The weather is finally starting to cool down a little here. I no longer feel like I’m spending my days encased in a Baptist revival tent in Mississippi in the middle of July. Halleluigher. This also means the return of Pumpkin Spice Lattes, and I’m planning my Halloween costume (I’m thinking a weeping angel. DON’T BLINK!).
So in my last post, I mentioned the idea of “Good Girl” theology (cue Robin Thicke. Except not really. Because that song is terrible. But so catchy! I’m like Nick Miller and Cotton Eye Joe when it comes to that song). For a very long time, I believed I was loved and valued only if I was “good” enough. My fellow Christian “good girls” know what I mean by good : saintly, Disney princess-esque, pure, untouchable. Guys aren’t the only ones with the image of the “perfect” woman in their brains. Girls have the “perfect woman” delusion too, and we are kind of indoctrinated with it at a young age. I created what I thought perfection was in my head when I was in eighth grade. The girl I aspired to be was generous and kind, sweet and even-tempered. She’s thin with perfect hair and a white smile. She reads her Bible every day, and never ever does she swear. She has a quiet and gentle spirit, and spends her Sundays at church working in the nursery because that’s what a good woman does. These are not bad qualities. The point I’m trying to get at is that I tried so hard to be what I envisioned as perfect good girl, failed miserably, and I was ashamed of who I was by design.
Pleasing God does not hinge on whether or not I act like that “perfect” woman, or the “perfect” man for that matter . God’s a lot more concerned with where my heart is at versus what kind of act I put on for him and others. God loves me. God knew what he was doing when he made us. He made every single one of us with unique talents and personalities and gifts. You know what’s remarkable? The Bible is chock full of stories of woman who were NOT “good girls”. They had seedy pasts and questionable motives, and good heavens were they not socially acceptable. But when God gets a hold of them, regardless of their pasts or reputations, their true identity as his beloved child with whom he is well pleased, is made clear. The false identities imposed on these women by themselves or others was discarded, and the true woman was revealed. Glorious imperfections and all. When God gets a hold of us, we become who we were truly created to be. His child, holy, chosen, beloved. He frees us to be free in him. And we become who we were created to be in His image.
I’m still trying to figure out what being a child of God looks like in my life. I try to read my Bible everyday because I’m kind of in love with scripture and the God who breathed it, not because it’s a formulary designed to solve all of life’s problems, but because it’s this very real, messy book that sometimes reads a lot more like Game of Thrones than a textbook on Christian living. I serve in the nursery because I think kids are hilarious little people, and I love introducing Jesus to them. Not to mention they always start some kind of revolutionary mutiny because we won’t let them stand on the table, and they just wanna be all punk rock and it cracks me up when they get all Vive la resistance! I’m loud and sassy and goofy. I tell bad jokes (what’s invisible and smells like carrots? Rabbit farts!). My personality leans more towards Scarlett O’Hara rather than Melanie Wilkes (please go read Gone with the Wind if you haven’t done so. Also I will love you forever and always if you commit to watching that movie with me. Because it’s super long but also my favorite), and I’m learning to be okay with that.
My point is this: you, my friend, have a remarkable identity. One ingrained in you before birth. Give up your notions of perfections, and your striving to be “good”. Rest in the knowledge that you are unconditionally loved and redeemed. Grace is poured all over your life, a free gift made out of sacrificial love. And this is not warm, fuzzy theology. You can buy that at Ikea. Those who love much know the weight of grace on their lives. This is the truest reality: Christ came to save sinners, of whom I am the worst. Amen.
For kicks and giggles, here’s the Nick Miller reference: