Friday, September 7, 2012

Good girls and fear (Grace Book Club Chapter 1)

So, is this book for "good girls" who want to learn to be an even better good girl?

Not at all.
It's for women like these.
Women like me.

Do you identify with any of these feelings?

What I relate to most is the pressure.
That feeling of - if I stop, it will all fall apart. If I rest, if I relax, the whole thing will come crashing down.
Must... keep... going.

Where does this pressure come from? Is the author going to tell us to simply "lighten up?"
Do not fear, she will not patronize us with such advice.

But first, she will force us to ask why we behave this way. WHY do we have trouble saying no? Why do we hide our opinions? Why do we over-commit and burnout? Why do we "feel guilty about feeling guilty?"

Could it be that we are afraid?

Consider this question with me. Are you afraid? What are you afraid of?
  • disappointing others
  • guilty feelings
  • criticism
  • letting go of "control"
  • not being enough
  • losing people's approval
  • what people will think
  • losing God's approval 
  • something else?

My questions for you this week:
1. In what ways do you act like a "good girl?"  
2. Do you think fear sometimes drives this behavior, or it is something else?

I know, you are going to make me go first.
My short answer:  I am driven. I like to accomplish things. I want to be the awesome one. Super Mom, Super Everything. And I want to be applauded for it.

I say I am "fine" when I'm not fine because I really, really want to be "fine!"

And if I just try a little bit harder... I'll really be fine. Maybe.  Just, don't watch, ok? Pretend you buy my act and leave me alone while I sort the messy stuff out. Alone.

The author could have been writing about me when she said this:

“My idea of who I should be is at war with how I am. I want to be perfect in every situation. I just do. I want to know what to do. I want to know how to do it right. And I want to do it All. By. My. Big. Self. Not only do I want to do everything perfectly, I want to look perfect while I do it. I want to act perfect and sing perfect and have perfect teeth. I want to parent perfectly, to wife perfectly, and to have a clean house. All the time.

My solution to the disconnect between by perfect, imaginary self and my real-life self is to force life to look the way I want it. Somehow. Anyhow. And so I work and I labor and I do the right thing. I stay strong when I feel week and I fake happy when I want to cry because my ideal image has everything to do with put together and nothing do to do with falling apart.” (Grace for the Good Girl by Emily P. Freeman p.17)

Do you relate? Or do you think those like Emily P. Freeman and Emily Cook are crazy?

One final thought from Emily (the other one):

"Don’t try to strangle the good girl all at once. 
That’s just another form of the try-hard life, 
the very thing we want to release. 
Simply, read. 
Be open. 
Engage with others who are also reading, open, and listening. 
Lean hard into Jesus."

Lean hard into Jesus. His grace frees us to ask these scary questions. His grace frees us to rest in Him.

Lean hard into Jesus.

In what ways do you act like a "good girl?"  
Do you think fear sometimes drives this behavior, or it is something else?

1 comment:

  1. Such a thought provoking post; thanks for sharing :)


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