This may be my most important post of the whole blogger challenge this year. It may very well be the reason God reminded me of the event with just 48 hours to spare till the start. He knew that we would eventually reach the letter I.
I struggled with an idea for this member of the alphabet. When I was considering participating this year, I grabbed a piece of paper and listed ideas for almost every letter of the alphabet almost immediately. But the space next to “I” has remained empty for eleven days or more now. Even as late as yesterday evening I was reminding God that I needed an idea; I vowed to quit the challenge before I wrote on the only words I was coming up with on my own. As I drifted off to sleep, I was still pleading with God for help.
So I woke up this morning, and one of my first thoughts was, “Oh, no. The letter 'I'. I don't have an idea.” And then, just like that, one came to me, and I understood then why coming up with it had been a an ordeal.
I stands for Idolatry. An idol is anything that takes the place of God in your life. And God wanted to use this post to warn me not to let knitting become one in mine.
It could easily do so. In fact, the red flags are already waving.
Funny, the Blogger Challenge itself led me a few days ago to a delightful post somebody had written on the subject of the children's book, Tootle, by Gertrude Crampton. I had smiled as I read it, remembering the many times I'd read the book to my boys when they were little and loved it as much as they did. But I see now that even that post was pointing me in the direction of this one, as the book is about a little engine that wouldn't stay on the rails but jumped them repeatedly and ignored the red flags warning it to get back on track.
I have an addictive personality that causes me to overindulge in things I find appealing. I'm not physiologically dependent on them (well, maybe to coffee!), but psychologically so. I tend to take good things and go a little (or a lot!) overboard with them. It's why I no longer drink beer or wine anymore, despite the pleasure of a glass of wine with dinner, and the remembered joy of a cold beer on a hot summer's day. Experience has shown that I can't trust myself to stop before I become a drunken sop. For the same reason I no longer buy barbecue potato chips in anything larger than a single serving bag and refrain from even opening a box of extra-toasty Cheezits until I am within my weight limits on the bathroom scale.
Food and drink cravings aside, there are a lot of things available to us for enjoyment purposes that can become destructive when indulged in to excess. God allows them into our lives but works with us to keep them in check. Too often we act like my little engine friend, Tootle, jump the tracks and go our own way, ignoring the red flags God puts in front of us at every turn. The penalty for repeated overindulgence in things is their complete removal from my life experience. I simply don't want that to happen with my knitting.
And so I take this post today to remind myself to take heed to the guidelines God has put in place to keep my hobby under control. I set a limit on how long I will sit down with a project each day so that I will fulfill the other responsibilities calling for my time and attention. I remember that my God and my husband are more important to me than my current project, and will hasten to the side of either when the opportunity arises. And I will keep my eyes open for any red flags that say I'm headed the wrong way...so that the joy I find in my knitting needles will be one that is here to stay!
“So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!...Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry...'Everything is permissible' – but not everything is beneficial. 'Everything is permissible' – but not everything is constructive. So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
(1 Corinthians 10:12,14,23, 31 NIV)