Saturday, November 19, 2011

Grace for the Good Girl- Ch.2 and 3

Can I just admit that it's Saturday and this book club post thing took place on Tuesday.  I am only 4 days late.  I mention it because the "good girl" in me is mortified at being late and feels the need to come up with same amazing excuse to explain this tardiness.  There is no good excuse.  I had plenty of time this week; I just didn't sit down and finish the chapters.  I was into crocheting baby hats...wait, can I start over?  I can make that excuse bigger; I can make it sound valid.  Here I go: "I am crocheting baby hats for orphans in China."  (Please read with dramatic flair.)  See, that sound impressive, doesn't it?  Could my real life, my real weaknesses possibly be a better transition into my thoughts on Ch. 2 and 3?

Ch2- Chasing Expectation: Hiding behind her good performance

If I hadn't been reading in bed with my husband sleeping next to me, the audible words I would have uttered were, "yes!"  "Right!"  "yes!" and a few "ouch, got me!s"   I think so many women, myself included, fall prey to the lie that we must perform in order to be love, worthy, and/or respected.  "We work hard, we do right, and we try not to ruffle feathers.  And even if we do all that by the strength of our own selves, we tell ourselves it's okay.  It seems to work, therefore it's acceptable."  Hello!  I don't care how old I get, I think this will always be a struggle for me.   The problem is that we expect ourselves to be good and WE usually define good as perfect.  I have fallen into this countless times.  The problem- only God is perfect and by expecting our own perfection, we are actually expecting ourselves to be like God and negating our need for a Savior.

Not surprisingly, this usually occurs when I get "too busy" and stop spending time with God.  I mean it's a no brainer, you take your eyes off God and put them on yourself- you're gonna fall.  I think it's especially dangerous because often our original motive was good.  We just start to live for that motive instead of for Christ.  We allow ourselves to be consumed by "being good/perfect" instead of seeking his leading.

As I read her section on "being a good wife", I almost laughed out loud.  I was SOO there when we first got married.  I am an avid reader and so when we were engaged I read a ton of books.  One book in particular talked about man's physical need for sex and how they had the physical NEED for sexual release ever 48-72 hours.  I took a principle and made it a rule.  I decided as a rule, we would never go more than 72 hours without sex.  A rule made by someone who had not yet been a wife, never experienced life with someone else, never had children.  Now, I believe it's a great principle to consider.  Our husbands needs ARE to be considered, but the good girl in me went beyond consideration to "I will be a perfect lover for my husband."  The result, a couple years into marriage I began to notice the sinking feeling in my stomach as 72 hours approached.  It became a "to do".  I began to resent HIM for a rule he had no part in making.

The author of this book has a melt down about painting her house perfect, in my life- I had a meltdown about sex....a complete meltdown.  My husband, of course, was completely shocked by this rule I had been living under and "freed" me from his expectations.  It took a long time for God to free me from my own.  Wouldn't you know our sex life improved dramatically when I was free instead of STRIVING to be perfect?  (AND on a side note- to prove I still struggle with what it means to be a good wife, I am fighting internally at this very moment because I KNOW authenticity is what is right, but I am not struggling with you all knowing that we don't always have sex every 72 hrs and wondering if all you readers out there in blogger space are taking pity on my husband for his less than perfect wife....still a struggle 9 years after "freedom"...bottom line freedom is a choice and your emotions won't always accompany it right away!)

I am so glad for God's grace in this area of performance.  I hope I'm not still struggling with this one at 80, but thankful that God will be gracious then as he is now, if indeed I am!

Ch.3-My Not-So-Extreme Makeover:  Hiding behind her good reputation

I am not as "good" a girl as the author.  She has never had a period of rebellion.  I have, albeit it short lived.  Still I can AGAIN relate.  Do all people follow the same path in their 20s and 30s?  Just wondering because I resonate with having gone through such similar things with the author!!

I was second born.  My sister, the first, took on the rebel role.  I proudly wore the "good girl" one.  Proudly would be the biggest problem in that sentence!  I didn't ever desire to be too bad and even my brief rebellion senior year and the summer after was pretty short lived.

"A girl with a good reputation easily makes friends...., effortlessly impresses the parents of her boyfriends, and has little trouble coasting into the role of pastor's wife.  But if she hides behind her good reputation, there is little room for correction, and the good girl is in danger of being her own compass rather than having a softened heart to the leading of God as he speaks through he Word, friends, or family members."

Here's the thing:  I always impressed boyfriend families and I knew it and in my heart I was proud about it.  I knew many of them wanted their sons to marry me and if I am honest I LOVED knowing that.  I wanted to be a pastors wife, because at one time that was, for me, the spiritual pinnacle and yes, I loved my good reputation.    This chapter points to what continues to be my greatest character flaw: self righteousness and though she doesn't mention it, I believe pride comes in holding self-righteousness' hand.

I haven't mastered this one either, so I found this chapter encouraging and admonishing.   I also, however, have to point to God's faithfulness.  It was no mistakes that my in laws rejected me.  Granted, it was through no fault of my own, but it was during that time I had to confront yet again issues with where my security lay.  I realized then that I had partly defined myself by what a "good catch" I was.  I married into a family with different values and worldviews who could careless that I was "good" in the christian realm.  I had to confront another layer of "who am I living to impress".  First God tackled the getting security in boys thing, then in friendships, and then in this area- reputation.  I was so raw.  At a time I wanted to just feel sorry for myself, for being rejected- God showed me a character flaw and his desire to free me.  He always makes beauty of ashes and something beautiful from pain.  More freedom was a result....and the feeling of freedom is incomparable.

I struggled with even marrying Marc.  He wanted to be a CEO someday.  He wasn't a missionary or pastor.  He wasn't going to be poor.  God confronted what I defined as good.  Often, it's different from his definition.  Those things CAN be good, but not if it's not where he's led.  My mom gratefully was his voice of correction on this one. think my own self righteous expectations about what a good life meant might have kept me from living the life God had for me with Marc.  WOW- am I thankful God stepped in through mama on that one!

God has stripped away a lot, but the gross truth is there is more.  YUCK!  Check out this line from the book: "Character refers to who you are.  Reputation refers to who people thing you are."  I don't know about you, but when I read that, my stomach feels sick.  Please Lord, help them not to look different!  It is a prayer of my heart that character and reputation in my life are synonymous!  Oh that what others see is also what God sees.  I want to be a woman of character.  I want to be Christ-dependent and not self-dependent.

It's always a struggle isn't it?  The thought of which leads back to this late post- I just am late.  I really was crocheting and thoroughly enjoying doing it after not really doing it for the past three years and yes, I really do get to give those hats to orphans.  But I could easily have made time to read this week and to post.  I was feeling like I didn't want to do much of anything, so I watched TV and crocheted.  The orphan thing is a wonderful idea, but I wouldn't have thought of it on my own, my friend Carla had the idea and she invited me to help.  I have no excuse, and why do I feel the need to make one?  None of you really care, do you?  It's just that old temptation to THINK I need to make you all think I'm put, but you guys already know differently and so do I!


  1. What a great summary of the chapters, friend! Loved your honesty in where you heart is at. Great thoughts! thanks for linking up :)

  2. Can I confess here that some Friday nights I pray that God will give me the "want to want to" before hubby gets home from work. :) It used to be the night his parents would take our daughters for a sleep over and I always felt pressure to make it a "good" night. Couldn't even enjoy the movie or the dinner because I knew what I would HAVE to do. Not that I didn't want to, just somehow feeling obligated made it horrible.

    Freedom is a blessing!

    I can't wait until we all understand and can accept the freedom that God gives us!