“You’re a good girl.”
How many times have I said that to my girl? So, so many. Attempting to encourage her to strive to be her best. Trying to build her up and enable her to believe that she is a good girl. Trying to correct wrongs that I may have done or will do. And… possibly a dose of trying to counteract my battle with good girl/bad girl.
Now there ain’t nothin’ wrong with that girl. Lurve that face!
Driving home from church tonight I contemplated the affirmation I so often give my mini diva. She is a good girl. But I want something more tangible for her to grab a hold of. Something that can’t be changed by her behavior. Even when she misbehaves I tell her she is a good girl but her action was not good. How confusing is that?
Here’s what I believe the Lord is telling me: her goodness isn’t of her. God deposited a whole bunch of good and purposeful stuff in her, but that wasn’t something she did. It isn’t dependent upon her. Which brings me to my next question: how am I to break that down to a pre-schooler? (Who, for the record, understands a whole lot more and oftentimes a whole lot better than grown ups. Present company included. And by present company I mean me.)
This. Yes. This is my girl. And how God sees His girls (and guys).
I’ve battled with being a good girl/bad girl. When I was pleasing to the adults around me, I was a good girl. And oh, how I longed to always always always (did I mention always yet?) always be a good girl. But when I was cranky, moody, lazy, or just plain made an innocent mistake I was called a bad girl. I hated that. I hated myself for showing imperfections that made me a bad girl. I covered up mistakes. I hid the evidence. I manipulated conversations and situations. I lied. Just so I could at least be thought of as a good girl. Now I see the ridiculousness of it. I lied about a bad or negative action to maintain the image of being a good girl. But it was what I was shown: that’s how you stay a good girl. You can do bad things as long as you don’t get caught.
Not this good girl. I just tried not to get caught. (Good grief!)
And that’s what I don’t want my girl to face. The constant pull between am I good or am I bad? Am I of value or am I worthless? Am I acceptable or am I refuse? Now as she is getting older I can see the struggle. I can see how there now needs to be a transition in how I affirm her. She’s better able to understand why she is of value, why she is good, why she is accepted, and why she is understood.
To me, she is of value because she was so wanted. She is accepted because of the sacrifices my husband and I made and make for her. She is of value just because her little heart beats. She is acceptable because she is mine.
To the Lord, she is of value because she was created with a purpose. She is accepted because of the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross. She is of value just because she lives. She is acceptable because she belongs to God.
That’s how I want her to live: free to just be her and unafraid of who she will become.
Have you ever played copy cat? You know, the game that is only for the person copying the victim? Repeating every word that comes out of the other person’s mouth. Ugh. I decided to play along with mini diva one day. It started with things like, “my mom is the best” and “when I grow up I’m giving my mom all of my money.”
Then it struck me: there is a teachable moment here. So I started saying things like, “I am beautiful” and “I am smart” and “Jesus loves me” and “I try my best at all I do.” Stuff that maybe the more she says it the more she will believe it. Maybe it will get deep down in her spirit and when she makes a mistake her internal dialogue will remind her that it’s safe to own up to her mistakes since she’s accepted no matter what. It’s okay to own up to those mistakes because that mistake doesn’t have to dictate the rest of her day or life: it can just be something that happened and she can move on from.
Yes, you are. Don’t argue with me. You are.
My hope here is that instead of perpetuating the cycle of being called a good girl then teaching a good girl who is imperfect to cover up her flaws I will teach my wonderfully and fearfully made little miss that it’s okay to show your cracks. It’s okay to be imperfect. It’s okay to learn and make mistakes because that’s how we grow. That’s how we become better than good. That’s how we learn to lean on Jesus and His goodness and righteousness.
That goes for you, too. It’s okay to be imperfect. It’s okay to have cracks and flaws. It’s okay. It really is. Because this whole life isn’t about you or how you look but on what kind of life you live and how you impact others. It’s about how pleasing you are to the Lord. And self made perfection and righteousness don’t matter a hill of beans to Him. He just wants you. He wants to love on you, accept you, cherish you, affirm you, and let you know how safe you are in His arms. And if you make a mistake, you are safe to run into His arms and own up to it, and free to do better next time.
Can we do that? Can we just do our best and let God make up for the rest? Can we trust Him to cover us with His righteousness so we don’t have to try. so. very. hard and still never quite measure up? I know we can. Now let’s quit making life hard and just start living. Flaws and all.
Live your life, live it well, and live it well by knowing you are pleasing to God.
Because you are.