Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Because Sometimes We Forget

"Adam and Eve were birthed, or created, in the image of God.
But they didn't remember."
~Emily P. Freeman

This journey through understanding my good girl tendencies has peeled back layers deep inside of me like an ripe onion, causing cringing and tears that surprised even me.

I mean, when you have loved Jesus since you were a little girl and tried to live a "good" life and be a "good" Christian, you think you have this "relationship-with-Jesus-thing" basically down. Not only have I grown up having a REAL relationship with Jesus since I was four years old, but also, my parents are missionaries, so He was a part of our lives in every way.

At 18, I went to a Christian university, started serving in campus ministry and never looked back. 10 years of full time ministry later; hundreds of messages and personal revelations on His grace, His blood, and The cross under my belt, thousands of encouraging words spoken from my own lips to others about His amazing love for them, and then...I begin reading Emily's book, Grace for the Good Girl and suddenly here I am discovering masks I have hidden behind for years in spite of all that I "know."

And that brings us to Adam and Eve.
They walked with God.
They talked with God.
I mean they PHYSICALLY SAW Him with their OWN eyes.
How amazing is that!!

And then.
Enter the serpent.
Bringing lies and deceit.
Planting seeds of doubt about the One she knew so well.

Oh my goodness!
Is this familiar to you?

The doubts, the fears, the mantras of insecurity resound in your mind.
Your spirit cries inside of you testifying of the One who you know so well, who knows YOU so intricately.
And yet....anxiety, suspicion, and uncertainty weigh heavily inside of you.
and like with Eve where "love dislodged itself from her heart, sending her spiraling down into despair and doubt and death," you feel that same disconnect.

It is to me.
Familiar, that is.

I did not ever realize just HOW independent and in-control I needed to be until this past year.
My best friend took my silence in my struggles as me needing my space because I act "together."
My husband did not realize when thing overwhelmed me because I do not tell him.
My mom, I pushed away, emotionally because her heartfelt love threatened to break through my carefully constructed walls.

I put up walls, masks, and an air of "I-am-in-control. No worries!"
So, I found myself alone, angry, desperate, wondering why people around me were not actively loving and reaching out to me, the way I felt that I had always done for them. I thought, "Don't they see that I am dying inside? Why don't they break through my walls? Surely I am not THAT intimidating....right??"

About a year ago, when my life first radically changed with my husband and I taking an indefinite time-out from full time ministry, I sat down with a long time friend who has known me since junior high. As we started talking, I opened up about the fact that I really did not have the answers to the whys and whats and where-to-next questions that other people wanted to know, let alone to appease that voice in my head that needed order and control.

She said something to me that kind of amazed me.
"Lindsey, do you know how many people would not only be accepting but actually grateful that you 'don't know,' that you don't have all the answers for 'what's next?' I think you would be surprised that they would actually be thinking, 'Wow! She is actually like the rest of us.' Because you have always seemed so sure, so confident, so in control, and most people really feel like they have no clue, on a daily basis."

Her words just kind of blew me away.
People really LIVE like that!?!?
And they think...those things....about ME?!?!?!

But I wanted them to, did I not?
So they were giving me what I wanted
Or at least what I was communicating that I wanted.

I know now that the good girl inside of me never wanted to be weak, never wanted to look needy. If other people are, that is okay, but somehow I must be special....so never let them see you sweat....right?


"I hide behind my mask of performance so people will think I am smart, capable, and put together. I hide behind the reputation I have established rather than risk trusting an unpredictable Jesus. I hide behind my positive emotions rather than let you see my reality. I hide behind my list of rules so I can check off each one, as if I'm another step closer to God because I've followed them. I hide behind my mask of strength because I'm ashamed of my weakness....I have to come out of hiding in order to be found. To be healed. To be whole."

Oh! And this is where the revelation is just beautiful.

"The Bible calls the masks we depend on flesh....the Spirit and the flesh are in opposition. It doesn't matter if your flesh looks bad or good: it opposes the Spirit within you, and these struggles can rob us from living out of our true, Jesus-made identity."

The part that really speaks to me is how it does not matter if your flesh looks bad or good. When it is fighting against His Spirit inside of you, THAT is the real issue!

So what does God give us?

Mercy and Grace.
An escape that we do not deserve.

"Mercy protects. Grace provides....In the person of Jesus, mercy and grace show up perfect and pour out all over us."

We have to make a choice....I must make a choice to come out of the hiding place of shame, where I must DO and EARN and PROVE my own salvation; and to walk into the hiding place of grace where I not only receive the price He paid FOR me but I take that identity UPON me.

For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
(Colossians 3:3)

"This is the different kind of hiding than the one we have practiced as good girls. When we realize the safe place where we dwell, there is new hope for the entire human race to breathe a collective sigh of sweet relief. God has provided a better way and because of that, there is a new way to live."

Momma Day By Day

I am reading and writing through Emily P. Freeman's book Grace For the Good Girl with Momma Day by Day and some other brave recovering good girls as we delve into our "good girl" tendencies and share our journeys in {RE}discovering His grace, His heart. This post is a reflection of chapter 10.

Read more about my journey through Grace for the Good Girl....


Em J Case said... Best Blogger Tips

I really needed this tonight. Thank you.  Blessings and prayers, from one recovering good girl to another.

Tshepo Hlatshwayo said... Best Blogger Tips

Wow im overwhelmed, as much as i dont consider myself a good girl but i really relate with this, day by day i dont know where i'm going and just relying on God's grace And mercy. Yet sometimes i forget, i forget how much He loves me, how much He cares..... Thanks for this Lindsey, God still speaks through you in an amazing way. Stay blessed!

Emily said... Best Blogger Tips

I just started reading this book this weekend and it has already shaken me to the core. Like you, I've grown up in church, accepted Christ at a young age and proceeded to live my 'good girl' life. Thank you for blogging about your experiences with the book, you've inspired me to do the same. I'm hoping to get my reactions written and posted by the end of this week. Thank you for sharing your heart, your struggles, and your love. I am so very glad to have connected with you through the 5-min Fridays.

lindseyfoj said... Best Blogger Tips

I am so glad. It is a constant journey. It is nice to know we are not alone, right?

lindseyfoj said... Best Blogger Tips

Yeah. I think the "good girl" thing is more about wanting to "do the right thing," be the "right person," act the "right way," etc. And I think we all fall a bit into that cycle...I am so thankful that God is using this to encourage you...the book is great if you ever have time to read it!

lindseyfoj said... Best Blogger Tips

That is awesome! Are you writing in one post?  I would love to read it. Will you let me know when you have it posted or if you have already?

Emily said... Best Blogger Tips

I'm doing it in several posts - one to two chapters at a time. I've got the first two up and you can find them (and the others as I post them) here: 

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