Conviction is a powerful thing. I’ve heard it said that condemnation causes us to feel bad about ourselves and to feel hopeless whereas conviction is a cleansing feeling, invoking a sense that “yes, something needs changing, and changing now, but it’ll all be ok” in the end. It’s a sense that the Holy Spirit is nudging us to change but for our own good — and we’ll be glad.
So I have a love/hate relationship with conviction. And yet this whole jubilee project is based on conviction — the conviction that I have a lot of “mean to’s” and “will somedays” in my life and that I’d rather have a general inclination towards obeying, quickly, where I feel Scripture leads me.
Yet 15 days into Jubilee Year, I can see what my idols are. Surprise! The same thing they’ve long been — my children. Because I realize that as much as I want to act on what I learn this year and take seriously the opportunities to change, I’ve got an imaginary line in my head when it comes to forcing my changes on my children. I want to spoil them, say yes to them, not inflict hardship on them. I want to do the same for my husband — protect him from my choices and conviction. “It’s not their fault that my thinking is changing. They didn’t sign up for this,” I reason. And there may be some truth to that… but not enough that I shouldn’t at least raise the questions and see how they do feel about joining me in effecting changes.
If I believe this project is important for me (perhaps no one else in the world would be called to the same, exact things), then it’s only because I believe God would have me live differently. And if He cares about how I live, and I’m not in sync with His concerns yet, then it does matter how I respond. And if it matters how I respond, then it matters in all cases how I respond. And if I hold back when it comes to my children having to be affected, then it’s because I am putting them before God.
And that’s an idol. The rubber has met the road. Whatever that means, technically. We’re there.