Idolatry of People.

This is something I wrote a few months ago. It’s not in reaction to anything in particular – just an observation. 

I can almost guarantee that I love people more than you do.

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It’s not externally obvious; I’m an introvert, after all.
I’m not effusive or mushy, or even good at small talk.
But I love people internally – constantly wondering about their life outside of our acquaintance.
This curious heart is fragile enough to break when others cry.

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My heart frantically searches for solutions to help my friends.
My heart expands (exponentially sometimes!) at the joy I see others experience.
I dream for their futures.
I listen with a smile and broken heart during their laments.
I love their stories
(given that they’re actually stories and not rant sessions disguised as life narratives).

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AND
I love that everyone has a story — a mission, a “religion,” something that drives them.
This uniqueness fascinates me.9

I love experiencing their talents.
I admire my studio art friends and the ones who play instruments.
I consult the advice of those who will one day be professors or doctors.
I dream with the restless travelers.
And those who want to leverage their lives for missional work.

I’m the type that left class wondering about my professors’ lives outside of class. Are their lives happy? What are they sad about?Are they content here? Do they like Carolina basketball, too?6

I know people whose families are broken and in shambles — but who live their own lives with such grace.
I’m in awe of them.

I know families who exude love and hospitality – and I take notes (which I’ve tuck into my back pocket for the future).

I love how some individuals have a singular passion (dogs, baking, hearing loss, children with autism, sports, etc.).
And I really love how some people are enthused about nearly everything!5

I love the people who smile confidently — and even more, those whose insecurities lead them to ask: “does this look okay on me?”

I love the people who are opinionated – even if I disagree with you. Please know that I see you as an individual, a person, and I’m fascinated by you.
Even more than decisive people, I love those who can carry on a well-informed, well-balanced conversation.

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Then there are those people who are “too busy” or “closed-minded” to listen.
I try to understand those people.
I’m not sure if I love them
But I sure think about them a lot.

11

I’m obsessed with people.

I can’t resist observing others’ interactions in public places:
The way they nervously twist the zipper on their jackets as they wait for their Starbucks order.
Or they way they share an irrelevant anecdote on the bus — just to fill that empty air.
Or the way a couple can be completely oblivious to bustling crowds, intertwining their hands and whispering secrets.

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I constantly wonder what each person is like beyond the snapshot I see.
I always want to be a friend.
I want to sit down over a warm cup of coffee and compare our lives.
So similar. So different. Stunning, wonderful, lovely.

I still can’t understand how people — these girls with such beauty — these guys with such intelligence — can feel so lonely. I don’t understand depression. You are YOU. You are so INTERESTING.

I love sitting and thinking about others’ lives — stories — friendships — beauty — futures.2

You would never call it self-centered. I do love people – I want the best for them, I want to help where I can.
But, unfortunately, I’ve come to believe it’s one thing that can easily become idolatry.
Idolizing others – setting my mind on who their earthly persona is – how “good” of a friend I am toward them – or how they perceive me.

Loving people – and being fascinated by them – means I am also easily hurt by their words and their actions.

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3 thoughts on “Idolatry of People.

  1. I have been thinking about this writing for a few days and trying to see how I would respond. The pictures are precious, and your circle of friends amazes me. Your repeated use of the word “Love” puzzled me somewhat. I do love
    many people…friends, family, Brothers and Sisters in the family of God; but I
    also love my Heavenly Father, The Lord Jesus Christ, The printed Word …it’s promises, encouragement, comfort and on and on…As I read the
    Scriptures my heart is filled with love for the Triune God!! I’m not doing a very good of expressing myself…I have sat beside Elizabeth for many days and she died last night. We felt sadness but great gratefulness to the Father for His time of Mercy. Anyway, PLEASE do not let my words hurt you, Dear One, ..you know I love you dearly. God Bless.,

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