Today marks 1 year til the 2012 London Olympic Games. I also just learned early this morning that a beloved Olympic Silver Medalist, Jeret "Speedy" Peterson took his life the other night.
This is a powerful and painful reminder to me how big and important things can appear to me, and how easily I can get caught up in them. I'm a dreamer, a big dreamer, and I'm always striving for something. That in itself is a good thing, as usually those dreams and passions are something that God places on my heart and wants me doing. But even when I'm striving for something "good," my focus can get distorted, placing way too much importance on that goal or dream, where it becomes the center of my life and the thing by which I measure everything else. Then suddenly without even knowing it, I realize that this great and wonderful dream has now become the idol which I am overly focused on, it's the center of my life, it's what I'm worshiping.
But a gold medal, a fancy diploma, a cushy bank account, fame, fitting in... these things aren't lasting, they're fleeting. Gold medals tarnish, the ribbons unravel; it doesn't erase your past or your problems or magically change your character. Diplomas are just papers saying you've spent X amount of time studying from a book; it doesn't mean you are now wise or know how to truly live. Money comes and goes and often creates more problems and more emptiness inside as you realize the things you buy will never fully satisfy you. Fame lasts for that quick 15 minutes and then people forget and cease to care about you; it's lust not real love. Fitting in and people pleasing is only trying to mash yourself into a box that you may not fit; it doesn't allow you to be your unique self and to understand how to give and receive true affection and love.
All these things are not "bad" things but when we are consumed by them, they are idols we are placing in our lives. They are all temporary, they will all fade away in the end. But the One who truly deserves and is worthy of our worship, offers a relationship that is eternal and has far greater reward than anything this world can offer. He will not leave you thirsting for more. He will not leave you longing for the next best thing. He will not cease to love you. He will never leave you. He will, however, provide for you. He will walk with you through the storm. He will fill your emptiness with a very true, very real and everlasting and loving relationship.
You don't have to clean yourself up to come to Him. As a matter of fact, He says you can't earn it, it's a gift. "For by grace you have been saved through faith,and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9) No matter what you've done or where you've been, He loves you and desires a relationship with you. His is the way, the truth and the life. He is Jesus, and the hope we have in Him is eternal and will never ever fade away.