How do you love someone without idolizing the relationship? I have a tendency to idolize my past relationships, and I’m so afraid of messing up again this time. It makes me almost want to not be with anyone because I know my heart will always default to idolatry. How do other people function and enjoy God’s blessings without turning them into idols? I know I should operate out of love, not fear, but fear is driving my decisions now. I’m so afraid of the past repeating itself and I don’t trust me
My very dear wonderful friend: I had the very same exact issue, and in many ways, I’m still inclined to idolize relationships as my entire source of approval, attention, value, and validation. I have a tendency to get “addicted” to things and to squeeze the life out of them, and it’s a lifelong struggle. I’m sure many others here will also tell you they feel the same way. You’re not alone on this one.
Your instinct to say “I don’t trust me” is actually right on. I commend you for this, because there are way too many cocky people who just do what they want and call it “freedom.” There are too many dumb philosophies that say “Follow your heart” and “Go be yourself” and “Do what you feel” without any context for reality, and people get crushed. So you’re not far from the truth — our hearts are certainly prone to wander.
Yet God also does NOT want you to live in fear of “possible idolatry.” Then you can just as quickly begin to idolize anti-idolatry, and that will crush you too. My friend: you can’t beat yourself up about this.
If you’re worried about messing it up all the time, you will end up trying to control your flesh with your flesh, which simply leads to other problems. It’s just sin-replacement, which you already know is not working. By trying so hard not to mess it up, you’ll simply mess it up somewhere else. We easily overthink ourselves into unlikely death-trap scenarios, which never actually frees us from idolatry. We are officially done with that fear.
So here are some suggestions for you. Please feel free to skip around.