It's Not Always a Golden Calf

Ok, so check it. I have a confession to make: I worship idols.

I don’t like this about myself, and I pray about it constantly. But I still do it.

And I bet you do, too.

I’m gonna ask you to unclutch your pearls and hang with me for a second. When we think of idols, most of our minds go to the scene in the Bible where the Israelites built a golden calf to worship because it had taken Moses too long to come down from Mount Sinai (study Exodus 31-32). We think of the shrine a lead character in Lifetime movies has built to worship the man she’s stalking. We sometimes go to the extremes of how we envision sin so we can say things like, “Oh, I’m not that bad.” This is how we view idols too. We think of the worst possible thing someone could worship, and as long as we don’t have those things in our lives, we are good. But removing the mental image in your head for a second, let’s examine our hearts.

An idol for me lately has become looking for a home. Owning a home is a goal for a lot of people, and it’s a good goal, but it can become tainted in the pursuit. When scrolling through Zillow takes up my entire lunch break, and I spend most of my day creating new Pinterest boards to spend money I don’t even have for decor, it might be an idol. In a season of life where I feel like I am fighting to rebuild, it’s something I can control. Or I’ve told myself I can. It’s far easier to believe that we can create our own feelings of contentment or control our own satisfaction in life. I am so guilty of this. Owning a home isn’t bad, but how I pursue it and my motivations can turn impure if I’m not careful of its place in my heart. That’s how you measure the level in which you’ve created an idol out of something.

Your turn. Is there anything in your life that you’ve elevated in your heart to a position that taints the goodness of said thing? If God knows our hearts, won’t you have the courage to ask Him?

It might be an idol if:

  • It is what I daydream about the most.

  • It is what I most enjoy talking about.

  • It is what I fear losing the most.

  • It is what I most enjoy reading about.

  • It is what I most love spending money on.

  • It is what I look to for heart-rejuvenation.

And I’m sorry, friend, but it’s also an idol if:

  • It causes me to disobey God.

  • It gives me greater joy than Christ.

Can I go one step further? There have been times when I’ve made an idol out of my pain, elevating what I feel or my hard circumstances over the promise of healing and restoration that God promises to all of us in Christ. Do not hear me saying get over it because those words will never escape my lips. What I am talking about is perspective. We can sometimes elevate our pain in ways that keep us stuck in cycles instead of gaining strength and gleaning knowledge of who God is through these hard seasons.

Idols are what consume you instead of you being consumed by God. With this definition, ask yourself again: what are my idols?

There’s Hope. God promises that as we pray and meditate on the Word, the Holy Spirit will so satisfy us in Christ that our idols are destroyed.

I’ve been learning to renew my mind with the words of God, and this thought: Even if I don’t get the house I want, or I have to wait a little longer, God, you are enough. I encourage you to create your own ‘even if’ statement to begin casting down the things that have consumed you. Empty yourself so that you leave room for God’s grace, mercy, and peace to consume you as you wait for the desires of your heart to be fulfilled. I encourage you not to hold on to anything tighter than you hold to the promise of God to be with you and to keep you.

Be encouraged

Terasha Burrell
Birthday Wishes for You

I never knew a “Jesus Year” was a thing until my friend Kim helped me find the beauty of turning 33 last year. Remembering this was age He died, I wasn’t encouraged until we rejoiced in the park over the truth that He resurrected. He didn’t stay dead ya’ll. Insert praise hands!

I turn 34 on Saturday, and naturally, I’ve been in reflection mode all week. Tears of joy and tears of sadness have been spread up and down Atlanta highways. My life is full in some of the most important ways, and I am generally happy. My story is not for the faint of heart. I'm proof that God's mercy, grace, and undying love didn't stop in the Bible. My story is messy, encouraging, confusing, heartbreaking, filled with grace and grit, and overflowing with joy. I have awe and adoration at what God has done, pain as I desire closure over some chapters, questions as I wait for my desires to intersect with God's will, peace that surpasses anything I want to understand, and hope at the way it will all be made beautiful in its time.

As I prepare to close my eyes and make a wish over my ice cream cake, I want you to know that my wishes are actually prayers for you. I don’t know where you find yourself in the journey from glory to glory, but I pray the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called us. I pray that you are filled with this simple truth I’ve discovered in my reflection: you can hope and hurt at the same moment because God dwells in both. I’m encouraged that the same God who sets us on the mountaintop, sees us when we find a path in the valley.


“I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite”.

(Isaiah 57:15 c-d)


That’s the hope and essence of the gospel isn’t it? There’s nowhere God doesn’t dwell.

In 34 years, my life hasn't always looked the way I planned, but it's developed my character in ways getting everything I wanted never could. I would tell my younger self to have patience in the trials. I've come to know God intimately because of them. I've learned to wrestle and surrender. I've known brokenness that's filled me with compassion. I've been reckless but found God to be so faithful.

I would tell my older self, and I hope you lean in too, something else I’ve discovered in my reflection: As we wait with unfulfilled desires, I pray that we can believe there are many undiscovered dreams as we trust God to write the story. I pray that you feel His unending grace for today. A grace that covered you when you needed it most and a grace that carries you forward into things yet seen.

Whatever you’re waiting on, be assured that all promises of God are Yes and Amen!


For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God.

2 Corinthians 1:20

Terasha Burrell Comment