Love Idol by Jennifer Dukes Lee
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Publisher: Tyndale Momentum
Publishing Date: 4/21/14
We all want someone to think we're sensational. We desire to be recognized, to be valued, to be respected . . . to be loved. Yet this natural yearning too often turns into an idol of one of God's most precious gifts: love itself. If you, like so many of us, spend your time and energy trying to earn brownie points--at work, home, and church--all the while fearing that, at any moment, the facade will drop, and everyone will see your hidden mess . . . then love may have become an idol in your life. In this poignant and hope-filled book, Jennifer Dukes Lee shares her own lifelong journey of learning to rely on the unconditional love of God. She gently invites us to make peace with our imperfections and to stop working overtime for a love that is already ours. "The Love Idol" will help us dismantle what's separating us from true connection with God and rediscover the astonishing joy of a life full of freedom in Christ.I received this book from the Tyndale Rewards program. All opinions are my own. Buy this book on Amazon for Kindle $8.54 or in Paperback for $9.48
"Love Idol" first came to my attention when I started seeing 'preapproved' photos all over Instagram and Twitter. What on earth did 'preapproved' mean? Why were people hanging the word on mirrors and in fridges? And who was this Jennifer Dukes Lee anyway? My favorite bloggers were tweeting quotes and pictures and I knew I needed to add this book to my reading list. Then I was checking Tyndale Rewards and saw they were offering "Love Idol"! I snatched it up instantly.
Lee used to be a newspaper reporter, so the girl certainly knows how to write and capture the reader's attention. The term 'love idol' is what Lee uses to talk about her need for approval. Her opening lines capture it well:
Hi, I'm Jennifer. I know, we've just met, but already a familiar anxiety is rising up in my heart: I want you to like me.
For much of my life, I have lived like that. I have wanted people's approval. I have wanted to be a real somebody but have felt like a nobody. I'm not proud to say that I've been a people pleaser and a perfectionist and a prisoner to popular opinion.Lee continues on to explain how we often take our need for approval and make it a false god, or an idol. We put it in the place of God's approval. The bulk of the novel reads almost like a memoir, travelling through her past up into her current memories of when and how this Love Idol has consumed her. And she is brutally honest in her journey. She sweeps us along her pilgrimage showing us her struggles from beginning to ''end''. Lee proves that something worth doing isn't always easy, isn't always a quick fix. It can take time, dedication, tenacity, and a thirst. A thirst for God above all else.
What I truly loved about "Love Idol'' was how Lee shows us her ugly. She doesn't sugarcoat her life or gloss over the bad, but truly invites us in to see her cracks....and God shines through. Some people might wonder how someone who struggles with a Love Idol could write a book, which can be all about selling, ratings, and humanly praise (yes, I know the irony of also writing a review on such a book...), but the book is so much more about God than it is about Lee. Her personal story is just a back drop, a white canvas that God uses to create a work of art.
I possess Christ because He took on Himself every sin I would ever commit. And He did that before I was ever born. I was preapproved, in a sense, before my birth. He stamped on me with a seal that said, "This one is Mine."
He died for me--a misfit who doubted His very existence--in the greatest act of validation known to humanity. Before I believed in Him, He had already died for me! (pg 124-125)On some level we all put the love idol before God. I never thought of myself as a people pleaser or a perfectionist by any means. Don't be put off if you think the same, there is still so much gold here. While reading I found myself going "Ooo, yeah I do that!" or "Oh man, I do worry about what others think about that." Even if I don't think I am over-the-top people pleasing, I still do, I think we all do at times. Everything Lee shares is completely applicable to every other idol we place before God as well.
"Love Idol" was a beautiful journey of not self discovery, but Christ discovery. Much in the vein of Ann Voskamp, Lee's words are peaceful, poetic, and hard truth all in one. I'd highly recommend this book to random strangers on the street, so I definitely think you, my lovely friends, should pick it up! I easily give it five stars and added it to my Lifechanger shelf on Goodreads. Pick this one up and take the journey to destroying your own love idols.