For the longest time, I have always prided myself in being the good girl.
As a competitive child, I made sure to always finish my seatwork on time, keep quiet when the teacher isn’t looking, and keep my desk neat at all times. I was the perennial “yes” girl and for years that was a label that I quietly hid behind. My story of being a people pleaser is no longer news to patient readers of this blog, however, the revelation to me has taken quite a journey before it fully sunk in.
In a way, I’ve always kept quite a scorecard of my life. The good things happened when I was good (keeping my heart “pure”, keeping Bible studies in check, and making sure I was “nice” to everyone I met) and the bad things can be negated by doing good things. Yes, I believed in God but I never quite threw away the need to “do good” in order to “deserve good”. Despite preaching on grace for so long, I was holding on to a lie: life would only be majestic if I learned to keep it together.
The journey to the unraveling of this truth began in the summer of 2015, most of the journey you can find here, however, the culmination of its lesson (or lessons rather) is one that I am still learning to this day. For the longest time, I thought being “good” and relying on the promises that were taught to me from the day I was young would give me the excellent, fairytale life I have always wanted.
It wasn’t until several incidents in the past year jolted me out of a fake reality that I created for myself. I found myself on the floor so many times, sobbing, and wondering what I did wrong. Up until recently, I couldn’t understand why life was being ridiculously unfair to someone who did everything “right”.
Of course, during this point, I was speaking from a place of pride – of course from the outside, it seemed like I was perfect because I was doing everything right, but we all know that to God, the outside didn’t matter, all that mattered was what was on the inside – what was lurking in the deepest recesses of my heart.
My heart, as I have discovered (and continue to do so on this day), is a dark, murky place. Recent events have showed me just how deceitful, conniving, and manipulative my heart really is. God revealed to me just how much evil is in my heart and while I was surprised, I was also humbled, humbled enough to learn the lessons God has been teaching me all these years.
The past year has brought me to my knees so many times and in the pit, I found myself, for the first time in my life, ashamed and broken. There were no accolades to hold me up, no good deeds to negate the bad, and most importantly, no face to show God. Just like Adam and Eve, I was hiding in the shadows but for the first time in my life, I never felt God as closely as I did in the past couple of weeks.
As my heart broke and my real self was exposed, I found myself closer to Jesus, my savior. It wasn’t a magical moment but it was one that was real in a sense that I felt the truth of His love for me. God’s unconditional love is real because as I sat in the depths of my mistakes, God pulled me closer instead of further and in it, I heal.
As I discovered the true state of my heart, I have realized the true beauty of the grace of God. Growing up a church girl has made me forget the beauty of grace because I thought I was doing everything perfectly without realizing that my legalistic nature has made me unforgiving, hard, and unloving. I was doing good works but in the back of my head, I was judging everyone who did not fit neatly into the package of perfection that I have aimed for my entire life.
Today, I find myself more relaxed and less stiff. For years, I was projecting an image but today, I can look at myself in the mirror and smile genuinely because through the cracks of my brokenness, I can see God’s grace shine and in Him, I find the kind of confidence I never quite felt before and now, the journey begins again.