Love Idol: Letting Go of Your Need for Approval--and Seeing Yourself through God's Eyes

Love Idol: Letting Go of Your Need for Approval--and Seeing Yourself through God's Eyes


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781414380735
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Publication date: 03/21/2014
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 1,269,624
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.90(d)

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Letting go of your need for approvalâ?"and seeing yourself through God's eyes


Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2014 Jennifer Dukes Lee
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4143-8073-5



Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion.


The story of this approval-craving people pleaser begins in the front row of a sixth-grade classroom.

I'm the scrawny girl holding her breath, overinflated with air and anxiety. I clench a No. 2 pencil in my sweaty little fist, as if I might muster up superhuman strength to squeeze the lead straight out of it. The language arts teacher click-clacks her high heels on the linoleum floor, delivering graded papers to a room full of children who—with the exception of me—slump with carefree ease at their desks. I wonder if they have been lulled into some kind of post-lunch trance, induced by the cafeteria's chipped beef and potatoes. Do they not realize that Mrs. Huseman is distributing grades for the biggest project of our entire lives ... or at least of the sixth grade?

With glacial speed, the teacher slides graded papers facedown onto the wood-veneer tops of our desks. Vaughan's paper airplane zooms past Shane's head, bounces off the chalkboard, and then crash-lands on the teacher's desk. The boys snicker, Mrs. Huseman scolds, and I retreat into a private tsunami of worry. Who has time for child's play at a moment like this? My arms stiffen with fear, paralyzed by the overachiever's coup de grâce: the prospect of getting a B on my project.

At last, the teacher pauses beside me. She presses my grade onto the desk and pats my back, an attempt to offer reassurance for an overwrought child who does not want to disappoint her teacher or her parents. I flip the paper over and hold my breath until my darting eyes find what I crave.

And I do. I find an A+ inked in a corner. Only then do I exhale, in one long, warm stream of air. The thin, red lines of a single vowel coax my fears into remission. This fulfills my daily requirement of approval, and now I can breathe. At least until tomorrow.

I don't know what I would have done if I had gotten a B. I was never brave enough to try such a daring thing as that.

* * *

My whole life, I have lived this way, in a breathless scamper for significance and the approval that comes with it. I have performed, climbed, raced, jockeyed, and postured for it. I've 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.

I have wanted the A—not just on my sixth-grade paper but in life.

You can call it perfectionism if you want. But that's just a symptom of the bigger problem. I've wanted to be approved. I've wanted to be loved.

I've forgotten that I already am.

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.

We start young, looking for love somewhere outside Eden before we're even able to tie our shoes or count to ten. We enter the world wrinkled and flailing as if we already fear abandonment. Someone cuts the cord and puts a striped beanie on us, as we cry out to be held. And so begins a lifelong quest for love.

Enter Satan.

The world's oldest liar gets us to forget that we were God's idea in the first place. We don't always remember that there is a very real God on a very real throne who calls us His beloved. The slithering enemy convinces us that our Maker's love is never enough, never was. And Satan continually asks us to consider what others are thinking of us. He tries to make us forget about God. Martin Luther calls it sin: "The sin underneath all our sins is to trust the lie of the serpent that we cannot trust the love and grace of Christ and must take matters into our own hands."

With our distrusting eyes off our Maker, we really do take matters into our own hands, like modern-day Eves grabbing for the polished fruit of cultural standards and expectations.

We cannot rationally explain the enormity of God's love or why Christ would die for us "while we were still sinners" (Romans 5:8). So we live like we don't believe it at all.

I have lived like I don't believe it at all.

I've doubted His love. I've distrusted His covenant.

It's April 2, 1972—the day after April Fools' Day—and the Rev. Vickery holds me in the crook of his arm. He sprinkles water on my forehead at the front of the United Methodist Church, then hoists my curled body higher, an infant queen, shrieking. The congregants in the creaky wooden pews applaud.

At age three, I toddle toward the altar in patent leather shoes, standing on that same square foot of red carpet where I was baptized. And now, I've come to sing "Jesus Loves Me" with the cherub choir.

Years later, I kneel there to receive my first Communion. At age thirteen, I wear a white robe and confirm my baptismal vows. And then, one Christmas Eve, I sit in a folding chair on that very spot, playing the part of Mary, mother of God, cradling her Fisher-Price Savior.

But I remain the April fool, believing lies about what love really means. I confess now that I have not fully believed the promise of my baptism. If I'm gut-level honest, I've lived like an agnostic. Me, a woman girded by Christ's teachings from age three. Me, a woman who serves Communion, volunteers at vacation Bible school, selects worship music for her congregation. In the sanctuary, I sing of His great love with tears rolling down my cheeks. Yet in my everyday life, I have at times treated those songs like mouthed abstractions. Although it has not been intentional, the old nature rises up against my new self. It pains me to write these words, but it's true: At times, my divided heart has looked for significance everywhere else but the altar. The world is a cacophony of distraction and man-made applause, drowning out the sound of Christ calling.

I cannot pinpoint a trigger in my personal history to explain why I have sought human approval like I have over these years. Yes, my parents valued and rewarded hard work. They expected me to give my best effort in school. But I never felt that I had to earn their love and approval. I knew I was loved because I was theirs. Period.

It is, perhaps, the way I am wired, no different from being born with hazel eyes. And it is, in a sense, the way we're all wired. God created within us this need to love and to be loved, a beautiful inner longing that is designed to drive us toward Him. But our old nature can twist our hunger for love, so we begin to crave the approval of people over the approval of God.

God's Word suggests that this is part of the human condition. Scripture addresses it repeatedly, warning us against the temptation to choose the temporal. In fact, the warning became a theme for Paul throughout his letters. He wrote, "Our purpose is to please God, not people" (1 Thessalonians 2:4).

But the truth is, we don't always want to please God. We actually like pleasing people, because it feels good. The sound of applause reminds us not only that we're doing a good job but, equally important, that we're not messing up in front of a live audience. Since we can't hear God's "attagirl" in our human ears, the crowd's applause lets us know that we matter in the world.

Soon, even the applause isn't enough. We secretly hope the audience will give us a standing ovation, so we keep singing and dancing. We live for the perpetual encore.

What an exhausting life.

* * *

My friend Shari knows how exhausting that life can be. She says her need for approval has caused her to question her worth in almost every area of life: as a wife, a mom, a friend, an employee, a Christian. But the question she has struggled with the longest is this: Am I a good daughter?

"I love my parents deeply. I have had a good relationship with them most of my life," Shari says. "Yet there was one thing that I really wanted to hear from them, one thing that I sought hard after for many, many years. I wanted to hear them say, 'I am so proud of you.'"

For years, Shari heard her parents boast about the accomplishments of one of her siblings. "Each time I did something, I waited for the approval that I hoped would come ... it never did. And I was left disappointed and sad," she recalls.

Shari says her need for approval became an addiction, like she was a drug addict craving another hit. When she couldn't get it from her parents, she looked for it in other relationships. "Eventually that next 'hit' can't come soon enough, and it isn't enough. You need more and more to satisfy," she says.

Like Shari, I grew to desire "the next hit." As a child, I loved compliments because they let me know I mattered. Criticism could downright deflate my whole spirit.

Early in life, my two older sisters and younger brother dubbed me the Golden Child. The name was, perhaps, a well-meaning joke for the straight-A sister with the smoothed-down bangs and color-coordinated closet. I wore the nickname like a badge. It felt like real praise.

And just behind the praise, I could hear the mocking, high-pitched giggles of my neuroses. These were the voices in my head, and they looked like two snobbish Valley Girls, making themselves at home in my teenage brain. Golden Child? Like, whatever! That's what they would say, with an eye roll. In my mind, those two girls wore stirrup pants and neon hair scrunchies. They sashayed around the middle of my cerebrum like they owned the place.

My parents went out of their way to make sure that I knew I would still be loved, even if I failed miserably. One morning comes back now with startling clarity: the morning of a junior high track meet in 1985. I told Dad I was weary of the embarrassment of last-place finishes. I wanted to quit. I folded my arms on the kitchen table and dropped my head down, sobbing. Dad put a hand on my shoulder and urged me to simply try my hardest, focusing on something he called my "personal best." That rainy afternoon, I ran twice around an asphalt oval in northwest Iowa. I came across the finish line dead last in the 800-meter race. I didn't know it yet, but I had improved my personal best by several seconds. Lungs burning and chest heaving, I put my hands on my hips and looked up into the bleachers. Through the drizzle, I saw Mom and Dad, both of them on their feet, with their hands high in the air, applauding.

They loved and approved of me, in spite of my lackluster finish.

Yet I much preferred bringing home As on my projects and high ratings from musical contests. Sure, my parents cheered when I lost, but somewhere on the inside of me, I would rather have had them be proud of a winner, not a last-place finisher.

Even if my parents didn't criticize me, those snobbish Valley Girls did. They were belligerent opportunists, reminding me where I failed. That's the job of inner critics: to stick a foot in the door of your brain and remind you what a loser you are, never mind what your God says about you.

In my teenage journal—a spiral-bound Mead notebook—I often wrote about the pain those two inner critics inflicted on my tender soul. Last year, I found that yellow notebook hidden underneath the mattress of my childhood bed. I remember experiencing a sinking sense of disappointment when, as an adult, I flipped through pages to find that not a whole lot had changed since childhood. I could practically hear the Valley Girls—now grown-up women wearing Prada—snickering while I reread old words:

"Why do I feel this way?" I wrote at age sixteen. "If there were 100 people I knew and 99 of them liked me, I'd very likely concentrate on the one that disliked me because I want everyone to like me." Even then, my downcast soul tried to remind myself of the truth. I wrote at the bottom of the page these words: "God is love! I am loved."

True enough, I had written it on college-ruled paper, that I was loved by a Savior. Yet I lived another way, and it would be years before I would recognize this as a spiritual problem that needed fixing.

Approval intoxicated me. By the time I was a teenager, I was learning how to fill my addiction: with bylines. I was only sixteen years old when I felt the thrill of seeing my name in print. I had begun writing stories for our local weekly paper as part of our school's career-exploration program. They were small stories about Easter egg hunts and town baseball matchups. But I was writing. Publicly. For a real-life audience. People would tell me they liked the way I could tell a story.

As a senior in high school, I made a campus visit to Iowa State University. A journalism-school recruiter gave me a tour of the college's newspaper office. I noticed right away the glass office in the corner and made a vow to myself that I would run that place someday.

Three years later, at age twenty-one, the Iowa State Daily's masthead listed my name as editor. I loved chasing the story, experiencing the thrill of front-page bylines. It made me feel powerful, approved, and respected. Every summer, instead of going home to relax for a couple of months, I worked at newspapers. In the summer of 1994, I drove my Geo Storm halfway across the country after landing a highly regarded internship at the Sacramento Bee.

I think it's important for you to know that I value hard work and excellence, the kind that will have a college student aiming high in his or her career. Eagerness and ambition, rightly channeled in our workplaces and homes, make the world a better place for all of us. My trouble, of course, came because I worshiped what my work could give me, instead of what God already had waiting for me.

But my accomplishments never once satisfied me long-term, no matter how many "attagirls" I got.

I suppose a part of me knew that the answer rested in Jesus. I would pay Him an occasional visit by darkening the doorway of a church now and then. But mostly I saw God as a disinterested third party—or worse, the fairy-tale hero of nicely packaged Sunday school stories. "God's love" was an assurance that I left in my yellow notebook, a holy promise that I slipped in a box under the bed of my childhood home. It was a promise that I had forgotten. I was becoming fluent, not in God's love but in status and achievement.

The world is full of rankings and résumé lines that make you forget about God, report cards that let you know whether you made the grade in this great big world.

Any of us can look back on our childhood lives and remember the lists that shaped us: honor rolls published in the local paper, school-play casting calls, homecoming courts, birthday party invitations, and more. When we grow up, the lists grow up with us: the Fortune 500, the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World, the Top 100 Bloggers, the richest, the sexiest, the most relevant. Even Christian leaders have come up with online lists to tell us which authors are the most influential.

In a world of list makers, how can we begin to live only for the Maker's list? In a world that says, "Climb higher to be noticed," how can we bow lower?

One of my dearest friends, Trish—a self-described approval addict—knows about the lists, the ones that let you know you're valued. She likes how it feels to be picked.

Trish says her approval addiction can manifest itself in the ugliest ways right in our own church. She likes knowing that people can count on her—to sing a solo, sew Christmas-pageant costumes, decorate the altar, and lead a mission project.

"I can channel my inner Sally Fields at church," she says. "You know, 'They like me; they really like me!'"

At times, she says, her need for an "attagirl" from the pews can morph into an ugly monster called pride.

"There are no acronyms like AA to help us," she says. "There are no well-known support groups, no twelve-step programs for our problem. Most people wouldn't classify it as a problem, let alone an addiction. I mean, everyone likes to be appreciated. If only that were the extent of it."

Trish and I half-joke that we ought to start up a flagship AAA—Approval Addicts Anonymous.


Excerpted from LOVE IDOL by JENNIFER DUKES LEE. Copyright © 2014 Jennifer Dukes Lee. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Foreword Lisa-Jo Baker ix

Introduction: The What Idol? xv

Chapter 1 Picture Perfect 1

Chapter 2 Clout 19

Chapter 3 Conviction 31

Chapter 4 Mud Pies 47

Chapter 5 Bee Sting 59

Chapter 6 "Gods Got It" 73

Chapter 7 "Do You Want to Get Well?" 93

Chapter 8 Preapproved 111

Chapter 9 Very Little 135

Chapter 10 Cupped Hands 157

Chapter 11 Bleachers 175

Chapter 12 Haitian Hallelujah 193

Chapter 13 Apelles 213

Epilogue 231

The Love Idol Movement 237

Endnotes 239

Discussion Guide 243

Acknowledgments 255

About the Author 259

What People are Saying About This

Ann Voskamp

That endless, exhausting crusade for approval? Ends here. A brilliant writer, Jennifer Dukes Lee takes you to the foot of the Cross—and takes one stunning hammer to the foot of the Love Idol. Read this book—and walk free.

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Love Idol: Letting Go of Your Need for Approval-and Seeing Yourself through God's Eyes 0 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
XD "We are. Yep." (( Being forced to watch a movie, ew. Ily bbl ))
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Okay baby...
SophiesMindset More than 1 year ago
An average book dealing with an important issue What does three stars for this book mean? More importantly what doesn't it mean? It doesn't mean it's a bad book, but the that the writing is average. It doesn't mean it contains horrible advice, it's actually good advice, but I didn't find it's delivery compelling. And it doesn't mean you shouldn't read the book, different people will react to the book differently, and I think this book will be life changing for many. Like Jennifer, I'm a recovering perfectionist, but the way that manifests itself in my life is drastically different than how it does in hers. The book obviously focuses on women, but this is something that men struggle with as well, but I don't think this book will reach many of them -- this isn't inherently bad, but something that should be noted.  There wasn't much of anything Jennifer said that I disagreed with, but the book just didn't minister or hit the nail on the head personally like I expected it to. Read other reviews - God is obviously using her through this book to minister to many, but don't be disappointed if you read the book and the effect isn't the same for you. It doesn't mean you didn't glean some useful bit of knowledge. And it doesn't mean you don't struggle with the "love idol", but it may (and probably does) look different for you than for Jennifer. And that's ok.
kristen4mk More than 1 year ago
Blogger Jennifer Dukes Lee has written a great debrief on many people's concerns about their "approval rating" - the constant (or near constant!) concern of what other people think of you. This book tells her personal story, taking you through the hard-earned journey she continued to be on in her move towards health and wholeness that is based on her relationship with Jesus and the way He sees her, not other's opinions. She shares personal stories about her family, her thought process, and much more. It is clear that she sincerely desires for others to know the freedoms we can experience in life when we filter things through the truth of how God sees us: Preapproved. Chosen. Unconditionally loved. Real. I will be frank, I began this book thinking that this wasn't a prominent issue in my life personally. (Although I was interested in what she had to say, I did not expect to relate and understand it the way that I did.) Whether this is a concern for you or not, this is good stuff for everyone! And if you are ever worried, concerned, fearful of failure, or find yourself caring "too much" what others think - this will be an especially wonderful book for you. Lots of truth to be found here.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im a totally different person
thedeena63 More than 1 year ago
Buckle up, reading buddies, this is going to be a different kind of review! "Hi, Jennifer. I'm Deena. I know we've just met, and I'm reviewing your book....but I'm hoping you'll like me!" Yup! I totally get where Jennifer is coming from with her book "Love Idol", making a legitimate need for love, approval and affection into a substitute for God. I've spent most of my life undoing my natural nature to be a people pleasure, and as Jennifer's pastor told her...'s a process. But instead of telling you how wonderful I think "Love Idol" is, I'm going to let Jennifer do the talking: "I cup her hands in mine and ask her straight out: "What is the worst thing that could happen if you lose? If you don't even get a second place? miss the first word?" A single tear falls down her cheek, and she brushes it away with her shoulder. "Well," she says, "I guess we would just go home". It stuns me, how I need to relearn simple lessons. We go home when it's over. Isn't this what we've preached? Fix your eyes upon Jesus," we tell our children. "Think on Heaven, our forever home." "You know it already, Lord, but let me say it out loud here: the world tells me to be all the things that end in y: funny, pretty, skinny, witty. I'll turn it upside down and chase after the One whose name begins with y--You, Yahweh." "Dear God, help me get over myself today." Have you read enough? Convinced yet? Yeah, me too. This is a book vital for today's woman, especially today's Christian woman. So don't miss it. My thanks to my friends at Tyndale House Publishers for my advance copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This could be the most important book you read this year (outside of the Bible, of course!)
Louisa_May More than 1 year ago
This book had me captured from the first page.  I grew up much like the author--in a home full of love and security.  Even so, like her, I had made other people's love and affirmation and high opinion of me into an idol until keeping up the perfect facade became a terrible burden for me.  Soon after that "love idol" of mine led to what could have been terrible consequences (but wasn't, thanks to  God's grace) I found this book.  It has helped me (is still helping me!) to find my affirmation in Jesus, to see myself through God's eyes, to know that because I'm loved by Him and because His love is a FREE gift ("through grace you have been saved, not by works"), I am free to simply live for Him without running over everyone else's approval.  Love this book!  Every Christian woman should read it!
DLM83 More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book. I read it after listening to Lee talk about it on a podcast and knew that I needed to pick it up for myself. The message of being pre approved just resonates with my heart and soul. I recommend it to all.
IHope4Him More than 1 year ago
That heart tension for approval? It stops here. In Love Idol: Letting Go of Your Need for Approval-and Seeing Yourself through God's Eyes, Jennifer Dukes Lee shares a thoughtful look at how our need for approval can become an idol in our hearts. Jennifer’s poetic writing envelops you in her scenes. From riding in a limo with Al Gore to walking to the bus stop with her daughters, you’ll find yourself beside her. She reveals her heart tension, knowing the importance of a job well done, but also understanding that identity and self worth are not tied to that performance. Jennifer shares some of the lessons learned in her personal struggles, finding comfort in the assurance from Scripture that we don’t need to perform for God because, in Christ, we are already approved. 
JamieLittle More than 1 year ago
This is hands-down one of the BEST books I have ever read. I’m pretty sure the last time I did this much underlining in a book I was in college. We’ll not talk about how long ago that was….haha. All of us, men and women alike, are striving for approval in our lives – approval from spouses, peers, family, friends, even strangers. This desperate search for approval often leaves us battered and bruised, falling apart on the inside while trying to hold up a facade of being fine and having it all together. It’s exhausting! Throughout the course of her life, Jennifer Dukes Lee has faced this same struggle. She’s put up a facade and wondered what people would think if they knew the real her, who she really was at home, and how not perfect her life really was. She’s been right where we are, searching for human love and acceptance when all along we’re loved and unconditionally accepted by the God who made us! It seems like such a simple concept realizing  that we have been pre-approved by God, there’s no need to strive for approval, it’s right there waiting for us to take hold of it – such a simple concept, yet somewhat hard to conceive of. But a life fully lived in this unconditional acceptance and authentic love is one that shines bright, one that is free and unhindered by the world’s opinion. If we can truly grasp this our lives will be forever changed and fuller than we could have ever imagined possible. In Love Idol, Jennifer tells her story and takes us on her journey to this realization of joy and freedom found in God’s unconditional love. Her story is inspiring and her words encouraging, speaking life and truth into the reader. There is so much in this book that even after finishing it a few days ago, I’m still processing it all and trying to take hold of all the truth and wisdom it holds. The words it holds make me want to live my life free and unhindered – not connected to anyone’s opinion but God’s, the one who made me, loves me and in whom I am already pre approved. Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for this review. All thoughts are my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kurt_Bubna More than 1 year ago
Okay, for the record, I’m a guy who read a book written for women. That being said, I know Lee’s words apply to all of us. Long after the cows come home, this amazing book written by a farmer’s wife and former journalist, will be in your hands and in your heart. You’ll be transfixed by her stories and challenged by her insights. This truth will deeply resonate in your soul, “You are significant and preapproved and utterly cherished. Not because you are ‘good,’ but because you are Mine.” Love Idol is a must read for anyone who struggles with a need for worldly approval (and that would be all us).
KHTaylor More than 1 year ago
Jennifer Duke Lee wrote "Love Idol" not as an expert but as an encourager. Even the subtitle speaks volumes: Letting Go of Your Need for Approval – and Seeing Yourself Through God's Eyes. Jennifer's words, which really are God's message, have seeped into my everyday life. Isn't that where truth changes us anyway? In her book, Jennifer reminded me "any average moment in this life is never really average if we're living each ordinary moment for an extraordinary God." I'm a people-pleasing, perfectionist-craving momma who often wonders if she did enough or said the right thing. The replacement loves abound in my heart and I have to give them back to the Maker moment by moment, again and again – slowly becoming more convinced of the only love that matters. “Love Idol” is an honest, encouraging, and challenging book that is sparking a movement among women. I read this book with a pen in my hand so I could mark the truths Jennifer’s seemed to be writing directly into my life. This brave book is part of a life-changing process in my heart, one that overflows into every relationship and responsibility in my life.
Jenfergie2000 More than 1 year ago
For Lent, I gave up criticism -- that of myself and others around me, be it a friend or a stranger in the grocery store.  And I did this because God was showing me before I read a single page of this book that I let criticism wreck me.  Not only this, but I walk around with such high expectations of myself that I project those onto others as well. Love Idol is helping me to understand further why God wants me to fully know that I am pre-approved by Him, which means I no longer have to chase the approval of the world.  He offers me the healing necessary to bring me to a place of full restoration.  But Jesus is a gentleman and He asks if I really want it.  Because this means I have to change my behavior. I can't walk in the same routines and head spaces. I have to live differently. He asks me while I lay in bed one night and I pretty much tell Him I'm figuring out what will have to change.  I want to be as fully aware as possible of how I will live after I say "yes."  The next day, I read Chapter 7 of Love Idol, how Jennifer hears Jesus ask her this same question, from the very same verse.  The Holy Spirit is moving and He is using this book to help me continue on a process He had already started.  It's hard, but it's freeing. It is deep, but it's good.  It's the perfect book for Lent, for Spring, for every season of our lives.  At every turn, we have to remember that we are His and no other label matters.
Caryn-C More than 1 year ago
The first thing I wondered in picking up this book was, what exactly IS a love idol? Jennifer explains in the forward. "Instead of resting in the love and approval of an unseen God, we chase after the temporary pleasures of human validation." From that point on, I was hooked. I dove into this book, exhausted by my own love idols, yet desiring to simply rest in God's approval. Jennifer gently guides us through her own story, and with refreshing honesty, shares her love idols ~ perfectionism and the insatiable need for the approval of others. Jennifer shows us how to identify our own love idols {which we all have because of our human condition}, by drawing us into her on the family farm in Iowa, the triumphs and pains of her daughters, her "God's got it" husband and the community church folks who are a rich part of her life. She also shares scriptures that shed new light on our pushy, bossy, never enough love idols. I realized very early on that THIS was a book, not only for my own heart, but I shared much of its contents within the high school girls group that I mentor. And WOW! They not only understood the entire premise of love idols, but poignantly and transparently, shared their own. Their tenderness to Jennifer's message served to show me how stealthily the enemy works in us from the time we're young, but identifying the idols {lies} is a huge first step in becoming free of them! I thoroughly recommend this book, not only for yourself, but also that you consider its message for younger audiences as well.
KathySchwanke More than 1 year ago
In Love Idol, Jennifer Lee addresses the issue that exists in the heart of every human on the planet. It’s our insatiable desire to be loved, or approved of. Feeling the need to have our worth validated by humans keeps us either running circles around people to please them or hiding in the shadows. Love idols, as she calls them, keep us competing instead of encouraging, grabbing instead of giving.  Jennifer helps us see through the fog of our faulty and tiring validation-methods. In essence what God has enabled her to see is that we need to proverbially smash our mirrors. Get our eyes off of ourselves and look up. This is no easy task, and the book is laced with grace so that we don’t feel condemned by our failures but empowered by the hand of Jesus always reaching for us to get up and keep walking. God has gifted the author not only with a delightful writing and story-telling ability, but also with a “mini-Jennifer” in her home, her firstborn daughter Lydia.  As a parent, she is enabled to feel the heartbeat of our Heavenly Father toward us who try to earn love and tend to look for it from perfectionism and the approval of people. She and Lydia sweetly work through challenges together.  Her book takes you with on her journey through a high-profile job as a newspaper reporter doubting that God even exists to having him break into her American dream while she is interviewing a presidential candidate in a limo. {I will always smile at God when I think of that part of her story!} She then takes us to her farm in small-town Iowa and relays the journey of breaking free from the approval idol that she grew up depending on. In so doing, she gives us the encouragement we need to really know and believe that God loves us freely. And radically. And unconditionally.  Reading this book was like walking down a tree-lined country road on a sunny day with a dear friend and coming home refreshed and stirred to live life fully and freely holding the hand of the One who preapproves us and loves us perfectly.
HisFireFly More than 1 year ago
I don't read self help books, far too aware that I can not help myself but must allow God to do with me as He wills. This is NOT a self help book, nor is it your typical Christian Life book. Jennifer's words are brave and hard as she stands before us and God in transparent honesty, revealing how deep the need for approval has buried roots. This could be my story. This could be your story. The problem is so universal that every reader will see themselves reflected, not always in a flattering light. I must admit I am having difficulty working my way through Love Idol - because I am holding the book in one hand and a highlighting pen in the other. There isn't a page that isn't marked with bright colour. Yes, the words are that good. That good indeed! I know I will return to this volume again and again. Reading it is almost like a prayer or repentance and surrender. Lives will change. Count on it!
JViola79 More than 1 year ago
Every once in a while you read a book which not only delights you in unexpected ways but impacts you, touching you deeply in your soul. Such was the case recently when I read, Love Idol by Jennifer Dukes Lee. I knew I would enjoy the book as I have read her blog posts, being challenged by each one. But this was different. Love Idol is Jennifer’s personal journey to break free from the addiction of approval of others – at home, at work and at church. She shares deeply personal stories and experiences which I found myself quickly able to relate. But it is more. As Jennifer shared openly and vulnerably, she gently revealed that same journey was ongoing in my own life. With each chapter I read, I was letting go of more and finding peace in this profound truth – I am loved. God approves of me. I am significant to Him. Jennifer weaves her story with such transparency, inviting you in, not only into her life, but into the lives of her family. I found myself loving her children and wanting to applaud Lydia as she let go of perfectionism and received a “B” in school. I wanted to hug Anna for her warmth and love as she encourages and affirms her sister. I have an appreciation for a farmer who lives by the mantra, “God’s got it!”. And I wanted to attend her church as she shares of the laypeople in the congregation and the community which lies therein. Jennifer drew me in and in the safety of her words, I found myself fully embracing the truth that God already loves me. In fact, I have been pre-approved by God and nothing will change my approval rating. We say we know this truth but to truly believe it and live it, well, therein is often the challenge. I read much of this book with tears streaming as my soul was awakened by truth – God’s truth. But here’s the deal about the love of Jesus …. He has a race marked out for you. And He will run alongside you until the last light of your life fades. You can never outrun Jesus. And Jesus’ love will never, ever run out. (page 235) Love Idol is the story of Jennifer’s journey to run her race. It is the story of letting go of the chains which once bound her and odds are real good, they bind each of us as well. You will not only enjoy Love Idol, you will find that your life will truly never be quite the same. I know this to be true because I have been changed and am grateful to have read this book. There is a movement which is going to happen – a laying down of sorts. If you listen closely, you will hear the sound of idols being smashed and chains dropping off. And if you dare to read the book, the sound you hear may be the sound of your very own freedom. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishing in exchange for my honest review. This book releases April 1st but you can pre-order it now here or on Amazon. You can also join the Love Idol Movement on Facebook. You will also want to visit Jennifer on her blog.