CONFESSIONS OF A LOST SHEEP
SHALOM BAY | MAR 13, 2018 | 5 MIN READ
I wanted to live in my childhood home forever. I wanted my parents to retire peacefully, and my brothers to live close to me. I wanted to walk my dogs every day for the rest of my life. I dreamed for work to be fulfilling and stable; for carefree days and sleepovers with my friends; and for the love of my life to sweep me off my feet, get on one knee, and to ensure the rest is history.
To my dismay, we had to sell our home, my parents moved to Korea, one brother moved away, and we gave away our dogs. I never secured full-time work, and had relationships that crashed and burned.
My life was not like the perfect picture I had once imagined. Through a series of divinely orchestrated events, strongholds -- misplaced hopes, trust, and ideals that I’d built my life upon-- were brought down.
Oswald Chambers wrote, “The good is always the enemy of the best.” In other words, even good things such as family, friends, work, and the comfort of home could become idols that replaced what God had deemed the best.
This was the case for me. I let “good things” define my identity and give me worth.
God, in his great and jealous love for me, shattered what I had failed to realize were idols. Nothing can replace the space in our hearts that was created for God alone. God graciously revealed the reality of these replacement things that were never meant to be my god.
Ironically, my biggest idol was myself. He revealed my own sins of self-sufficiency and hunger for acceptance. Do I look the part? Am I doing better than that person? Will this bring me glory? He so lovingly revealed to me that:
I am the older brother in the Parable of the Prodigal Son.
I am the whitewashed tomb that Jesus accused the Pharisees of being.
I am anxious Martha, not awed Mary who sat at Jesus’ feet.
I am the man who buried one talent in the soil, reaping none.
I am the man, who after having been forgiven, threw another in jail.
It’s scary because if I’m not constantly examining my heart, then I don’t know its current condition - and it’s not always pretty.
Luckily, I have community to help me reveal my idols. We all need people to point out the food stuck in our teeth. God gives and takes away, yet He will always provide those people and opportunities that we need to strengthen our faith and bring us back to Him.
Eventually I came to truly understand that this world is not my home and offers nothing of lasting worth or value. More importantly, I can acknowledge that I am a sinner, seen as righteous not by my works, but by the grace of God. I didn’t do anything nor can I do anything more!
Though I’m justified in Christ, I’m still very much a work in progress. Though I’m aging, I feel like a naive child. Though I’m loved by Christ, I’m learning to love myself.
Now that my idols are exposed, I feel like my life is just starting. Even now, I don’t know what I’ll be doing a month or year from now. I’m striving to live each day in faith for God. I trust everything will be okay because Jesus, the Lord of the universe, is my shepherd.
Shalom Bay is a sister, daughter, friend, aunt, believer, teacher. Loves nature, jiu-jitsu, food, walking dogs, and hanging out with international students.