I mentioned Jennifer Dukes Lee’s Love Idol back at the beginning of Lent. I had just started reading it and even the first few pages spoke to something I’ve struggled with, well, for all time. I like to be liked. I like to be heard. I wouldn’t always call myself a people-pleaser, but the applause and approval of other humans often edges out the approval of the only One who matters.
“I knew what the Bible said about me, but I measured my worth by other barometers – the mirror, report cards, and my performance among peers – even if it broke well-established moral rules.”
Reading Love Idol has been like therapy for me. With each chapter, I identify with another piece of Jennifer’s story – the striving for good grades, the saying “yes” so you don’t disappoint someone, being wrapped up in what others will think and riding the roller-coaster of their reactions.
“We ache to live our Christ identity more fully, instead of living a life yielded to our approval ratings. It is not a popularity contest. It is not a materialistic chase for medals, money, or Twitter @mentions.”
Unfortunately, the approval-seeking has been my default for so long. It’s a pesky love idol to shake. Pesky, but not impossible.
As part of my Lenten journey this year, I gave up looking at my blog statistics. I did a lot more writing from the heart, not for numbers or comments. It felt a little bold and scary, but also felt like it was less about me.
“God’s Word compels us to choose the Holy Trinity, not the self-centric trio of Me, Myself, and I.”
Can I tell you what I love about Jennifer’s message so much?
It isn’t about denying any praise or compliments that come your way. It’s Jesus and our hearts. It’s about refocusing. And all of this leads to freedom. I need that daily.
“When you and I no longer rely on praise or approval for our performance, we find new freedom: We can enjoy affirmation without craving it.”
The whole idea of being pre-approved? I’ve plastered those genius little signs on my computer, my bathroom wall, my planner. I can’t write anything that will make Jesus love me more or less. My appearance on any given day has no weight in His eyes. There is no planning or scheduling or working my way into a better place in heaven. I am and always have been pre-approved by Him.
“I yearn for us all to know the deep, deep love of Jesus – that it would be enough, that it always has been enough, and that it’s a love that can never be over matched by anything or anyone in this world.”
Love Idol is marked with many underlined passages and stars in the margins. It bears the soul of its writer in such a way that I felt as though we were confessing and story-sharing over coffee. It spurs me on in my desire to be less about me and ALL about Him. It will be in my nightstand for a long time as I continue to let go of my pesky love idol and hold tight to the love of my Savior.
If you haven’t yet, make sure you join the Love Idol Movement on Facebook! So inspiring!
I received a copy of this book to review from the publisher. I was not compensated in any way for this post and all opinions are 100% my own! All quotes are from the book!