Don’t shoot me, but I understand the phenomenon of Justin and his millions of “Beliebers.” You see, I also spent my teen years in a haze of hormones, praying for holiness.
One minute, I’d be reading the biographies of spiritual heroines such as Corrie Ten Boom or Elisabeth Elliot and begging God to give me a fearless missionary-mindset. The next, I’d croon the song “Hey Deanie” into my hairbrush as Shaun Cassidy’s album rotated on my record player and the scent of Love’s Baby Soft and V05 hairspray wafted around the room. I even pretended Shaun was singing directly to me. Maybe my terrible home perm had affected my brain, or maybe it was just the Love’s Baby Soft.
The posters on my bedroom walls included Scott Baio, Leif Garrett, and Parker Stevenson. I swooned over their long, feathered hair, their shiny, silk letterman jackets, and their eyes. They were my teen idols, and I was just as over-the-moon for them as today’s girls are for Justin.
Lest you think I was as shallow as a Bieber song, I also longed to use my singing voice and writing abilities for God. I believed He was calling me into full-time ministry. I just REALLY liked cute boys, and I was a sucker for love. I voraciously devoured a series of clean teen romance novels, even deciding to write my own. The titles of my teen masterpieces, you might wonder, into which I inserted just enough Christian-ese to make Jesus proud? Magical Daydreams and Someday, Somewhere. (My husband thought it would be funny to read from both of them at my first book release party. And he was right.)
Eventually, once the hormones calmed down, I got both: the man and the ministry.
On a post-college missions assignment, I met a cute boy who REALLY loved Jesus (and sang like a dream). We’ve been married now for fifteen happy years—and two or three more we don’t like to talk about. Sometimes matrimony is a dream; sometimes it’s more like a Tim Burton movie, without the humor.
God also granted my heart’s desire and allowed me to become a professional writer, and I was even blessed to act and sing professionally (with my hubby, no less) in a Christian-owned theater company for eleven years.
But every privilege He’s given has come with certain challenges—some of them overwhelming. Ultimately, marriage and ministry have taught me that nothing—not a spouse, child, friends, pastor, or job—will live up to our expectations one hundred percent of the time. While we walk this earth, even the sweetest of dreams can disappoint. Fantasies are fun, but they don’t further our faith. And all our heroes will ultimately fall, because they are temporary and frail.
Thankfully, those difficulties and my resulting desperation have always led me back to Jesus, which is surely why He allowed them.
The truth is: Jesus, and Jesus alone, deserves my worship. He is the idol I was pining for back in the '80s. I just had to wait for the air to clear of all the Love’s Baby Soft and V05 before I could realize it.