Today I am so excited to have a guest – my new friend Jennifer Dukes Lee. I couldn’t help but like Jennifer right away. For beginners, we’re both Iowa girls! Second, well…we’ve both struggled a lot with approval and are ready to put it behind us! In fact, helping others find God’s unconditional approval is another thing we share. Here’s my friend, Jennifer….
I wrote a book earlier this year about how we don’t have to earn anyone’s approval, and how God loves us just as we are. It’s been the cry of my heart for years – not only in my online ministry, but in my offline life. I want people to know they have nothing to prove to anyone – that they are “preapproved” in Christ Jesus.
And I’ve got a daughter who won’t let me forget it.
“Remember what your book is about, Mom,” Lydia tells me with a sly grin, anytime she sees me stumbling into old patterns of behavior.
(She’s 12, and quite accidentally, she has turned into a mighty fine accountability partner.)
Lydia’s gentle nudges are a reminder that the words I write in a book are words to be lived in my everyday life. I need to live the contents of the book, not only for my own spiritual health, but for the sake of my two daughters, who are watching.
Life lessons are – as the saying goes – often “caught,” not taught.
As parents, we want our children to know that their identity is securely established through Jesus Christ. But we have to regularly ask ourselves: Are we living out the truth of our own Christ identity? What lessons are our children “catching?” Do they see us scowl at our reflections, or do they see us embracing the people God created us to be? Do they see us yearning for the approval of peers on social media? Do they see us run from the camera at the beach, while making deft use of Instagram filters to soften those ever-deepening wrinkles?
And this: Do our children observe us living risk-free lives, because we fear the possibility of failing before a live audience? Or do they see us walking obediently into the places God asks us to serve?
As parents, we are called by God to live the truths that we want our children to believe about themselves.
And we are daily presented with opportunities to teach them out loud with our actions.
I taught writing for several years at a nearby college, and I regularly told my students that “showing, not telling” helps a story come alive more vividly for the reader.
The same can be said of the work of a parent. We will help our children if we do more than tell them the truth. The most memorable lessons are the ones we show.
Jennifer Dukes Lee is a storyteller and a grace dweller. She is author of Love Idol: Letting Go of Your Need for Approval—and Seeing Yourself Through God’s Eyes. The book is for any woman who needs to know that she has nothing to prove — that she’s “preapproved” in Christ. Jennifer is a writer for Dayspring’s (in)courage and an editor at TheHighCalling.org. She blogs at JenniferDukesLee.com.
Today I have the honor of giving away a copy of Love Idol (which, by the way, I read in two days – yes, it is that good)!
To be entered for a chance to win, simply share one area you “caught” from someone in your life. If it’s just one of those busy days, just comment “I’m in!” I’ll announce the winner tomorrow! (When I’m having another give away by the way!)