and encouragement from Beth Moore there. The bible study pointed me only to verse 6. The study was talking about fear, and how fear can bind us to things that become our idols.
Here is an example from the bible study:
“I have always been afraid of being abandoned… I carried this fear of being left alone into my adulthood. If I’m not diligently guarding against it, I can allow others to control me because of my fear that if I don’t do what they want, I will lose them and ultimately be left alone… Whatever we fear is our god. Fear itself is not the god; the object of our fear is the god.” Kelly Minter, “Living Room Series: No Other Gods,” pg. 49
Kelly Minter gave us numerous verses to look up that talked about fear, relating to many different things. So as I looked up Ps. 118:6, I backed up to read it in context with a couple of the verses around it.
I realized that God has heard my cries coming out of my anguish and pain for years… and He answered me by setting me free. I used to think that freedom was a “one time” thing. I thought, once I started hearing more about freedom in Christ, freedom from my past, that I could do “one thing” and then I would be free from the depression and other things that plagued me for years.
I now realize that freedom is a bit more of a process. A friend of mine, who started me on this road to freedom, once said that the process of working on our freedom, and dealing with our past, is like peeling an onion. We spend some time on the surface stuff, and clear that out of the way. Then, once that layer is peeled away, we realize there is more under there to work on… we work through that layer, to reveal another… and so on.
So God is answering by setting me free.
And He is with me. That is really key for me. See, I fight with fear of being left alone alone too.. the fear of being abandoned. But that fear is binding me to a slightly different god. I end up fighting with a desire to get attention. Doing things, whether that is using my God-given talents or using my fight with depression, to get attention from others. So, my fear of being abandoned really leads me to be constantly asking myself, “What do others think of me? Oh, that was a really dumb thing to say! Do they still like me? Are they going to stick by me? Maybe I am too much of a drain on them…” and on it goes.
So, the reminder that God is with me is really important. No matter what goes on in my life, what friends move in and out, God is the constant. And I have a choice. “I will not be afraid.” That is a choice that is up to me. Sometimes it is daily, sometimes it is hourly, that I have to make a choice to not be afraid and to remember that God is with me.
No matter what people might do to me, God is with me and I need not be afraid.
I see this idol of others opinions of me carry over into every relationship I have. Seriously, with my husband, my friends, my family and in-laws, people at church, it doesn’t matter. I have, for years, twisted myself in knots trying to please people around me so that I wouldn’t be abandoned, and so that I would get the attention I craved.
It embarrasses me to even say that here. But, I suppose God is working with me through this, so that I can become more “me” with everyone. He wants to be the only one in my life. He wants to be the only God in my life, and the only One I turn to. When I try to satisfy my other gods, I end up finding out that no matter what I do, I can’t. Their hunger is never ending, and no matter the “sacrifices” I make to them, it will never be enough… there is always that critical voice saying that I didn’t do enough, or said too much, or whatever the case might be.
I think that without this study for the summer, I wouldn’t have faced this issue for a while. Now I will be hitting these idols in my life specifically this summer.
So, here’s a question for anyone reading this. What are things that are idols in your life? Is it opinions of others, TV, busyness, computer? There are so many things that can take the place of God in our lives. God calls us to be a peculiar people, set apart for Him. How can we be set apart and peculiar, and identified by our distinctive differences if we have the same idols in our lives just like everyone else around us?
These are ways that God has set us apart from the world. Ways He has said we are a peculiar people.
By, Heather Kudla, July 2008
Can we live in these truths? Can I? If I am to let God be God in my life, I need to.
“Don’t be afraid, just believe.” Mark 5:36