Thursday, June 7, 2012
being a "good girl
I recently had a very special gift dropped into my lap by God as I was searching for encouragement and hope.
I came across this blog A Holy Experience and from the blog learned to look for joy in little things and to see the gifts I already have from this great book with pictures that take my breath away (One Thousand Gifts) . That then led to this incredible online community ((in)courage) where I am learning I am not the only one feeling overwhelmed, broken, and alone. That in turn led to this really great book Grace for the Good Girl and now an online discussion of the book.
I tend to be cynical about books that make such grandiose claims and yet within sentences I was sobbing as I read about myself in someone else’s words. They were words about wanting to be perfect, always knowing what to do and how to do it, and feeling disconnected between what others see and what happens on the inside. Words about fear and finding God and yet acting as though it was up to me.
This book has challenged me to look at masks and yet to be gentle as I do so. To remember that what Jesus is calling me to is a deeper, truer, freer me. Me. Not good works. Me. Not perfection. Me.
This week’s discussion question is: “What do you feel pushed around by? Others expectations? Your need to be needed? Your to-do list? People’s opinions?”
I say I want to just love Jesus and yet I find myself being pushed to do things the way I am “supposed” to do them. That “supposed to” comes from myself just as often as from childhood messages, role models, and even the institution to which I pledge obedience and likely 99 million other things I pretend not to care about.
The more I get caught up in the “supposed to” the more fearful I become until I just want to run away or crawl under my bed and hide. Not only do I need to be needed, I must check off all those things on my to do list before they ever, ever appear there, and heaven forbid if someone questions that I have a tattoo or go barefoot on the altar, wear bright toe nail polish, and oh please let’s not mention that sometimes I cry when I am sad or get mad when people say bad things about people I love. That is when that whole give up and keep being bad thing happens. That Eeyore voice that speaks to my soul. That little cartoon character that says "it'll never work." I will never be good enough, perfect enough, what ever enough.
All that said, this week I am also supposed to be kind to myself and not try to “strangle” my good girl all at once. Hello? Where is my list of steps to follow? How can I wait? I must do it now and I must do it perfectly!
So one thing I did today to be kind to myself (and I think to her) was to be honest with another “good girl.” It felt so freeing to share, to have tears come to our eyes, to know that while one may run and the other hide, we are both afraid. Afraid of not being perfect, not being good, not being loved. Yet I think some of the tears had to do with wanting to be free, to be happy to just be, to be real, and honest, and broken, and a mess, and ….be loved by this incredibly dangerous savior who calls us to lay down that mask of perfection and pick up his mask of love. In the midst of this conversation I found a glimpse of that freedom. In those moments I knew again that Jesus has already done the work, I just keep forgetting it is done and it is not about me.
I encourage you to check out the book, the discussion group, the blog, or the community that started me down this path. Better yet, let’s talk about it…
I am good enough and so are you my dear friend...because...well, because you are you and you are beloved.