listening to grace

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To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side I learn who I am and what God’s grace means. Brennan Manning Every book of the Bible from Romans to Philemon starts with something to the effect of “May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.” And then all of those same books end with another blessing of God’s grace. That’s thirteen books, for those of you who use the table of contents as much as I do. Maybe that’s just Paul’s style. Grace and peace, like a Biblical hippie. That, or he was really trying to get a point across. I had always skipped over those parts before because I have heard the words grace and peace a lot. Like, a lot. So much so that they had become buzz words that told me it was time to tune out. (Makes me think about what else I might be tuning out, right?) But now, grace is changing me. Martin Luther said that most Christians have enough religion to feel guilty about their sins but not enough to enjoy life in the Spirit. That’s so true for me. I’ve lived heavy in the guilt. I remember one night in junior high, I was supposed to be watching my younger siblings while my parents went out, but instead I spent hours on the phone with my “boyfriend.” My brother and sister didn’t care- … Read More

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done with christian guilt

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In general, I’m obedient. A rule-follower. And sometimes that makes me extra cautious. For the longest time, I’ve dealt with anxiety about the way I should be living my life. Why have I been so anxious? Christian guilt. (At least, that’s part of the reason. The rest is probably just me.) Let me clarify, I don’t mean the guilt that comes from conviction from God. What I’m talking about are the expectations that I felt were placed on me by Christian culture. Those were weighing me down. As I was growing up, I loved reading books about Christian dating, listening to modesty talks, and traveling to Christian conferences. Though this left me with a heart that genuinely wanted to please God, it also left me searching for what God wanted. What I found were all kinds of opinions. Because I wanted to please God so badly, I generally took the more conservative advice. Don’t wear a bikini. Don’t say that word. Don’t listen to that music. Don’t wear that skirt or that shirt. If you’re alone with a boy you’re dating, it will probably lead to sex. I guess I thought God was conservative. At some point, I noticed all of the pressure I had put on myself to follow the words God had given to other people. I wanted to wear a bikini because it was more comfortable and they’re just easier to find in stores. I wanted to cuss because sometimes life gives you situations that beg for … Read More

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