at some point over this past year, i bought several John Piper books (pretty sure i've only made it through one, maybe two, of them though. they're quite the intense read!) and with it, i began to receive monthly letters from Desiring God (John Piper's ministry).
i feel bad for admitting this, but most of the time i tend to overlook them (along with my Holt International sponsor letters among other ministries i've previously sowed into at one time or another...). but amidst trying to "clean" my desk (which as i often joke about is more like relocating things from the desk to another locale), i came across November 2010's letter. it was entitled "Zacchaeus: Dismembering an Idol" and it portrayed a hypothetical conversation that followed Zacchaeus (a tax collector) surrendering the wealth he had accumulated, vowing to repay four times what he had stolen from anyone, and choosing to live a life following Christ.
i am always astounded at God's perfect timing.
last night, after reading another great blog post from my friend Brad (which you should check out HERE), i watched several I Am Second videos. it got me to really thinking about what i am. the things and the people i put first, rather than Christ.
and earlier today (just a few hours ago, in fact), i was contemplating writing a blog about how much of an idolater i am and how selfish i am, but i didn't really know how to...but reading this letter gave me the perfect segue.
God's timing. Perfect.
it's not my opinion. it is fact.
so here i am to give my story. here i am to declare what's truly first in my life.
growing up, i was always taught the value of hard work.
my junior year of high school, i worked part-time at Wendys while also juggling a school load of all honors and an AP class. my senior year, i worked part-time during school/full-time over the summer and breaks at Goodwill, while also taking more honors and dual enrollment classes through Vol State Community College. i graduated with a 4.0 GPA in high school and #8 in my class. but success in the classroom didn't fulfill me, made worse by the fact that i never had much of a social life.
i never dated anyone. i wasn't very popular. i was actually incredibly awkward. i knew myself and i knew how i wanted to be viewed and accepted as by my peers, but that never came to fruition in high school. but college gave me the ability to start clean. to be who i wanted to be: the bold, confident, crazy asian that most of you know me to be.
during freshman year, i came to know Christ. i had gone through the motions during middle school and high school. i memorized the verses, prayed the prayers, said the words, and then it was like i got a little label that said "Christian" on it. but during college, i came to know WHO Jesus was. it all clicked my freshman year.
prior to accepting Jesus into my life, i tried to "casually date" a couple friends from back home and it never worked out. but the summer between freshman and sophomore year, i finally thought i had gotten it right with a guy i had become friends with over the course of that first year. my relationship with that guy quickly became more important than my newfound relationship with Christ. at first, everything seemed "Christian" enough. but it wasn't. it quickly became about me, it quickly became about him, it quickly became about "us". i thought i was in love with him; but in retrospect, i realize i was obsessed with being adored. i wasn't in love with him, i was in love with the relationship. plain and simple: relationships became my idol.
we finally broke up and over the past year and a half, i've grieved over lost pieces of myself. i've made peace with past mistakes and i continually strive really hard to be content in my singleness.
but there is something i realized earlier this month, something that may have messed up a friendship with a person i sincerely admire, but definitely something i need to address in my life headfirst: it's still my idol. even when i'm not "looking", in my heart, i still lust for the "happily ever after fairytale endings". i posted at about 2AM this morning that chick flicks are my Achilles heel. it's very true. i can't watch them without fantasizing about my "Prince Charming" or my "Noah" or my whoever-the-character-is. i idolize the adoration and relationship that chick flicks portray. and i'm not okay with it anymore.
i wavered on the fence about the issue of "dating" for too long now. i've attempted to put a barrier between me and relationships. i've said previously "I'm not going to date", but i've always seemed to include a caveat statement, a back door or escape route, if you will, by saying "unless it's God's will for me to..."
but it's not God's will for me to put an idol before Him.
therefore, i'm dismembering MY idol and choosing not to date in 2011. the end.
"An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord."
-1 Corinthians 7:34-35
i am called to be in undivided devotion to the Lord and that's how i intend 2011 to be spent. not to say, i'm going to have zero interaction with guys, that's pretty much impossible (especially in my field of work), but there is a distinct line between friendship and more-than-friendship that i refuse to cross. guarding my heart from the idol of relationships is incredibly important to me. but it's more important to God that He be kept first.
i am Nikki.
i am Second.