The summer is ending, and it’s almost time to go back to school -less than 10 days, now. There are thousands of thoughts that pass through my head every hour: What will I do the day I get back to school? How will I move the furniture to re-arrange the room? What will I do for my senior thesis? Will I be a failure as an RA? How many times will I get sick this semester? Well, those aren’t exactly thoughts, but questions. However, knowing that my last days at home would be pretty empty of work, I decided to make my hands busy with organizing and crafts.
Every time I finish something my mom looks at it and tells me how beautiful it turned out. If there are other people in the house, she’ll get up to go show them what I just made. They will also approve of it and praise it. I really, really, really dislike praise. See, I used to have a problem with pride and self-sufficience, and it was hard to overcome it. Praise takes me back to my addiction. If I pay too much attention to the compliments I am given, I begin to think too highly of myself. I begin thinking that I am a good student, writer, artist, daughter, etc., when in reality, I’m not. I am only a good student because it pleased God to help me get good grades. I’m only a good artist because it pleased God to give me hands, to give me dexterity to hold my instruments, and to give me a head to think creatively. So, really, I don’t deserve any of the compliments I receive, but God does.
Thanks to my crafting, I’ve been receiving compliments. Every time I hear one I have to remind myself to think, What if I had no hands? What if I suddenly lost them? Thank you for the hands you have given me, Father. My reading this morning reminded me of the way I am prone to think of what I make,
” All who make idols are nothing, and the the things they treasure are worthless. Those who would speak up for them are blind; they are ignorant to their own shame… The carpenter measures with a line and makes an outline with a marker; he roughs it our with chisels and marks it with compasses. He shapes it in the form of man, of man in all his glory. that it may dwell in a shrine. He cut down cedars, or perhaps took a cypress or oak. He let it grow among the trees of the forest, or planted a pine, and the rain made it grow. It is man’s fuel for burning; some of it he takes and warms himself, he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Be he also fashions a god and worships it; he makes an idol and bows down to it. Half of the wood he burns in the fire; over it he prepares his meal, he roasts his meals and eats his fill. He also warms himself and says, ‘Ah! I am warm; I see the fire.’ From the rest he makes a god, his idol; he bows down to it and worships. He prays to it and says, ‘Save me; you are me god…’ No one stops to think, no one has the knowledge or understanding to say, ‘Half of it I use for fuel; I even baked bread over its coals, I roasted meat and I ate. Shall I make a destestable thing from what is left? Shall I bow down to a block of wood?'” (Isaiah 44: 9-19)
I may not make carve idols out of wood or bow down to what I make, but am I not idolizing my hands by feeling proud of what they make? Am I not idolizing the talent I did not conceive, but which is given to me only because God is gracious?
I pray I remember idols are not only made out of wood. I’ll pray I remember to look for those tangible and untangible things I tend to praise and idolize.