I am a good girl. Or at least I try to be. In our society, being a “good girl” often means that this person has it all together, or it appears like she does. Good grades, good reputation, good friends, etc. Adding Christian makes the connotation even worse. Being a Christian means you have to be good, right? I’ve heard people remark, “what a good, Christian girl,” about people they hardly know, all because their outside looks, well, good.
I am done trying to be good.
For Christmas, my parents gave me a book called Graceful: Letting Go of Your Try-Hard Life by Emily P. Freeman. (Disclaimer: I now want to give this book to all of my high school and college aged girl friends.) Emily is a self-proclaimed “good girl.” But in her book, she explains how the “good” is destroying the “girl.” I found myself relating with almost everything she said. I try to look perfect. I try to make high grades. I try to hang out with reputable people. Throughout the book, Emily introduces her readers to eight “good girl” personalities, each one hiding behind something different. Although I could relate with each, I identified most with the “Girl Next Door” (hiding behind her good reputation), the “Activist” (hiding behind her causes), the “Heroine” (hiding behind her strength and responsibility), and the “Judge” (hiding behind her rules).
I hear the voices in my head… You have to impress… You have to make an impact… You have to be strong, responsible… You have to be perfect…
My identity comes from Jesus. What I believe impacts how I act. So I must believe that I am loved. I am accepted. I am secure. When I believe the truth that is so clearly displayed in Scripture, then I can live a life of grace. I can be confident. I can have peace. I can trust.
Instead of holding on to my fears, and saying, “I need to figure this out myself,” I need to recognize that Jesus is already carrying my load. Living a life of grace means that I receive His love and let Him be in control. Just like Elsa in Frozen (sorry, I had to throw this reference in somewhere), I need to let go. Stop trying so hard. Stop hiding.
I don’t need to try to be good enough, because Jesus is enough. Last night at youth group we sang, “Your grace is enough for me.” Do I believe it?
Our youth pastor, Matt, encouraged the youth to pick one word to describe how we want to live this year. Then we write that word on a card and place it somewhere we can always see it. Grace is a word that I am just beginning to understand. But God has been teaching me a lot about it recently. The theme seems to be appearing everywhere – in the songs I sing, the seminars I attend, the books I read. 2014 is the year I want to begin applying what I have learned.
Application is never easy. I will probably come back to the theme of grace a lot this year, because I constantly have to be reminded of God’s truth. But as I begin to focus my eyes on Him, the try-hard life is slowly fading…
The GRACEFUL life is rising like a bright, warm light from above.