The Idol of Comfort
Moms, when you’re weary and exhausted it’s tempting to turn to idols for comfort. Today, I welcome blogger Christina Fox to encourage us to aside your idols and love Jesus with all your heart. -XO, Ruth
Does this scenario sound familiar?
The kids have been sick for days. At first, it was one child who picked up something in the church nursery. You stayed up all night comforting him and giving medicine every few hours. Before long, another child came down sick. And then another. You are exhausted. You’re tired of being stuck at home. The kids are irritable and clingy. Your husband is out of town for work and the minutes seem to stretch out long until his return. You look forward to the end of the day, counting down the hours until bedtime. What you want most is a bowl of your favorite frozen treat and to zone out in front of the television.
In fact, after the crazy last couple of days you’ve had, you deserve time to yourself to do what you want to do. You need some ‘me time.’ Right? Perhaps it’s not a bowl of ice cream or an entire season of your favorite drama you look forward to. Maybe you desire something else. Maybe it’s a grande latte. Or it might be an afternoon shopping at the mall. It might be a day at the spa. It might be escaping into the pages of a book. It might be scrolling through Facebook or Instagram. Whatever it is, you seek that thing to give you pleasure and comfort.
The Idol of Comfort
As a mom, I have found myself in that place of weariness and exhaustion. I have found myself tired of the mundane duties of motherhood, of having to repeat the same instruction and the same lesson over and over again—only to rinse and repeat again the next day. I have felt lonely and isolated and taken for granted. In those moments, I’ve found myself tempted to turn to some thing to give me comfort. Sometimes it’s been a sweet treat. Other times, it’s been a shopping trip. I’ve found myself reaching for a soda or coffee in the afternoon and thinking, ‘I deserve this after the day I’ve had.’
My children are not little anymore and they don’t exhaust me to the level they did when they were younger, but even now I find myself at the end of the day wanting to be by myself so I can zone out in front of the television. It’s part of my evening routine that I look forward to. It’s sacred. And it’s mine.
When we turn to such things to give us hope in the midst of hard days, they become idols in our heart that we worship instead of God. Such idols numb us to the harsh realities of life. They are temporary rewards to the trials and troubles of our days. They distract us and help us escape. For some, the idol of comfort gives meaning to the dry, mundane, boredom of life. For others, such comfort masks the painful circumstances they face. And for still others, the idol of comfort serves as a fitting co-host to a pity party.
Motherhood is filled with reasons why we would want to escape, numb ourselves, or find pleasure in something. Perhaps we thought we’d find happiness in motherhood, but our expectations proved wrong. We might have a child with unique problems or needs—needs we feel inadequate to handle. We might feel alone without help and support. Or maybe we find motherhood boring, hard, or unrewarding. Our life as a mother might be stressful and exhausting. Whatever the reason, this idol tells us we deserve pleasure. We deserve distraction and escape. We need it in order to find happiness.
The Empty Promises of Comfort
The problem with the idol of comfort is that it is never filled and never satisfied. It is like a bucket with a hole in the bottom. We keep filling it and it immediately empties back out. That gallon of ice cream only lasts so long and then it’s gone. We can escape to Facebook until the baby wakes and then reality crashes upon us. The show we are watching eventually comes to an end. And we are still the same person with the same problems. The idol of comfort only provides a temporary stay. It can never fill the void. That’s why we find ourselves needing more and more of whatever that pleasure is. It’s an idol whose hunger is never satiated.
Another problem with the idol of comfort is that we start to think we have a right to pleasure and comfort. We deserve it. So we structure our days around it. We demand it. When something or someone keeps us from our pleasures, we respond in anger. We start to resent those who interfere. That child who refuses to nap becomes an obstacle to our sacred Netflix time. We finally sit down at the end of the day and hear, ‘Mom!’ We sigh in irritation because in our mind we had clocked out for the day.
The truth is, the more we pursue our comforts and pleasures, the more they pursue us. They become our taskmaster, ruling our life. This is true of all idols. This is why the bible reminds us that our only hope is found in Christ (1 Peter 1:3). He is the one who gives us life. He is our refuge and strength. He is the only one who can give us what our heart’s long for most. He is our source of joy. In him we have redemption, forgiveness of sins, and life forever.
Moms, when you are tempted to turn to comfort, turn instead to Jesus. Cry out to him. Seek him. Remember all he has done for you. Set aside your idols and love Jesus with all your heart. In him you’ll find the satisfaction and treasure of your heart.
Christina Fox is a wife and mom to two boys. She wears many hats, including that of homeschool mom and chauffeur. She writes for a number of Christian ministries, including TGC and Revive Our Hearts. She is the author of A Heart Set Free, Closer than a Sister, and Idols of a Mother's Heart. Her two favorite things are mountains and coffee, even better when they are together. You can find her at www.christinafox.com.
Even good things can become idols if we give them central importance in our lives. Having children changes everything, and as mothers, we risk looking for life, purpose and meaning in motherhood. While being a mother brings its unique set of challenges, these years of raising children and helping them grow in the nurture and admonition of the Lord provide an opportunity to grow in our own Christlikeness as well.
Writing from her own personal experience as a mom, Christina Fox encourages mothers to prayerfully and thoughtfully examine their own hearts, and to let God use motherhood as a means of sanctification.
Split into three sections, the first chapter looks at the meaning motherhood; chapters 2–4 are about idolatry; chapters 5–9 focus on a few different idols that mothers might worship (not an exhaustive list, but a common few); and the final chapters are about facing idols, dethroning them, and turning our heart back to the One true God.
You can pre-order your copy of Idols of a Mother’s Heart on Amazon today.
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