Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Good Girl

Are you a good girl? I was the good girl growing up.

I was born to a godly mother, went to church every time the door was open and attended Christian school from kindergarten to 12th grade. I even asked Jesus Christ to be my Savior at only 5 years of age. I grew up with a strong faith and a great sense of who I was in Christ.

Somewhere along the way I became not only a Jesus pleaser, but a people pleaser too. I was the quiet one. Those who know me well now find that hard to believe. :)  I was the teacher’s pet because I didn’t cause any problems, made good grades and did what I was told. I had a teacher tell me once that I made her look good. I was definitely eager to please…everyone. I thought I was pretty good.

As the years passed I grew weary of being the good girl who felt she could never be good enough. As hard as I tried to be “perfect”, I felt I never quite measured up to everyone’s standards for me. And I thought that certainly must mean that I could never please God either. Looking back I realize I was trying so hard to live the Christian life…but I was doing it within my own strength, not relying on Him.

Before long I became the good girl who didn’t really want to be good anymore. The good girl looking for the next “good time”. I strayed from my faith. I quit going to church. I would think about God, but I wasn’t living for Him. I was doing what I wanted. Making friends, going to parties, etc. It seemed like fun…and a lot easier at the time. I’ve heard it said that sin takes you further than you want to go and keeps you longer than you want to stay. This proved to be true for me. As I tolerated one sin in my life, it led to another tolerance and then another. Before long I became numb to it all.

On the outside everything looked good. I had spent some time focusing on the outside, making things “look good”, all the while neglecting the inside, what really mattered. Oddly enough, through it all many of my friends still called me “the good girl.” Yet, often when I would lay my head down at night I knew that I was not good. I felt weary. I couldn’t get away from the truth I had been taught…the scriptures I had learned. I couldn’t escape the Holy Spirit’s convicting power. Unfortunately, most of the time, I chose to ignore Him.

One day I finally came to the end of myself. I knew I was't good enough. In fact, my life seemed to be falling apart all around me. I was 27, broke and had just moved back in with my mother . I had recently ended a long term relationship with a boyfriend who was battling a terrible drug addiction. I felt empty, broken, miserable, like my life was going no where…fast. What seemed like fun, didn’t seem so fun or at all easy now.

I will never forget that day. I fell down on my knees and cried out to God. Literally crying my eyes out with my face down in the carpet of my little bedroom at my mom’s house. I told Him I could no longer live life this way. I couldn’t live life on my own, I needed Him! I wholly surrendered my life to Him that day. Life has never been the same! My heart was flooded with joy. I cried until I could cry no more. I finally became the good girl who realized I could never be good enough…be He is!

It didn’t happen all at once, it has been a process and that process continues. But, as I’ve grown in Christ, life has become sweeter and sweeter. Despite all I did, He has forgiven me, cleansed me and set me free. I have a new life! A life lived to please only One. Don’t get me wrong, life is not always easy, I still face my share of struggles. The difference is: today I know where to turn in those hard times. I know Who gives me strength to move forward. What joy! What peace! What hope!

This Holy Week I have been reflecting on all the Lord has done for me. God loves me so much that He sent His Son, who humbled Himself to be born to die a brutal death on a cross. He rose again to give me LIFE, not only for eternity, but life more abundantly now! He gave His Holy Spirit to guide, comfort and convict me. Today I am clothed with His righteousness. Not because I am good, but because HE IS GOOD!

Jesus said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor - sick people do. I have come to call not on those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.”
 Luke 5:31-32

Jesus said, “Only God is truly good.”
Luke 18:19

Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
John 10:10

I believe there are 4 kinds of people in this world:

1. Those who think they’re already good enough. Romans 3:10 says, “There are none righteous, no not one.” We all sin. We all fall short of Christ’s glorious, completely perfect standard! We all need a Savior. Yes, God loves us, but He also says, “If you love me, you will obey me!” Being “Religious” or “Spiritual” doesn’t cut it. Remember the people who wanted Christ crucified were religious people. They thought they were good enough…and didn’t want to be told differently.

2. Those who don’t want to be good. People who want to live life on their own terms. But, Luke 17:33 says, “If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it.” It seems strange that in giving up your life, you can gain life, but it’s true. You can be made NEW.

3. Those who think they are too bad. People who think God can’t or won’t forgive them. But Romans 10:13 says, “ANYONE who calls on the name of the Lord, will be saved.” Anyone, everyone! It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or where you’ve been, He will forgive you and give you a new life. Nothing is too hard for Him!

4. Those who know they’re not good enough, but He is! Those who have humbled themselves to accept His FREE gift of salvation and daily choose to follow Him. Even though life is not always easy, these people get to enjoy the abundant life! Not because they are good, but because they have put on His cloak of righteousness. And these people should not be judgemental of anyone else because they know how much they have been forgiven themselves!

I’m so thankful that although I went from being everything from 1 to 3, that now I am a 4! Where do you fall on that list?  It's never too late to become a 4!

1 comment:

  1. I can totally relate... I was that "good girl" also, thinking that I had either done enough good things or that I had not done enough bad things to earn God's love and grace. But that's the thing about grace - it's a GIFT! I remember also when I finally realized that I couldn't do it on my own. It's taken me some years since then to really understand what truly following Christ as my LORD and SAVIOR looks like in the "fields of everyday life;" but it's like that hymn, "the longer I serve Him, the sweeter He grows!" Thanks for being a part of that growing process, and thank you for sharing, Rachel!!!


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