Friday, June 15, 2012

being a "good girl" part two

The chapters this week continue to challenge me and I find myself going back and re-reading them.  I saw with fresh eyes this week that I was not alone.

In her blog post this week Emily says, “In a way, obsessively apologizing is part of the hiding. We sorry our way right out of our own personalities. We apologize for not being fine. We apologize for needing help. We apologize for being emotional, inarticulate, not having answers. Sometimes we even apologize for apologizing.”

Those words brought me up short…I constantly do that!  One of the many gifts my husband gives to me is the reminder I cannot take responsibility for everything, only God has that right.  He is quick to point out I do not have that power…and while it is freeing it is hard as well.  I find myself apologizing until he hugs me or covers my mouth!

This week’s questions:

1.  What is your main reason for hiding behind your fake fine? 

My fake fine is mostly about fear.  Fear that I will be found out, fear that people won’t like me, fear that I will not fit in, I will not belong.  As God has worked on this with me I have learned to be less fragmented in responding to the question, “how are you?” yet just this week had it blow up in my face.  That set me back on my bottom as I struggled with both being authentic while at the same time trying to discern if I am being asked because someone really cares or is engaging in social niceties.  The struggle will be to not fall all the way back to “I’m fine” as my insides are churning, my body aches, and the tears rise to the surface.  The gift will be actively seeking out those who affirm my authenticity and provide safe places to be me, a broken and recovering good girl.  A dear sister and I agree that we need a new word.  A word there is no opposite to.

2. In what ways do you resonate with Martha’s good girl ways?

I too put natural limitations on a supernatural God.  I often look to the physical and the practical before stepping back to let God in a situation.  This most often happens when people are ill… “what do you need from me, from us?” before, “how can I pray with/for you?” 

I fall into the trap of trying to please God or others in order to win acceptance and belonging from them.  It ties in with the doing in order to be.  I seem to think I must please and to do so I must do.  Somewhere along the way I picked up the idea that being loved or accepted is not about who I am but what I do.  “If I just do the dance this way this time I will finally belong!”

3. Has your idea of the spiritual disciplines and the purpose of the law shifted in reading chapter six? If so, in what ways?

This was not a new lesson for me.  I have been using the spiritual disciplines to beat myself up for a long time so it was another reminder that it is not about doing God stuff, but being with God.  The quote, “my dad told me that there is a difference between the discipline of sitting down with God and the pleasure of knowing his voice. It is one thing to make yourself do something. It is entirely another to find pleasure in relationship*” resonated deeply.  I want to hear God’s voice, to sit with him, to be with him rather than following steps that I think will make me somehow holier or more worthy.

This book continues to both challenge and affirm me as I seek to let go of the try hard life and be closer to this God who loves so completely, so incredibly, so fully.  Remember to head over to Emily’s blog.  Know I would love to chat as well!

Reading Schedule:
June 21 :: Chapters 7 – 9

June 28 :: Chapter 10
July 5 :: Chapters 11 – 12
July 12 :: Chapters 13 – 14
July 19 :: Chapters 15 – 16
July 26 :: Chapters 17 – 18

*Freeman, Emily P. (2011-09-01). Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try-Hard Life (Kindle Locations 1196-1198). Baker Book Group. Kindle Edition.


  1. I guess that because I am 64 and have always tried to "re-invent" myself to become better, smarter, etc...I come at GRACE FOR THE GOOD GIRL from a different angle than some of the younger participants which includes you. In some ways, for me, it is painful to hear how many young women (still) feel so full of fear. I don't like to generalize, but I don't think you would find many sites where men are having these same discussions. It's us women...the caregivers of the world...who keep questioning our value and limiting ourselves. We mostly do it to ourselves. I have come through some of that just to get where I am today in my job position. The other day I drew something. It made me so happy. I'll attach it here or on Facebook when I figure out how to do it. You inspired me when you showed me your Zentangles at Cursillo weekend. I checked it out online. Told a friend of mine about it because her daughter did a lot of geometric type drawings...but it lingered in my mind for me to do. Pen and ink drawings and watercolors were always a part of my "becoming an artist" plan as a young person. Zentangles brought me back to pen and ink in an easy way. Still, I didn't do anything about it. My friend, referred to before, went to a class about Zentangles. She showed me her results from her class. I went home that evening and drew. It flowed. It made me happy. When you question your abilities...understand that you are planting seeds...interesting enough this Sunday's gospel speaks of seed planting/mustard think not...and that it is God who is responsible for the results. Thank you for planting a seed for me - months ago - that is bringing me back to art.

    1. Mary,
      I agree that it seems to be something women do, yet I think men express the same things in other ways. I recently had a conversation with one who said the book sounded like one he needed and perhaps Emily needs a version for guys. In the end I think much happens to take our focus off of being beloved of God and doubting ourselves.

      As for the art, I just know it has saved my life and often my faith. Virginia D. is the one who introduced me to Zt so thank her as well. It has been the way this journey to wholeness in my identity as a beloved child of God is being worked out.

      Make a play date to come spend time in my studio. I will also be doing a workshop entitled the "art" of prayer on July 26th, you (and friends) are welcome to come. Info will be posted here and on our FB page as it gets closer.