Today’s Scripture — 11.4.2014
“For they loved praise from men more than praise from God.” ~ John 12:43
“When push came to shove, they cared more for human approval than God’s glory.” ~ From the Message paraphrase
When Push Comes to Shove
I almost didn’t write Love Idol.
You know why? Because of my love idols!
I was afraid of what people would think. The fear of failure haunted me. I was equally afraid of success.
I was a “small-platform” blogger, relatively unknown outside of my small circle of readers. Everything that I’d read or been told made me believe that I had little or no chance of ever seeing a book published.
Furthermore, if it did publish, what if people hated it?
Amazon terrified me. My little yellow book about approval would be open for review on a five-star approval system. Irony of ironies.
I remember distinctly a conversation that I had with my husband while writing the book.
“You’re married a woman of paradox,” I whined to him one morning. On the verge of tears, I explained that I was jumping into a pit of my worst fears.
Here’s what he said:
“Maybe that’s the point! Maybe jumping into your fear is the point. That’s why they call it courage.”
My own love idol of approval had a firm grip on me, and it nearly killed the book that now bears its name.
“When Push Came to Shove”
The Apostle John once wrote about some religious leaders who believed in Jesus, but because of the Pharisees, they wouldn’t confess their faith “out of fear.”
“When push came to shove, they cared more for human approval than God’s glory.” (John 12:43, the Message)
I’m not proud to admit that I’ve been like those religious leaders. God was calling me to write a book, but “out of fear” I balked. I fretted more about human approval, then what God wanted to do in and through me.
Push came to shove. I had to make a choice.
I know I’m not alone. Friends tell me they’re scared, too. Scared to apply for a promotion, start a business, speak in public, write a book, enroll in a class. Our love idols convince us that we’re too stumbling and bumbling, too broken and clueless, too ridiculous or sinful to be effective. We think we’re unremarkable. So when push comes to shove, we duck from the challenges placed before us.
The desire for approval strangles dreams. It suffocates bravery. In its grip, we begin to trust exterior evaluation, more than interior revelation. Have we forgotten that we are indwelt with the Holy Spirit? With God? He’s not an absentee landlord of your life. He’s the Tenant of your soul.
If we let fear have unrestricted access to our heart, our dreams will die with us.
“The most valuable land in the world is the graveyard,” someone once said. “In the graveyard are buried all of the unwritten novels, never-launched businesses, unreconciled relationships, and all of the other things that people thought, ‘I’ll get around to that tomorrow.’ One day, however, their tomorrows ran out.”
Maybe today’s the day, to take the next step. Push has officially come to shove. And maybe today’s the day you spread your arms open wide and jump — right into your fear … to find God catching you. Say “yes” to the crazy risk, the wild wonder of the unknown. When you say yes, you’re saying you trust the Spirit of God who gave you the idea in the first place
And when you say yes, you’re making the rest of us brave. Because we can see how God, working in you, is bigger than the fears that surround you.
I remember just now, on a winter night when I was sitting at these computer keys. It seemed like God was whispering into my “knower:”
“Amazon is a pretty big place,” God seemed to say to me. “That’s why it’s called Amazon. But guess what? I’m bigger than Amazon.”
And then? I wrote a book.
What is God calling you to? What do you need God to be “bigger than?” What is your Amazon? How has man’s approval/disapproval kept you from taking that next step? I’m praying for you, friend.
UPDATE: NEW, CORRECTED PRINTABLES
The first version of our printables for our month-long series had a few errors. Those errors have been corrected. You can print the new sheets out by clicking here. We apologize for any inconvenience!
This post is part of our month-long series, “A November to Remember: Seeing Yourself Through God’s Eyes.
How You Can Be a Part of This Movement:
1 – Print out the Scripture sheets. (Click here for printable versions.) Each of the 30 daily Scriptures are quoted in Love Idol, and each one ties back in some way to our identity in Christ. (You don’t have to read the book to participate in this study. But of course, you’re welcome to! 🙂 )
2 – Find the passage assigned for today’s date.
3 – Consider how God is speaking to you. How does the verse help you remember who you really are, outside of all the cultural noise?
4 – Visit us on the blog, or the Love Idol movement page on Facebook, to share what the verse means to you.
5 – Share your insights on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or your blog, to add more soul to your scroll. #MoreSoulLessScroll 🙂 Tag me, so I can find you. (Or feel free to follow along silently! No social-media presence required.)
I’ll post my own response here on the blog every morning at 5 a.m. Sometimes, you’ll find a story, maybe a few short words, maybe a series of photos. That will happen every day, for all of November, God-willing.
Studies show that the best way to form a habit, is to NOT break the chain. Habits form if you keep at it, one day after the next after the next. After our 30 days, we may have created a new habit of Scripture before Scrolling — a habit that can take us into the Christmas season, and beyond.
If you want to follow along, visit us here every day. Consider subscribing to my blog by clicking here to get these reflections in your email inbox.
Let this be the November that we remember who we really are: Loved. Preapproved. His.
Find all the posts in the November to Remember series by clicking here.