Monday, April 21, 2014

Love Idol {Book Giveaway} and the Soli Deo Gloria Party

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?
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Paul continues to write after the verse above, "It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide."

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?

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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!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Time to share what's on YOUR heart. After you link up, please visit your neighbor and leave and encouraging word for her.

17 comments :

  1. Thank you for your post! I *love* reading them & am always blessed when I do! Hoping the computer picks me for the Love Idol book!! :)

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  2. Hi Jen,
    I always appreciate your honesty and your words...funny, my post today mentions JDL's book and here you are running a giveaway...no need to enter me in the contest. Thanks :)

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  3. When blogging about my love idol journey earlier today, I spent more time than usual thinking about what picture I would put with my post. Then I realized I wanted to use the picture of the view from my lake house porch I took this weekend. This weekend I allowed myself to relax and have fun without worshiping Productivity and in doing so, I realized how far I've come in this journey. I never realized, like you mentioned, that I could be free from wanting to meet all my own expectations and please everyone around me. I'm preapproved, and the fact I know that in my heart in a way I've never experienced meant I could look out from my lake house porch and have a peace that passes all understanding.

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  4. Good Morning Jen - Praying the message of Love Idol lives on in each of us for a long time. Wonderful, wonderful book. One of your readers is going to be so blessed!

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  5. Being aware of what I am seeking during the day and balancing it all out.

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  6. I'm half-way through Love Idol and what a blessing this book is. Oh, how Jennifer's book is impacting lives and it's so beautiful to see unfold. "Amen to life. Amen to grace. Amen to the death of our Love Idols." I'm working on that death of my Love Idol but daily brought to that place of being so grateful for His grace and knowing I don't take this journey alone. Thank you for your beautiful and honest words.

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  7. I believe my idol is travel. When I feel restless I start planning a trip instead of turning to Him.

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  8. This line resonated with me, "I am humbled by the amount of grace I need to live." My own love idol is the approval/love/significance of others.

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  9. My love idol is approval and creating...I find myself looking to dive into a creative project to feel significant and valuable. I kind of wrote about that today. I hope you are doing well sweet blog friend.

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  10. Beautiful, Jen... as always. And I am absolutely in love with "Love Idol" book. Talk about a life changer :-)

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  11. My love idol would probably look a lot like a report card with all of the different areas of my life reflecting my "grades." It's this struggle with perfectionism that seeps into all corners. It's my work-in-progress. :)

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  12. Sweet Jen... your words always leave me feeling like I have spent time under a shower of love and the counsel of a friend. I have yet to buy this amazing book, but it is on the list of 'to-do's" for me. I have been pondering the Love Idol thing as I have been reading your posts and the Jennifer's ( the author) on her blog. I know that I feel like the whole mom thing is a huge failure most days.. and I can identify with needing a 'good grade' or some sort of acknowledgement that I have hopefully barely passed this test. Yet, deep in my heart, I know that isn't true either. It is the outside, that longs to be just what her book is telling us we don't need.. to be preapproved by the world. We only need to rest in His approval and grace. I wrote about that today.. a little grace moment to meet me in my imperfection. :) Great words.. needed words. Love you friend!

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  13. My love idol would probably look like worldly approval, or too much worry about what others think. The pursuit of perfection . . . ugh. Just writing it makes me want to put it down. Thank you for this thought provoking post, Jennifer! And for the chance to win the book :)

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  14. Jennifer is a favorite…one of the first people to reach beyond the comment box when I first started blogging.

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  15. Okay, what would my love idol look like, tangibly? Well, I have not yet read the book Love Idol (I am entering the giveaway!), so I am not sure how I should be framing my response. Obviously, I very much want to read the book, otherwise, I wouldn't have posted as I could have remained content to keep my love idol to myself! Here goes:

    Unfortunately, Jesus is not in the picture of my tangible Love Idol. Not at all, not nearby even, No. He's gone, zip, absent. My love idol would be like a corporate board room, where highly successful "movers and shakers" would be analyzing performance and looking at how to improve productivity: but it would be me, and my life that they would be analyzing! They'd have graphs and charts comparing me to other people in: productivity, appearance, and metrics such as salary, savings, and even charitable donations! Interspersed would be even my own family members like my mother, and those whose admiration I wished to have! And they'd all be commenting on me and my performance. And on those charts, I'd be falling short so much that in Jen's great words above, "I'd be lambasting myself for ..." YUCK! Jesus come deliver me!

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  16. Hi Jen- I have not been online as much the past few weeks, but am glad when I popped on I saw the SDG sisters link up and book opportunity. I would love a chance to read Love Idol. NOt sure exactly my tangible idol but...pretty sure it would have to do with self righteousness: my inner Pharisee. My own battle for signnificance. This is what I suspect...but will have to see and ponder more. LOve you, and will link up, but have been blogging less, as well!

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  17. Great post. What would my love idol look like? A heavy block of wood that hangs across my shoulders, with two buckets full of concrete attached at each end. Stooped over, I am held back by the weight.

    But oh, you are so right!! The Savior invites me to walk into the Light, and to allow the empty tomb to free me up enough to lay down my burden at His feet.

    GOD BLESS!

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