I sometimes have to check myself because I feel like I am becoming an idolater. If I don’t keep myself in check, I know that I can easily slip over the line from mere admiration to something much worse: Idolatry
I am not a touch-typist. I have to look at the keyboard to see the letters I am typing, so I know I may be slipping over the line to idolatry when the only thing I can type without looking is a certain person’s name.
Over the last few weeks, I have been very conscious that the name Michael Hyatt has come up very frequently in my speech both verbal and online, to the point that I have had to take a hard look at myself to see which side of the line I’m currently on.
Some of my goals are to:
- Learn to be a better writer
- Develop and improve my blogging skills
- Learn to lead more effectively
- Be a better business man
- Get my books published
- Share and develop my passion for Christians to use the Internet, including social media, in the best possible way to further the Kingdom of God and give glory to Him.
Michael Hyatt’s online work is one of the best resources I’ve found anywhere to help me learn about, develop and improve any and all of those goals. It constantly amazes me how much what he shares online teaches me and guide me toward reaching my goals.
Michael’s blog is:
- Clear, concise and easy to read
- Of a consistently high standard
- Written with the aim of helping others improve
- Focused and informative
- Obviously written by a man who is intelligent and has a wealth of experience which he is willing to share
- Not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ even though it may alienate some potential readers
Michael also shares links to other valuable resources whenever he finds them. It’s like having a personal assistant to do all of the leg-work for me!
Not an Idol Though
HOWEVER… Michael Hyatt is human and is therefore as flawed and broken as all the rest of us. He’s not worth idolizing.
I have never met the man, never spoken to him in person, never seen how he truly interacts with his wife and family, never seen how he leads his business, never observed how he truly lives his life. In short, I have no idea whether he walks the walk or just talks the talk.
Even if I HAD seen all of these things and had seen for myself that he acts and lives as he suggests we should, Michael Hyatt would still be human, still be as flawed and broken as the rest of us and still not be worth idolizing.
Setting Up an Idol
Many people pin their faith, their hope, their very fragile sense of security on an idol in the form of a man or woman. Admiration can so quickly become idolatry that it’s hard to see it happening and, when it does happen, it’s easy to deny the reality of it.
Once we cross the line, the idol becomes an emotional crutch for the idolater and when that idol inevitably falls (or even simply dies) it can be crushing emotionally, spiritually and even physically. Suddenly everything that person stood for, everything they taught, everything they told you was true is thrown into doubt – and when that person is a Christian leader, it can make you doubt your whole faith in God.
I constantly take care to separate the man from the message. I love what Michael Hyatt is teaching and I enjoy and learn from his blog and tweets but I take times like these to remind myself that he’s just a guy, just another fallen man.
Michael the Ax-Murderer
If it came out that Michael was living a secret life as an ax-murderer, it wouldn’t crush me. Sure, I’d be praying for him and his family and it would remind me to take a good look at myself and see if I am hiding secret sin but it wouldn’t knock me flat, it wouldn’t pull the rug from under my feet.
That is why I can honestly say that Michael Hyatt is not my idol. He’s not perfect, he makes mistakes all the time. Just ask him about the time he tweeted about politics, for instance.
For as long as Michael continues to be a valuable resource for me and for others online, I will continue to share links to his posts and tweets but don’t be fooled: He’s just a man, he’s not God – and don’t let me or anyone else tell you anything different.
How about you? Do you have people you idolize, or come close to idolizing? How do you keep yourself on the right side of the line?
35 Reply to “Why Michael Hyatt is NOT My Idol”
Good post – always good thoughts to keep in mind about anyone that we admire.
Nice format to this post, good question to end with … gosh it almost looks another blog I read 😉
You mean it looks like @katdish's blog? 🙂
Always good to keep things in perspective, Peter.
Yes it is.. and I felt that to keep things in the right perspective, I needed to write about it as well as think about it!
Thanks for commenting, Bridget.
I really don't think there is anyone whose behavior could shake my faith to the core. I would definitely be disappointed if people I think well of did something horrible, like axe murdering, but I really don't think it would shake me to the core.
Well, I might be a bit more shocked if they were arrested while holding an axe over my head..
I was trying to come up with some terrible crime which also had a little comedic value and wouldn't be too offensive.
I figured ax-murdering fit the bill nicely. That probably says something terrible about my moral state!
I do occasionally find myself slipping into making an idol of someone, including Michael Hyatt. I actually considered flying to Nashville at a moment's notice once, when he offered to hear book pitches from anyone who ran in a race he was doing the next morning. My plot was foiled by having already missed the last flight to get me there in time. Crazy, huh?
Confession time. I also catch myself wanting to be an idol to others—wanting to be indispensible to them and admired. And a few months back, in a church group social setting, one of the men asked, "What do you women want, anyway?" I answered, "We want you to worship us." Aack!
Getting on my face before the Lord on a regular basis, and staying there a while, rescues me from both pitfalls.
Evidently I still need to do it a little more often.
I'm guilty of the same thing, Anne.
Deep down I don't want anyone to idolize me but on some other egocentric, fallen level I want to be indespensible and admired too.
I battle it all the time!
Thanks for the great comment.
Anne, what an amazing and transparent comment! I love that you shared this. I, too, can find myself wanting to be admired, respected, sought after. I am always sad when I uncover those motives hidden in my heart. But I am grateful when God's light exposes them so that I may pray for a pure heart! I love it when people share transparently, because it shows me that I am not alone. Thanks for stepping out and sharing this.
Peter, great post. It is so easy to make an idol of someone or some thing. Stepping back often and re-examining our priorities, thought life, heart has a way of exposing them. I love this post! Thanks for sharing it with us. Sorry to have been so absent lately. Seems my blog reading and writing has been limited to Mondays and Fridays…So glad to catch back up with you!!
I'm glad you came by. Thank you for your kind comments!
God bless, Peter
Chrystie, my own struggle is finding the balance between allowing God to transform me to His Son's likeness, allowing that light to shine—and NOT allowing myself the desire to be admired, respected, sought after for any of it. My little light must always point the way to The Light. Easier said than done.
Jesus Himself always pointed to the Father, and the Father's glory.
I don't think Michael would want anyone to idolize him.
I don't think he would either, but unfortunately I can't stop how someone else feels, I can only stop how I feel. Likewise, he can't stop how we feel about him, that's our job!
Thanks for stopping by, it's great to have you here.
This quote from Oswald Chambers seemed fitting:
"I am called to live in perfect relation to God so that my life produces a longing after God in other lives, not admiration for myself."
On another note, Peter, you win the award for catching headline of the day. What blogger hasn't been in the middle of a decision and thought, "What Would Michael Hyatt Do?"
Thanks for the quote by Oswald Chambers, you're right – it does fit!
Thanks for my award… I've been trying to get creative, like the other day when I tweeted:
"Back from the store, Bathsheba is duly pregnant, now to deal with Uriah: http://is.gd/584aq"
I have a lot of respect for Michael but only "know" him through his blog and Twitter. I will, however, admit to an extraordinary lust of his consistently empty inbox. #emailfail Great post, Peter. Google will find this post, fo sho!
I have a dozen inboxes all of which are permanently overflowing!
It hasn't seemed like you were idolizing MH lately as much as wooing him, increasing your numbers, getting more RT along with more traffic to your sight – and fawning just a bit. 🙂
Sincere appreciation is warranted. He is all you claim, I agree. Appreciating someone in private one on one and occasionally through a second hand compliment is always good.
I'm a nobody, don't have a brand or platform, nothing to lose, only curious as to what your motive has been in @michaelhyatt -ing so much lately. I wanted to unfollow you for it, as it was getting monotonous. I noticed, that's all. I like dialogue, hope you do to. It could be that you will be very successful in all your endeavors by making the chess moves as you have. I wish you well.
This might be the way to commit social media suicide, heh?
I wrote this because of the amount that I have been mentioning Mike lately. The problem is, he is constantly finding and writing great stuff that is genuinely helping me become a better writer and blogger – and I want to share that.
I would love to find some other people who are as good as he is at hunting down and sharing good stuff as Michael is.
I wonder, and this is a serious question that I'm asking because you've noticed the @michaelhyatt frequency… should I purposefully not share things that he tweets purely because they were tweeted by him, even though I think they may be valuable to others?
This question has been vexing me. What do you think?
Peter, I appreciate analytical. I'm sure I'm guilty of too much of it.
But I beg you, kind sir, give yourself a break. Besides being perhaps the biggest name in CBA, Mike is also an admirable Christian, a great guy, and a leader worthy of his following. I only RSS tweets on a handful of people, including you, so I see what you tweet about Mike. I wouldn't worry about it in the least.
(Gee, does following your tweets RSS mean I'm making you my idol? C'mon!)
It sounds like your motive is a good one. Adding value is always good. Thanks for dialoguing.
I'm going to try to be more intentional about trying to limit how much I tweet and how much I mention certain people in blog posts.
Feel free to remind me if things ever get out of control!
It sounds like your motive is a good one. Adding value is always good. Thanks for dialoguing.
There's nothing wrong with emulating someone like Michael Hyatt, who is a superb blogger and always writes posts worth my time.
Thanks for being transparent about our tendency to turn those whose skills we admire into idols. As a society (at least in the U.S.), we're constantly tempted to idolize people, things, and money. Your post is a good reminder to get grounded.
The cool thing about blogging is that through comments, we have the chance to interact directly with those we admire. For me, getting to know someone personally (even virtually) erases much of the idol worship, because I realize they are a real person.
Thanks for dropping by and adding your thoughts, Laura.
I have seen some people go the other way when their 'idol' speaks to them, it just intensifies the excitement and 'worship'. However, I see what you mean because I feel the same way as you. Interaction humanizes them and reminds me that they are not God!
No, RSSing my tweets means something entirely different, but I know a good shrink who could fix you 😉
DM me! Don't want you idolizing anyone publicly. ;D backatcha!
Late to the convo- but totally agree. Picturing Michael Hyatt’s smiling face with ax in hand is more than a little disturbing too. Good thing I didn’t read this before bed. 🙂
One of the things I LOVE about blogs is that it's never too late to join the convo!
I suggested to Michael Hyatt that I didn't really suspect him to be an ax murderer. His response:
"You never know ;-)"
You know what's funny? About an hour before you linked to this on Twitter, I was in the car thinking, "If you want to be a hero, you have to hang out with heroes."
But, I was specifically thinking of Mr. Hyatt.
I frame it not as hero-worship, but as recognition of some of the awesome qualities that we should all actualize in ourselves. I say "actualize" very intentionally. The qualities are already there. We just need to flip the switch. Leadership. Faith. Integrity. Success. Reputation.
Spence Smith wrote a post recently. (See "I Am Determined… Not Driven" on his blog.) The comments got hijacked onto a discussion of "Perfect People," the ones who annoy you with their perfection because, well, because you "just can't be like them." Spence actually had to spend a couple paragraphs convincing one of his readers that he's not the Perfect Person. (He didn't mention that the Perfect Person exists, but in the context of almost all of us reading this blog, my blog, Hyatt's blog, and Smith's blog, it would have been preaching to the choir anyway.)
Hyatt did something similar in a post in recent months when he admitted that he fights with his wife sometimes. Can you imagine that? First of all, why would he need to? And secondly, well, Gail should recognize his perfection by now, right? 🙂
The thing that gave me joy in that Hyatt post was that after several decades of marriage, they still have things to learn about each other. I think that's awesome. The difference between their marriage and mine isn't the set of difficulties, but strictly the fact that theirs is three or four times longer than mine. That's it.
So what's the difference between the "Perfect People" and the rest of us? The difference is that they do the things we think might be good to do but never get around to doing.
The completion of the math is an exercise left to the reader.
You're totally right, we should be looking at the good things in others to help us develop and grow, just as long as we don't let admiration slip into worship!
Thanks for stopping by and sharing your excellent thoughts!
Looks like you've learned from the pro, and then kept your feet on the ground. Great post.
BTW, your site is rockin' too, with all the widgets and the clean look.
Thanks, Bradley… oh, and Thanks!
I appreciate you taking the time to comment!