Shattered Illusions of a Goody-Goody

July 9, 2020 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Family Focus

By Jane Thornton

Confession: I captured my husband under false pretenses.

Not intentional deceit, I make every effort to be open; I strongly believe in being frank—but somehow, on first impression, most people judge me to be ladylike. This notion even lingers beyond acquaintance. Perhaps some of my traits and habits reinforce the reaction: I have a girly southern voice; I collect china cups and saucers; I tear up over Hallmark commercials and romantic movies.

Even those who are not so impressed with me have been known to categorize me as a goody-goody.

Unfortunately, as my husband discovered after our wedding day, the illusion does not hold up under day to day living. I’m often loud, silly, grouchy, and selfish to name a few not-so-ladylike attributes. Thank God, over the last twenty-five years, Wes has found other reasons to love me!

One day in the first year of our marriage, I shared with him the story of what I considered the follies of my youth:

As a freshman in college, I wanted to spread my wings and test my new freedom. I stepped outside of my moral standards and went with a group of friends to well-known strip club. (Please hold back your gasps; there’s worse to come.)

I felt daring, cosmopolitan, wild. Upon the urgings of the crowd, I even tipped a dancer a dollar and asked for a kiss. I flushed with my audacity. I managed to rationalize and smush any shame.

We tromped back to the dorm and fell into the dreamy slumber of slightly tainted innocence.

The next afternoon, I developed a scratchy throat. By evening, my glands were swelling and red. I scrambled through my mail, and, with horrified dread, I re-read the letter from my mother: “Mimi says to be careful. She read an article saying that there’s an epidemic going around of gonorrhea of the mouth.”

Fear drove spikes through my heart. Shame escaped its prison and swamped me. I cried myself to sleep, nightmares haunting me with the necessity of confessing to my parents that I had an STD.

I did not.

And, I did not confess my misdeeds until much later. In spite of my own regrets, I was surprised that when I told Wes, seven years later, he was angry. Now, with the perspective of our silver anniversary, I know that I shattered some of his illusions with that confession.

Recently, I revealed this story to a church friend. She, too, was horrified and grossed out by my peccadillo. I tumbled off the pedestal I didn’t know she had put me on. That fall is probably a good thing since I don’t belong there.

Praise the Lord that I do not have to earn the image of being good. In Romans, Paul says Jesus gave me His righteousness (3:22). “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23-24 NIV).

Comment Prompt: What impressions – true or false – do people have of you?

About Jane Thornton

Jane Thornton, English teacher, wife, and mom of two almost grown children, strives to break free of the automatic boring label attached to those roles. Her two suspense novels eagerly await a willing publisher, and her articles search for inspiration in the humor and tears of life.
  • Advertisement


4 Responses to “Shattered Illusions of a Goody-Goody”
  1. Holly Smith says:

    Love your candor Jane! What was that movie where they went to the male dancer club with the mother and grandmother like an initiation before Sandra Bullock’s marriage? If that’s all you did then good for you. Thank God He washed all of us clean for our wanderings. Good article. Hugs, Holly

  2. julie marx says:

    You’re still on my “like” list, Jane. And now view you as a much more approachable Christian. Great post.

  3. Kevin Joyner says:

    I love your writings! Did you, by the way, hear that crash of you falling off the pedestal? I am just teasing. Your placement on that pedestal has nothing to do with your wild, rambunctious days that I didnt know about! It is due to the day to day situations in which I see you handle yourself and think, ” Wow, I should have doen it that way” Thanks for being the example(I know its all a facade but that’s okay)! Stop correcting my grammar!!! 🙂

  4. Bobby Squire says:

    Jane, thank you for this article. If there is anyone who needs the righteousness of our Lord to overwhelm one’s own lack of “right-ness,” it’s me. Thank you for your candor… and the hopefulness of a life well-lived (i.e., one that is looking to Jesus for identity). Bobby Squire

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

Prove You\'re Human: *