Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Guest Post: Apart From This World

Hey all! Just want to introduce our new guest posters, the beautiful duo: Miss Kayla Phillips and Miss Liz Collins. Together they author a wonderful blog called Apart From This World: Wonderfully, Beautifully, Truly His...please take the time to check it out - Kayla has written a wonderful post that we would like to share with you all. Guys don't skip over this! I think we are all able to relate in some way to what Kayla has written and can greatly benefit from what God is speaking through her.
Good Girl
by Kayla Phillips

I would love to be able to say that I have something super profound that I have thought of myself to write about. Honestly, all I have is ramblings about all God has shown me and told me through other people in the past month. He has shown me more about myself in the past month than I’ve ever seen before. This is going to be a long post, so if you need to peace out now, go for it, but for those of you who stick around, you’re about to see the very deepest parts of my soul that I, only very recently, have ventured down to myself.

I have been reading a book called Grace for the Good Girl by Emily P. Freeman. It has turned my world up.side.down. I give all the credit for these revelations about myself to her and God. Please, go check out her book if you can relate to what I’m about to tell you. It will be the best $13 you will ever spend.

Through this book I have realized that I have a “good girl complex.” Essentially, I find my identity in how good I am. I have always strived to be the girl people can always come to for advice, the girl who is known for her listening ear, the one that can always be counted on. I have never let myself be anything but strong and put-together. The expectations I have held for myself have been nothing short of perfect. Because of that, I have worn a mask, many masks, for as long as I can remember.

A mask to cover up the hurt.

A mask to cover up the brokenness.

A mask to ward off rejection.

A mask to cover up the weakness.

A mask of perfection.

If I messed up in any way, if someone was anything less than happy with me, if there was any semblance of rejection toward me it sent me into a tailspin. However, instead of risking any vulnerability, I put on my mask of indifference and looked perfectly together on the outside while, behind my mask, the tears never stopped falling.

I know I’m not the only one that struggles with this. I know I’m not the only one that has become a master at performing. I know I’m not the only one that hangs up her mask in her closet each night and cries herself to sleep asking God, “Why? Why is my best not good enough? Why, after all that I do, do I still not feel fulfilled?” And that is the exact reason I’m writing this post. I know how it feels to feel like you have to take every single thing onto your own shoulders. I know how it feels to not even know how to trust God. Because it typically looks a little something like this…
God: Just trust me.
Kayla: I do trust you, God. I do. Now I just need to go fix it…
God: *shakes head*
Okay, well… Maybe the shaking of the head thing doesn’t happen, but the rest does! For some reason, this made sense in my head. For seventeen years this made sense in my head. For seventeen years it made sense in my head that I, Kayla Phillips, needed to make sure that my situations and circumstances got fixed… because God can’t make sure of that Himself? Yeah, feel free to laugh. On top of that, not only did I obviously not think that He could handle it Himself, but I also thought that I was the only one that could handle it. I felt that it was my responsibility.

After seventeen years of this, I was exhausted. I never felt appreciated enough, pretty enough, smart enough, funny enough, talented enough… never. I felt like I gave everything my all and still ended up short. There had to be something wrong with me. I had reached my breaking point. But, being a “good girl,” breaking down wasn’t allowed. Breaking down meant vulnerability. Breaking down meant letting the walls fall away. Breaking down meant risking rejection. Breaking down meant I was weak. Breaking down meant I was broken. Breaking down meant taking off my mask… And by doing that, it would show everyone I had spent my whole life trying to gain acceptance from and keep happy that I wasn’t really that girl I had always tried to mold myself into.

But the very thing that I was most afraid about it my life is the very thing that God says is beautiful.
“’My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” -2 Corinthians 12:9
And you know what, girls? I have some serious confessions.

I am vulnerable.

I have no walls anymore.

I’m accepted by my Heavenly Father and, for the first time in my life, I can truly say that’s all that matters.

I am weak.

I am broken.

Broken and in need of mending. And for once, I don’t feel like I have to do the mending. Finally, I’m able to hand the sewing kit to God and let Him fix me, let Him fix my situations.

For any of you who can relate to this, know that you are being prayed for. I know how hard it is to feel like, until you’ve finally reached perfection, you don’t deserve love. I know how hard it is to try and try to get attention through anything, everything: acts of service, talent, physical looks, telling jokes… but let me tell you something. There is One who accepted you long ago. Not because of the good works you’ve done, even though He appreciates those. Not because of your talent, even though He wants you to use the gifts He’s given you for His glory. Not because you’re beautiful, even though He made you in His image and you are the most beautiful thing in the universe to Him. Not because you’re funny, even though I am a firm believer that God is a God of laughter. His love for you doesn’t depend on those things, even though He loves those things. No. He loves you because of Jesus in you. Isn’t it a relief that we don’t have to do anything to earn His favor and acceptance? It sure did my heart some good to hear that.

From one once incredibly far gone, but now recovering “good girl” to another… Take that world-sized burden off of your back, hand it to the One that died to take it from you, and take a deep breath. You just handed God your shackles. You are free.

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