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Posts By Erika Schanzenbach


Don’t Be a Narcissist {A Girl’s Guide to the Good Life}

A Revolutionary Act Giving thanks is a revolutionary act. Thankfulness is not intuitive for us as we sit calculating our wants and needs. On top of our own inequitable ideas of what we deserve, we find ourselves operating in a world crowded with misery and injustice and violence, where our suffering may indeed be the result of someone else’s sin. The innumerable manifestations of wrongdoing proliferate daily and are displayed publicly by absentee fathers, gossip mongers, child pornographers, smooth-tongued liars, hypocritical churchgoers, and a seemingly endless variety of miscreants. The stinging pain of all that sin presses in, trespassing in. . .
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Be a DOer {A Girl’s Guide to the Good Life}

God didn’t create us as disembodied spirits to hover idly in space, He created men and women with hands and feet, and placed them in a garden on the earth. He assigned work to do: multiply, subdue the earth, take dominion.

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Know Who Your Friends & Your Enemies Are {A Girl’s Guide to the Good Life}

Waging War Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?—James 4:1 Life together is difficult. I doubt many people will argue with that. We mount wars against each other when we should be blessed peacemakers. If we stop for a moment we can probably all think of an example of this in our own experience. The odd thing is that we keep looking for a serene existence all the while being led by our own desires to trample the perfect commands of God and grind. . .
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Are You on Good Terms with Abortion? Why Words Matter

Friends, we have lost control of the conversation about abortion. It’s our own fault. For forty four years we have not only acquiesced to a wicked and unjust court opinion in Roe v. Wade, but we also adopted the opposition’s definition of terms ensuring our failure. We stand by while millions of our neighbors are murdered and we carefully purge our language of offensive verbiage. We converse in terms of viability, legality, choice instead of humanity, justice, and sin. We beg sinners to love life while refusing to call them to repentance for pursuing death. We peddle faux compassion in. . .
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Be Steadfast {A Girl’s Guide to the Good Life}

Steadfast Faith In a world where people display the constancy of butterflies and changefulness of chameleons, be a sequoia. Sequoias are not only the largest trees in the world, but possibly one of the oldest living things on earth. They are broad, sturdy, tall, aged, and if they can be said to do anything, they stand. They stand there, year after year, growing in height and breadth. I think we may safely call them steadfast. We should be steadfast too. The prophet assures us: The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You.—Isaiah 26:3. . .
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Use Your Talents {A Girl’s Guide to the Good Life}

Big Problems In the course of a day, how many times do you make contact with the suffering of another living being? Really, if you counted them, how many would there be? It is 6:00 a.m. your radio alarm clicks on and reports that another suicide bomber took out twenty-three more people somewhere in the Middle East (one). Good morning. After mining the nighttime crusties from your eyes and brushing your teeth, you take a scroll through your social feeds. Your college friend just got back from India, a medical mission to the slums, and she brought back scads of. . .
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Is Your House a Hiding Place or a Home Base?

What should the activity inside our homes look like when those homes are situated in communities where the foster system is over loaded with kids, many who have been abandoned and abused by their very own parents? What should drive our daily schedule when a few steps from our door our helpless pre-born neighbors are being taken to the slaughter in “safe and legal” clinics? What should we be doing with our down time when the powers-that-be decide it is beneficial to the community to steal our neighbor’s property in the name of economic development or threaten his business with. . .
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It’s NOT About YourSelfie {A Girl’s Guide to the Good Life}

Selfie-ish DayDreams That fantasy you have in your head—it’s not real. You know what I’m talking about, the Instagram filtered version of your future where everything your life now lacks will finally be in your grasp. You’ll be an adult and free of your parents demands on you, or you’ll be done with classrooms and test taking and on to your dream job, or Ryan Reynolds will have finally realized what a doofus he was for not finding you and marrying you sooner. Yep, it sounds nice. The problem is, it’s the daydream equivalent of a selfie. The foreground consists. . .
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Know Who Your Boss Is {A Girl’s Guide to the Good Life}

No matter how independent we imagine ourselves, we are not. Before we can toddle about on our own two feet, our hearts (if not our lips) impetuously bawl, “You’re not the boss of me!” to anyone with the audacity to order us about. Unfortunately, infantile outbursts against rightful authority are not outgrown as quickly as a two-year-old stretches the limits of her toddler clothes. When last season’s footie jammies are pulled out of storage it’s obvious they need to go, but we continue trying to outfit ourselves with positions of independence and autonomy refusing to acknowledge that no matter how. . .
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Evangelism & No Judgment Zones

Unwelcome Evangelism The world desires safe spaces be maintained; spaces free of judgment, free of guilt, free of fear and shame. They love sin, and do not want their daily routine jarred by the Word of the Lord. Jesus said, “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish”—He preached a jarring message. When we take God’s Word to the streets we see how disturbing it is to feelings of safety in secular spaces. Worldlings chafe under the proclamation of the only existing remedy for their guilt and shame, and as their consciences are rubbed raw they scorn the ones who. . .
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Growing Up Single {A Girl’s Guide to the Good Life}

Sometimes it seems like no progress can be made in life until there is a wedding band on your finger. In the church we have tried to morph marriage into a fairytale cure for all ills. Are you self-centered, immature, discontent, lustful, lazy? Get married, that will change you and finally vanquish these formidable adversaries. We want to apply a circumstantial cure to problems of the heart. When our story doesn’t seem to be working out on schedule much desperate advice is given, “You should try online dating, I know someone who married a guy she met online.” “There’s a. . .
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Be Hopeful {A Girl’s Guide to the Good Life}

Grasping the Wind “Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die!” (Isaiah 22:13). This is a common sentiment among us, though we may verbalize it in more subtle ways. “Live for the moment.” “Life is a collection of experiences.” “The joy is in the journey.” There is a residue of truth in these sayings which is appealing. We want our moments to matter. Of course we do, but the draw of the world to do what we feel in every moment is a message that is more convenient than it is true. The writer of Ecclesiastes, who is perhaps. . .
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Beware of Bitterness {A Girl’s Guide to the Good Life}

Situational Bitterness Whatever it is we think we deserve; we don’t. It seems merciless to strip our presumed entitlements of their sympathetic narratives and leave them standing stark naked in such unforgiving light. Why be so brutal about it? Because cherishing feelings of entitlement is just the type of thing that nourishes the root of poisonous bitterness and bears an abundance of rotten fruit. When the Israelites were preparing to enter the Land, they received a warning: Beware lest there be among you a man or woman or clan or tribe whose heart is turning away today from the Lord. . .
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Don’t Be Too Nice {A Girl’s Guide to the Good Life}

Nice isn’t Everything If I were to ask you what are some desirable traits in a Christian woman, what would you say? Meek? Patient? Loving? Kind? Joyful? Submissive? These are all biblical words, but I’m afraid we often infuse them with mushy meaning they were never intended to carry. We have a tendency to amalgamate all the words descriptive of Christian character under the single moniker: nice. Now there’s a word that isn’t biblical. Jesus never said, “blessed are the nice.” God didn’t thunder from Sinai, “Thou shalt be nice.” We have adopted this idea, I suspect, because niceness has. . .
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Be True {A Girl’s Guide to the Good Life}

The Devil is a liar, the father of all lies, and every minute we spend wallowing in unbelief of the truths of God, we spend swamped by the lies of the devil. The supreme Liar will ooze falsehood, it is all he contains. Our Father, however, is true in all His being. Jesus promises us that His truth will lift us out of the soggy mire. If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.—John 8: 32 Here’s the thing. We all know. . .
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Be the Right Kind of Busy {A Girl’s Guide to the Good Life}

Filled Up Lives Admit it, you have been known to blink the a.m. crusties out of your eyes and respond to the call of your accumulated notifications even before you answer the pressing call of nature. You are not alone. Your priorities may not be completely rational, but you are not alone. Apparently, as a culture, we think it a reasonable assumption that something may have happened during the night which is so critical to the next two minutes that it just can’t wait; with more than one urgency calling for our attention, we may even try to multitask and. . .
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Don’t Be Stupid {A Girl’s Guide to the Good Life}

Crooked Perspective Christian women often have a hard time gaining a firm footing in life. Young girls want more freedom, like their friends. Single girls want Prince Charming, like in the movies. Married women want children, or more children, or grown up children because toddlers are exhausting, or to reverse time to when their kids were babies again because it all went too fast. Working women may want to stay home while stay-at-home moms see their lives as tedious. We too often grasp after circumstances to steady our stance when we should pursue righteousness in everything and leave the circumstances. . .
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When You Don’t Want a Fresh Start, You Just Want to Succeed

Frozen Possibilities A new year might open up like a fresh can of paint full to the brim with vibrant possibility. On the other hand, it might dawn with piercing frigidity leaving you stone cold frozen. Festive tunes about sleigh rides and wonderlands aside, winter can be a pretty inhospitable season. I know, I am a Minnesota girl, born and raised. If you’ve never experienced the freezing of the contents of your nose upon inhaling the outside air, you don’t know what cold is. Even after relocating to more temperate climes, you never forget the kind of cold that makes. . .
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Keeping Hope Alive While You’re Waiting

Our earthly days are often strung together by threads of waiting. we catch it in mentions as our friends tell their stories: “I had given up on getting pregnant, and then along came little Jackson.” “I was nearly bankrupt when I landed that big contract.” “My sickness was undiagnosed for years, now I can finally get treatment.” “I was sure I would be single forever, and then I met Seth.” Most of us have stories of our own. Holding on to hope when fulfillment seems completely out of reach is not natural to us. We are plagued by doubts and. . .
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Giving Thanks for More Than Just STUFF

Giving Thanks for What We’ve Got We often think of giving thanks as being happy about the stuff we have: the warm house, hot lattes, and our new iPhone. While that is a part of thanksgiving, it may be the smaller part. A spirit of thanksgiving does more than smile contentedly as the platters of turkey and candy-coated sweet potatoes come around. It is good and right to openly express our gratitude for the stuff which makes our lives more pleasant and the people who have loved us through the ups and downs of the last year. These are very. . .
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Erika Schanzenbach

Erika Schanzenbach.

Erika manages design and social media for Highlands. She shares a home, her life, and a desire to build Christ's kingdom with her parents and sister in southwest Virginia. She mostly writes things she needs to hear herself.
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