“The mask of a good reputation is a hard one to take off. So much of who I am
is wrapped up in what I do or what I have abstained from all my life.”
Emily Freeman –Grace for the Good Girl
I walked out on a steering meeting the other day. I could feel the edges of my mask beginning to peel off with the perspiration that I would be found out. For the last eight years–I have painstakingly made the mask of perfection: being the dependable one, being the tough one, being the go-to girl in all situations.
That afternoon as I stared out into the cloudy fog, the contents of the meeting scattered my thoughts as I sifted through childhood memories trying to pinpoint any one given moment when I first tried on my mask. Maybe you can relate? Maybe you see a woman who has it together: the perfect marriage, the great career, sweet kids? She is dependable, loved, and is known for being the good girl.
I wanted to be her. Even as a little girl, I was drawn to women who wore well tailored dresses and heels, who smiled with grace, who were good–inside and out, and at everything she did. I wasn’t ever the good girl, somewhere between thinking ill of others and making monumental mistakes, I lost her. And just when I thought I found her, family and friends (intentionally and unintentionally) applied “bad girl” to my identity…and it stuck.
So I picked up my mask and pretended to be someone else. Yet, that morning at the meeting as we discussed the themes and theology in the book, Grace for the Good Girl, I could feel my resolve beginning to crumble and fear of being found out made me run.
And then I heard it, a whisper seeping into the depths of my soul, “Mercy comes with grace.” You’ve accepted mercy but have been hiding behind shame instead of accepting grace.” I had exchanged grace to carry guilt, I was allowing my past to define me. This evening as I sipped my coffee, sitting in the still of the quiet, I took off my masks, one by one to find me underneath.
I don’t want to be “her” anymore.
I don’t want to be the woman racked with shame for past mistakes.
I am no longer the woman with the arrest record.
I am not the girl who got knocked up in high school.
I am not the girl who can’t seem to stick to a work-out routine.
I am no longer the woman riddled with imperfections of not being on time.
The masks will never disappear completely, this I know; already I’m itching to pick up the perfectionist-good girl mask. But I’ve tasted freedom in resting my identity in who I was created to be and that’s where I want to stay.
Which mask are you ready to let go of?
You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
PSALM 139 1–10
Are you encouraged? Check out Heather’s post 12 Tips for Cultivation Compassion in Your Kids
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