Freedom from Legalism

I always worry when I write about legalism. It’s like writing about humility – the minute you think you’ve got it, it’s gone. But I feel the need because it’s just so easy to slip into a legalistic attitude. I know, because I fight that battle daily.   So what is legalism? Most simply put, it’s “pursuing good works with the intention of earning God’s favor.” Few Christians would say we believe that – obviously, we know the Bible says salvation is by grace through faith. But practically, it just “feels” like we should have to do more. I, personally, like “checklists”. Right now, I have a long electronic Post-It note on my computer with a list of papers I need to grade, emails I need...

The Eli Diaries

It has been a while since I’ve written anything new, and I am SUPER excited to tell you that I am back!! I am thrilled to tell you guys about the new project I am part of… In this series of novellas, the question is asked: What if Jesus were in high school today? Who would he hang out with? What would he say? What would he do? Authors Bill Myers, Melody Carlson, Jeff Gerke, Shawn Hopkins, and I will each be writing from the perspective of one of Eli’s fellow students: Maggie: the all-school sleep-around Judas: the super-rich friend always looking for an angle Martha: the good, uber-religious girl Tommy: the pessimistic downer Pete: a hot-tempered jock with a bad case of foot-in-mouth disease The first in the series is out today, and is told from...

Just Not Good Enough

We might not all say it, but we ALL feel, at one time or another, some of us more often than others, that we are just not good enough. We look at others and see so many who are smarter, prettier, richer. We see girls who seem to have it all together and we get discouraged because we are SO not together. Just about everyone struggles with these feelings. Seriously. I can’t tell you how many girls I’ve talked to who are beautiful, stunning, yet look at themselves in the mirror and think they are the ugliest girl on the planet. Or girls who seem to breeze through even the toughest classes, but are wracked with worry every night before a big test. Sometimes the girls who seem to know everyone feel incredibly lonely and unloved. Becoming a supermodel or a famous...

How Do I Know God’s Will for My Life?

Finding God’s will is a sometimes-overwhelming prospect. While we know a lot for sure, there are others areas that are gray. How do we navigate those areas? This is in my mind right now because my oldest is wrestling through it. As a recent high school graduate, she has a lot of new, adult decisions to make: where to go to school, to church, what to study, who to date…She thought she had at least the first of those all figured out. She chose a college last fall, got scholarships, had her dorm and roommate all picked out and then…circumstances intervened and that fell through. So what does a Jesus-follower do when we don’t know what God wants? When there’s no verse that says, “Go to _____ college,” “Study...

Embracing the Uncomfortable

I hate being uncomfortable. I hate tension. I hate change. I want everyone to be happy and healthy and for life to go smoothly. I want disagreements to be limited to chocolate vs. vanilla or tea vs. coffee (the correct answers being chocolate and coffee, of course!) But..life isn’t like that. There is discomfort and tension and change. There is unhappiness and sickness and disagreements that rip people apart. It’s not that some people enjoy the above-mentioned horrors. But some can manage them better. Unfortunately, I am not one of those people. My husband jokes that, in difficult times, I am like a snapping turtle – I either sink into my “shell” and avoid everyone, or I come out snapping off fingers and toes! Lately, I have bounced...