• Melanie Vespestad

My biggest idols as a Christian woman

I know, what an uplifting title. But let me say, in blogging, my goal is to be vulnerable. To not make things look or seem more glamorous than they actually were or currently are.

To me, idols are things that are getting in the way of my relationship with God. Unfortunately, all of my idols also hurt my relationships with others. When I'm focused all on me and what's supposedly going to make me happy, I'm not acting like Jesus at all. I'm choosing to entrust my life in my created hands rather than in the ones who in fact created me.

So here's a short list of a few things that I struggle with.

1. Control

This is something I talked about in my last post in regards to expectations. Although I'd love to say that I always value others' opinions and let them choose things, my husband can attest to a different scenario. I have a very hard time giving up control because I have an idea of what I want, and letting someone else choose an activity that might go against my wishes is sometimes really hard. I like to be in charge, I like to think that I know exactly how to make someone happy.

It's awful for both my relationship with Christ and my relationship with my husband because most of the time, it shows that I am not submitting. I clutch my to-do lists because crossing off one more item will help me feel accomplished, help me feel worthy and important. But instead, I know deep down that although I should keep goals in mind and be working toward them, I should be handing over control and trusting God to lead me.

2. Popularity

This is one that so many can easily get caught up in. In our day and age, social media is always showing you the numbers; they tell you the stats, how many people "like" the content you put out there. They even show everyone else how many people follow you, care about you, comment and engage with you.

As a young woman trying to build a photography business by word-of-mouth and also have my voice heard on a blog that I'm writing, I have a hard time balancing whether I'm looking for follows strictly for business, or whether it's because I want to appear to others as esteemed and valued. Someone important.

3. Image

I used to never care about what I looked like. I transformed from the 7th grade slob that only wore stained sweatpants and her hair up into the girl who wore jeans and makeup nearly every day of college. I never cared about my image until I started choosing to let what others thought define me and how I felt about myself.

Sometimes I focus way too much on what I look like, and this was most evident to me when I was nearing the end of high school. I had never grown my hair out before, and as I was finishing my senior year, my hair was the longest it had ever been. Let me tell you, I held onto that with a death grip. I found my identity in my beautiful blond locks. And finally, my cousin started calling me names, Sacag-Leacha to be exact, and I realized that my hair was a major idol in my life. I loved getting compliments on how long, or how pretty, or how "whatever" it was. I felt beautiful because of my hair, not because I was created in the image of an amazing God. And that was the last straw. Two days later, I chopped off more than 12 inches. I still love fashion, but I'm learning to embrace walking out of the house with socks and sandals on, sweating when it's hot out and not covering my face with makeup every single day. I'm learning to embrace and discover the parts of myself that God already sees as wonderful.

4. Performance

Trying to do things perfectly is something that has caused more stress than it's ever worth. Sometimes I find myself falling back into solely finding my identity and worth in what I've done. In high school and college, this was exhibited in my work ethic that quickly became an obsession. Instead of just doing my "best," I had to do things perfectly. I had to get straight As, and the pressure was unbearable. It was only when I had accepted that I'd be okay if I didn't succeed that I started to feel relieved and relaxed.

An example of this was also in athletics. I spent a large chunk of my summers working on basketball, going to open running, and then to other activities that I was trying to get better at. Although there were some great relationships that were built during those times, I began to focus too much on myself rather than on the person that I could be glorifying with these talents that I was refining.

Idols are something that we have to constantly be ready to battle with. Although I love having it all together, I have to be aware that though I plan and make to-do lists, God is in control. Though I want my voice to be heard, I can only find my value in Christ. And though I want others to see me as beautiful, true beauty comes from my heart. From the inside. From a mind focused on Christ. And though I naturally want to be good at what I do, it's okay to try new things and grow. In all aspects of life, I have to constantly realign my desires and focus on knocking down these idols.

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