When I was a kid in church, I remember the inevitable sermon on idols. I grew up being confused about them but knowing that pastors did not like them. We have lots of people we idolize, or respect. You heard a story about my great grandmother Viola and her woodstove. We lived vastly different lives, but I have a tremendous amount of respect for her. Probably because she had the stamina to raise 18 children, and my 4 daughters exhaust me some days.
The people we idolize can be powerful reminders of the personal qualities we hold important. They can also be a cheat sheet per se of figuring out who we want to be when we grow up. The important thing is to remember they are just people. They were not perfect and had their flaws as well. The danger with idolization is the person we see never actually existed. The real person was much more flawed and imperfect. Ironically, the pastors were right, be wary of idols.
Know that your future will be different than the people you have respected and patterned yourself after. Will you be able to walk away from that? Can you leave your idols behind?
Choose one of your childhood idols and learn all about them as best you can. Take the opportunity to learn who the real person was. Flaws and all. What mistakes did they make in their lives? What did they do before they were your idol? Perhaps this may require traveling back home to talk to people from your childhood school or hometown. You may find out that your idol never was who you thought they were or they were a giant of a person that accomplished much more than you ever knew. Either way, you will know the real person, which is always better than a false idol.
This blog is part of a series from the book Discover Your Best Life by Mike Hintz. His personal, professional, and spiritual growth tools are also featured in Northlink Retreats. If this topic resonates with you consider reading the book or attending one of the upcoming retreats.