A New Name

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  1. Heather
    Nov 09 - 11:59 pm

    Very interesting observation concerning “types” and the need for redemption.

    I most definitely can identify with the good girl.

    But, I know I’ll never be good enough. There are always people who are nicer, or more caring or whatever. And what I’ve noticed so frequently is that the centrality of “me” as a motivator to be good is a sandy foundation which eventually will collapse. Being strong enough to be able to risk vulnerability in my interactions is definitely not “of” me.

  2. Emma
    Nov 09 - 11:59 pm

    Hi Heather

    You’re right, even as a wannabe good girl, I’ll never be good enough. But ironically, that’s precisely where my hope begins. If I could find satisfaction and identity in my own goodness, then I’d also be enslaved to it. Instead, as I recognise the futility of my own efforts, I’m forced to look beyond myself – to Christ. And as I am captivated by Him, one of the fruits of His Spirit in me is an understanding and acceptance of myself.

    On a slightly different tack it’s also interesting that the standard of goodness by which we judge ourselves is based on other people! As you said, ‘there are always people who are nicer or more caring or whatever’. I think this is a big issue for women, or maybe it’s just me! One of my friends is very beautiful and confessed recently that if another good-looking woman enters the room, it has the power to ruin her entire evening. There are many areas where I feel threatened by and compare myself to other women in just that way.

  3. Emily
    Nov 10 - 12:00 am

    Hi Emma,
    Thanks for a very thought-provoking post – hope you’ll excuse the long reply but I was pondering the things you wrote and all this just came out! I was going to just not post it, but in an attempt to not get sucked into this cycle of self-reliance I’ve written about I’ve decided to share it!
    I can definitely see elements of all three types in my life, and the more I think about it, the more I see this persistent need to be independent at the root of my thinking. I try and not be a burden to people or get in the way because I feel I should cope on my own. I don’t work hard at deepening relationships with others because I’m afraid they won’t like what they see, so I try and convince myself I’m alright on my own. I resist any kind of dependence on or relationship with others because I feel like I need to sort myself out.
    But really I know there’s no hope at all if it’s all up to me. I know what I’m like, and being left with just my own resources all the time is exhausting- I know there’s only weakness and sin inside- why would I imagine there’s any hope within me??! When I think about it now it sounds absurd! I mean, Jesus says it clearly – it’s from the heart that all my problems stem. How deceptive sin is… telling me to look inward for a solution when there’s no chance of finding one there.
    So if inside there’s no hope, I must look outside my self… the scary thing is that I can’t do this without opening up to someone, and it’s terrifying to think that I could let God see what I’m like and then know that he could justly turn away from all that sin and condemn me… I don’t deserve to be helped, as I’ve already turned away from his kindness. But gloriously, wonderfully, astonishingly that’s not what God is like! He is so patient, so gentle, so loving – Jesus shows me that the kind of LORD I’m coming to isn’t one who is spiteful or reluctant to forgive… No! He’s gone to the greatest lengths to draw me to Himself, so that I can depend on Him, I can give up this farce of finding all I need within me and joyfully depend and rely on Him. I can be weak and feeble and feel empty and He fills me in Christ with all good things…! Have I got this right? Can it really be this good?! I still don’t remember this all the time, and I still struggle to apply this to relationships with others in particular, but I’m learning that knowing Jesus and growing to love and trust him more gives me greater confidence in the fact that I’m still a sinner, but slowly being changed, and allowing others to see that isn’t weak, it isn’t failure, it isn’t something to be ashamed of or hide away but it’s the best news ever, because it shows what kind of God we know.

  4. Emma
    Nov 10 - 12:01 am

    Hi Emily

    Thanks for such a thoughtful and thought-provoking response. And especially for your honesty. It’s such a relief to be able to discuss these things – and what a loss if you’d dumped it in the trash can! Don’t you dare…

  5. […] Heather’s comment has got me thinking about where I get my values and my standards of goodness. Where do I turn to […]

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