About this book: 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 someone’s approval—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. 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.
About the author: (from Tyndale) Jennifer Dukes Lee used to cover crime, politics, and natural disasters as an award-winning news journalist. Now Jennifer uses her reporting skills to chase after the biggest scoop in history: the redemptive story of Christ. She and her husband, Scott, met while attending Iowa State University in Ames. They returned to the Lee family’s century-old farm near Inwood, Iowa, in 2002. They have two daughters, Lydia and Anna.
Genre: Non-fiction/Christian Life/Women
Judge this book by its cover? Its appealing and feminine imagery appropriately hints at the topic at hand: self-image.
Reminds me of… Sober Mercies
You’ll want to buy this book if … Oh my…who wouldn’t? So far as I can tell, every woman on the planet struggles with insecurity at some point in her life (if not all her life). And if you’re a woman who happens to have a daughter–well, then the stakes are even higher. I’d go so far as to say this is a must-read just about every Christian woman out there.
Why did I read this book? For Tyndale for review
Would I read another by this author? Anytime.
My take: Diving into the pages of Love Idol was for me like sinking into the depths of my favorite overstuffed chair and pulling the cushy folds of a blanket up snug around my neck. Its wisdom made my soul say “Ahhhh” in relief and gratitude because its message is one that I, like so many, need to hear. And the reason this book is important is that many of us may not even realize we do.
Jennifer (after reading her book, I feel I may presume to call her by her first name) casts herself as a once-ambitious reporter covering breaking national news who now embraces her identity as a humble yet happy farmer’s wife. Quoting Timothy Keller, she writes, “An idol is whatever you look at and say, in your heart of hearts, ‘if I have that, then I’ll feel my like has meaning, then I’ll know I have value, then I’ll feel significant and secure.'”
Within these pages, she invites readers to accompany her on her journey of tracing her value to its Source, sharing her pain and struggle on her way to finding healing and grace, in the hopes that we may find it too.
If I had to choose a passage that meant the most to me, it would be one on page 149 (shortly following that Timothy Keller quote). First she refers to the apostle Paul, who wrote, “As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated…by any human authority…” (1 Corinthians 4:3, emphasis hers). Then Jennifer continues, “When you and I no longer rely on praise or approval for our performance, we find new freedom: We can enjoy affirmation without craving it. Because it has lost our grip on us.”
Do you see what I mean? Ahhhh.
I do admit I would have liked a few more details regarding her husband’s journey–he who apparently forsook his own ambitions to return to his humbler farming roots. He proves to be such a solid source of wisdom and peace for Jennifer, I’d like to know how he got there himself. As it is, his trajectory is only hinted at.
Jennifer’s story ultimately leads to the conclusion of what it’s all about: letting go of our need for human approval in its many guises, allowing ourselves to be freely and unconditionally loved by the extravagantly generous God who created us. And not just so that we can feel better about ourselves, but so that we can, without reservation, respond to His invitation to be His hands and feet in our communities and our very hurting world.
All told, Jennifer’s story found remarkable resonance with mine. And, after reading hers, I find that my own has been changed…or perhaps, more accurately, is changing. Which is again one of Jennifer’s messages. We are all works in progress–and there is great joy and hope in knowing this to be true.
Thanks to Tyndale House for providing me a free copy to review. All opinions are mine.
Jennifer has so much more to offer than just her book. She is also passionate about sharing the Good News through story. She invites you to join her on her blog at www.JenniferDukesLee.com and also at www.TheHighCalling.org, where she serves as a contributing editor.