how to be a good Christian girl

A good Christian girl will embody the following character traits:

  • She will be coy, never initiating a relationship.
  • She will dress modestly, never as a tease.
  • She will wear make up, but never to excess.

A good Christian girl will not demonstrate the following character flaws:

  • She will never argue with, or even question the wisdom of, her elders.
  • She will never demand her own way, either in intellectual debate or interpersonal relations.
  • She will never take over the “reigns of authority”.

A good Christian girl will know her role in God’s grand scheme, that she has a perfectly-planned function, and true contentment will come when she obediently embraces this function, in faith.

Lord, how I tried to be a good Christian girl. And I was never much a success with the avoiding of character flaws.

As soon as I reached 18, I fought constantly with my dad, and I was incessantly questioning the official church positions—especially as I would read my Bible, even according to a ridiculously narrow Fundamentalist interpretation, and see that the church I attended contradicted even this. (The church, now a part of my distant past, was terribly abusive—borderline cultish).

To argue with authority was to engage in “rebellion”, which, according to I Samuel 15:23 is equated with the sin of witchcraft. Whenever I argued with dad, it was like I was involved in witchcraft. Rebelling against authority was rebelling against God, since God put that authority in my life. I was, no matter how desperately I tried not to be, a very bad girl.

Years ago, now, I went through a Bible Study wherein I began my deep self-analysis, looking to unearth my false beliefs and how damaging they were. I got a lot of work done then, and one epiphany I had was that the unspoken rules I tried to shoulder, when laid down side by side, boiled down to forbidding me to exist. They included:

  • People can’t handle how you feel. (Implication: keep your feelings to yourself—lie, if you have to.)
  • Dancing and alcohol are sins: never touch either.
  • Never talk about family issues. (Specification: not with anyone, family members, included.)
  • Don’t admit weaknesses, for this is a lack of faith.
  • Never be offended or hurt, even if the offense or hurt is deliberate.
  • Be content.
  • Be an example.
  • Don’t be an embarrassment to the family name.
  • Don’t be emotional.
  • Don’t be intellectual.
  • Don’t be crude.
  • Be a perfect lady.
  • Listen. Shut up.
  • Don’t be independent.
  • Don’t need help.
  • Roll with the punches.
  • Don’t have embarrassing problems (all problems are embarrassing).
  • Know what people are thinking and act accordingly.
  • Don’t offend anyone.
  • Don’t ever even appear offensive to anyone. Give no opportunity for offense.
  • Do nothing that might cause another to stumble into sin.

What’s amazing is how desperately I tried to follow this set, which when applied can boil down to “don’t be.” Thus, because I was, I was disobeying the rules—which is rebellion, which is witchcraft.

Most of these rules have thankfully gone the way of the buffalo in my life. But not the motivation for them that I internalized. I still seek to be approved by certain others—maybe not wholly to feel good about myself, but certainly as a part of the self-acceptance package. Even as I went through that study that was designed to eradicate such beliefs, I didn’t let go of all of them. I just transferred my approval ratings to a different set of people, and rewrote the criteria, reducing the list some.

I’ve wholly absorbed rules about how a woman should approach relationships. I’m still very private about current struggles, preferring only to discuss those I’ve had in the past and to some level come to terms with. And I’ve changed the ‘be an example’ around to ‘be an example to your family.’ And because I still want them to accept me, I roll with the punches they throw (except those by my next-younger sister, who has thrown so many, I hit a breaking point years ago, and broke off most communication with her).

So I’m a good Christian girl, redefined. Passive, when it comes to relationships. Outspoken, otherwise. So people think I’m this very confident woman, strong and independent. Yet I have zero confidence in initiating relationships. I’ve always let them confront me. Even when I was pretending to be straight (or ‘ex-gay’), I let guys initiate any dating scenarios. The only thing I initiated was the break up (I don’t think a guy has ever broken up with me—except once, and that was when I was calling him to break up: so I think that one’s safely mutual). Now I have no clue how to get into a relationship. So does being a good Christian entail being alone the rest of my life, waiting patiently for the woman of my dreams to take the initiative?

That’s living in the future. And my philosophical position about time is that the future doesn’t exist. So there I am again, trying not to exist. I did that a lot as an ‘ex gay’. Looking back, I see a couple times (one was amazingly powerful) where stunning women were hitting on me (one even pursued me). And I was intensely interested, but convinced this was a temptation I should, as a good Christian girl living by faith, flee from. Regret, regret, regret.

So now I don’t know how to be a good Christian. But I’m not exactly interested in that, to be honest. I just want to be. Now. Here. And I happen to be a Christian, which means I happen to love Jesus. To steal from Descartes (who stole from Augustine, so it’s fair play), amo ergo sum. If I love, then I exist. But then I have to do something with that—in the reality of the present.

And I have no idea how.



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