It struck me while I was in my car. With Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture playing in my ears, I was led to repent. I had made the monuments of my past the idols for my today.
I never saw this coming. But am so glad it arrived.
“After Israel had crossed the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua: Tell[a] one man from each of the twelve tribes to pick up a large rock from where the priests are standing. Then have the men set up those rocks as a monument at the place where you camp tonight.
Joshua chose twelve men; he called them together, and told them:
Go to the middle of the riverbed where the sacred chest is, and pick up a large rock. Carry it on your shoulder to our camp. There are twelve of you, so there will be one rock for each tribe. Someday your children will ask, “Why are these rocks here?” Then you can tell them how the water stopped flowing when the chest was being carried across the river. These rocks will always remind our people of what happened here today.
The men followed the instructions that the Lord had given Joshua. They picked up twelve rocks, one for each tribe, and carried them to the camp, where they put them down.
Joshua had some other men set up a monument next to the place where the priests were standing. This monument was also made of twelve large rocks, and it is still there in the middle of the river.” – Joshua 4:1-9 (CEV)
I too have built monuments in my life, or so I thought.
His revelation for me today is that I have long sought to live off my past accomplishments failing to let God do in me new accomplishments.
I have replaced my monuments with idols. So instead of having monuments to remind myself of God’s faithfulness and His accomplishments in me from my past, I have turned these monuments into idols that I chase daily to live off of in pursuit of meaning and relevance for my present.
It’s like constantly refusing fresh bread as I demand and seek yesterday’s bread.
So we live off the crumbs of the past. Moldy crumbs of the past. And it makes me wonder, what if I never built actual monuments? What if what I really built were idols?
I suppose this should not be a surprise. When we live in such a way that we allow what we do to define who we are rather than who we are in Christ define what we do in life, we essentially were building idols the whole time and we never knew it.
Of course, this was not my intent. But somewhere along the way, my own insecurities got in the way. Somewhere along the way and for me personally, my fear of abandonment got in the way and I began to crave who I thought I was more than I knew God to be because it filled a gaping whole of need in my life that ironically only He could fill. All of this of course under the pretense of building monuments of thankfulness along the way.
I needed to confess to God today with my life and career that I had made my past my idol and allowed it to define who I was instead of defining my past in a monument to remind me of who God is.
I must confess that I have turned my yesterdays monuments into my today’s idols. With a monument, we move on, yet remember and often honor. With an idol, we camp out, yet get lost and often forget.
It’s so freeing to be convicted of this. I have tried so hard to outrun but still live off my corporate days for 6 years now. This is not to discount that I have been blessed to do some pretty incredible things these past 6 years as well as work with some pretty incredible people.
But I’m not talking about a career per se. I am talking about my life, my worth, my purpose per se.
Through all of this, I asked.. where has all the traction gone? Though I was blessed to do some incredible things, these past many years have also seen some of the darkest days my life has ever known. Days I never want to see again but through the lens of God’s deliverance.
As I pause and reflect upon this, I see that all along, God simply wanted to do what God does best. A new thing built on the experiences of my past and not entrenched within the experiences of my past. Yet somehow I am learning now that what this new thing always was is God wanting to redeem me from my past and then restore me to my future.
Peculiar freedom, this is. I didn’t see it coming, but it makes so much sense. Living off the fumes of yesterday is not a life that truly places one’s trust in what God has for you today.
With God, in His strength and with His wisdom, He allows us to operate from the experiences gained from our past but does not intend for us to remain in the experiences of our past. God wants to do a new thing.
Too often, how we view that next day is defined by how we view our yesterday. Do we view it as a monument of God’s faithfulness, deliverance, and undying love or have we made our monuments idols that we have allowed to dictate and define our present lives?
For me, sadly it has been the ladder. Beginning today, Lord make it be the former.
Dear God, tear down these idols. Forgive me for turning my monuments into idols. Forgive me for my lack of faith and trust that maybe just maybe… you want to do a new thing from the experiences you have brought me through and never intended for me to remain in those experiences you delivered me from.
This is a new day indeed. Oh God I pray, give me this day my daily bread and may this day be marked down in the history of life that for this child of yours, the chains have come off.
***Pondering further this Peculiar Freedom. To be continued…