#PreApproved Writer of the Week : Christy Willard

June 3, 2014 | 4 comments

#PreApproved Sisterhood Series


Welcome to a new series, hosted here on the blog. Every Tuesday night, one of our PreApproved sisters will share her story on letting go of a love idol.

Together, we’re giving up our love idols, and we’re not taking them back.

We are already approved; we have nothing to prove. In Christ, we are #preapproved.

A Love Unwavering
by Christy M. Willard @ A Heartening Life

I don’t want to need people. I want to want them.

In the midst of a painful season, I penned these words. An honest confession from a human, fallible heart. One bruised and wounded by life and people and circumstance.

My identity birthed, not entirely from the happy memories and encouragement of others, but from darkness – haunting memories of childhood innocence taken stripped away the knowing that I mattered.

I can’t say why what’s stolen becomes the informer of value. Why betrayal and abuse carry more weight than real love and affection.

Maybe because it’s outside of God’s plan for us? We weren’t made to be mistreated.

My life became about earning love and striving to be worthy of it. I constantly wondered if I measured up and started looking to others for reassurance.

But the world is harsh and instead of fighting to believe my value I found myself accruing a list of my unworthiness in the school yard, classroom, or wherever I felt I didn’t measure up.

My strong, self-protective exterior hid a very real fear — that people would reject me.

I’m standing on the craggy mountaintop now, looking back at the dense valley below, and I’m starting to see why the journey through the underbrush was so painfully critical.

Jennifer Dukes Lee writes in her book, Love Idol, “To let go of something, you have to first admit you’re holding on to it” (108).

What an ugly, humbling process to finally see what your hands have been white-knuckle-holding-onto all of this time.

It’s hard to admit how much I have needed people.

But there is beauty as each finger slowly releases its grip. A revealing of truth I never understood before — a converging of head knowing and heart knowing  — that my value doesn’t waver in God’s eyes.

And if I can rest there, believing and accepting God’s opinion of me, then I don’t need the approval of people.

In this space where being loved becomes more about a state of existence than something I’m actively pursuing, I find freedom and peace.

I feel steady for the first time in my life, breathing in the goodness of a love I didn’t earn and cannot lose. The kind of love that doesn’t have an “if” or “when” attached to it.

Jennifer Dukes Lee’s book, Love Idol, couldn’t have come into my life at a better time. Besides the comfort of knowing I am not alone in people pleasing, she has given me the gift of perspective.

She writes, “If someone corrects us, disagrees with us, or talks poorly of us to others, what does it mean? Very little. And this: If someone endorses us, applauds our work, affirms our parenting, or offers us praise, what does it mean? Very little. When you and I no longer rely on praise or approval for our performance, we find new freedom…” (149).

His assurance and acceptance are enough. I want to live in the balance, where encouragement and affirmations become a blessing instead of a need — a place where criticism and rejection don’t send me into a pit of despair.

I’m in the thick of the process, but I think I’m finally getting it.

My name is Christy, and I am preapproved.

Christy Mae Willard lives life “in the trenches” with her husband & two kids. A survivor of childhood sexual abuse and passionate advocate for protecting kids, she’s learning to surrender all to Jesus. She writes honest on her blog, A Heartening Life.


Click here to find out more about the Love Idol movement.

Click here to purchase the book that inspired the movement.

Click here to join us on Facebook as we lay down our Love Idols and declare our #preapproved status in Christ.



Click here to print the black and white preapproved cutouts.
Place these where ever your Love Idols have lurked!

A pink PreApproved printable: to frame, to put on your refrigerator, to give to a friend.
Click here to print. My gift to you, brave soul!

by | June 3, 2014 | 4 comments


  1. rhondaquaney

    Just had a chance to hop over to read your post. I was touched by your statement questioning. “Why betrayal and abuse carry more weight than real love and affection.” It is frightening how sin, has such weight to sway the course of our lives. I’m thankful that what was meant for evil, God has redeemed for His glory. Thank you for your brave, bold life and sharing your heart here.

  2. Jenn Peterson

    Beautiful!! Thank you for sharing. We weren’t made for abuse! Amen. Once I got my mind around that it was easier to let go of that heavy weight I was carrying around.

    • Christy Willard

      Thankful you embraced that truth, Jenn! I appreciate your encouragement!


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