Wednesday, September 14, 2011

We're All Good - A Giveaway


We fear exposure more than we long for freedom.
-Emily P. Freeman, Grace for the Good Girl

I remember sitting on the coffee table, the "hot seat". My new friends sat around me firing questions about my favorite food or my biggest pet peeve. And then he asked, "What's your biggest fear?" and I blurted it out, "Being wrong."

The way I remember it, everyone stopped talking, the game wasn't fun anymore, and maybe the world stopped turning for a beat or two. I wanted to reach out and grab those two stupid words and stuff them right back in. I had spent my life being right. Admitting that I was afraid of "being wrong" - was absolutely not right.

Over the years, I'd worked hard at constructing an image of myself that was simply almost never wrong. Of course I didn't want people to think that I put effort into being and doing right. How lame would that be? I wanted them to just believe it. "That Shannan, she's always right."

Good girls live obediently, but they do not know the mystery.
-Emily P. Freeman, Grace for the Good Girl

If I told you how many times since that night I have stewed over those words, you would shake your head and go on to bed. You wouldn't believe it and you wouldn't have time for it.

Why didn't I just say "falling backwards off a steep cliff?" I always get nervous when I'm driving up a big hill. I'm sure the roller coaster car will unhook itself and I'll plunge backwards to my untimely death. Why didn't I say snakes? Speeding tickets? Slow drains? Camper toilets?

It's funny how the truth takes new shape when it moves from your secret heart to the wide open air that you breathe. It becomes even bigger. It floats around and catches the light. It becomes a thing.

I had the privilege of reading Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try-Hard Life earlier this summer, back when it was all top-secret and hush-hush. People - it killed me to not be able to talk about it. It's written like a sunny day. It's entertaining and personal and easy and so dang deep. I thought about it in the shower and I dreamed about it at night. I covertly shared bits with important people around me, and Cory got earfulls. Also, I took to sending my friend Emily, the author, random emails that looked something like Stream of Consciousness: Good Girl Edition.

Just a few pages in, Emily's words grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me, with this: "I taught people around me that I had no needs and then was secretly angry with them for believing me."

This, my friends, has been the story of my life.

Us Good Girls, we all have slightly different brands. I was never the girl who gifted everyone with my perpetual smile. I was not the one who offered to do my friends' homework. I was unkind sometimes. Selfish often. I didn't study and I overslept.

I was too independent and strong to be a Good Girl. Did you catch that? Too strong. Too independent. I was a closeted Good Girl. A Good Girl mired in denial. Because even though I didn't spend my time trying to be "nice" every second of the day, I still spent my time trying. Hard. It was all up to me. I would be the strongest and the smartest. The rightest. This wheel would never squeak.

On every page of this book, I saw a version of myself. Truth rang.

All he wants is simply you - minus your good works, minus your perfect attendance, minus your politeness. When you really believe that, you may discover that all you want is Jesus. Not just to get to heaven or to help you be a good person or do the right thing, but to simply love and be loved by him.
-Emily P. Freeman, Grace for the Good Girl

Because at the root of my goodness and my rightness and my strength was the belief that I alone, plain old Shannan, was not enough. I needed that platform I had built for myself. I needed those walls. I needed to be a little brighter, a whole lot shinier.

I was missing out on the Biggest Love because I was so afraid of being vulnerable. Afraid of just being.

God has chipped some of this away over the years, but holding Grace for the Good Girl in my hands helped me to see more of the freedom that waits at the edges. This book was a game-changer.

My name is Shannan, and I'm a Good Girl.

Your brand might be different than mine, but I have a hunch they share a zip-code. Revell has offered a free copy to three of you. To enter, leave a comment below (one comment per person, please.) Tell us one of your Good Girl tendencies or just smile and say hello. Either way.

Whether you win a copy or buy one here or here, get the book and let's step out into the sun together.

grace for the good girl by emily p. freeman

*Available now at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

* Giveaway ends Friday, September 16th at noon. Winners will be randomly selected and announced sometime this weekend. Be sure your comment links back to your blog or includes an email address!