The Top 7 Idols of a Special-Needs Parent

“All right then,” Joshua said, “destroy the idols among you, and turn your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel.”Joshua 24:23 NLT

Are we really committed to following God? THE GOD? In the passage above Joshua reminded the Israelites that they couldn’t take this commitment to God lightly. If they said they were going to follow God, they had better get rid of any false gods or idols in their life. Joshua even told them “...he is a holy and jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion…” (v. 19).

As I contemplated this warning, “he is a jealous God...he will not forgive your rebellion…” I started to wonder where I may be serving other idols rather than the ONE TRUE GOD. Clearly, if there is anything in my life that I prioritize over God, then I am serving that idol before I serve him. Not all too surprising, a lot of the potential idols that came to mind I found to be associated with having a child with special needs!


Healthcare/Doctors/Finances: Don’t we all worry about having access to good healthcare and great doctors who can give us what we need when we have a child with special needs? And, with that, we worry about the financial resources we have for what healthcare won’t cover, or for our time out of work.

Research: There’s always a push to be a part of studies (especially in the rare disease community) and to help fund research; walk for it, run for it, participate in it. We are taught that RESEARCH is what’s needed to CURE our child and ensure a better future.

The Special Needs Community:We need to join that support group, vent to one another about our trials and tribulations (because no one else can understand us), and be sure to post on-line so we can tell everyone what it’s like to be a parent of a child with special needs.

Self-Education: We’re encouraged and applauded when we read every book, watch every show, listen to the podcasts, and learn ALL that we can about this disease, condition, diagnosis and how to “fix things.”

IEPs/IFSPs/Legislation:All of these legal documents that “protect” our child and level the playing field for them, or even the plans for transitioning out of high school...we plan and we plan and we plan so we can protect our vulnerable child for as long as possible.

Therapy: Both for them AND us! Some weeks I feel as though we don’t have an afternoon to ourselves because we are going from one therapist to another.

Our Children: Who among us hasn’t at times felt like our child is THE MOST important thing in our life, and that our MOST important task is ensuring that THIS child has good things happen for her or him because of all the other challenges in life?

I know that I have laid awake at night or been festering over all of these “idols” myself on many, many occasions. I know that I have at some point in time let one or more of these idols take priority over God. So, what do we do? How do we know if we are “idolizing” something or someone OVER the God of the Universe?

I found a list of 10 Clues that something has become an idol on

It causes me to disobey God.
It gives me greater joy than Christ.
It gives me the most excitement about the future.
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.
It is what I most enjoy spending time on.

If our discussions with our special needs community are causing us to slander or gossip about others (family members, schools, teachers, etc), then it’s causing us to disobey God and we have an idol.

If we are reading more self-help books or educational books or blogs about disability or rare disease than we are reading SCRIPTURE, then we are no longer enhancing our relationship with God and we have an idol.

If we are more afraid of losing our healthcare or our finances than we are afraid of losing our salvation or our relationship with Jesus, then we have an idol.

If we are more excited about an upcoming family vacation than we are about eternity in heaven, so we decide to skip church or Bible study because we have to pack or load the car, then we have an idol.

The potential ifs and thens go on and on. The Israelites were warned, therefore, so are we. We MUST put away all of our idols...abolish them, destroy them. God does not want to share our hearts with ANYONE or ANYTHING that we put above him.

HE alone is God. HE alone is worthy of our worship and praise. To HIM be the glory.

Pray: Heavenly Father, Creator, God of the Universe, YOU alone deserve my everything, and I have not been faithful to you. I have allowed other worldly things to creep into my heart and become my idol. Today I put away those things and I turn back to you. Forgive my cheating heart, and have mercy on me. Amen.