Some of my posts come from a pre-made schedule, while others can only come from the Lord. Yesterday, my back would not stop hurting, I was tired, and the checkbook was waiting for me, yet the words came. Today as I sit in the comforts of my favorite coffee shop, listening to Fernando Ortega sing “Give me Jesus” over Pandora, I read my newest book, Grace for the Good Girl, by Emily Freeman. I fell in love with Emily’s style of writing from her blog, Chatting at the sky, a few months ago. I knew we led similar lives, but as I read chapter 3 this morning, I realized one of my greatest sources of stress.
I am a good girl…
She writes, “We are the daughters of pastors and missionaries, we support the ‘right’ candidates in the polls, we attended Bible college. We homeschool our children or we send them to private Christian schools or we are the presidents of the public school PTA. We marry pastors, we lead Bible studies, we sing in the choir, we volunteer in the nursery. And sometimes we do those things in response to Jesus’ leading. But sometimes, we do them to maintain our good reputation.” Do you know how many of these things describe me? Almost all of them. I am not saying this as something I’m proud of or ashamed to be.
Paul writes, “If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew to the Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless. But whatever was to my profit, I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ.” Philippians 3:4b-11
It’s hard work being a good girl. As Emily writes, there is little of living free, but more of living safe. I have much more reading, searching, and praying to do concerning this. I am nervous, yet eager to see where the Lord leads. I am tired of “failing to live up to my own standard of good, labeling myself a failure, lacking motivation, becoming indifferent, entertaining anxiety, and snapping at my children.”
“As good girls, we subconsciously label ourselves as the strong ones, the responsible ones, the sweet ones, or the right ones. But Jesus is calling us to a deeper, truer, freer identity. All He wants is simply you – minus your good works, minus your perfect attendance, minus your politeness. When you really believe that, you may discover that all you want is Jesus, simply Jesus.”