Pre-approved. You are.

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
Lies.
“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.

Comments

  1. says

    Tears. This is utterly beautiful. I can hardly take it in. I couldn’t do this without you… without Jesus-sisters. How your heart beats for Him.

    “This thing is gonna try to break you; but it doesn’t have to. You’re showing us how.” Indeed.

  2. Amy says

    This is gorgeous, Laura. I’m all in on this journey. Thanks for so beautifully capturing the heart of Jennifer’s vision.

  3. Nancy Sturm says

    Laura, I’m sorry your road is so rocky right now. Thank God you are wise enough not to walk it alone, but extend the hand of friendship to others who can walk with you. And thank God that His hand is always extended, always willing to walk the difficult roads with us. Thank you for sharing this beautiful, heartfelt post.

  4. Sharon O says

    oh friend, I so wish your heart did not hurt, but we know that all things have a purpose and reason and sometimes we just have to wait as we keep trusting.
    Looking forward to this new book. beautiful challenge by some beautiful ladies.

  5. Jody Ohlsen Collins says

    Laura, thank you for sharing with your vulnerability. Andy’s words ring true–Jesus, help us lead that way, leaning on you. (AND…..your make up drawer is beautifully organized! I’d be embarrassed to show mine 🙂

  6. says

    Repetitive, well-travelled fear likes to force us into narrow paths. Via icy ruts along the road. In time, they become as strong as concrete, don’t they? That kind of claustrophobia can numb and paralyze the soul. I’m suffering some frostbite too. Laura, you and the others are right. We need to huddle. We can huddle up with idols. Or we can huddle up against something warmer, more vulnerable. Maybe it hurts, at first. But our tears along the road are a good sign. Something is happening. “I’ll stop the world and melt with you.” He’s singing to us. In our cars, in our ruts.

  7. smoothstones says

    Agreed: the worry about a loved one is worst. I’m praying for your loved one, today, and for you. A friend laughed and said to me once: “All you need is faith the size of a mustard seed, and you, my dear, have faith the size of a state-fair pumpkin, so everything’s going to be ok.” I’m speaking those words to and over you, today. You are enough and pre-approved and covered and loved and all the rest. For sure.

  8. says

    Love this Laura – and I’m right there with you. This is going to be a journey and a movement that changes things:-) Thank you Jesus! Can’t wait to see what he is up to!

  9. says

    So beautiful, Laura. Isn’t it something – how even worry can become an idol? How it’s easier to turn to worry than it is to trust God? Absolutely let’s do this together! Oh, how I love the Body of Christ – linking arms with my sisters, holding them up in prayer and reminding each other who we are in Christ – dearly loved and unconditionally approved. xox

  10. says

    Brandee, I loved talking with you this afternoon. And especially praying together. So, so special and sweet. Thank you, friend. You have a state-fair punkin’ sized heart too 🙂

  11. Caryn Jenkins Christensen says

    I’ve known this kind of worry. The kind of worry that had me face down, prostrate on the floor crying out…no…begging God to change things, circumstances and hearts. I carried the worry. Owned the worry. Worried about the worry. And oh so very gently, God, in His perfect wisdom showed me, not that my worries were unfounded, but that I had made the people I worried about idols. Saying a prayer for you in this painful journey Laura and asking the Lord gently uncurl your fingers and let go.

  12. Pam, apples of gold says

    O, Laura… I know those worries. Lately God is showing me how deeply those fears don’t come from Him and how to stand in praise against them in His word and truth (perfect love casting out fear in Jesus’ Name). I stand in praise with you, thanking God that He is moving on your behalf, greater is He in you and for you! All truths we know and keep reminding ourselves of, His living in our praises, all those worries nailed to the cross. (Bless you, Laura… and you are more than a beautiful writer in Him… I hear Him in you like music to my soul… ) 🙂

  13. says

    Praying for you, Laura, that God continues to fill you with His love for you as you are and that His love will carry you through these hard times. About love: I lived my whole life trying to earn love and approval, but never felt loved at all. It wasn’t until I felt God’s love for me for the first time that I felt safe enough to open my heart to love. And love is painful and dangerous like you said. It’s only God’s radical love for us that gives us courage to endure love as well.

  14. soulstops says

    Laura,
    What a great combination: authority and vulnerability..Thank you for sharing this with us. So sorry it has been hard.
    Praying God’s peace (Isa. 26:3) to keep you and surround your mind…may He uphold you with the truth of His unfailing love for you…I have also been battling worries lately and I must keep reminding myself of God’s promises…sending you hugs and a prayer, my friend 🙂

  15. says

    Thank you for this post Laura and the invitation to join you and Jennifer for Lent. I will be joining you. My heart was ready for something…I just didn’t know what direction…thank you for the timeliness of this.

    And Laura….my struggling heart feels your pain and struggle too. Just last night I told my friend how difficult it has been to do ‘that’ which I know I need to do. Let’s remember.. all God’s promises are YES! in Christ Jesus…and put on HIS power to persevere.

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