Whoever your peace and sense of well-being depends on, that person has become a false god in your life.
Grace can flat-out tear down our idols. The opposite of grace is the letter of law. The letter of the law is, in most cases, and in this application, an unwritten code of conduct that we apply to others - especially those we care about most. We may think we've come out from under law - but we can know we've come out from under it when our "code" gets violated, and we still don't lose our peace and well-being.
This past early-June, I was wrestling over some disappointment I was going through. The feelings were intense. In retrospect, I can now see that everything I'd known about grace was about to be sifted and fine-tuned. I was on the cusp of a whole new world - a new place in God, where grace wore skin...my skin.
The Holy Spirit said to me, "You can hang onto this intense desire to see your children walk with Me, or you can intensely desire Me. I will be your "one thing", or nothing at all. Any desire that competes with the desire for more of Me is idolatry."
Huge revelation. I cannot begin to put into words how my world stopped turning, paused in suspended animation, and then reversed both its spinning and its orbit that night. My God became my "one thing".
One thing have I desired of the Lord, and that will I seek after...
I had honestly thought, all these years of pouring my heart into my mothering and my home schooling, that the desire that my children walk with God, and the desire for God Himself, were as close to one-in-the-same as any two desires could be. I never imagined for a moment that my longing to see my kids follow the Lord with the same passion as their parents had become the singlemost dangerous idol in my life.
That's the thing about being self deceived. If you knew you were deceived, then you would no longer be deceived at all!
I didn't know.
And it is a whole new world, a new place in God, a new learning curve that has me shooting straight up, vertically, into the heart of the Father....learning "of" Him, not just "about" Him. Getting to know His ways, not just His acts. It is also the hardest thing, ever.
There are so many things I have no control over, and my children's lives are at the top of that long list. And I have great kids! Great kids....but no control over their lives, ultimately. Let me assure you, you don't realize that so much when they are small. You don't realize that so much when they are teenagers. In fact, you don't realize it so much until they make a fundamentally wrong choice, and the consequences are no longer artificial, and parent-contrived.
But there is one thing I have "control" over, if you can call it control. I can have as much of the Lord as I want. I can have as much of God as I can contain.
That night, outside on my deck, looking up at early-June stars, I chose. Then, I sighed deeply. It was a sigh that came from the depths of my being; involuntary, and revealing...almost a shudder. It was a sigh that was the unavoidable result of my letting go of what was the most dear to me in this world, placing it in the Father's hands....and walking away. Forever.
I do mean forever. The choice was made, that night. It has had only to be re-inforced since then, not revisited or remade. It will be re-inforced over and over. Making the peace is winning the war. Keeping the peace is re-inforcing the victory. And it is still not easy.
He will be my One Thing that I desire, and that (alone) will I seek after. Finally, for the first time in my whole life perhaps, no other desire I have can begin to compare to my desire for God - Himself, alone.
As a consequence, He personally looks after what concerns me. He takes care of my heart. He nurtures my soul. My soul, well-fed on the grace of God, has no need to get its sense of well-being from the performance of others - my children least of all. A mother's soul, at rest in her God, is a much healthier resource to her children. A soul filled with Christ, never has to grub about for an idol to comfort it.
I'll tell you what I know: you have not lived until you have smashed your idols. And you cannot smash them without a revelation of the grace of your God. Without an understanding of grace, you may never even know they are there.