My mother would drop me off at the Boys and Girls Club in town occasionally on days when she thought I needed something to do. I did need something to do, but it made me feel the same as if I were jumping out of a plane. I didn’t know a single person. We were new to the state and people talked funny. I did not know how to join in. Pasting myself inconspicuously to a wall, I was comforted by listening to Stevie Wonder blasting from the radio and eating moon pies from the vending machine. Swimming in the pool was out of the question because that meant I had to change in the locker room. And that would be worse than jumping out of a plane.
And yet, the thing that really bothered me about being there was that I felt invisible. People didn’t look at me, they looked through me. I wasn’t being good, I wasn’t being bad. I just didn’t exist. Or so I felt.
This was ironic, because I worked hard at not being the focus of attention. But there is a difference between wanting to be the center of attention and wanting to know that you mean something to even one person.
Not being noticed was the goal no matter where I was, but it was also what made me feel insignificant. And so I played this passive-aggressive game, blending in with the paint on the wall while my heart hoped that someone would reach out to me, just as I seemed to be incapable of reaching outside of myself.
We all grow up with these little seed lies that take hold in our spirit, and if well watered by our thought processes, they can take over. My love/hate relationship with validation or attention from others didn’t start at the Boys and Girls Club. It was a weakness in my own character, laying dormant for the right circumstances to come along in such occasions.
Idolatry takes root and appeals to us because our hearts are sinful. But another place to look is in how we have been hurt. Wounds. My wound, feeling invisible. My idol, validation from others.
The test of idolatry reveals the direction my heart is pointed: towards myself, others, or God.
Today I see this love idol manifesting itself in many ways, including:
- I want to know that my opinion has been heard and understood.
- If someone’s perception of me is wrong, I want to set the record straight.
- I often defend myself.
- This passive-aggressive thing of wanting to hide and be noticed at the same time is still a battle.
My prayers these days have less to do with anyone else in my life as much as needing God to free me from myself.
What would life be like if these things did not tug at my heart and mind all the time?
I could be free, if I wanted.
Throw off every weight that hinders.
What is your “love idol?”
For this blog I am linking up to Jennifer Dukes Lee’s website and in particular, her new book Love Idol. I encourage you to check it out and read through the other awesome contributions that also got me thinking about my own “love idols.”