Monday, April 21, 2014

Jennifer Dukes Lee’s “Love Idol”

We all have them, those little whispers, reminders that we are not quite good enough, that we need to do more to succeed, buy more, look better, go with the flow, be part of the in-crowd, that then, and only then, will we be considered worthy. Collectively, in all their many permutations, they’re all about our need for approval.

We pay attention to these little whispers. We listen closely and hard. They become so familiar to us that we embrace them and internalize them. They become part of our thinking and our personalities. We do what they say, often without thinking. They become our idols, and in effect we worship them.

In Love Idol: Letting Go of Your Need for Approval and Seeing Yourself through God’s Eyes,  Jennifer Dukes-Lee says it doesn’t have to be this way.

A former political reporter for the Des Moines Register (she’s since been promoted to full-time farm wife and mother), Dukes-Lee might have been one of the last people you’d expect to have problems with approval. But she had them, and she still has them. The difference is she’s aware of them of them now, and sees how they come creeping into the most common and mundane of activities.

Like her daughter’s spelling bee. A missions trip to Haiti. Lusting to be assigned that career-enhancing newspaper story. Work. The desire for influence and authority. Volunteering at church.  

We want to be noticed, recognized, and applauded. We hunger for this approval.

Dukes-Lee was as caught up in this as anyone can be, and then slowly realized that she was already preapproved. All the things she was doing for approval were not only insufficient, they were unnecessary.

Love Idol is written squarely for women readers. If no one’s said it before, then let me be the first to say it: men hunger for approval just as much as women do. As I read her words, written in an engaging, straightforward style (I recognize the former journalist), I am reminded of my own need for approval and the ongoing struggle that continues within my mind and emotions.

It’s not only a good book with an important message; Love Idol is a needed book. Reading it will make you squirm at times, because its honesty hits home. Most of all, it’s a hopeful book: it doesn’t have to be this way. As Dukes-Lee keeps pointing out, we are all preapproved.

Illustration by Piotr Siedlecki via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.

1 comment:

Jennifer @ said...


Thank you so much for this thoughtful and thorough review of Love Idol. It takes a REAL MAN to read a book with lipstick letters on the cover. :)

Yes, the book is marketed and written more directly to women. But no, you're not the first person to say it's a book for men, too. The first guy who said that was my favorite farmer: Scott Lee. :)

Thank you again, Glynn, for reading, for writing, and for looking past the gender-specific language to find the deeper meaning underneath it all.