Don't misread - I don't necessarily think there is anything wrong with reading, owning, or seeking help in making yourself better. In fact, I believe it to be admirable, especially when it involves our husband, family, and homes. But have you ever wondered at what point it is considered an idol?
Webster defines an idol as: 1.a representation or symbol of an object of worship; a false God; 2. A likeness of something; 3. An form or appearance visible but without substance; 4. a object of extreme devotion; 5. a false conception. My Bible dictionary defines idol as ANYTHING that takes the place of God.
So, I deduct that an idol, can be anything thing, plan, idea, etc. that becomes higher than worshiping our One True God, including, but not limited to, seeking to constantly be the perfect wife, mom, homemaker, etc. Now, before you stop reading, know this, I am a full-time wife, mom and homemaker. I also seek better communication with my husband, an excellent marriage, patience with my children, ideas on parenting and discipline, tips for keeping an organized, yet welcoming home. I'm just like you, very likely.
In seeking scripture on this...we can see it was important enough to Him to make it a commandment:
“You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. - Exodus 20:4-5
The fact is, God hasn't changed. He knew the Israelites were choosing to worship other things, and down through the centuries, we've all created idols. It has been (is) new inventions, such as, televisions, phones; better technology, such as, the NEWEST iphone, best computer; our cars, houses, clothes, bodies, etc. It doesn't, however, have to be something you can touch. It CAN and IS often, our time. And, in the end of verse 5, we can see that what we choose, WILL be passed generations beyond us. That's sobering!
Time.....He is the Author of that. We are to give Him the first and best of ALL He blesses us with. This includes our time. Again, I noticed how much time (and admittedly, money) I had invested in reading about "how to" be better at this or that. What if I sought Him first each day (giving Him the first and best of my time), chose
areas an area I wanted to improve (only one. He IS a big God. I, however, am HUMAN), and sought Him first, followed with a book (that I work through rather than skipping to here and there), and applied what I learned. See, the problem is we want it ALL, NOW!
And as I've been seeking to discover and rid myself of my idols, I've realized, many things have compounded to get me where I am. But ultimately, it IS idolatry. I highlighted the definitions where I felt my "how to's" fit in. And, no, I'm not literally bowing to these books, but in my mind, I'm constantly thinking "which one next?" or "I need to get this organized." or "I need to be more consistent with parenting." Often...these thoughts one right after another. Sometimes, even as I study my Bible, or as I'm journaling.
Again, I say, there is nothing wrong with wanting to improve yourself or learning new ways to parent, make your home, renew your marriage, or other obvious Proverb 31 traits. I think for me it became an idol, when I aligned myself with the "false conception" that ALL of these things are mine to be made "perfect." This is a journey, and just one of my discoveries along the way. I share, because I sought Him to reveal to me what keeps me from being in constant communion with Him.
I challenge you to seek Him as well. Have "how to's" become an idol in your life? Have you stopped to ask Him what He wants you to work to improve? As I have done so, I've realized that it's not everything. And, little by little, things are falling into place. Perfection? Hardly. Just a peace from Him, that I am in His will, and things fall into place...so much better. Join me?