Today, I am a guest blogger for a lovely website for women called (in)courage. Please stop by and check out that post. Comments are welcome and appreciated :)
Are there any good girls out there ready to reveal their true identities? Ready to let go of the try-hard life and stop hiding behind our masks? Allow ourselves to be free from doubt, worry, and our insecurities about who people think we are?
This week, Emily really hit home some key points of good girls in hiding. In Chapter Seven, she focused on us hiding behind our strength and responsibility. She gives us the definition of responsible: liable to be called on to answer, liable to be called to account as the primary cause, motive, or agent; being the cause or explanation. On page 80, she gives her good girl definition of this word: It means taking things on as my own that were never meant for me to take on. It is the false belief that I, myself, am the cause or explanation for the bad, uncomfortable, or dissatisfied people or circumstances around me. One of the questions she asks us is this:
In what ways do you experience the weight of this kind of responsibility?
I relate so much to what she says next. Seriously, I would have said the same thing if I wrote this book, it's so true. Emily continues, "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. Just now at the coffee shop, the barista asked if I would like my chocolate chip cookie heated up. And I did. But I said no because I felt responsible for the extra work it would take for her to do so." Then, she makes a statement that hit me in the gut. So much, I had to make it my Truth #11:
I am never satisfied with me.
Wow, to write that and say it in my head is somewhat relieving. I think the only way for me to break free from this dissatisfaction is to truthfully admit it. Its the first step to being a good girl without a mask. Has anyone else secretly whispered those words inside their heads? Girl, aren't you tired of feeling this way? Let's do this together, shall we?
As if that statement wasn't hard enough to admit, Emily gives us no choice in Chapter Eight to stay hiding in our comfort zones. I love how she titles this chapter picket fences. Isn't that the iconic of every little girl's imagination of life as a successful woman, wife, and mother? She begins with a story of a little girl with her daddy in the bookstore. The girl was trying to choose between an activity book and some pretty pencils. She asked her dad which one she should get and while he said it was her decision, he also made suggestions like, "The pencils are pretty, but the activity book might last longer." Emily writes, "In that moment, I realized that no matter how much I may have wanted them, I never would have chosen the pencils. As a kid, I was too concerned about making the "right" choice, the choice that would please the most people. I did not give myself permission to make the fun choice when the outcome didn't matter." As she watched the little girl choose the pencils she said, "I realized how my need to keep everyone happy with me has become a mask I hide behind in order to avoid risk and rejection. It feels comfortable there; comfortable enough to disregard the uneasy wave that sometimes rolls over me in the midst of it."
As a good girl, what keeps you from doing what you honestly want to do?
Then, she gives us Chapter Nine. Oh, how this chapter ripped me to shreds. She gives us the story of the two sons in Luke 15 (The Prodigal Son). *The oldest son stayed home and worked hard for his father while the younger son asked for his share of his father's wealth and went off to a distant country to "squander his estate with loose living" (Luke 15:13). After that, there was a famine, and he was forced to find work by feeding pigs. He even began to crave pig food to sustain himself and was denied even that. He was in a bad way. When it got bad enough, he came to his senses and realized that even the servants in his father's house were treated better than this, so he decided to confess to his father and beg to be hired as a servant. As it turns out, his father was waiting for him. While he was still a long way off, the father saw and had compassion on his son and ran to receive him. He dressed him in the best robe, put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. He called for a celebration, and that is what they had. "Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing" (Luke 15:25). The rebel had come home to a party. In the midst of the sound of happy celebration, the older son seethed outside and refused to go in.
With whom do you most closely identify: the prodigal son or the older brother?
Emily gives the example of this story to reveal how much the good girl relates to the older brother. We sit with our hands crossed and a fake smile on our face as the bad girl gets the glory. Inside, we are pouting asking, "Why does she get a party when she did wrong?" *There's a party going on, but we refuse to go in. We hide behind our mask of indifference, pretending it doesn't bother us, because the only alternative is to face the source of anger and what we are afraid to admit we believe: How can he choose to reward them and ignore me?
Have you ever felt like your good girl life has left you with an unworthy testimony because you haven't experienced a period of rebellion? What makes a testimony worthy - the one rescued or the Rescuer?
In her notes for Chapter Nine, Emily says, "Sometimes the bad girl stories seem more worthy of telling than ours. Both sons were completely accepted by the father, but the older son was working to earn, similar to how good girls try to "live life for God."
To close out this week, I really wanted to share with you one of my favorite passages that Emily writes. This relates so well with these 31 days of Truth. It is my heart's desire that for all of you reading this to allow yourselves to live in the truth of who you are every day. To admit the ugly so you can live in the pretty. To be honest with yourself about who you are and not worry so much about who you are trying to be. To live life the way God made you and show that life to others. To be his light to this world. Here's the quote:
There is more power in sharing our weaknesses than our strengths. The forgiveness of God is gratuitous and unconditional liberation from the domination of guilt.
- Reflections for Ragamuffins
Don't forget to spend some time journaling your thoughts as you read this book. Emily suggests for us to take a few minutes and list every situation you can think that happened today where you took responsibility for something that was out of your control. Think about what it feel like to live that way, what emotions it brings to the surface. Our truth to remember is, "Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours" (Luke 15:31). Go ahead and read Chapter 10 and Part 2 introduction and we will meet back here next week.
Till next time, let your light shine!
*Quotes taken from Grace for the Good Girl. Freeman, Emily P.
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Truth #1 – The Truth
Truth #2 – I hate laundry
Truth #3 – I’m bad at memorization
Truth #4 – My dogs drive me crazy
Truth #5 – I’m scared at getting in trouble
Truth #6 – I was nervous to start N2S
Truth #7 – I like to dance
Truth #8 – I enjoy a simple life
Truth #10 -I love a clean closet