To be honest, I never even considered not being a good girl. I was born into a good family. We went to church at least three times a week. Bad behavior was not tolerated, not for a minute--not at home, not at school, not at church. So I was the quintessential good girl. I wasn't a pretty girl. I was a smart girl and a very good girl. I was the one who made all A's, who was a trusted babysitter and club treasurer and youth group member. I never skipped class, I never blew off a test, I never was tardy.
I went to college and continued right along the same path. I was smart and I was good. I never skipped class, I never blew off a test, I never was tardy. By the beginning of my senior year I was engaged to a good boy. I got married right after graduation and began my adult life of being a good woman.
And I tried to live a good life
and tried harder
and tried harder still.
And finally all I had was the trying hard. The "good life" I had always wanted had eluded me. I was blessed in many ways, but I was never able to enjoy those blessings. When things went wrong, I just tried harder to make them work. Finally, I was exhausted. I went through a crisis in my marriage and a deep depression.
After years of mightily striving to please God, to please my parents, to please my husband, to please my bosses, to please my children, to please my friends, to please everyone around me, I finally realized that I was not good enough.
You see, that's the problem of being a good girl. Being a good girl seems smart. It seems wise. More than anything else, it seems safe. But being a good girl comes with an unrelenting problem: the good girl can never be good enough.
My friend Emily Freeman has written a book about this very thing. You might have seen it. It's called Grace for the Good Girl. From her own personal experience and from working with hundreds of girls over the years, Emily has a deep understanding of what it's like to work under the heavy burden of trying to be good enough. Her book unpacks the myths of the try-hard life. She explores the various ways those myths can develop in our lives. She exposes them for the enslaving traps they really are. And she points to the only way to freedom: through Jesus Christ.
When I first discovered how deeply enslaved I was by my own good-girl myths, I desperately wanted to escape them. But even with the myths exposed, the journey from the good girl's slavery to true freedom in Christ can be long and arduous. Old habits die hard. Patterns developed early in life aren't easy to alter. But Emily's book is a good and reliable guide for the trip. Like a compass that always points North, Emily's book points steadfastly to the polestar of the Spirit. Rather than pretending that the trip will be easy, Emily offers hope that the journey is worth making and assurance that freedom is attainable.
How I wish I'd had this book a few years ago. But at least I have it now. And if I start to slip back into those old ways, I'll have a roadmap for the way out.
If you're like me, you need this book. I urge you to obtain a copy. In fact, I'm giving a copy away. Emily's publisher, Revell (a division of Baker Publishing Corporation), has kindly provided a copy for me to give away to a reader. Simply leave a comment to enter the giveaway.
God is using Emily's book to impart grace. If you don't win a copy of it, you can find it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble online, or at your favorite bookstore. You'll be so glad you read it.
Now, do you have any stories to tell of how God has imparted grace in your life? Will you share the story of a gift you've received from God's hand? It can be large or small--I'd love to hear about it! Click here to read all about this new linky party celebrating God's gifts to us. Help yourself to a button and help me spread the word.