This book. It could have been written specifically for me. And in some ways, it was. This book is for the "good girl." It is about letting go of your try hard life. Letting go of the fear, the stress, the loneliness, the feeling of unworthiness or a need to always prove yourself and be acceptable to others.
So if you can relate to any or all of those feelings, you may want to read this book too. (It is for teens and young women though, so if you feel you want an "older" version, there is Grace for the Good Girl.)
It is kind of ridiculous how many pages I marked but I didn't want to forget anything. Here are just some of the quotes that spoke to me and apparently others, because I found these on Google images.
Time for "Maddie getting rather personal and serious" so hold on....
So I have been awakened from my humdrum existence to the fact that God and Jesus Christ are a huge deal and I can't keep on as though they shouldn't be the center of my whole life. And changing the center of your whole life is really hard people.
So I get a Bible. I read it. I start praying more often. I go to church weekly. I try to keep Him on my mind. But I still feel like I am not really getting it. So now what? What do I have to do? Someone give me a list. Tell me step by step what to do and I will do it! But...... it doesn't really work that way. And that's what Emily P. Freeman was addressing.
"I said to myself, 'I am not perfect, so I'll try harder. Filled with determination and rules, I was ready to follow step-by-step to get life right, including my relationship with Jesus. I thought for sure I could figure it out if I tried hard enough, like algebra or skiing or driving. If praying to receive Jesus was the starting point and seeing him face-to-face was the end, I wasn't sure what to do in the middle. I prayed. I read my Bible. But what I did best was simply be good. I desperately wanted to experience life with Jesus, but I didn't know how. I did what I could and hoped for the best."
After reading that quote I kind of just sat there. I mean, that is exactly how I felt and exactly what I was doing. How could she know? And what more did she know? (Cause I was assuming since she was writing this book she had that experience and I had a feeling that she came to that experience through a different channel than she was talking about here.)
So I read on. And Every chapter she would talk about a different side of me. Some were more central to me than others, but I was all the girls she talked about in some way, whether little or big.
I was the Actress, the Girl Next Door, the Activist, the Heroine, the Bystander, the Judge, the Intellectual, the Dreamer. One second I'd feel like a punctured balloon because even the "good" things I was doing were wrong.... well not always wrong, but for the wrong reasons.
In essence, I was doing all these good girl things to impress, to live up to, to prove myself. To achieve the expectations I thought God and people had for me and to lead to the acceptance of God the I absolutely .needed.
Then she introduced me to the concept of Grace. Sure, I had heard of it before, but I really didn't get it. I thought I did, but I was wrong. (Not like that hasn't happened before.. ha)
No matter what I did, I couldn't earn God's grace and love and companionship. When I read this, I freaked out. A lot. WHAT?! But... but..... then what do I do?
And then she dropped a bombshell on me. Since I can't get it by myself, that is why Jesus helped me get it. Through God's grace, he sent his only son to die for me, the sins I should have died for. The pain I should have experienced. The hopelessness I should have felt. I sort of got that but then it was really explained to me. Through Grace, not through anything else, could I receive God's love and acceptance.
That is kind of freeing and kind of scary, because if I had steps and rules then I could get it myself. I could achieve, do good deeds, and still have some me time left, preserve some of myself. Realizing it is a gift, I could never repay Him for it. My whole life I must follow him, love him, serve him. No me time. No room for selfish wants and desires. And I am kind of becoming okay with that.
I don't want to be a selfish human being. I really don't want to live for me. I don't want to be the heroine of the story. I am small, I am a very minor character in the story of Life. But I am loved, accepted, I am unique.
If I get a failing grade on a science paper, I am not filled with self loathing, believing I have failed, I am stupid, I am no good. The end result is still, the same: I study harder for the next test. But the feelings, the driving force is different.
I don't know about you, but all this was news to me. So I am working on it. I don't have a step by step list, I sort of have an outline, but mainly I just have a change of thinking and feeling. I have a change of center.
I am not earning my redemption; I have received it and am trying to live it out.
I can't explain all the wonderfulness and graceful-ness of this book. If you relate to any of this at all, pick up a copy and read it. It is only 157 pages, it won't take too long. But it'll leave you with a lot to think about.
Not exactly a review, is it? But I think I have told you generally what it was about, what to expect, and what I thought of it.
Summer is so nice. I feel so unbelievably relaxed and happy.
How is your summer? What do you think of the ideas I brought up about the book and living a life that is graceful?
Oh, and if you liked that, check out her blog. I think it is pretty great: http://www.chattingatthesky.com/