Friday, April 12, 2013

Funtastic Friend Friday: Bri Fitzpatrick

One of the most fun things about the East Young Life team is that three of us all went to the same high school and love to represent the 3-3-6 together. Today's friend is one of those people. She is a teammie, but also a friend since the days of high school. Bri is one year younger than me, but we have always run in similar Young Life circles. Having Bri be a part of the East YL team has been truly one of the largest blessings in my life. She is a person who has a genuinely kind soul. Every Tuesday night Bri comes over to my house to plan campaigners together and it's those moments that I will look back on and cherish forever. As we sit on my bed planning, we also share our lives and all that is going on in them. It's been in those moments that I have come to realize just how similar Bri and I really are. There have been countless moments where I breath a sigh on relief because I realize that at least I'm not the only one that thinks the way I do. I am forever thankful for how the Lord placed Bri on the East YL team at just the right time.

nerdy dance party lovin'
east team ladies
I could not be more excited for Bri's post. One, because I know how difficult it was for her to get up the courage to write it. And two, because it's everything that I would say as well and just have not known how to for a very long time. She so perfectly crafts the words that have been swirling in my head as I attempt to understand my striving good girl attitude and the grace that my heart so desperately craves. Let us be reminded, our God is El Roi, the One who sees. 


A few weeks ago Jordan showed me a book titled, Grace for the Good Girl by Emily Freeman, and told me that I should read it. I have to admit that I first read the title and did not know what to think. But, a few days later, I bought the book, read the first chapter, and came to the conclusion that I am, in fact, a good girl, or I try to be. And now, every Tuesday night I look forward to sitting in Jordan’s room trying to unpack this book and the jumbled thoughts in my head. It’s messy, but it’s awesome.

A good girl is responsible. She has everything to do with put together and nothing to do with falling apart. She is always sweet, always positive, and never needs anything. She makes good grades and goes to church every Sunday. She is always busy but always says yes when asked to help. She never makes mistakes. Everyone loves her. I am not always all of those things. And yet, I do my very best to convince myself and everyone else that I am.

I can’t believe I just admitted that.

I have spent my whole life trying really hard to appear perfect. But what I am realizing more and more is that I also have a desperate longing to be seen as I am. The problem is that I have had a hard time convincing myself that being known and being loved can go together. I am convinced that to be loved, I must be perfect, and I panic at the thought of being found out. Surely, if anyone knew how imperfect I really am, they would be disappointed and not want to love me anymore.

Everyone else is allowed to have imperfections. I will even admire their willingness to openly admit them. My imperfections are another story.

For the past two years I have been learning what it means to be known by God. He has shown me that I am deeply known and fiercely loved. When I finally came out from hiding and fell at Jesus’ feet as my imperfect, shame-filled self, I was awestruck. As I risk being seen by God himself, I get a glimpse of his infinite beauty, I experience unconditional love, and I am overwhelmed with grace. I believed a lie that I was unknown and forgotten when all along I could not have been more known by God.

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; My soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” Psalm 139:13-16

I challenge you to go read all of Psalm 139 today. Seriously, do it! I read it and I am reminded that God knows me far better than I know myself. God knew me as he breathed life into Adam and Eve. His eyes saw my unformed body as he hung on the cross for me. He carefully and purposefully designed every part of me. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am known. I am loved. I never want to stop digging deeper into this, for I know the Lord will gladly reveal that much more of himself as I do.

Although I can confidently claim the truth of being known by Jesus, I still find myself face to face with fear as he calls me deeper in my relationships with other people. I appreciate vulnerability in others, but I have a hard time with it myself. I fear that I am not enough.

And yet, I long to step out from my safe hiding place and be known. God is dramatically altering my idea of what this looks like as I read Grace for the Good Girl. Letting myself be known is partly about telling people what I am struggling with and experiencing. However, the hardest part for me is to let go of my need to be the good girl and to allow myself to just be.

When I am having a hard day I tend to put on a smile and make myself busy to cover it up. I keep moving and tell myself I will deal with it later. What would it look like if I stopped covering up my messy days, acting like I have it all together, and hiding behind my busy schedule?

The truth is, I don’t know. I am just beginning to find out. Right now I do know that when I rest in the truth that I am intimately known by the Lord, I find freedom. In that freedom, I find the confidence to risk exposure and let myself be known by others.  

“… now you have a choice: live from your flesh, your false identity, your mask. Or live from your spirit, your true identity, and your freedom. You have the letting power. Let fear dominate or let peace rule.”
- Emily Freeman, Grace for the Good Girl

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