Welcome to Soli Deo Gloria! This group exists to empower women to authentically share their hearts. Want to learn more? Click here to find out ways you can be involved here.
Some things to know:
1. It's important to take some time to visit a friend. SDG is about relationships. If you decide to link up a post that reflects your heart, be sure to stop by your neighbor's place. We want to make sure everybody at this party feels a little love!
2. We are a safe place to be real. I deeply cherish your involvement in the community. Consider answering the question from "Let's get real" at the bottom of the post in the comments section.
3. I'm slowly updating the SDG retreat page. Take a second and check it out?
I've read 1 Corinthians many times, but this verse hadn't jumped out at me before. Perhaps I couldn't fathom before that I could ever be free of the need for worldly approval. Perhaps I thought it was something to be attained by the likes of Paul, but just a pipe dream for someone like me.
But I think about Paul and the man he was before encountering Christ. I think about his pharisaical attitudes and his self-righteousness and his need for power and authority. To go from that to this, I can see how anything is possible. Christ brings lasting and significant change to those most damaged, most broken. And I am grateful because there are days I feel I fall into those categories.
It's this wicked cycle that has no clear beginning. I can be down and brought up by worldly recognition or high praise. I can be up and then brought down by criticism or abandonment (unsubscribes can feel this way, can't they?). And at any point, I feel the guilt of allowing my soul to be swayed by what the world says. Because I know that is not the opinion that is supposed to count. That is not the opinion that is to sway my soul. That is not the opinion in charge of my moods, my guilt, my worth.
A few years ago, I spoke at a retreat. Although many women were fed by the words God had given me to say, there were a few that did not like me or the words that came out of my mouth. Even today, I can feel the pit in my stomach when I was made aware of these opinions. Even today, I have to tell myself this:
I can only say the things He gives me to say. To say anything else is to step out of what He has for me and for those in front of me listening.
I do not want to misstep, even if it means I have to sacrifice approval.
On Good Friday during my quiet time, I asked God to show me what this Love Idol of mine looks like. I wanted a tangible visualization of it on the cross with Jesus. Because with Jesus, I want this Love Idol to die. And I want to walk out of the tomb clean.
In my mind I see Jesus on the cross holding 3 bricks. Why 3? I'm not certain, but I think about the weight the load. It's heavy enough to cause pain and damage over time as I lug them around for years. But maybe 3 would also be the weight I'd get used to, eventually assuming this is the load I should carry if I was to get where I wanted to go.
And what could I build with 3 bricks? Not much. They are useless for any thing constructive...much like my Love Idol.
Worldly approval is useless. It's always fading, always fleeting, never fully filling.
This Easter as we read the Gospel lesson, I wanted to weep, weep with joy at the miracle that Jesus is alive and because He is, there is an abundance of grace for me. I shut the world out, it's me and Jesus and I am at His feet, marveling at the wonder, at the extent of His love. The Lenten season flashes before me and I am humbled by the amount of grace I need to live this life. And I believe it is testament to these past 40 days where I daily committed to rooting out critical thoughts, that I can see my intense need for grace and just be glad that He died to meet that need.
How often have I realized my need for grace and instead of turning full face to this incredible gift, available to me daily, and instead lambasted myself for needing it in the first place?
But this Easter morning, I show up with my sin, but all I can see is Him.
I see myself next to Jesus in the dark tomb. He takes my hand and we walk out into the light. Alive. Reborn. Renewed.
And think, I could do this every single day.
You could do this every single day.
We sing as our closing song Easter morning, "And all the people say 'Amen!'" and I think, "Amen to life. Amen to grace. Amen to the death of our Love Idols."
I've traded my bricks for something new, a different burden that is light and easy, the one Jesus asked me to carry and one that I can do with joy. No shoulds required. No looking over my shoulder to see if the world tells me I'm doing it right. It's just me and Jesus and the cross that forever reminds me of grace. A grace I am designed to need.
Let's Get Real: If you had to tangibly visualize your Love Idol, what do you think it would look like?
To celebrate Jesus and all the growth He has done in us during Lent, I am so excited to be able to offer you a free copy of Jennifer Dukes Lee's book, Love Idol. Enter to win using the Rafflecopter widget below!
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Time to share what's on YOUR heart. After you link up, please visit your neighbor and leave and encouraging word for her.