This morning the call came from the county: no school. And snow is blowing around outside and the temperature is below freezing and my heart is a lump of ice in my chest. It’s been a long winter and worry is a cold companion.
I’ve worried about money, I’ve worried about time and deadlines, I’ve worried I’m not smart enough or that I haven’t read the right books.
I’ve worried about platform—that I am not enough,
About growing old, that I’m not lovely enough …
But this? This kind of worry—the worry about someone I love—it can paralyze a woman and make all those other worries fall away into a blur of ugly. I’ve been crying a lot, letting fear grip in ways I never knew possible.
Sometimes life throws a curve ball. You might be humming along just fine and all of a sudden, wham! It smacks you right in the chest, knocks the wind out of you so that you can’t breathe. It’s tempting to stay right there, let fear and pain and worry loom larger than any Love you’ve ever known. Any Love I’VE ever known.
Idols are funny things. They creep in under false promises, often starting out as something good and then becoming distorted. At the Jubilee Conference a couple weeks ago, I heard Andy Crouch speak about this very thing. He said, as image-bearers, we have both authority and vulnerability.The tension between these two makes us uncomfortable, he said, so we often turn to idolatry to find a cozy balance. Idolatry makes two promises, Andy said, and he pointed to the moment that sin entered the world—when the father of lies offered the fruit to Adam and Eve:
1. You shall be like God
2. You shall not surely die
“True leadership,” Andy said, “has power and vulnerability. Great leadership that takes great risk.” (You can read more of Andy Crouch’s thoughts on this in his book Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power.)
Jesus gave us the ultimate example of this: Pure authority. Pure vulnerability. He loved to the point of death.
Isn’t loving the greatest risk of all?
It’s dangerous, love. Only if we remember WHO love comes from, Who loved us first—only if we keep from making it an idol—only then can we love in a way that is beautiful. My friend Jennifer Lee has written a book called Love Idol: Letting Go of Your Need for Approval and Seeing Yourself through God’s Eyes that speaks into the heart of this issue. Jennifer reminds us that we are pre-approved. That because of what Jesus did, all this striving is unnecessary. The book is scheduled for release on April 1st, but is available for pre-order now. Jennifer is going on a deep Lenten journey to uncover the love idols. Here, she invites us to come along. I think it might be a wild ride. One that could shake up our lives in a good way.
Yesterday, when I got in my van to drive away from that hospital where I work, this song was playing on my stereo. I sat there in that cold parking lot for the longest time, listening, tears running free. And I was reminded of this verse, the one that’s been sustaining me these past couple weeks.
Maybe you need that reminder too? Andy’s words, Jennifer’s words, Christa’s words … we weren’t created to do this thing alone.
Take my hand. Let’s go together.