Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Grace for the Good Girl

Ok, here goes...

I finished reading Grace for the Good Girl by Emily P. Freeman sometime last week.  Truth is, I'm still processing it, and I think I will be for a long time.  I don't know if I've ever connected more with a book than I did with this one.

Here's the Amazon description if you're interested:

Many of us believe that we are saved by grace--but for too many, that's the last time grace defines our life. Instead of clinging to grace, we strive for good and believe that the Christian life means hard work and a sweet disposition. As good girls, we focus on the things we can handle, our disciplined lives, and our unshakable good moods. When we fail to measure up to our own impossible standards, we hide behind our good girl masks, determined to keep our weakness a secret.

In Grace for the Good Girl, Emily Freeman invites women to let go of the try-hard life and realize that in Christ we are free to receive from him rather than constantly try to achieve for him. With an open hand and a whimsical style, Emily uncovers the truth about the hiding, encouraging women to move from hiding behind girl-made masks and do-good performances to a life hidden with Christ in God.

I already feel like God has taught me so much in the past several years about topics that the author discusses in the book, but I just couldn't get over how much I related to her.  My high-lighter got a work out that's for sure.  Claire even asked me why I was writing all in my book! At times, I almost stopped high-lighting all together because it seemed like a waste of time when it was almost every word.  

So here's the thing...I'm a good girl.  At least I try to be.  That's always been the goal.  I was a "good" child, a "good" teenager, and so forth.  Chances are, lots of you all are too.  I never had a big rebellion.  I was saved at a young age and raised in church by wonderful Christian parents.  I was WAY too responsible to risk my reputation, hurting my parents, or disappointing Jesus.  Kind of like a mother hen, I kept all of my friends in line.  At least I tried to, and I felt responsible if they didn't "follow the rules".  Yep, that's me.  Pretty much a big ol' goody two shoes.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm far from perfect.  I've made more than my share of mistakes.  Way more.  It's just that I'm one of those girls with a really boring testimony.  At least that's how I've always felt.  I'm so thankful for my boring testimony, but along with that comes my "good girlness".  

I've rambled long enough, but I must share some of these quotes from the book with you.

"My idea of who I should be is at war with who I am.  I want to be perfect in every situation. I just do. I want to know what to do. I want to know how to do it right."

"Because I care so much what you think, my hiding has everything to do with you. I desperately want to manage your opinion of me."

Preach, sister, preach. 

"Still, I like knowing the rules.  If the sign says Don't Tough, I don't touch. If it says Keep Out, I stay away.  If the form is due on Friday, I'll turn it in on Thursday just in case.  If the doctor says take one in the morning and one at night, I am sure to space them out exactly twelve hours. And even though I admit to occasionally bringing candy into the movie theater, I am always worried that the ticket person will search my bags and throw me out for smuggling in a bottle of water and two Peppermint Patties". 

"It is the false belief that I, myself, am the cause or explanation for the bad, uncomfortable, or dissatisfied people or circumstances around me.  Likewise, it also means that I feel the need to prevent the bad, uncomfortable, or dissatisfactory circumstances from happening in the first place.  I can't remember a time when I didn't feel responsible. I was responsible to be right. I was responsible to look good. I was responsible to have it all together. I was responsible for being responsible."

I'm going to stop quoting now because this post is way too long.  Also, I REALLY want you good girls out there to read the book.  I could write so much more.  SO MUCH MORE.  I want to, and I'm holding back because you need to read it for yourself and see if any of her words resonate with you.  Obviously, the book goes into ways to overcome the fear and anxiety that accompanies being a good girl.  And in the end, it's all about Jesus of course.  

I know I encourage you to read books fairly often, but this time I really mean it with my whole heart.  Especially if you are a good girl.  

(If you read it, please let me know.  I'd love to discuss more of the book with a fellow recovering good girl.)

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