Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thoughtful Thursdays ~ Book Review: Grace for the Good Girl~letting go of the try-hard life by Emily P. Freeman

I would have made an awesome Pharisee.

Except for the fact that I'm not Jewish. And I'm a girl.

But still . . .

I love rules. I love following the rules.

I'm such a "good girl." My list of "nevers" is long and impressive . . . if you care about that sort of thing.

And for a very long time, I thought God cared. A lot.

It came as a rather rude awakening that God really didn't care about my never haves. He didn't care if I had my quiet time before breakfast or at midnight . . . or, hold on tight now . . . AT ALL.


God cares about our relationship. God longs to meet with me, to talk to me, but He's not sitting around checking His celestial sundial and shaking his head back and forth in dismay as He watches me race around trying to get three kids in the van by 7:40 a.m. He doesn't click His glorious tongue and sigh as He makes eye contact with Michael. "She should have gotten up earlier."

Not a chance. He knows that I was up. At 3:00 a.m. And at 3:30 a.m. And at 4:00 a.m. And at 5:20 a.m. And at 6:15 a.m. (I wish that was a joke, but seriously, that's what happened last night).

He knows. And He longs to carry me through the day. So when I finally get home and have the choice to empty the dishwasher or spend time with Him, He smiles as I choose Him.

And I choose Him, not because I think He'll be disappointed if I don't. But because I want to spend time with Him. Because this "good girl" knows that she can't do it on her own. And that her only hope is found in the One who gives her strength.

But still . . .

I find myself questioning my own motives. Did I do it because I wanted to? Or was it really because deep down, I knew I was "supposed to" and didn't want to mess up.

'Cause if there's one thing this good girl doesn't want to do, it's mess up.

If you haven't figured this out yet . . . I'm a mess.

Which is why I jumped at the chance to review the book Grace for the Good Girl - letting go of the try-hard life by Emily P. Freeman.

While I have never met Emily, I think there's a chance that we were twins separated at birth. How else would she have access to my thoughts and fears? Take this paragraph as an example:

"He does not think as we do. He does not see our relationship measured by ticking clocks, marked with a time to start and stop. I long to have morning times of uninterrupted quiet. From alarm clock chime to the bottom of my first hot cup, I want quiet and stillness and Jesus. But when I don't get that, I am amazed at how quickly I shift from a woman of good and holy intentions to crazy monster mommy who just wants a few minutes alone to pray. Is that too much to ask? Is it?
     And then I cuss on the inside.
     And stomp off to make their lunches.
     And miss the point entirely." (Page 145)


But this isn't a book about quiet times at all. This is just one example of where "good girls" struggle to live in the freedom Christ has called us to.

The first section of the book talks about the different types of masks we wear. Masks of responsibility, strength, spiritual disciplines, acts of service and good performance. The second section of the book delves into what it looks like to find ourselves in Christ - when we take off our masks and rest in Him. The third section talks about the freedom of being found in Christ. Of being safe in His arms, even when life hurts.

And it was this third section that brought me to tears, more than once.

I discovered (after I'd read the entire book) that there's a small group study guide at the back. So I plan to re-read and work through the study questions. Giving the lessons and insights time to seep into my being.

Because, as she points out on Page 170, "Satan's biggest, most effective weapon against good girls may not be lust or slander or adultery or addiction. It is forgetfulness."

It's so easy to slip back behind the mask. To try harder instead of resting in Him.

So whether you've been a good girl forever, or you think you have to be a good girl to make up for your past, there is wisdom to be found in these pages.

I highly recommend Grace for the Good Girl.

The fine print: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


Edie Melson said...

What a perfect post for me today! As I rush around, trying to say all the right things and do everything I should, it's a reminder to trust God and lay down the mask.

Lori Stanley Roeleveld said...

Perfect for me, as well, today, Lynn! Nice work.

JeanetteEdgar said...

Lynne, LOVE this post. Need to check out that book. About five years ago I whined that I didn't have a testimony to tell, then God showed me how "good girl Jeanette" had a testimony about the heart. He pulled me into close relationship with Him and transformation from "good girl" to "God's girl" has been taking place ever since!
God bless you with those three kids, it does get easier. Or, at least you begin to sleep more.

Cynthia Howerter said...

For having been up throughout the night, your article is beautifully coherent, Lynn! And even though it is a book review, it is written in such a way as to make me ponder deeply.

Lynn Huggins Blackburn said...

Edie & Lori - thank you. And I've been reminded that sometimes what we think are "mistakes" are part of God's plan. This review was supposed to be posted two weeks ago during the blog tour, but there was a mixup and the book didn't arrive in time. Or...maybe it arrived just in time :-).
Jeanette - I think we are on a similar journey! And about more sleep - are you sure?
Cynthia - it's called coffee...lots of coffee :-)! I'm glad you liked the review. I'm trying to make them interesting :-).