I’ve always had this deep desire to be the good girl, or at least, to be thought of as the good girl. I’m a classic people pleaser – give me an instruction and I’ll follow it, show me a line, and I won’t cross it. But please, please don’t be disappointed in me!
I grew up in a Christian home. My parents taught me about God and the Bible from a young age. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know God.
In my public primary school I was a total weirdo – I didn’t wear the same kind of clothes and I wasn’t allowed to watch the same kind of shows as my peers. I was regularly teased and made fun of for the way that I stood out from the others.
But the shame of being different as a kid grew into pride in being different as a teenager. I was the Christian, the rule-follower, the good girl, and in my heart – I thought that I was way better than my peers. I didn’t get drunk, I didn’t smoke, I didn’t wear revealing clothes and I didn’t have sex. “Thank you, Lord, that I am not like these other teenagers!” became my heart’s silent refrain.
But I was a bleach-soaked rental shower. Clean and sparkling on the surface, but covered in toxic, black mould underneath. My heart was full of pride, lust and jealousy. On the one hand, I felt that I was so much better than other kids at my school, who would indulge in heavy drinking and premarital sex. But on the other hand, my thought life was consumed with fantasies of sex and living a life of indulgence.
I just thought I was better than them because I didn’t act on it.
I knew that I had Jesus in my life, I just didn’t think I needed him.
The Bible calls this pride and it’s at the heart of all sin – this thinking we don’t need God.
Back it up a bit…
I accidentally responded to an altar call at a huge youth event (my first one!) when I was 12 years old.
I think I must have been daydreaming during the actual altar call, because all of a sudden, people around me were raising their hands, so I raised my hand too. And then everyone who had raised their hand was walking down to the stage, so I walked down too. Everyone seemed really excited for us, but I didn’t really figure out what was happening until after we got back on the bus and one of the youth leaders congratulated me on giving my life to Christ.
In a way, when I look back on that moment, it seems an apt metaphor for my true salvation. There I was, stumbling around and not really paying attention. And yet, God saved me. It’s not something I did or a decision I made.
He. Saved. Me.
And that’s why I write. Sure, I write about lots of things.
But above all, I don’t want to spend my time on earth carefully crafting and managing my own image, being so preoccupied with how I appear to others and what they think of me. I want God to continue his good work of conforming me to the perfect image of his son, Jesus.
I used to be the good girl. But He graciously redeemed me.