Monday, April 25, 2011

The Struggles of a "Good Girl"

I’m what people would call a “good girl.” Have been pretty much all of my life. No, I’m not perfect, but I do tend to walk the path that is for polite, good, well-behaved, and obedient people. People pleasers, if you will.

Doing the “right thing” was something that was very important and integral to my life from a very early age. There hasn’t been a lot of “grey” in my world – but a lot of black and white. It’s wrong or it’s right. I tended to always walk on the right.

It’s not been until recently, that God has brought something to my attention. Something that has stunned me and gripped me at the same time. That thing is how I’ve prioritized “being good” and “doing good” in my life instead of simply prioritizing living by faith. That may only click and make sense to other “do-gooders” out there. You see, I never really comprehended just how much being good drove my Christian walk. 

It was unintentional.

I have not struggled with a lot of the worldly temptations that others have faced. But I HAVE struggled with living outside of the box. I’ve struggled with relaxing and allowing the lines to be undefined a little bit instead of having them have to be drawn out in bold black sharpie.

It can be just as hard to accept God’s grace and mercy for who we are in our raw, natural state for a person who is bent on being good…as it is for someone who has a lot to regret in their life. For those who aim to please, it can be hard to drop that striving and simply let ourselves “be.” It can be hard to comprehend (even though we know full well in our heads because we pride ourselves on “knowing” what is right); that God doesn’t value us more or we aren’t more acceptable because we walked a less-blameless path. No, without meaning to or realizing it, we often push ourselves to do more, be more, and make sure a hundred times over that we are walking exactly where He wants us.  We can be a little fanatical about it in a subconscious way. It’s all self-talk, you see.

I love that I don’t have a ton of things to regret in my life, although I do have some. I like that I try to do what’s right and I think that’s what God asks of us. But I don’t like that I have elevated being right and doing right to such a high level. I don’t like that without knowing it, I’ve let that “being good” become so important that it has replaced walking simply on faith.

I know that “works” doesn’t get us to heaven. I know “being good” doesn’t get us to heaven. Yet somehow, along the way, I believed that being good made me more acceptable. It ensured my salvation because I was following God’s commands so very closely! When in reality, the only thing that ensures my salvation is my faith. Believing that God is who He says He is and that He will do what He says He will do. Believing HE IS. Believing that He loves and accepts me just as much when I mess up as He did yesterday when I walked upright and blameless.

I have to accept that I am worthy of God’s grace and salvation even when I royally screw up. Even when I fall flat on my face or make a choice that I know isn’t in my best interests. You see, for “do-gooders” it’s easy to accept God’s grace and salvation for we don’t often feel that we messed up too badly – we don’t often feel unworthy. But that’s because we’ve prided ourselves too much on our being good and being well-behaved, and obedient all of the time. None of which truly buys us grace, mercy, or….salvation.

I still want to do what is right. I want to be an example to others. But I also need to understand that although my struggle may be different, it is just as much of a battle in life. Being good is still something that can pull me away from God because it focuses on my actions instead of His.

And here I thought I was getting it right all along…..when in reality, the “I” should have been replaced with Him getting it right in my life through my deep and unwavering faith.

What a profound lesson.

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