Irony hangs thick as I write this post. The good girl in me wants to share this post and talk about how Grace for the Good Girl has helped and yet the good girl in me also doesn’t want to share my vulnerable side and have to say I don’t have it all figured out. Bear with me.
Good girl. It’s a label I’ve carried as long as I remember. So when Emily Freeman announced her book Grace for the Good Girl last year, I knew I needed to read it. But honestly? I had thought I was mostly over my good girl issues.
Like books are wont to do, this book sat on my bookshelf until it felt like the right time to read it. Finally, this summer when Emily announced a summer book club for Grace for the Good Girl, I felt like it was time.
I’ll be honest and say I read it at arm’s length. I had a hard time relating to the masks she described. At the end of the book, I was frustrated there wasn’t a 12 step program to fix my good girl tendencies that I did recognize. Clearly I wasn’t getting it.
Last week for my media fast I was hit hard with how and why I use social media in particular. I saw a bunch of ugly when I wrote it all down. I’m still dealing with all the people-pleasing mess. More than anything though I realized that the lack of media equaled margin. Margin for God to speak. I wrote in my journal:
I shut off each switch: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest. Each turned to off and unbeknownst to me, it was the on switch for God. God talks to me all the time but this switch was a permission slip to go into the halls of my heart and walk, showing me doors I wouldn’t have seen before, close some, open some. Why did I wait, I wonder in the quiet. If God is waiting here in the fast, the sacrifice, am I really sacrificing all the other times? Has God been inviting me to the feast and I’ve settled for the famine?
From there, I pondered the balance between silence and social media. I still don’t have the answers but it was clear to me that the lack of media = margin.
On the Thursday of my media fast, I attended Emily’s book club meeting at her church in Greensboro. She told her story, some of what was in the book but other that was not. In those 30 minute or so, through glassy eyes I completely connected with Emily’s good girl story. I knew it was mine too and I still have issues. My good girl tendencies aren’t a thing of the past. I also realized how funny Emily is. I hope you all get to hear her speak or meet her one day so you’ll see.
When I got home, I reread almost the whole book. In some strange way, I was reading it with a new voice, with new eyes and a new heart. I realized that 12 step program is a one step at a time program and led by the Spirit. And for me, I needed more margin for that.
In one fell swoop, Summer of 7 and book club collided. It was almost as if both efforts had been orchestrated by some great planner or something *cough cough*.
I had to get rid of the excess of media so I could have more margin to live by the Spirit and not be dictated by my feelings and people pleasing ways.
The hard part is I’m not there yet. I haven’t figured out a balance. I still try to manage and control. I still people-please. I don’t have it all figured out. But I took a step. And that’s something.
If the phrase “good girl” or “people pleaser” has ever applied to you, I’d recommend Grace for the Good Girl for you. And if you have a teen or young adult, watch out for Emily’s teen and young adult version next month, Graceful.
To Emily, I know what it’s like to bear all your ugly mess so from one recovering good girl to another, let me get in line and give a heartfelt thank you.
As for Jen and Summer of 7, I’m planning a separate wrap-up post to see all that God has done this summer! Stay tuned!