InPursuit

Love Idols Crashing Down All Around Me

Empty, Dry Wells

What can I say? I was a sucker for love. Love me and I’m happy. Love me and I can conquer the world. Love me and I can do anything. Just love me. A romantic at heart, a day-dreamer, always walking with my head in the clouds, always figuring out another way to make them love me. And not just any kind of love, but head-over-heels, Romeo-and-Juliet kind of love.

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It was hard work. It took a lot of critical thinking and loads of manipulation. I became who they wanted me to be, all the while inconspicuously luring them in. You will love me. You have no alternative. The challenge was invigorating. Made me feel powerful even.

Of course, the real power was always illusive. I never really possessed it. Somehow, my relentless pursuit for love left me empty, hollowed out by a thick sense of nothingness. Silly me. Did I really think my love idol would actually satisfy the unquenched thirst of my soul? How foolish of me to believe a love that I manipulated or conjured up into existence would ever fill this empty, dry cup.

Redemption

But then something happened. In all my futile searching, I came across the Lover of all lovers. 

*(An excerpt from my testimony.  You can read the rest of the story {here}.)

{HITTING ROCK BOTTOM}
…One day I found myself walking into my old church. Watching a cousin of mine ministering in song, I sat there- empty and alone, full of so much anger, hate, and fear. I just put my head down to my knees and I remember it so clearly, as though it were yesterday, I said to the Lord, “You know all things. If I sat here and told you I was ready to leave my lifestyle, I’d be lying and you’d know it. If I told you that I was ready to leave the drinking and the smoking, the partying and all my ways, I’d be lying…and again… you’d know it. But God, I am so sick and tired of being a nobody, I am so sick and tired of this empty life. I’m ready. I need you to know that I am ready. And because I know I cannot do this by myself, I need to know that You know I am ready,”

In my foolishness and in my fear of rejection, I sat there waiting for a sign from God. I sat there with my head down on my knees thinking, “Hello, do you hear me? I am ready!” But when I didn’t get the response I wanted from God, I became upset and with the brick wall I had created I angrily said, “Forget it!!” and I sat back on the bench.

Immediately, a cousin comes up to me and asks, “Do you want to go up for prayer?” I’m not sure how it happened but I found myself walking down the narrow aisle, up to the altar where a visiting Evangelist, who knew nothing about me began to pray for me. He began with, “My daughter, I love you…”

I’m not sure if you’ve ever felt like this, but when he told me those words, I became angry all over again, I thought, “Is this what I came up here for, God? For you to tell me You love me? My dad was supposed to love me and he walked out on my mother and my sisters, my baby’s father loved me and it didn’t work out, all these people in my life ‘supposedly’ loved me, yet all they did was hurt me… And now YOU tell me you love me? If this is what love feels like then I don’t want to be loved.”

{SWEET SURRENDER}
If he hadn’t been praying for me (with his hands on my head), I would have walked out of that church at that moment. But then- again the same words, “My daughter, I love you!” I can’t explain what happened the second time that he said those words, but something deep inside was shaken. A crack formed in the cold and hardened walls that I created; and out of the innermost part of me a cry, so deep and so profound came out.

Tears flooded my eyes as the Lord spoke to my need, “My daughter, I love you. Everyone sees the smile on your face yet I see the tears you cry at night and I catch them in the palm of my hands; My daughter, I love you! That love that you are seeking for, no man will ever be able to give it to you, My daughter, I love you!”

Unloved. Not Wanted. Not Enough.

You’d think that after an encounter like that, I’d get it. I was loved. Yet for me, although salvation, redemption, and all the amazing gifts and blessings of God were mine instantaneously, the healing process has been arduous and long. I gave my life to the Lord that day, yet I found myself still trying to earn ‘love’. The ‘work’ continued. Only this time, I called it God-work, holy work, serving. 

Soon that empty feeling began to grow again. How’s that even possible? How do you serve God and still feel so unloved and unworthy? How do you give your heart to Christ and still feel so not wanted? How do you work and sow and serve and still feel not enough?

Idols Crashing Down All Around Me

It was a Valentine’s Day, many years ago, when idols started crashing down all around me. I was a single mother at the time and an altar call was made for the singles in the church. As the pastor prayed that night she said, “God loves you so much. He loves you unconditionally!” She wasn’t speaking specifically to me and quite frankly, I wasn’t impressed with those words. The topic of love always brought up so many mixed emotions.

I remember standing there with my eyes closed thinking, “God, I just don’t understand this kind of Love”.  Immediately, I heard God speak truth into my heart. It was so simple, yet life-transforming, “Stop trying to understand it, just accept it.”

Imagine that. God loved me. Absolutely. Positively. Unconditionally… and I didn’t have to trick Him into it? I didn’t have to persuade Him? I didn’t have to manipulate His heart?

Just open my heart and accept His love… ‘Okay, Lord. I accept it.’ 

And yet, I wish I could say I conquered this area immediately. I wish I could tell you that I stopped seeking love and approval from others that day, and that I’ve only sat to drink deep from the well of God’s love. In my humanity, I’ve often found myself drinking from wells filled with stagnant and contaminated water. I’ve had to come face-to-face with the ugly truth that sometimes I prefer to feel the texture of an idol I can hold in my hands, rather than a God I cannot see.

With a broken and contrite heart, I’ve had to come into the presence of God and de-throne the people, pursuits, and desires I’ve elevated above Him. I’ve had to surrender relationships and friendships that were toxic because they became my love idols.

Pre-Approved

Pre-approved pic

The love of God has been like refreshing waters to my dry and parched land. Satisfying. Quenching my thirst. I haven’t yet understood how He could love someone like me. I haven’t yet figured out how it all adds up. But then figuring it out is not my job. I’m simply called to open my hands and my heart and receive it.

Accepting this amazing gift, I’m learning to drink from the fountains of God’s word. Daily. Hour-by-hour. Sometimes minute-by-minute. I’m giving up the need to be loved by others and I’m satisfying  my longings and desires in the knowledge of His truth. Do you hear that?

Hear the love idols crashing down all around me?

I am loved. I am wanted. I am Pre-Approved!

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Joining Jennifer Dukes Lee and over a thousand women who are letting go of their Love Idol and their need for approval… because they’re already Pre-Approved!

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© 2016 Darlene Collazo | {In Pursuit} My Quest

Comments

  1. teresa630 says:

    Darlene its been so long its I’ve seen your beautiful face up on my screen. I “love” your writing and its true we allow our hearts to become like the chameleon, conforming to appease people. As a model in Southern Cali, it was an unspoken word, and even yet an expectation, a hard line you had to follow if you wanted to work, if you wanted your “LoveIdols” to come true. So truly grateful we have a loving and patient God that guides our footsteps and gathers our hearts back to HIm. <3

    • Teresa, I’m so happy you stopped by. I didn’t write much in February because I was working on moving over to this self-hosted site. It’s good to be back! so blessed to hear God’s love has guided your footsteps back to him, too!

  2. I love your honesty and vulnerability here. I can relate to this — knowing that I am not resting in my Savior’s love… still seeking the approval of others when I’ve already been blessed with His. Beautiful words. Thank God for His patience with all of us.

    • So glad you’ve stopped by {In Pursuit}, Amy! I’m learning that honesty about where we’ve been helps others do the same. Praying God’s grace would help us all unmask the schemes of the enemy, that we’d be daughters walking in the Freedom of Christ!

  3. Beautiful Darlene! Thanks for sharing this part of your testimony with us! xo

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