A Lesson For Young People from Crime and Punishment

This summer, I had to read Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky as assigned reading. When I first started the book, I was frustrated, because it seemed like a boring and useless way to spend my summer. (And that’s coming from someone who likes books.) But about halfway through, things started to make sense and I began to enjoy it. 

The novel isn’t called a classic for no reason. The characters are masterpieces in and of themselves. It is known as one of the first psychological thrillers. Although some parts really were thrilling, it was the psychology that intrigued me.

In case you’ve never heard of this book, I’ll give you some background. The story is about a young Russian student who decides to quit college because he is poor and can’t afford it. He then contemplates killing a horrid pawnbroker who cheats people out of their money. The money-desperate student hates the idea and pushes it to the back of his mind. However, over time, he can’t get rid of it. He ends up killing her and the rest of the book is about his conscience and the way the murder affects him and his relationships. 

In the story, the young man has a theory about humankind. To explain it quickly, he divides humanity into two groups: the inferior group, and the superior group. Inferior humans have to abide by the law and have little value. They follow whatever the superior humans do. The “superiors” have the right to kill to accomplish their goals. This right isn’t a legal one, it’s just something that is necessary to bring actual change to the world. His example is Napoleon: according to the young man, Napoleon brought great change to society, but he did it through slaughtering thousands. Was it necessary? In his eyes, yes. 

So that’s his theory in a nutshell. It’s also what he uses to justify his murder of the pawnbroker at first. Throughout the story, he grows more and more aware of, and at the same time more and more resentful to the fact that his theory was wrong. He doesn’t want to admit that he isn’t superior, and his theory itself isn’t valid. 

In the last couple of paragraphs of the book, the young man is in a prison camp. He’s gone through excruciating hardship, which was his own fault, and he is looking into the future. He realizes he loves someone and he wonders what life will be like when he gets out of prison. (And to find out who that someone is, you’ll just have to read the book. She’s one of my favorite characters.)

And then there’s this line:

“Life had taken theories’ place.”

I couldn’t stop thinking about that sentence for weeks. 

How many young people have theories? How many young people are passionate about the ideas they have? How many young people get in arguments and riot and yell – all because they cling to a “theory”?

The answer to those questions is quite obvious: most young people have theories or ideas and are passionate about them. Myself included. 

But here’s the thing: only ideas grounded in life experience and wisdom will stand the test of time. 

And here’s the dilemma: young people don’t have life experience. At least, not that much of it – we think we know a lot more than we actually do. 

So how do we fix this? How do we make sure that our ideas aren’t baloney? How do we make sure our theories are well-grounded and that we are fighting for the right things?

To that I have two answers:

  1.  The Bible
  2. People who are much wiser than us 

God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 

Colossians 2:2b-3

Ultimate wisdom and truth are found in Christ. When we root ourselves and are built up in Him (Colossians 2:7), we will gain wisdom. The more a young person is hiding God’s truths in their heart, the wiser they become. This is an amazing privilege because as teenagers and twenty-somethings, we don’t have that much life experience or personally-gained wisdom. However, if we hide God’s Word in our hearts, we will become much wiser than the average young person.

Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight, for I give you good precepts; do not forsake my teaching. When I was a son with my father, tender, the only one in the sight of my mother, he taught me and said to me, “Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live. Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.

Proverbs 4:1-5

Wisdom is a treasure. According to Proverbs, one of the places we can find that treasure is our parents. They have more life experience than us and they are wiser than us. We should be quick to listen to their words. 

Young people should also be listening to other people around them who are wiser. Teachers, grandparents, wise (and perhaps older) friends, elderly believers, pastors, mentors, etc. We all have people in our circles who we can listen to and learn from. 

The young man in Crime and Punishment discovered that life is much more reliable than mere theories. Real experiences are more valuable than intangible ideas. Wisdom is gained as one gains years. 

Dear young person, you don’t know everything. You actually know much less than you think. Be humble. Be quick to listen. Learn from wise and godly people around you. This will serve you far more than any endeavor for a theory or cause. 

The novel isn’t called a classic for no reason. The characters are masterpieces in and of themselves. It is known as one of the first psychological thrillers. Although some parts really were thrilling, it was the psychology that intrigued me.

In case you’ve never heard of this book, I’ll give you some background. The story is about a young Russian student who decides to quit college because he is poor and can’t afford it. He then contemplates killing a horrid pawnbroker who cheats people out of their money. The money-desperate student hates the idea and pushes it to the back of his mind. However, over time, he can’t get rid of it. He ends up killing her and the rest of the book is about his conscience and the way the murder affects him and his relationships. 

In the story, the young man has a theory about humankind. To explain it quickly, he divides humanity into two groups: the inferior group, and the superior group. Inferior humans have to abide by the law and have little value. They follow whatever the superior humans do. The “superiors” have the right to kill to accomplish their goals. This right isn’t a legal one, it’s just something that is necessary to bring actual change to the world. His example is Napoleon: according to the young man, Napoleon brought great change to society, but he did it through slaughtering thousands. Was it necessary? In his eyes, yes. 

So that’s his theory in a nutshell. It’s also what he uses to justify his murder of the pawnbroker at first. Throughout the story, he grows more and more aware of, and at the same time more and more resentful to the fact that his theory was wrong. He doesn’t want to admit that he isn’t superior, and his theory itself isn’t valid. 

In the last couple of paragraphs of the book, the young man is in a prison camp. He’s gone through excruciating hardship, which was his own fault, and he is looking into the future. He realizes he loves someone and he wonders what life will be like when he gets out of prison. (And to find out who that someone is, you’ll just have to read the book. She’s one of my favorite characters.)

And then there’s this line:

“Life had taken theories’ place.”

I couldn’t stop thinking about that sentence for weeks. 

How many young people have theories? How many young people are passionate about the ideas they have? How many young people get in arguments and riot and yell – all because they cling to a “theory”?

The answer to those questions is quite obvious: most young people have theories or ideas and are passionate about them. Myself included. 

But here’s the thing: only ideas grounded in life experience and wisdom will stand the test of time. 

And here’s the dilemma: young people don’t have life experience. At least, not that much of it – we think we know a lot more than we actually do. 

So how do we fix this? How do we make sure that our ideas aren’t baloney? How do we make sure our theories are well-grounded and that we are fighting for the right things?

To that I have two answers:

  1.  The Bible
  2. People who are much wiser than us 

God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 

Colossians 2:2b-3

Ultimate wisdom and truth are found in Christ. When we root ourselves and are built up in Him (Colossians 2:7), we will gain wisdom. The more a young person is hiding God’s truths in their heart, the wiser they become. This is an amazing privilege because as teenagers and twenty-somethings, we don’t have that much life experience or personally-gained wisdom. However, if we hide God’s Word in our hearts, we will become much wiser than the average young person.

Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight, for I give you good precepts; do not forsake my teaching. When I was a son with my father, tender, the only one in the sight of my mother, he taught me and said to me, “Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live. Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.

Proverbs 4:1-5

Wisdom is a treasure. According to Proverbs, one of the places we can find that treasure is our parents. They have more life experience than us and they are wiser than us. We should be quick to listen to their words. 

Young people should also be listening to other people around them who are wiser. Teachers, grandparents, wise (and perhaps older) friends, elderly believers, pastors, mentors, etc. We all have people in our circles who we can listen to and learn from. 

The young man in Crime and Punishment discovered that life is much more reliable than mere theories. Real experiences are more valuable than intangible ideas. Wisdom is gained as one gains years. 

Dear young person, you don’t know everything. You actually know much less than you think. Be humble. Be quick to listen. Learn from wise and godly people around you. This will serve you far more than any endeavor for a theory or cause. 

Then maybe we’ll become wiser, earlier.

I Did A Thing… (Surprise At the End of the Post)

Hello friends! 

So a couple weeks ago, I did a thing. I started my very first email list. Here are a couple reasons why I started it:

  • It helps me stay in touch personally with my followers.
  • It helps them understand me more and get to know me a bit better.
  • It’s a practical way to remind others of my work.
  • It’s fun. Scrumptiously fun.

I want to use this post to explain how my email list works and why it’s such a great way to stay in touch with me and my work. 

The first awesome thing is that through these emails, you get biweekly updates of my latest content on my blog as well as guest posts I’ve done elsewhere. This way, you don’t have to remember to check my blog site for new content. All you have to do is sign up ( by entering your, and the reminder will come straight to your inbox. 

Second, you get to know me a bit more personally. I will be sharing a bit about what I have been learning/wrestling with, and also resources and fun things like music and podcasts that I enjoy. So you get BONUS CONTENT! And best of all, you get secret content or early content that others don’t have access to.

Here is a quick taste of what I might put in my email list:


Hello my friends! 

How are you doing? These last two weeks have been a bit of a blur… School has started up, and yeah. School has started up. School = busy. However, I continue to send these emails, not to keep up with my schedule, but to keep myself sane. Just kidding.

Recently I have been thinking a lot about juggling my writer-related-stuff with my school life. It’s hard. Organizing and making good use of my time doesn’t come naturally to me, But like my instructor Brett Harris has told me, (as he has told many), you shouldn’t take your struggle and make it into an excuse for laziness. We should strive to become excellent in all areas, even if it’s hard. 

So I’m learning, and honestly, failing most of the time, to use my time well. I’m usually lazy, but I have to constantly remind myself that my time is not my own and I’m simply a steward of all God has given to me. I can’t just use my time however I’d like. This is God’s time

I love Jaquelle Ferris and Sean Crowe’s podcast Age of Minority. It’s a podcast for teens about the gospel. It’s such a fun and helpful podcast to listen to. They have so much wisdom and are Biblically sound. They also did an episode about being a steward of what God has given you, which has been super helpful to me. 

I just recently posted an article that walks through the passage Matthew 12:33-37. It talks about the importance of our words. This might sound kind of stereotypical for a writer to be talking about, but I struggle with my spoken words. The out-loud words. This article challenges both myself and others to think biblically about our words and ask ourselves: How Strong Are Our Words?

Here’s your encouragement for the day… 
I am surrounded
On every side, can’t see the light of day
But I am persuaded
Beyond all hope, You won’t let go of me
I stake my claim on every word You say
You will not be late
I will sing through fire and thunder
‘Cause You are on my side
I trust You with my life
I know my story, it isn’t over
Even against all odds
You are a faithful God
You’re faithful God
-Faithful God by I AM THEY


So that gives you a good idea what my email list might look like 🙂

I hope this makes you want to get more awesome content like this in your email box, and also want to get some news and content before everyone else who follows my blog. 

And here’s the surprise you have all been waiting for: I will do a special giveaway when I get 50 email subscribers. *yay*

I can’t wait to share more of “me” and my life with you! I’ll see you there!


If you want to sign up, enter your email below. 

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5 Podcasts For Encouragement & Entertainment

So sorry for not posting last week. I struggled with time management and I was working on another email article for an email list, and wasn’t able to crank this out fast enough. So you get it this weekend. I’ll try to be more consistent.


Hello, my lovely friends! 

I decided to take a break from serious writing and give y’all a fun post instead. 

As probably none of you know, I adore listening to podcasts. They are one of my favorite pastimes. I believe they are so great for so many reasons and want to share them with you. Here are four reasons why you should listen to podcasts:

  1. They make consuming “non-fiction” content so much easier!
  2. You can listen to them at any time!
  3. There are podcasts on every subject imaginable.
  4. It’s a great way to multi-task. 
  5. (Yes, I know I said four reasons.) They are amazing!

Thus, I’ll be listing my top five podcasts. These are ones I have either listened to a lot in the past or listen to at the moment. Whether you have never listened to a podcast in your life or you listen to them religiously as I do, I hope this list will be a helpful addition to your life. *Smirk* (Also, the podcasts are not in order, they are just five ones I thought would be the best to share.)

  1. Age of Minority

Age of Minority is a podcast “for youth about the gospel” and is hosted by Jaquelle Ferris, author of This Changes Everything (how the Gospel transforms the teen years) and Sean Crowe, her father, and pastor. 

There are a couple reasons why I highly recommend this podcast. First off, Jaquelle and Sean have strong, biblical theology and aren’t scared to say things that are counter-cultural or “not cool”. This is the number one reason why the podcast is of such quality. They are also hilarious and fun, which makes their message relatable. Their enjoyable father-daughter relationship connects tremendously with the audience. 

The podcast regularly goes through different topics and discusses how the gospel changes those things and the way we look at them. For example, they did an episode on sleep and another one on pets. How in the world do they talk about those things in light of the Gospel? Well, they do and fill whole 30-40 minutes episodes, too. They also have done series on apologetics, hard topics in the bible, and more. 

Website

  1. Call to Mastery with Jordan Raynor

Call to Mastery with Jordan Raynor is an excellent podcast that I discovered recently. Jordan Raynor is the best selling author of Called to Create (which I have read) and Master of One. He is passionate about encouraging Christians to pursue excellence in their work for the glory of God. In his podcast, he interviews believers who have become masters in their particular vocation or field. It’s insightful, enjoyable, inspiring, and practical. 

Not an adult? Don’t worry. This podcast is remarkably encouraging to me as a teenager. I am reminded to be faithful in what God has called me to do in this season. Also, I am taught by the experience of those who are far ahead of me. 

Website

  1. Instrumental with JJ Heller

This podcast is hosted by JJ and Dave Heller. (I have a funny backstory about this podcast. I was already a fan of JJ Heller’s music when she started to come out with these episodes and on the cover of the videos she put on YouTube, there was a picture of her and the words “Instrumental”. I thought she was putting instrumental tracks of her music on her channel. I decided to listen to one day, and to my sheer delight, found out it was a podcast.) 

“Instrumental is a show about the big and small moments that shape our lives.” Every episode, they interview people and talk about their life stories, going backward. They start at the current season of life the person is in, and end at the beginning. It’s amazing to see how God orchestrates our stories and uses us in ways we never would have expected.

Website

YouTube Channel / Link

  1. Ask Pastor John

The Ask Pastor John podcast is a practical and quality podcast I recommend to someone looking for answers to difficult questions. The show is hosted by Tony Reinke, and Pastor John Piper is “featured” on every episode as he tries to answer questions that listeners send to him biblically. 

I would listen to this podcast with prudence as some of the topics aren’t ones that teenagers or even young adults should really be thinking about. Listeners will occasionally ask questions about marriage, relationships, and sometimes more sex-related topics that just aren’t what teens need to be listening to. 

However, John Piper has incredible wisdom and biblical insight which is hard to find. The episodes are relatively short, like little nuggets of truth and deeper thought to fit into your day.

Website

YouTube Channel / Link

  1. Hymn Partial 

My friend Cara Devereux and her friend Monet Funke co-host this podcast. I am not recommending this just because Cara is my friend. Their podcast is genuinely high-quality and interesting. 

In case you didn’t get the name, it’s a play on the words “impartial” and “hymn”. The podcast talks about all things church music. They have talked about the history of certain hymns, music genres in the church, and debates over music in the church. 

You should listen to this podcast if:

  • You like music.
  • You love history.
  • You love hymns.
  • You geek out unnecessarily over everything.

I wait with anticipation for their episode to drop every week. I seriously adore this podcast because I learn so much, and have become a church music geek because of it.

Website

YouTube Channel / Link

I hope you check out these podcasts, but most of all, I hope you find encouragement and wisdom and entertainment and hope through them. I do.

Do you listen to podcasts? If you do, which ones? What things have you done to entertain but also encourage yourself during these hard times?