One Christmas when my ninety-year-old mother-in-law, Audrey, lived with us, our then-three-year-old grandson, Raf, was fascinated with Audrey’s walker. As he walked (or ran!) away with it, Audrey became visibly anxious calling out to him, “Don’t take away my walker. I need it. I’m dependent upon it. I’m just an old woman, so don’t hurt it.”

I felt sad to think Audrey believed we wouldn’t help her and that she was on her own. She felt she had to call after Raf and try to control him. But she didn’t have the strength to retrieve the walker or follow Raf to supervise. My husband, Larry, and I, on the other hand, could do something and we decided that Raf couldn’t play with it because it caused her too much anxiety.

We each have our own kind of “walker” that we believe we require in life to meet our needs. We demand from people or things, “Don’t take away my idol. I need it. I’m dependent upon it. I’m just an incompetent Christian, so don’t hurt it.” Our idol may be a relationship, an accomplishment, our reputation…pick which “walker” you believe you need for your security and happiness. 

But our idol never satisfies. Only God can provide and protect us sufficiently. 

(This article is excerpted from Never Ever Be the Same (Leafwood Publishers) which offers Christians hope that they can change their ungodly reactions through identifying their self-protective strategies and trusting God instead. )