Congrats to the winners from the weekend’s post!
Cindy (comment left 8/25 at 2:12 pm with a recipe for blackberry cobbler) wins the signed copy of A Life That Says Welcome & the winner of the Fresh & Fruity package is Debbie Genua. Ladies, send your home address (along with what it is you won) to my assistant at Kim@proverbs31.org. (Yes! I now have an assistant and I can’t wait for you to meet her very soon!)
I love meeting new people. Whether it is through this site, at a conference or retreat or even while out running errands around my small town, I love making new friends.
One of my favorite new friends (whom I met at our our She Speaks conference a few years back when we sat together at lunch) just wrote her first book. My copy currently migrates from my night stand to my tote bag to my back deck as I try to get it finished. (Ever wish you could push ‘pause’ on life so you could finish a book without stopping?) Anyway, you will LOVE Grace for the Good Girl; Letting Go of the Try Hard Life. It is FABULOUS! (and is the reason my dishes currently sit unwashed and in a pile!) I relate too well to living the ‘try-hard’ life. This book brings freedom from its clutch.
Be sure to enter below for your chance to win a copy of this book & a Starbucks gift card to go along with it. But right now, meet my friend and author Emily Freeman!
Emily is a writer, speaker, and listener. She writes almost daily on her blog Chatting at the Sky, is a monthly contributor for the blog (in)courage by DaySpring, and recently traveled as a blogger for Compassion International to raise awareness for children living in poverty in the Philippines. She lives in North Carolina with her youth pastor husband, their three young children, and their crazy dog, Finn. Grace for the Good Girl (Revell) is her first book.
Emily, you were a blogger before you published this first book, Grace for the Good Girl. How did you start blogging?
I wrote privately all my life, but started blogging in January 2006. My twin girls were two at the time and I realized in the years since I had kids, I hadn’t made writing a priority. So I started a blog called Chatting at the Sky and wrote about once a month. It was ridiculously inconsistent, but it was a start. I knew I loved writing small observations of life and learning and so the blog became a place to house those things.
What prompted you to write a book?
During late summer 2008, I sat with a group of high school girls and as I listened to them talk, I realized how very familiar their lives were to my life growing up. They were the good girls, the girls who never got into any trouble, the girls who wanted to do life right, please their parents, please God. But under their sweet smiles, I noticed something else: these girls were tired, worried, and anxious. I thought about them and then about me, and I realized girls like us need Jesus just as much as the girls who are blatantly rebellious and rule-breaking – but our need isn’t as obvious because we are the good girls. A seed of an idea to write a book about that was planted that day and grew over time.
The subtitle of the book is “letting go of the try-hard life”. What is the “try-hard life” and why are so many women caught up in it?
When people first accept Jesus, we tell them ‘There is nothing you can do to earn salvation! Just believe!’ And we believe it at the beginning. But then, after a few years of living, they come to us and say ‘This life is hard and I can’t do it’. And instead of pushing them back to faith, we push them into activity. We forget Colossians 2:6: “So then, just as you have received the Messiah Jesus the Lord, continue to live dependent on him.” (ISV)
The try-hard life encompasses all those ways we try to make life work out of our own strength. When Jesus invites those who are weary and heavy-laden to come and find rest, I believe he meant it. But good girls often feel responsible to be strong, and we subconsciously think that concept of coming to him and finding rest is just for all those people who can’t handle the pressure – not for us.
The try-hard life shows itself in the way we say ‘I’m fine!’ when we’re asked how we’re doing. It shows up when we work hard to please God rather than risk trusting him. It’s when we believe we have to perform to gain acceptance from others, from God, and even from ourselves. So many women are caught up in living the try-hard life because, even though it is exhausting, at least we’re doing something. Trust and belief are invisible and hard to prove. Activity and do-goodness are visible and quantifiable. We like that. It feels like we have a little bit of control.
Reckless abandoned to Jesus feels risky. Receiving something I didn’t earn is uncomfortable. Grace is offensive, because grace says this life is a gift, and you can only receive it. You can’t earn it. That’s uncomfortable, and so we hide behind our masks of productivity instead.
What is your hope for the woman who experiences Grace for the Good Girl?
Oh Karen, that question brings tears to my eyes as I read it. My hope for the woman who reads? Courage to believe that in Christ, she already has everything she needs. Freedom from hiding behind her do-good, try-hard masks. Rest as she discovers a new hiding place in Christ.
Thanks for stopping by today, Emily!
It’s been my pleasure! And can I just quickly say how much I love you women of Proverbs 31 Ministries? I’ve been both an attendee and a speaker at the She Speaks Conference over the past few years and your gals on the team at P31 are fun, accepting, and so supportive. So thank you for allowing this rookie author to feel welcome!
Okay cyber friends, please leave us a comment telling us where you feel women most ‘try hard’ to appear to have it all together. It can be in your own personal life or just your observation of women in general. One gal will be chosen at random to receive Emily’s book and a $5 Starbucks gift card.
Winner will be announced Wednesday.
Go in Grace,