#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.
Why Love Idols Are Sneaky and Convincing
By Shelly Miller
On Saturday night, after the dinner dishes are loaded in the dishwasher, I spread out on the couch underneath a blanket and watch 12 Years a Slave. Thirty minutes into the story, I mumble sheepishly to my husband, “This isn’t a feel good movie, is it?”
My daughter walks through the living room, retrieving something she needs for an English project and overhears my admission. “Well, what were you thinking when you decided to watch it?” she chides me.
“I knew it would be hard to watch but I’m waiting for the redemption.”
“Are you sure there will be redemption,” asks my son watching from the opposite couch.
Further into the storyline, I shield my eyes with cupped palms. I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to watching the unjust violence of pious entitlement strip innocent flesh wide open. After a particularly difficult scene, slave owner Edwin Epps justifies his abusive behavior by declaring, “No sin! There is no sin! A man does how he pleases with his property.”
The next morning, while waiting for my teenagers to dress for church, I crawl back into bed in slacks and watch a news story on television about the evolution of graffiti art.
Once considered vandalism, graffiti is on exhibit in a prominent New York museum. One of the artists starting out as a teenager wielding spray paint in the dark recently racked up $90,000 on a piece called Buff.
I’m sobered when Lady Pink, one of the graffiti artists in the interview admits, “It’s only graffiti or vandalism if you get arrested, but if you get away with it, then it’s clearly art.”
A few minutes later while driving to church, I turn down a tree covered lane and take in the telescopic view of a pristine white plantation house illuminated at the end of the dark, Live Oak tunnel. And bile begins rising up in my throat.
The expansive property dotted with pink azaleas encapsulates hundreds of years of history I push my high heels into. Our place of worship was once the soil of slavery, of brutality at the hands of the unbroken. And unbroken people mistake being owners instead of stewards.
Even though I’ve been aware of this since moving to the area six years ago, hot tears threaten to fall down my face before walking past the blooming camellias in pots flanking the front door with the brass handle.
Sitting on a plastic folding chair among churchgoers, I sing Amazing Grace and think about how my Love Idols are sneaky and convincing. They hide behind entitlement like that slave owner and graffiti artist.
Because when “I deserve” comes before the word “approval,” the message we believe is — life owes me something. And the outcome is a life filled with contention and disappointment.
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me bounces off the brick walls holding a lifetime of memories for Southerners. And the words to the song become my heart cry.
Grace allows a glimpse into our fallen nature in order to experience the paradox: incomprehensible love, forgiveness and approval is always available from the one who chooses us when we don’t deserve it.
I surrender; lay down the Love Idols, not because life owes me something but because I believe in the redemption that resides in each of our stories. I stand with the community of the broken who know we are called and not driven, stewards and not owners, free and no longer slaves to sin.
I am Shelly Miller and I’m preapproved. It’s why I can sing the song of life with abandon.
Shelly Miller is a writer, photographer, clergy wife, mother of two teens, and a leadership coach. She enjoys writing stories that make people think differently about life, helping women discover their calling and the luxury of being inspired by other cultures. You can read more of her stories on her blog, Redemptions Beauty. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
THE LOVE IDOL MOVEMENT
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 preapproved cutouts. Place these where ever your Love Idols have lurked!
A Preapproved printable: to frame, to put on your refrigerator, to give to a friend. Click here to print. My gift to you, brave soul!