(I read this great article over the weekend that spoke so closely to my own story that I had to write something. So here is my I am a Christian Good Girl in Recovery tale. You should also check out this article: “Well-Behaved Women Won’t Change the Church”)
“Over the years, though, as I started to do some personal healing work and begin to look at the unhealthy patterns in my life, something profound began to shift. I started to tell the truth about my own story. I started to not worry so much about what people thought. I started to advocate for others who couldn’t use their voices yet. I started to disagree. I started to use my voice and stir the pot about change in the church.
I started to worry more about pleasing God than pleasing man.” (Kathy Escobar)
I spent the majority of my childhood and teen years in church. I was in church on Sunday at least once, Wednesday night youth group or kids’ club, Thursday night choir practice, sometimes worship team practice on some other day during the week and then back to Sunday morning again. We even spent a good chunk of my preteen/teen years in church on Saturdays helping my dad (the church janitor) clean. I spent those days disinfecting all of the church bathrooms.
Church was all I had ever known.
So it is little wonder that as a grown woman that cycle continued once we found a church that we committed to as members.
I was reminded recently of the day my mentor (I call her that for lack of a better word) asked us to come to their church, that it was time.
- So we did what we were asked.
- We did what was pleasing – offering a sacrifice of convenience and money and self.
It had all the makings of a good Christian girl moment.
We were committed to doing life together.
That was until I stopped being a Christian good girl.
What It Looked Like
Oh I ignored the fact that a few of our new fellowship resented and questioned our being there. I’m sure it didn’t make sense to them why we would up and move closer especially when we had a life. I think we (Mr. Hubby and I) just tried to live as authentically as we possibly could in their midst. We loved. We started a small group. I was involved on the worship team. I even had the chance to do the supreme good Christian girl thing in heading up a ministry to an area family homeless shelter. They even let me have a microphone to lead worship every now and then.
I was messy and myself which would often throw people for a spin. I was the image of the Christian good girl -who had issues, with a bit of a mouth, with a way of asking and answering, with a way of speaking that would make you think.
Then one day after a year of praying for my own heart healing, after watching with my eyes and yearning for truth in my soul – I sat down to speak truth to a dear friend. I said, “No” to the status quo of hiding and faking and masking and lying.
It wasn’t a spiritual attack, it was a loving risk.
I was asking too many questions privately about the inconsistencies in the church body. Why was one person being treated one way… as a liability while someone with the same history was being drawn close?
I was becoming a liability.
- I learned quickly that you do not question those who hold the power or those who stand close to power.
- I learned quickly who actually held that power.
- I watched people being shoved off platforms.
- I witnessed good Christ-followers being pushed right out the front door.
- I watched people being prayed out of our midst… literally.
I let people believe whatever they needed to believe even if that meant the very worst in me.
If I really loved my friend then I would submit to being labeled a bad girl – on her behalf.
So here I sit in recovery – a Christian good girl gone bad!
The truth is that I have learned to like bad.
- I love having a voice and not having to ask permission to use that voice.
- love being brave.
- I love embracing the real me.
- Even in the hurt I am grateful knowing that we did not settle for standing in lies.
- And I am grateful for the pain that brought me out of the small circles.
I don’t know when it happened but when I awaken with a thought of what was and the dreams that were lost and the bridges burned I PRAISE GOD.
I praise God for giving my husband and I a backbone.
I know now that it is ok to not settle for the status quo.
Honor does not mean that we play nice.
God’s kingdom isn’t about being on our best behavior, it’s about being real.
Living life together, doing life together is messy. People will get their feelings hurt.
If you want to live life together with the leading of the HOLY SPIRIT then you will have to face your inconsistencies and the inconsistencies of others.
You are going to get your hands dirty.
You won’t be able to throw money at it to fix it – no matter how big your budget.
Living life together is more than Sunday brunch and a service project.
Doing life has to be honest – you can’t be plastic together.
REAL LIFE can’t be confined to a carefully staged room off the sanctuary.
Real life doesn’t come with pretty center pieces.
Real life doesn’t come with curriculum, a video, and discussion questions.
A woman of God who has gone “bad” is going to wreck your world.
- She will make you question the status quo.
- She will leave you wondering why you have settled.
- She will question why you hide your sin.
- She is going to make you either want to stand tall or flee.
- She is going to be honest about her story.
She is going to be willing to cry with you, to carry your load and she is going to bust your chops along the journey.
She is filled with mercy and truth. She can be heavy handed. She can be hard to take.
She’s going to question your lies.
She’s going to be shoved out church doors and off platforms and out of small groups – because she knows that there is a lot at stake.
A real woman of God is going to change the way we do church because there is too much at stake to allow the status quo to continue.
Let me tell you what is at stake: Caitlyn, Lydia, Liam, Caleb to name a few (these are my children).
There is a whole generation at stake if we settle for just being GOOD CHRISTIAN GIRLS.