Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Grace and Goodness, Work and Worship

So you know that book that arrived last Tuesday? I finished it on Thursday. And then I talked about it all weekend. And now I'm finally getting around to writing about it. The only reason I didn't write about it sooner was that I've been feeling a desperate need to take naps and reread old books because have I mentioned recently enough how exhausting these two kids are? Plus, it pretend-blizzarded here. Anyway, point being, that I now need to tell you about Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try-Hard Life by Emily P. Freeman.

Guys, this encouraged me, it challenged me, it made me laugh, it made me cry, it literally kicked me in the pants (okay, not literally, but maybe literarily). And I, for real, haven't stopped talking about it since because it just challenged the way I thought about Jesus and what He actually means in my day-to-day life. The book is full of stories side-by-side with Scripture, which is my favourite way to learn, and Freeman backs up what she is saying with the Word of God, which caused me to dig deeper myself. You can probably guess the theme of the book just from the title, but basically Freeman delves into why we Christian women (especially) accept the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ and then spend the rest of our lives working ourselves to weariness in vain attempt to live up to His perfection on our own strength.

It isn't a book to just read and set aside. It's one that I want to go back through with a pen to underline and write notes. In the meantime, I pulled out some of my favourite quotations:
  • If I am trying to please God, it is difficult to trust God. But when I trust God, pleasing him is automatic.
  • God's expectations of us are not the same as our expectations of ourselves.
  • There are those who will say that obedience is the key to the Christian life, and that to say otherwise is to wave the dangerous, offensive flag of passivity over our churches. To that I will simply say this: good girls live obediently, but they do not know the mystery.... Jesus calls us to a new and better way. He still asks for our obedience, but it is no longer obedience to the law, [but]...obedience to the truth.
  • This obedience to the truth doesn't come naturally or automatically. There is laboring. There is striving. But this striving labor has the potential to be new and light and joyful.
  • He asks us to open our hands, receive the gift, and then live as if it were true. Are you trying to be who Jesus wants you to be? Or do you trust him to bring out who he has already created you to be?
  • Worship, not work, flows out of the hearts of those who believe.
If any of these ideas pique your interest, pick up the book for yourself. It'll be ten dollars well spent. Or, if you'd like to poke around a little bit more, you can catch Emily Freeman writing regularly on her blog: Chatting at the Sky.

I, personally, am going to go worshipfully clean the bathrooms. Possibly preceded by some grace-filled chocolate chips.

Come to me, all of you who are weary and over-burdened, and I will give you rest! Put on my yoke and learn from me. For I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30 (Phillips)

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