Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try-Hard Life

Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try-Hard Life

4.8 30
by Emily P. Freeman

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Many of us believe that we are saved by grace--but for too many, that's the last time grace defines our life. Instead of clinging to grace, we strive for good and believe that the Christian life means hard work and a sweet disposition. As good girls, we focus on the things we can handle, our disciplined lives, and our unshakable good moods. When we fail to measure up…  See more details below


Many of us believe that we are saved by grace--but for too many, that's the last time grace defines our life. Instead of clinging to grace, we strive for good and believe that the Christian life means hard work and a sweet disposition. As good girls, we focus on the things we can handle, our disciplined lives, and our unshakable good moods. When we fail to measure up to our own impossible standards, we hide behind our good girl masks, determined to keep our weakness a secret.

In Grace for the Good Girl, Emily Freeman invites women to let go of the try-hard life and realize that in Christ we are free to receive from him rather than constantly try to achieve for him. With an open hand and a whimsical style, Emily uncovers the truth about the hiding, encouraging women to move from hiding behind girl-made masks and do-good performances to a life hidden with Christ in God.

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From the Publisher
"If you struggle with trying so hard, being so good, and hoping so much for joy and grace in the mundane, savor this book." —Mary DeMuth, author of Thin Places

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Baker Publishing Group
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Grace for the Good Girl 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
LHB More than 1 year ago
I jumped at the chance to review Grace for the Good Girl. I didn't expect to find myself on almost every page. While I have never met Emily Freeman, I think there's a chance that we were twins separated at birth. :-) How else would she have access to my thoughts and fears? Take this paragraph as an example: "He does not think as we do. He does not see our relationship measured by ticking clocks, marked with a time to start and stop. I long to have morning times of uninterrupted quiet. From alarm clock chime to the bottom of my first hot cup, I want quiet and stillness and Jesus. But when I don't get that, I am amazed at how quickly I shift from a woman of good and holy intentions to crazy monster mommy who just wants a few minutes alone to pray. Is that too much to ask? Is it? And then I cuss on the inside. And stomp off to make their lunches. And miss the point entirely." (Page 145) Ouch. But this isn't a book about quiet times at all. This is just one example of where "good girls" struggle to live in the freedom Christ has called us to. The first section of the book talks about the different types of masks we wear. Masks of responsibility, strength, spiritual disciplines, acts of service and good performance. The second section of the book delves into what it looks like to find ourselves in Christ - when we take off our masks and rest in Him. The third section talks about the freedom of being found in Christ. Of being safe in His arms, even when life hurts. And it was this third section that brought me to tears, more than once. I discovered (after I'd read the entire book) that there's a small group study guide at the back. So I plan to re-read and work through the study questions. Giving the lessons and insights time to seep into my being. Because, as she points out on Page 170, "Satan's biggest, most effective weapon against good girls may not be lust or slander or adultery or addiction. It is forgetfulness." It's so easy to slip back behind the mask. To try harder instead of resting in Him. So whether you've been a good girl forever, or you think you have to be a good girl to make up for your past, there is wisdom to be found in these pages. I highly recommend Grace for the Good Girl. The fine print: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Mandylynh More than 1 year ago
My whole life has been the struggle the author identifies between being good according to my own set of rules and living an authentic life filled with Christ. I have deep appreciation for the reflections provided in the text.
WebLady More than 1 year ago
Oh the masks we wear - the way we try to keep everyone happy ... oftentimes at our own expense. This book is a real awakening to some of the "stuff" we hide behind!
ibjoy1953 More than 1 year ago
My review Grace for the Good Emily P. Freeman Wow this book is much more than I expected. The author deals with several issues women face in their lives with examples from her own life as well as examples from other ladies. The book is broken down in three parts; The Hiding; The Finding; and The Freedom of Being Found. And in each section she has chapters such as: Are You a Good Girl in Hiding; Martha and My Many Things; Receive and Safe Even When It Hurts. The chapter on Martha and Mary spoke to me a lot because when I think about my 'many things' I have more than I want to admit. How much time do I really spend with those things instead of spending it with Jesus? His words to Martha are an encouragement to us all, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things, but only one thing is necessary." (Luke 10:41-42, NASB) Safe Even When It Hurts was a great chapter for me as well. In the chapter the author speaks of closure and healing when difficult things happen in our lives. A couple of verses she quoted that helps us realize that God is always there to help us is Psalm 94: 18 & 19 "When I said, "My foot is slipping," your love, O Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul." I've mentioned just a few things in this book, but when you read it, you will find so much here that will help you draw closer to the Lord. It talks much about its title 'Grace' so will learn to find grace for things in your life that you are dealing with and going through. I encourage ladies to get a copy and read it! I would love to review this book with a small study group or a Sunday school class. "Available September 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group." I received this book from the publisher Revell to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 55
kherbrand More than 1 year ago
I could - can - relate to the good girl that Emily Freeman is talking about in this book. "Still, I like knowing the rules. If the sign says Don't Touch, I don't touch. If it says Keep Out, I stay away. If the form is due on Friday, I'll turn it in on Thursday just in case. . . .And even though I admit to occasionally bringing candy into the movie theater, I am always worried that the ticket person will search my bags and throw me out for smuggling in a bottle of water and two Peppermint Patties." (Grace for the Good Girl, p68) This is very much me - but it would be a can of soda and Three Musketeers! I was the good girl in high school - good grades, didn't like confrontations, didn't smoke, didn't really drink. . . When my dad passed away the end of my junior year, I kept the mask on for weeks that everything was fine before I could even let myself breakdown and cry. That mask of responsibility that I had to be strong for everybody else. And then I went into my first marriage. "She also believed she was supposed to form her opinions around his. She loved peas but wouldn't cook them because she knew he didn't like them. She waited for Charlie to come home for dinner before she would eat. Even if he called ahead to tell her to start without him, she refused and suffered through hunger headaches for the sake of being wifely." (Grace for the Good Girl, p90) This is pretty much how the first couple of years of my marriage went and when my husband would go out to sea, I would basically fall apart because I had no one to "be a wife" for, so I didn't know how to act. After we got a divorce, I came to realize that many of my "favorites" were not really my favorites at all - but were my ex-husbands favorites. I often think know, who in their right mind thought that I was responsible enough to take care of three kids? I am 45 years old and still don't feel like a grown up. I listen to other women talk and feel like I am an inadequate teenager playing a game of dress up. Do I show this? Of course not. I am still pretty good at wearing masks. I know that taking off these masks is not something that is going to happen overnight. "I understood at an early age about the first rescue. Jesus came to save sinners. He came for the lost, the broken, the hurt, and the lonely. He came to heal sick people and to raise dead people and to die for the sins of everyone. Never once did I consider he also came to save me from myself. I'm a good girl who has done good things and has good intentions for the world around me. What harm could I do to myself? But then I reconsider, and I think of the effort and the work. And then the shame. I think of the worry that keeps me up at night and the fear that perhaps I've not done enough. I think of the way I compare myself and the pain that comes when I grasp for worth and security from my husband or my job or my children." (Grace for the Good Girl, p124) I can remember when I quit work when my son was born 7 years ago, how I didn't feel "needed" because I wasn't working a 40-50 hour a week corporate job. I was feeling worthless, but didn't realize that I had staked so much of my worth on that job. It took me a very long time to come to realize that my worth as a person did not diminish because I was a stay-at-home mom. I still struggle with it from time to time.
kittycrochettwo More than 1 year ago
I think many of us can relate to Emily's book "Grace For The Good Girl," I sure know I read a lot of my feelings in the pages of this book. I have always tried to be a good girl, just like my mamma always told me to. I can still hear her telling me to always smile and never let them see you cry.That smile became a mask to hide behind, but the chapter I most relate to is titled "Can't Fall Apart." I am one of those people who never wants to show weakness. In this book the author's conversational tone encourages us to quit hiding behind those masks and reminds us that God accepts us, and loves us in spite of our flaws and imperfections. I loved the conversational tone of this book, it felt like I was sitting down chatting with girlfriend. The writing flows smoothly and the questions at the end of each chapter allows for deeper reflection of what was read. I marked several chapters in this book to reread, so this book is a definite keeper for me. This book would make a great gift, and would be perfect for women's study groups, and a small group leader guide is included. *A complimentary copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
VicG More than 1 year ago
Emily P. Freeman in her new book "Grace For The Good Girl" published by Revell Books focuses on letting go of the try-hard life. The Apostle, Paul, tells us, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God". (Ephesians 2:8 NKJV) We admit that for us to be saved we need the power of God to do the work. We are unable to save ourselves under our own power and we marvel at the love and mercy of a God who would do this for us. Yet, for most of us, we leave grace behind and want to live this new life with the good works we can accomplish and we seem to ignore the other words of Paul, "and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God". (Galatians 2:20 NKJV) Emily Freeman understands that this is a common trait in women and "Grace For The Good Girl" is the way to let go and let the power of God live through us to live the life He has called us to live. Ms. Freeman divides the book into three parts. Part One deals with hiding. Hiding under the "good" efforts like: Good Performance, Good Reputation, Acts of Service and Comfort Zone to name a few. In any good game of Hide-And-Seek the excitement is being found. So in Part Two, once these masks have been exposed, it is time to move onto The Finding. In a spy novel if the hero is found then that is dangerous however when God finds you we breathe a sigh of relief because it is safe. That is Part Three: The Freedom of Being Found with four chapters on being safe. You will find yourself in this book, probably more than once. And each time you will find God there to help you remove the mask of good works and let God work through you. It is a refreshing experience and worth going through every time we forget whose life this is. "Grace For The Good Girl" will more than likely be read more than once it is an extremely valuable tool. I recommend this book highly!! If you would like to listen to interviews with other authors and professionals please go to Kingdom Highlights where they are available On Demand. To listen to 24 hours non-stop Christian music please visit our internet radio station Kingdom Airwaves Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising." Available September 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
ChristianMomBookReview More than 1 year ago
Grace for the good girl, written by Emily Freeman, is a book for Christian women who feel like they have to have it together..all of the time. This book is for those who hide behind a mask of diligence in service, in accomplishments, in how others perceive you, and those who find satisfaction in pefection (instead of being realistic and relying on God's grace). The author candidly speaks about her personal walk through the facade of "perfection", and how that played out in her life. She spends a lot of time lamenting her lack of having an amazing testimony due to the fact that she was not the "bad girl" who came back from a life of wild sin to redemption, and that her story seemed boring to her. She parallels the story of the prodigal son to the character of the good brother and how she could relate to the good brother being upset that the prodigal was rewarded for returning from a rampage of bad behavior. Ultimately though, Emily brings the reader to the understanding of God's grace in our lives, the reality that living under an expectation of personal perfection is sin (and impossible to achieve anyway) and that it is better to be real, sometimes fail, and rely on God instead of self. There is also a study guide in the back of the book which would be great for personal or group discussions. I liked this book, although is was personally a little hard to relate to her anguish because I was not the good girl and by no means have ever strived for perfection! I received this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Michelle_DeRusha More than 1 year ago
I'm a good-girl -- who knew?! Boy could I relate well to what Emily Freeman wrote about in her eloquent and gracefully written book. The expectations I put on myself, the comparisons I make with other "better" mothers, wives, Christians, etc. Emily knows the Bible and theology, that much is clear from her well-researched book. But better yet, Emily knows women -- she knows the kinds of expectations we put on ourselves; she knows how hard we can be on ourselves. And most importantly, she knows the God who accepts us and loves us, in spite of our flaws and imperfections. I think the thing I loved most about this book was its emphasis on grace. I haven't always been comfortable with that word, and I haven't always understood exactly what it means. "Grace for the Good Girl" has taken my understanding of God's grace to a new, deeper level, and it's helped me wrap my mind around that concept. I read and re-read many parts of this book already, and it's filled with underlined and starred sections and dog-eared pages. "Grace for the Good Girld" is a book I will come back to again and again, and it's one that will continue to help me grow in my faith journey.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Keep going. Youre really good. Wheres the next story at lol. ~ Chinesebeauty
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author has done such a great job of explaining God's free gift of grace to free us from the slavery of opinions other than His.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Emily Freeman was given the keys to unlock her own cage and vulnerably, yet courageously, faced her fears to put those keys in other women's hands so they too can be set free. If you are struggling with setting boundaries in relationships, and feeling overwhelmed by life, read this book. The truths contained in it are the keys to set you free. She writes in a refreshingly honest way with a transparent vulnerability that anyone can identify with.
morningGLORY8790 More than 1 year ago
This book made me feel not so alone in my "good girlness".....I really felt that in reading Emily's words, we were having a conversation which was comforting. When I read a book (and I read alot!!), picking up a pencil (never a pen...what if I underline the wrong line------------oh that good girl is seeping out again) to underline passages is a sure sign that the words are touching my heart. I will read these words again and again. Can't wait to read ANYTHING else Emily writes!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have never purchased a book that truly changed my life the way this one has, with the exception of the Bible! Emily's in good company! She speaks to the part of women that hungers for acceptance, approval, and appreciation, and reveals the cost of living our lives with that focus. I no longer think of myself as defined by how much I do, or how much I'm liked. The TRUTH that Emily reminds us of was there all along - I just forgot what it was. I can't stop giving this book to women I care about!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is like Brennan Manning's Ragamuffin Gospel, only as it would have been written specifically for the hearts of women. Powerful, simple, both comforting and wrenching, Freeman is one of the very few authors I've found who give voice to both the beautiful and the hideous places of the heart. She lays it out with gentle candour, with the soft voice that a loving friend uses for hard words, and she invites you to laugh at the same time for the joy of real grace. That's the thing about this book...there's Real grace here, the kind that makes you laugh and cry at the same time. She does Not deal in platitudes and easy when she says "let go of the try-hard life," she shows you her own. I am amazed by the vulnerability of the author in this book. She instructs well, but she never pretends she knows more about you than she does, and she offers you that grace as well. I've recommended this book to all of my family and many friends and clients, and I eagerly await the coming of Graceful this fall.
RebeccaMSarine More than 1 year ago
Emily puts words to so many things that I have thought, experienced and how I deal with life. I cried my way through this book because it was so real. The first time through it was hard to read. I really had to stop and breath between chapters. But some amazing things have come about through the reading. I am ever thankful that I picked up this book to read it. Emily writes in a genuine and relevant manor. She is transparent. It is incredible that she would share herself this way and willingly help so many of us good girls out there. Being a good girl is when we put on masks and try to control the opnions of those around us, take resposibility for just about everything that goes on around us and set standards for ourselves and others that are impossible to keep. I am so glad to recognize these patterns in my life and make steps to become a recovering good girl. After reading it the first time, I then read through it again and have found that i can name my masks, detect when I am putting them on, and am working to take them off. I would encourage just about everyone I know to read this book at least once, but possible several times through. There are good questions with each chapter that allow for reflection and getting more personal. The first half of the book is on what a good girl looks like behind the masks and then the second part of the book talks about taking the masks off. There is no easy fix for this good girl life. It is an everyday process of turning to God for our redemption but she puts us on the right track for taking off our masks and living in freedom. She also wrote several posts on her blog as part of a summer book club reading of it. I would encourage readers to check those out. After reading this book, I just want to sit with Emily and drink a cup of coffee. READ THIS BOOK. You won't be disappointed. I can not say enough good things.
Gracie-Jayne More than 1 year ago
This book is life changing. It spoke to me in ways that helped free me and allowed me to grow. Emily Freeman, the author is an excellent writer and the whole time I felt like she had written this book for me. I read it with a friend and an online book group and everyone had a similar experience of the feeling that it had been written with them in mind. This book is a must read.
Melbert More than 1 year ago
I thought this book hit the nail right on the head...and not just for me! Thanks so much, Emily, for being brave enough to tackle a subject I think every woman deals with!
truebluebrenda More than 1 year ago
I've been telling people about this book constantly since I read it last September. It's one of a few recent books that so inspired me, I wanted to hand out copies on a street corner. I am a Good Girl in the bone, and this book highlighted truths that God has already taught me through experience, as well as lots of things I still need to claim for myself. It's freeing, encouraging, and life-changing. I soak up everything Emily Freeman says, both here and at her blog, and can't wait to read more from her in the future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't know if I can find enough words to describe how thankful I am for Emily Freeman's "Grace for the Good Girl". In this book she shares her own experiences vulnerably, shares stories and anecdotes that illustrate truth beautifully, and invites every reader to slow down, breathe, and experience freedom from the masks our flesh traps us in. She has put into words what I have felt my whole life as a good girl, and yet up until now have never quite had the words to describe. I am so grateful for the gift of this book! And I highly recommend to any reader: if you have a sneaking suspicion you might be a good girl - read it and be set free! If you have a sneaking suspicion someone you know or are close to is a good girl - read it and gain insight and understanding to what makes them tick!
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