After 6 weeks on the road, we’re going home. We went to Phoenix for 3.5 weeks, Palm Springs for 1, and ended up in El Paso for nearly a week because of bad weather. We’re so thankful we got to go on this trip, but we can’t wait for our own beds (even our four year old said that’s what she’s excited to go home for), my piano, and Duluth drinking water.
In a world full of gurus and motivational speakers and influencers telling you to hustle harder, believe in yourself, love yourself more, and never give up on your dreams– ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Fill your life instead with women like @abigail__dodds, who never skimp on gospel truth; women like @phyliciamasonheimer who will tell you the truth in love, freeing you from the burden of yourself; women like @ruthchousimons who remind you that joy isn’t found in beholding this world, yourself, or your achievements but Christ alone; women like @hunterbeless who share some of their struggles not to complain, but to help others see Christ working in difficulty; who women like @gretchensaffles who point you over and over to the Word over feelings and subjective truth. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ But most importantly, find yourself an in real life Jamie (@unlikely_homeschool) and Liz (not on IG), women who will see and hear your joys and struggles face to face, who will tell you not to indulge your selfish desires but tell you not to “grow weary in doing good,” and that the difficult, unseen, unappreciated work you’re doing is good and important. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Today’s most popular messages sound good and often feel good, but the Gospel truth shared by women online and in person will always spur you on to look more like Christ, not just the best version of yourself (bob goff). And that’s the best place to be.
Some unpopular ideas spurred the idea for my podcast: ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Self-love isn’t the way to self-love. Loving God is. And: loving ourselves is healthy but not our main objective of life. Loving God is. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We're not the hero of our stories. We can make choices that affect our lives, but we can't ultimately control everything. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We're not enough. Our enoughness comes from Christ alone. That's where true freedom lies: knowing we don't have to strive to be enough. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Hustling too often leads to burnout, feelings of insecurity, and comparison, and is not the way to true success ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Self-care won't give us true rest. Only by abiding with Jesus and his rhythms for our life will we find rest. (self-care is just the version without Jesus, and is usually too self-focused.) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We'll be going over these ideas, plus a lot more, on the first season of the @ofgraceandtruthpodcast. Follow the podcast or subscribe on iTunes to be notified when these episodes release
GIVEAWAY /// Custom Wedding Photography Website!! I reluctantly “retired” as a wedding photographer last year and I would be so so sad if the @showit site I meticulously created just went away. So I’d rather give it away to TWO of you rather than try to sell it. Swipe for a preview of the site. You can see it live thru the link in my profile too TO ENTER: 1. Follow @meaganelling 2. Tag a friend you think would love a new photography site Templates like this go for around $500 or higher, and custom made websites can be thousands of dollars. A few notes: 1. This giveaway isn’t sponsored by Showit 2. This site hasn’t been put thru Showits high design standards, so any imperfections are on me and not them (but they‘ve always been super helpful at answering all of my dumb questions. Usually with funny GIFs) 3. This site needs a monthly subscription, around 30$/mo 4. This site requires the purchase of a font for legal use, from my favorite font designer @peachcremebranding Have all of your entries in by 2/12 at 9pm CST. Be sure to share this post with your photographer friends so they can have a chance at a new site!
I was skeptical of Rachel Hollis’s messages the minute I could tell that others had just read GWYF just by their style of writing. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ In the years since I’ve dug way more into all of the messages that permeate our culture than I ever thought I would. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Its inspired a book proposal, a podcast, been a chapter in a book, and numerous blog posts. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ It’s gotten me blocked by Rachel Hollis and her husband (It’s an elite club). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ And at the very core I’ve noticed that the ULTIMATE problem she and us are all trying to solve is the problem of shame and brokenness in humanity. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Her message tries to solve it through believing in ourselves, loving ourselves, and living into our full potential. But her and others message that rely on this framework actually KEEP people stuck in their shame. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Those messages like you are enough and you are worthy are nice sounding offenses to the cross and death of Jesus Christ. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ It’s an offense to say that shame and feelings of inadequacy is simply a mindset when it actually required the death of a perfect God. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The uplifting sounding messages are theologically corrupt because they reply on a gospel of self instead of the gospel of Christ. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ It initially sounds offensive to suggest that one is theologically corrupt for claiming that love and happiness are found on the other side of believing you are enough. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ But that’s the message of the cross. In its presence we have to say that we’re not enough, that we’re unholy, but that God is holy. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Freedom from shame is found not from looking within ourselves at the very place it resides and willing it to chance, but by looking at Christ and his holiness in spite of our own lack. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ This is redemption. This is freedom. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Not in yourself. Not in your mindset. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ In Christ alone. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Conversation continued in stories
There are some new people joining me here so I want to do a quick #fridayintroductions so you all know the person behind the words: ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I was inspired to start writing about the self help “movement” by Rachel Hollis, after reading her books that sounded questionable. My focus lately and since then has been teaching women how to discern half truth from truth amidst a culture of self. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ That passion turned into a podcast (@ofgraceandtruthpodcast) and the hopes to write a book about the self help culture. So I guess, thanks RH? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I’ve been married to my husband reed for 7 (and a half 💁🏽♀️) years and we have two daughters. We live in Duluth MN and we renovate houses and have an online resale business ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I have a writing degree that I was sure I’d never use ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We renovated a fifth wheel this fall/winter and took it to the southwest for the winter. We were in AZ for a month and now we’re in Palm Springs. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We homeschool, I’m a former wedding photographer, I love admiring beautiful home design, love national parks, and have been to 48 states. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I’m so excited you all are joining me here and I can’t wait to have more conversations about culture and self help and the gospel with you all
Another before & after ➡️ We just finished the first 4 week leg of our trip in Phoenix, the first time staying in our newly renovated camper. Something broke on it almost every day, but after almost a month we’re finally feeling comfortable with it as our mini home. We didn’t have any plans after Phoenix so today we found a nice campground in Palm Springs for a week-ish, then after maybe we’ll go to San Diego then back through AZ and TX on our way home to MN We loved our time in Phoenix (and you guys know how much I love the cactuses) but we’re excited to keep exploring the southwest
Our culture says that to find our identity and freedom from insecurity we should create an identity based on our feelings and desires, and what we think our most authentic self is. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Even though this view can sound biblical, it's rooted more in Nietzsche and late 19th-century philosophy than the Bible. Nietzsche thought a sovereign man was his own man, was becoming a mass phenomenon: there was nothing above him that could tell him who he ought to be because he was the sole owner of himself. (Alain Ehrenberg) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The bible says that we are not our own (1 Cor 6:19) and that there IS something above us who tells us who to be. He tells us who to be because, since he made us, he only truly knows who we are to be. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ @sharonhmiller and I talked about this topic this week on the @ofgraceandtruthpodcast. We dug into the idea of this is me, or the popular message that encourages women to boldly embrace the identity they create. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Historically, people found their identity through place, tradition, and family roots. Instead of having to create an identity throughout their 20s and 30s (and beyond...), they knew it from childhood. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The historical way to find identity wasn't perfect, but I wonder if a factor of today's purposeless and depressed 20 somethings doesn't have to do with the pressure of creating their own identity. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ An identity led by feelings and desires will always waver, fuels insecurity, and isn't the cure of insecurity, like our culture says. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ When we feel shaken in our identity rooted in our career, parenthood, marriage, orientation, age, or abilities, our entire identity will falter with it. We'll only find a stable identity and peace when it's foundation is on Christ.
We've been in Phoenix for almost three weeks now, and we are just starting to feel like we're slowing down. From our normal pace of life, from the pace of work commitments, from the speed of our minds at home. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ It's taken three weeks of living in a camper with a very minimal amount of things and where we can mostly do what we want to slow down. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Three weeks. And I'm sure I'm not even quite detoxed yet. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ That says a lot about how numb we–us and society–are to too-full lives. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We've been thinking a lot about how we can slow down and simplify our life so that our way of life, as @johnmarkcomer says, matches our beliefs as followers of Jesus. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ In other words, John Mark reminds us all that we need margin. Something we haven't had much of this last year. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Our time, finances, things, commitments, weekly schedules, and work habits all have to be analyzed and examined. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Will this mean selling a lot of our things and buying a smaller home, freeing us to work less and maintain less? Or be more strict with our self-employment schedules? Or remove some things and commitments in our week? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We don't know yet. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Reed and I have a lot of dreams and goals, but too often our work for them drives us to exhaustion rather than peace and rest. And like John Mark says in his book The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, One of the key tasks of our apprenticeship to Jesus is living into both our potential and our limitations. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We are limited, in our time, money, energy, emotions, relationships. We want to learn to respect the limitations we have, which respect that God is God and we are not, by living below our means. And I don't mean just financially. I highly recommend John Mark’s book that I mentioned above. It’s been one of my all time favorite books.
It’s common to accuse someone of causing division” if they are not accepting of new doctrine or aren’t willing to entertain thoughts or discussions about it. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ But friends, we should not waver in our beliefs and doctrine to seek unity with other Christians above unity with Christ. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ There are things we are called to do when interacting with others’ and their opinions, and things we’re not: ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We do not need to: -respect everybody’s opinion. You can respect someone and still be clear that you don’t agree -determine someone’s salvation -entertain or discuss certain beliefs or doctrine that is unbiblical in order to be “open minded” or tolerant of other beliefs -believe everyone’s opinions is valid -shove our beliefs down people’s throats ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ What we are called to do: -discern truth from lie. This includes discerning if what people are telling us is true. And if we can trust their teaching or words or not. -love -proclaim the truth -Listen to others’ beliefs, in order to understand the person and their heart. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ When we aren’t clear about our beliefs, count everyone’s opinion as respectable and valid, and tolerate all beliefs to stand as more important than our own, truth wavers. The line in the sand gets to move wherever the other party wants it. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ A lot of this stems from a fear of being called “intolerant” or thought of as closed-minded. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Essentially, we pick unity with people over unity with Christ. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We fear separation from people, but we choose separation from Christ. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ This does not give us an excuse to be graceless and rude. But we can boldly speak truth, the historical core doctrine of the Bible, with respect and love. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Friends, we don’t cause division when we stand on historical doctrine of the church. That’s where true unity is found. Division is caused by those attempting to bring new doctrine *in.* ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Remember: unity with Christians is not our ultimate goal in life; unity with Christ is.