Grace for the Good Girl Book Club: Fears

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This summer, I am participating in an online book club for Emily P. Freeman’s Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try-Hard Life. The title itself was enough to lure me in. Then Christin recommended it to me after I tweeted about my personal testimony blog post, so I bought it with money from Mother’s Day (my husband knows me well, he gave me an Amazon gift card!). Soon after, Emily announced that she would be hosting a summer book club of her book. I thought that would be a great way to make me read slowly and actually process the book rather than devouring it in a week per my usual method of attack.
UntitledSo here I am, week one of the book club. We’ve read Chapter 1-3, and this is what I’ve learned about myself:

A Little Background

Much like Emily, I’ve always viewed myself a “good girl”. As a child, I got good grades, the only thing I got in trouble for at school was talking too much, did my homework without fighting, wanted to go to church, etc. Following that trend in high school, I did not drink, smoke, cuss, or sleep around with boys. I even made my first boyfriend wait almost 2 months to kiss me. I was a good girl. I was safe. I was praised for it. This behavior was expected from me, but behind the good girl exterior was a lot of pride in self and fear.

Fears

I wish I could say that my “good girl” behavior stemmed from a deep desire to serve the Lord and honor Him with my life. I do think it was true to an extent, but lurking underneath that “church” answer was fear. Fear manifested itself in two ways: fear of negative consequences and fear of losing my reputation and identity.

Fear of Negative Consequences

Failing to be a good girl has consequences. I did not want to drink for fear of becoming an alcoholic. I did not want to have sex for fear of getting an STD or pregnant. Let’s not even start in on fear of disappointing my parents. I still struggle with that one today.

I won’t lie, sometimes I wished I could just forget all the rules and have fun like those around me, but fear of the consequences stopped me. I’m thankful for the grace that even though my motives weren’t always right, God protected me. However, gradually, pride and a “better than” attitude built up in me. I saw myself as better than others who weren’t so “good” and claimed glory of my “goodness” for myself. At least in my head that is. Outwardly, I said all the right Christian things.

Fear of Losing my Reputation

I began to connect my identity with the good girl reputation rather than Christ. With my identity tied up in my behavior and others’ view of me, I feared messing up and changing those things. Who would I be if I wasn’t the “good girl”?

At the end of my senior year of high school I spent the day out at a lake with some friends. After we got back into town, we decided to shower and meet each other for dinner and hang out that night. After dinner, we went out to the river. Before I had really registered what was going on, the other girls were drinking, we were surrounded by cops, and one of my friends was throwing the car keys at me.

Fear instantly gripped me. Not only because I could be arrested and sent to jail (I was 18), but also because of what other people were going to think of me. I was about to graduate as valedictorian of my class. Would the school take away my honor? Everyone at church would find out. What were they going to think of me? Who would I be without my perfectly intact “never done anything wrong” good girl image?

Getting to the Root of Things

The root of all of that fear was pride. Still is pride. I still struggle daily with pride. Pride in my good girl image. Pride in my independent attitude that I can do this life thing just fine on my own. Thank you very much. Just writing this post has been an immense struggle. Saying it out loud. Putting it out there. That’s humbling.

But making life choices based out of fear is not my heart’s desire. God does not desire that for me either. My heart wants to love Jesus with everything I’ve got and let the chips fall where they may. Thankfully perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18). Christ’s love in me will drive away those fears and allow me to live a free life.

Right now God is calling me (and you) to let go of the good girl reputation (or whatever sort of reputation you are clinging to). Let go of the fear that enslaves you. But fear lingers still.

Emily writes, “I want to let go, rest, and believe, so that he can hold, refresh, and redeem. But what if I do and he doesn’t? To read between the lines of faith is to see Jesus. But reading between the lines takes work and invisible trust and disregard for feeling.” That pinpoints my feelings in the last few weeks exactly.

Okay, but how?

Isn’t that the nitty gritty? We read, say, and think these truths, but how do we DO them? (James 1:22) I’m not sure. Right now, taking it day by day. Lots of prayer. Remembering times Christ has been faithful in the past. Confession. Acknowledging that I need the Lord.

Do you struggle with fear? What sort of reputation are you clinging to?

This post is linked with thanks to:

Works for Me Wednesday
iFellowship
Women in the Word Wednesday
Living Well Wednesday
Walk with Him Wednesday

Some links in this post may be affiliate links.

Photo Credit: Demi Burke

Comments

  1. Clajgray says:

    Wow.  You practically wrote my story.  I can relate to so much of it.  Slowly I am coming out from behind that persona, and finding out who the real me is….thank you so much for sharing!  I added the book to my reading list as well….

  2. Great post, but I want to know what happened at the river!?! Were you arrested? Did you drive off in a high speed chase? ;)

    • Haha. The police made them pour out all the alcohol. The girls who had been drinking had to call their parents to come pick them up and I got sent home with the vehicle. :)
      Mary Beth

  3. Fear dose like to rear it’s ugly head and manifest itself in different ways. It struck me how you said the root of fear can be pride. When I was writing out my thoughts I realized that people pleasing has some very deep roots. Pride is definitely one of them, but it looks so pretty dressed up as pride in how good of a person I am.

    • MB@NewLifeSteward says:

      I think that’s the hardest part about the “good girl” thing. It looks so pretty on the outside, it’s easy to hide behind. No one is gonna call you on it! Until Emily apparently!

      Mary Beth

  4. that book is on my reading list :). thanks for sharing your thoughts, now I really need to read it!

  5. Wow! I really saw myself in this post. I felt I was reading my own life story, in a way. Thank you for stopping by my blog and commenting. Have a great day!!!
    Rosilind
    A Little R & R http://jukiczr.blogspot.com

  6. Katie @simplyhis says:

    Oh, yes yes yes! Me too! And this book is purely amazing and truuuue!

    The root of it all IS pride. And that’s hard to swallow. May God open our eyes to truth as we read.

  7. Sarah crigler says:

    This is the book I’ve been reading too and was going to pass it along to you. So crazy!

  8. Just popping in from ifellowship… This is the third time I’ve heard about this book.. I think I may have to add it to my summer reading list!
    Blessings on your day!

  9. I’m here from iFellowship’s Seeds of Faith Hop. I’m always looking for a good read, so I’ll add Grace for the Good Girl to my list. I’ve been meditating alot on Grace lately; I appreciate the confirmation.
    Peace and good to you.

  10. I have heard about that book. Glad to see another positive recommendation! Visiting from GMG’s Wednesday link-up!

    http://lawyergirlruns86.blogspot.com/2012/06/women-in-word-wednesday-2012-summer.html

  11. I think I need to check out this book. What you are describing sounds so much like me and my life. Thank you for sharing.

  12. Interesting, I was just invited to begin participating in a book study on this book here where I live in Madagascar. Glad you are enjoying it :)

  13. Yes, that is a good book. I’m glad your gleaning from it. Pride is such a huge stumbling block for the Christian woman. I have stumbled over it several times myself.

Trackbacks

  1. […] motives behind some of my seemingly “good” actions. I’ve talked already about how fear motivates my behavior and my concern over letting people see the real me. Last week I talked about how I related to the […]

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  3. […] take her fish before she was finished. Maybe fear stops us from accepting the service of others. Fear of losing recognition for performing on our own. Fear of acknowledging that we need […]

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