So... if you have been around here in the past few weeks, you know that I am battling some eyesight issues. This (shockingly, I know!) mostly interrupts my computer/screen time and has sort of forced me into a Slow Down. Not much of one, let's be clear, because I actually DO have other All the Things stuff that goes on in real life... still... it's cut in to my writing time. But, because of how I am, you know I just added an extra coffee (or six) and pressed on with my reading! I mean, I can't be expected to stop the pouring in AND the pouring out, right?
Last night, I curled up beside my Honey and actually read in bed. This rarely happens for several reasons, a few of which are:
1. My Honey likes to put us all to bed when he is tired... the only problem is we are all (now) nearly grown ups and we are not all tired at 9:30pm
2. I am way more comfortable curled up in my spot on the couch than trying to shift to an upright position in my bed. That thing... that is made for laying down, ya'll! It's great at it... I just can't get as cozy sitting up (with no arms/sides to lean against!)
3. I am blind. As in - with no contacts, it's lights out... So to take my contacts out and try to read is impossible - quite literally. I do have these glasses that get me from the bathroom to the bedside, aiding in not stubbing my toe on the way there. They are so sexy... thus - I try not to wear them around the house when others are up and about... because - well - I'm taken. (Coke bottle doesn't even really do them justice in attempting to describe them!) I will say - other than the lack of sex appeal, they are heavy... as in - they slide down my nose and it's just difficult to read (sure... ok... whatever... insert whining here!)
Still, these are a few of my reasons! Sometimes it is just because I don't want to read from a book - but from a screen, and since that is not happening as much I thought I would give it a go, old school style! I think this Reading In Bed may just turn into a Thing... it may take off!
Besides, even if I didn't enjoy it... my Honey loved it so much that I realized that I need to do it. I can always just page through a magazine -see? Old school. For him, it's in the being together and unplugged, and really who doesn't need some of that every single day?
So - I was able to curl up beside him as he read his own book and finish the final pages of Love Idol: Letting go of your need for approval - and seeing yourself through God's eyes by Jennifer Dukes Lee.
I wasn't so sure he was loving this set up because, if you can imagine, when I read something amazing - I sort of have to hear myself reading it out loud too. I want it to soak in deep and so I read to him about Haiti and Love Idols and about the need to relearn the love-saturated gospel. He actually loves this about me. It's one of my quirks that he has come to
When the book first arrived we were heading out on a road trip and he was my driver, so I dug right in and started the book 'sharing' (that's what I like to call it anyway!) with him and it was good to wrap it up together too.
When I started this book, I prayed about my own Love Idols and I've written about how God led me to give up Self-Doubt and Hesitation for Lent this year. (You can read about that here and here - and here.) So far, so good - and that alone just may be a miracle! That right there should make you want to run out and buy this book because... well, because God is in it and all over it and He will set you free(r) through it! All over my house and my heart and these interwebs, you will see images like these:
...because I need to remember. If I am not going to give in to self-doubt, I need visual reminders that He is already cheering for me. He is in my corner and is equipping me for every good work... there is no earning with Him. Let me say that again because I think we all tend to forget this...
There is no earning with Him. His Grace is costly - but it is free. He paid the price and our job is to open our hearts and hands and lives up wide and say thank you. Thank You!
We truly are, in Christ, #preapproved.
If you have been reading Jennifer's blog or have had the pleasure of meeting her in real life, this will come as no surprise, but this girl is the real deal. She is not about making herself look the part... at least not anymore! And in her being real, she makes space and stirs up hunger for
you me us to do the same! Let's let our walls down... let's risk being real because in the living honest and open, we find the power within us to lay down every hiding Love Idol that lurks in the corners of our hearts and minds and steals, kills, and destroys the paths that are designed to lead us straight to Him.
I wanted to include just a FEW of the underlined, starred, and highlighted quotes from the pages of this book. They are many... because this book holds His heart for you and in its' pages, you just may find what your heart has always been looking for: Freedom to believe that you are who He says you are! Beloved. Cherished. HIS!
"My whole life, I have lived this way, in a breathless scamper for signficiance and the approval that comes with it. I have performed, climbed, raced, jockeyed, and postured for it. I feared rejection. I've wanted to be a lot of things: prettier, skinnier, smarter, better. In all the striving, the graffiti of human praise defaced real love."
"Over the course of history, these have been the moments when people whip up their own little idols. In our small minds, God seems distant or disinterested. We lose patience, and we begin to seek love and approval from more tangible gods. When God's presence isn't obvious to us, we are tempted to fashion idols out of what's right in front of us - what we can see and touch."
"People never outgrow that God-designed craving for love."
"Until you are convinced of God's incredible love for you, you will continue looking for replacement love everywhere but in the heart of Christ."
"I don't always practice what I preach. I have begun to realize that even when I know the right answers, it's hard to live them."
"Here's the thing about the Love Idol: It thrusts its bossy self between you and God's call on your life. And when that Love Idol gets up in your business, you can't quite hear what God is saying to you."
"What we say to ourselves, and to one another, can determine whether we live imprisoned or free."
"My default response is to return to the sin that made me lovesick. So I need daily injections of gospel-truth to immunize my flawed humanity."
"God has been habitually leaving love notes all over this privileged planet. For the whole lot of us, for His Beloved. I begin to pray that I can see them, in the everyday moments."
"I am struck by how freedom feels when it begins to wrap itself around the soul, like it fits because it was already mine."
and lastly, this quote:
"What love will we know and crave today? To whom will our hearts bow? Our answers to those questions --every single day-- will help us decide whether we will chase after the Love Idol or the Love Author. They will also determine whether we'll wear the Real Us on the outside or tuck the most honest versions of ourselves away somewhere 'safe.'"
Let me invite you to lean in... to chase after the Love Author... to wear the Real You... Join me, join us in the movement, won't you?
and I am preapproved!
(... you are too, my friend! Oh how I pray that you receive this truth! You are #preapproved too!)
Linking up, talking of who inspires and sharing a cup of coffee with Holley Gerth and the Community at:
and with Jennifer Dukes Lee for #TellHisStory:
For more info on Love Idol, enjoy this: