"Turns out... I have issues. It's not that I am just NOW learning this, but it's that I thought I had laid down all my Idols already. I mean - sure, I pick them back up - but still... I like to think I'm getting
betterfreer. I like to think I have cleaned out the dark corners of my heart to let Him live, but then Jennifer Lee goes and reminds me with her book that it's not me or what I do... it's not whether I am enough - but it's that HE is... He always, always is! And in Him, we are Preapproved!
So I applied and am on the Book Launch Team for Love Idol, and we are leaning in, asking Him to do the work - to cleanse our hearts and wipe clean our slates. We want to lay down every single idol, every single place/person/thing that we turn to for approval and validation... and we are naming them one by one come Wednesday and giving them up - not just for Lent, but hopefully for good!"
Yeah... about that...
I am still struggling on what to name this thing, and even more than that - on how to stay accountable in the laying down of it - whatever 'it' is!
When I first heard of this little invitation, I said yes and then hit the floor. I asked Him right away and heard Him clearly, but you know how that goes... it wasn't something really tangible, doable, easy. I wanted something better - or worse... what I wanted was something solid. Instead, I am stuck with pressing in to this bold, vague statement; digging into it day by day, looking for the opportunities to lay it down as they come.
Let me back up, just a little. I have been on this ride with God for over a decade, of slowly answering His call to be authentic; to be who I am, wherever I am. Of course - when that call first comes, part of the process is searching for all the true pieces of you. Letting go of the parts that don't actually fit... that weren't custom designed for you to walk in. It takes time and focus and it feels like a stripping down and a stripping away. But then you begin to walk taller in who He has made you to be. You begin to compete and strive less, apologize less - at least when you are not to blame. You begin to know right away when you've messed up and you own it then and there.
So God and I, we've been shining the light on my idols, on these dark corners of my heart, one by one for quite some time now. I don't know that while we are still here, clothed in this flesh, that we will ever truly be free of all of them. But they get less familiar... they make themselves at home in our hearts more awkwardly; it's not as easy for them to slip in unnoticed and act like they run the place.
So, it was several years ago when in the midst of a worship service, that Jesus asked me a question. I was in His Presence, hands raised, head thrown back, singing out as if I can carry a tune, "I believe that You're my Healer. I believe that You are all I need. You're more than enough for me..." when He came in close, His very breath warm to my ear, and whispered, "Am I? Really? Am I more than enough for you?"
He showed me that through every thing, He's been there... He's been there through every disappointment, through every failure, every shortcoming and sin... He's picked me up, pulled me close, brushed me off and cleaned me out... He's been there. And He's more than enough for me!
It's not that I am without sin (clearly) and it's not that I have it all together (I assure you I do not!) but He has supernaturally changed my bent and captured my heart in a way that is powerful and I pray is evident to those around me. I love Him with all my heart and try to keep a clean slate... a short list. I know how easy it is to get side-tracked. To be busy about doing and being good. I so want to live out the mandate He gave me (To speak life, to be love, to shine on.) that often times I find myself so busy being and doing those things that I forget that He is enough. I forget that in all the pouring out, I need to fill back up. And it seems when I am running on empty, well... that is where the issues are found.
But, most days, He is more than enough for me. So why did I feel a shifting last week when I asked Him what Love Idol I had picked up and placed before Him? What He so clearly whispered to my heart... it was this:
I want you to lay down the Idols of Self-Doubt & Hesitation. For underneath those Idols, are hidden many others.
Jennifer explains a little more about what a Love Idol is like this:
“The Love Idol has enslaved me, chaining me to my approval rating. I have been addicted to being liked. And the world is a buffet, dishing out heaping portions of flimsy praise: crowns for the homecoming queens, trophies for the first-place finishers, glossy covers for the world’s most beautiful. We fill our plates, feeding on lies about love. We nibble crumbs of approval and always leave the table hungry for more. We measure love and respect by numbers: Facebook friends, checkbook balances, monthly sales quotas, and dress sizes. It never fills.” (Love Idol, Chapter 1)
So it seems I have been called out. I have picked up these nifty little Idols called Self-Doubt and Hesitation and as long as I carry them around with me, they enable me to give excuses; to compare; to give in to pride and call it something else...
Self-Doubt allows me to turn to some place/person/thing (aka my bed/my husband/my food) instead of turning to Him - who will readily and willingly comfort and support... who already validates and approves of me; who will truly fill me up.
I want to lay down that whole list...
Pride, Comparing, Excuses, Self Doubt, Hesitating...
To Hesitate. Some may say that's not so bad... in the big picture of things! After all, I have been learning to lean in and say yes and fake brave all the while... but it's that Hesitating that breaks my heart, and maybe His too.
I hesitate. I don't know that I fully believe when He says to Go or to Do or to Say something... I have this little Idol vying for just a glance in his direction and once we lock eyes, I can't fight him. He's too much and I give in and Self-Doubt takes over.
When I feel the call to get back on track with my healthy eating and actually - you know - working out, Self-Doubt reminds me that I hit a wall a few years ago, and I just can't lose any more weight. "It's pointless," he says, smacking his lips... and I am mesmerized by the cake on his plate.
When I feel particularly good about a post written, Self-Doubt snickers behind me and points out that no one will even read it... how can they, with so little fanfare... no audience... no comments. I hit publish anyway because I know. I know it only takes one pair of eyes to drink in truth that can change a heart and transform a life and I hit publish anyway... but the next time I sit to write, I feel a little less like a Writer. I give in to Self-Doubt and think if I was going to tackle this thing the 'right' way, I'd be more business-minded... I would build a platform and gain subscribers and be busy busy busy and there is nothing wrong with that - but there is every thing wrong with that if it is prompted by an Idol and not by God.
I give in to Self-Doubt and I get caught up in the numbers and the striving and competition online is ugly and I want no part of it, so I fight it off and I take all my insecurities and doubts to Jesus. I hand them over, dejected. Feeling shame and rejection, because - yes... again... I fell for it all again. And I am tired of the fight.
I don't want to care about the numbers, the "Likes", the hits... I don't want to care about the scale or the size or the reflection staring back at me. I don't want to hesitate when He calls me to do something new because I may look funny or do it wrong or it may be misunderstood. I don't want to care, but let's be honest.
I do. I do care... and that in itself is not bad or wrong or sin. It's that I forget to see those things through His eyes of Love... I forget to see that He has already accepted me. That He knows... He sees all of these doubts and hesitations and excuses and He loves me anyway... He loves me still.
You see what hides under Self-Doubt and Hesitation are all the Excuses, the Comparison, the Pride.
I give Excuses whenever He asks me to do something out of my Comfort Zone - but haven't I been wanting to Embrace Change and learn to Take Risks and since when do I hold on and own anything of my own that is ever EVER going to be better than what He has to offer me?
I unleash Comparison when I hit refresh and constantly look for new comments, when I am paying more attention to the numbers than to my own heart -or His, and when I hesitate in rejoicing with someone else whom God is choosing to bless.
I submit to Pride when I weigh out an opportunity - considering how it will make me look or feel and be perceived if I fail, or if I succeed. When I attempt to hide behind humility and defer to someone else - and I know all the while that it is something I am called to do - even if I am not the one who will do it best.
My instinct to pull back, to self-protect, to shy away...
yeah - I'm laying that down (and all just days before I attend another conference. Grrrreat!)
My tendencies to give in to thoughts of:
"I'm not qualified."Those don't fit anymore. When God asks me to do something, I vow to say Yes without hesitating; without talking myself out of it or giving excuses. I am shining the light on the corners of my heart and I want every Thump. Thump. Thump. to beat Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.
"I can't do that."
or "I'm not ready."
So here we are... searching our hearts and asking God to reveal and help us remove any idols we have taken up, replacing His rightful place in our hearts. Maybe you, like me, have never really celebrated or observed Lent... and still, you feel a stirring... a pulling... deeper - towards something more.
Rest assured, that More is not what is being asked of you, it is what has already been offered to you! He has more... so much more! And I hope you are willing... I hope you are leaning in with me, because who doesn't want to stand up tall in who He has created us to be and on Easter Morning, offer up a Heart that is freely and wholly His.
He purchased our heart already... and let's not forget, we willingly gave it to Him before.
Let's do it again! Are you with me?
Jennifer's new book
Love Idol: Letting Go of
Your Need for Approval
– and Seeing Yourself
Through God’s Eyes
is available for pre-order
now on Amazon and will be
released on April 1st,
because, of course.
We'd love for you to join us!
Linking up with Jennifer Dukes Lee (the author of Love Idol) for #TellHisStory
For your own time of Worship... Do you believe this? Is He more than enough for you?