I met Jennifer on Twitter a few years ago during a very dark time of life. My world was crashing in on me and I was spent physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We had returned from our time fostering on a ranch where we lived for fourteen months and had up to twelve children to care for. I call it an intense season of serving because I don’t really know how else to summarize it. In the end, it left me utterly depleted and dependent on Jesus.
To say it was hard is an understatement. To say it was something God used for his glory is undeniably true.
When all my go-getting got up and left, I found myself needing to find new ways to live. Our family was in the crux of dramatic change and I had no idea what steps to take or where we’d land. But I hoped. I had to keep hoping.
Losing hope felt like another kind of loss which I just couldn’t handle.
Sometimes, all I could do was listen to songs like, “Worn” by Tenth Avenue North and “Lord, I Need You” by Matt Maher with heavy sobs. Over time, I took uncertain steps without realizing they were leading me on a path of healing for deep wounds in my heart and soul. Not just wounds from our time of serving, but from other events current and ones long past.
The only way I could make it through was to desperately plead for Jesus to make a way.
In 2014, Jennifer Dukes Lee’s book “Love Idol: Letting Go of Your Need for Approval and Seeing Yourself Through God’s Eyes” came out. Initially, I didn’t think much of it. I just couldn’t relate or see my own need. But, I read it anyway because I won it in a giveaway.
Sometimes God just nudges us where we need to go. You know?
If You Say You Believe, Does it Mean You Really Do?
During the time I read Jennifer’s book, I was also listening to a series of messages on freedom preached on the book of Galatians. God was showing me how much I’d lived for the approval of others, even though I was sure I was living for his. Even in that, living for his approval, I couldn’t rest because I couldn’t attain it. I needed to know that I had God’s approval already, because of Christ. I couldn’t earn it, and I couldn’t lose it. All those years of trying to keep it wore me to frayed ends.
Are you tired of trying to earn it too? Is it possible you might be believing you need to and you don’t realize it?
Y’all, I was in denial that there was truth about God which I didn’t really believe. I thought I believed it, because of course we believe we’re free as believers. After all, the messages come at us from all over reminding us that this is true.
But, without experiencing the truths of God for ourselves, we often keep beliefs at a thought level. We ascend to something being true, but we don’t feel it and we don’t live it. We don’t really believe it. Not in the way that it impacts our lives to live out of that truth.
When we experience God more intimately and believe His truths more deeply, everything changes.
[tweetthis]When we experience God more intimately and believe His truths more deeply, everything changes.[/tweetthis]
There have been many things I didn’t realize I didn’t believe. Being approved solely and fully because of Christ was one of them. If you’d have asked me if I believed I could have told you yes. I could explain why, but my heart and body didn’t connect to what my head said.
I spent so many hours every week listening to sermons, reading books, journaling, praying, worshiping, and seeking healing for my heart. God begin to peel layer after layer of untrue beliefs so I could begin a new journey. One where I could know, that I know, that I know, what kind of peace, joy, and freedom Christ has available to every believer.
You know what? That journey’s just beginning too. I have a feeling I’ll keep getting tested, keep needing to be refined, and keep learning more intimately who God is and who I am in light of who He is.
This journey isn’t just for me either. I’m guessing there’s a whole lot of us who call ourselves followers of Christ who don’t realize we’re living in fear, we’re living for approval, and we’re living just a fraction of what God has in store for us.
If only we really believed.
I’m the first to admit, I haven’t really believed even though I thought I did. Anyone else willing to admit it too?
[tweetthis]The only way I could make it through was to desperately plead for Jesus to make a way.[/tweetthis]
[tweetthis]I haven’t really believed even though I thought I did. Anyone else willing to admit it too?[/tweetthis]
- Have we gotten to know each other yet? Here’s my welcome to you.
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- 31 Choices We Can Make to Live Well