Is truth real? How do you define truth? What happens when your definition of truth is not the same as your best friend's? Or your parents'? Whose truth becomes the real truth?
See a problem?
The culture says truth can change. God’s Word says Truth is solid.
In My Name is Erin: One Girls Journey to Discover Truth you will be guided by Erin to learn
- Truth is not defined by your circumstances, your heart, or your mind
- Truth can be discovered – not created
- How to protect yourself and your friends with Truth
- Lies that masquerade as Truth
- How to make invisible spy ink
This book is one in a series of four books, which can be read in any order. They are:
My Name is Erin: One Girl's Journey to Discover Who She Is
My Name is Erin: One Girl's Plan for Radical Faith
My Name is Erin: One Girl's Mission to Make a Difference
About the Author
A popular speaker, author and blogger, ERIN DAVIS has addressed women of all ages nationwide and is passionately committed to sharing God's Truth with others. She is the author of many books including Connected, Beyond Bath Time, and the My Name is Erin series. When she's not writing books, you can find Erin chasing down chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.
Read an Excerpt
my name is ERIN
One Girl's Journey to Discover Truth
By ERIN DAVIS, Annette LaPlaca
Moody PublishersCopyright © 2013 Erin Davis
All rights reserved.
One Girl's Search for Truth
My name is Erin. There's a part of me that would love to stretch the truth and tell you that I'm just like you, that I wear stylish clothes, that I listen to the bands you like, and that I love hanging out at the mall. But ... that's not exactly true. Most of my wardrobe comes from Target, I drive a minivan without a stereo, and I only go to the mall if I am having a chunky jewelry emergency (because a girl simply cannot have too many plastic jewels).
Since this book is all about truth, perhaps the best place to start is the truth about who I am. I'm thirtyish. (I know that sounds old, but someday it won't.) I live in the Midwest with my handsome man, my adorable kids, and my blond Goldendoodle. I'm a Milk Duds fanatic, a drinker of sweet tea and fine milkshakes, and a sucker for movies that end with a wedding.
I'm also a huge fan of girls just like you. You're fun and open and loyal. My favorite thing about you is that you can smell a fake (person ... story ... handbag) from a mile away, but you love it when you find something that's real. That's why I am so passionate about pointing you toward God's Truth.
I may not be playing dodgeball with you in gym class. I might not look like the girls who sit with you at lunch, but believe it or not, I've walked a mile (or two) in your shoes. I know what it's like to want answers to big questions about God, the Bible, and Truth. I remember feeling like I was in a tug of war between what others believed and what I read in the Bible and wondering often, "How do I know which way is right?"
My journey to discover Truth has been a long and bumpy ride, but the good news is, I've found it. (Spoiler alert: It was in the Bible all along!) Here's more good news: God's Truth is yours for the taking. You can know the Truth, and that knowing has the power to change everything about your life.
I've had a front row seat to watch what can happen when one girl understands and decides to live by God's Truth. I want my journey to discover Truth to help point you in the right direction. But I'm not interested in teaching you what to think. Instead I want to show you how to discover Truth for yourself.
My name is Erin, and this is my story.
The Ship Is Sinking!
I know we just met, but if you don't mind, I'd like to take you on a little cruise. Since this is a book for girls, let's imagine it's a girls-only cruise, to the Caribbean of course! The sun is shining, the water is crystal clear, and we all look fabulous in our bathing suits (Hallelujah!). I will be your captain on this lovely voyage. True, I've never sailed a ship in my life, but since this is an imaginary cruise, I think you should be safe.
Our ship is sailing along at 28 knots (I Googled boating terms in order to sound official) when things take a turn of Titanic proportions. Maybe we hit an iceberg. Maybe it was a flock of seagulls. Maybe I got totally distracted by a girl with better hair than mine ... in any case, our boat has a hole in it and we are taking on water. In my defense, I did warn you that I had never sailed a ship before.
I sound the alarm that we are going down, but you just stay in your lounge chairs. I grab -, the life rafts and get them ready, but no one moves. The water is up to your ankles, but you make no plans to abandon ship. "We are sinking!" I yell. "As your captain, I command you to get in a life raft!"
"It doesn't really feel like we are sinking, so I don't believe that we really are sinking," one girl says. "If it feels like we are sinking later, I might believe you."
"I've never been a crowd follower," says another. "Just because some of you think this boat is sinking and want to jump in a life preserver, doesn't mean that's the right choice for me. I'm staying put."
"I'll join you on the life raft," says one girl, "but I don't want to offend any other girls by asking them to come too. If they don't believe this boat is sinking, who am I to tell them differently?"
With the water up to our waists, we have no choice but to jump in the life raft and abandon our wounded ship. The two of us push off and watch helplessly as the ship goes down with a deck full of our friends on board.
True, this is an unlikely scenario. The readers of this book will never gather for a girls-only cruise (bummer), and I promise never to volunteer to captain a ship with cute hair on board. But, imagining us oblivious to a real and present danger isn't as unlikely as you might think. Because the ship is sinking.
True confession: I was voted the "Most Conceited" member of my seventh-grade class. I have the yearbook picture to prove it. In junior high my world pretty much revolved around M-E. I was all wrapped up in my appearance, my friends, my plans, and what I thought passed for fashion. (See awkward Erin photo.)
If someone would have asked me why Truth mattered during those years, I would have said something like, "I don't know. How's my hair?" I might not have cared much about Truth then, but looking back I see I was missing out on something with the power to reprogram my entire mental computer.
The key question this book asks is "Why Truth?" Notice I'm not asking, "What is truth?" - at least not yet. Defining Truth matters, and with God's Word as our guide, we will do it together within the chapters of this book. But before we can get to the what we need to answer the why. Why does Truth matter? Why should you believe the Bible? Why should you risk swimming upstream by living as if God's Truth matters in a culture that says anything goes?
These are complex questions and finding the answers will require some brainpower from all of us. But don't let that scare you, we may not be on a girls-only cruise, but in the search for truth, we are all in this together.
To clarify, I'm not exactly talking about telling the truth here - as in 'fessing up when you've done something wrong. I'm more interested in truth with a capital T. What is true about our world? What is true about what is right and wrong? What is true about what matters?
I'm talking about more than just whether it's true that the sky is blue and the grass is green. I'm interested in what you know for sure about the world you can and cannot see. In other words, what's your worldview?
We can also think of worldview as the filter through which we view life. Some of us may be seeing the world through rose-colored glasses. Some of us are watching through bifocals. Some of us are seeing the world in those funny 3-D shades! The world stays the same, but we are essentially viewing it through a different filter. "With that bigger definition in mind, I'd love to hear from you. How do you define Truth? Go ahead; write your answer right there in your book (if it's a library book, better use invisible spy ink!).
Truth is _________________________________________________________
If you struggled to define Truth, that's okay. Because Truth is a big concept, it can be difficult to wrap our brains around. Allow me to introduce some girls who might be able to help. In order to get into the minds of the girls who might be reading this book, my friends and I conducted focus groups all over the country with girls just like you. The one thing all of these girls had in common is that they loved to talk. So I refer to them as the Gab Gallery. You'll hear their stories throughout this book, and I bet they sound a lot like you and your closest friends. It's their job to make you feel like you are a part of a conversation about Truth. (Because you are!) If you love to talk, you'll fit right in.
One of the first questions we asked was, "What is Truth?"
Here are some of the actual answers from the Gallery:
* "Real stuff"
* "To be yourself"
* "Truth is what you believe about yourself, what you want to be ... Who you are, that's your truth."
Those aren't bad answers, but they're kind of ... um ... squishy. If Truth is defined by what's real, then where does God fit into the equation? He may be real to you, but not to your neighbor or best friend. Does that kick Him out of the race to define Truth? And if Truth hinges on you, and you are free to believe whatever Truth you feel about who you are, then what happens when your feelings don't match the facts? You may feel like you don't have any friends, but does that make it true? See what I mean? Squishy.
So if we can't come at Truth directly, let's try the back door. Perhaps if we know what is not true, we can wrap our minds around what is true. Ready to jiggle the lock with me and see if we can find another way in to understanding what Truth is?
If a Girl Had Ten Friends ...
If numbers give you a headache, first let me ask you to be my best friend! I don't do numbers, just ask my math teachers from kindergarten through college. But I am interested in facts, and sometimes numbers can help us see the facts a little more clearly. So I'm going to throw some numbers at you here, but don't let your eyes glaze over. I think they will help us see why Truth matters so much. If you happen to be the kind of girl who digs numbers, you're gonna love this (and I suppose we can still be friends).
Barna Research Group (number geeks) conducted a series of surveys designed to study what we believe about absolute truth. Since percentages can be boring (yawn!), I've put them in the context of ten friends. In the margin of this book, I want you to list ten of your friends. (If you can only come up with nine, feel free to add me as number 10!) Keep that little group in mind as you think through what Barna dug up.
Truth doesn't change.
More than eight out of ten teenagers believe moral truth depends on circumstances. Only 6% believe that moral truth is absolute. Of that group of ten friends, only one half of one girl (don't ask me which half!) would say that truth doesn't change. And one girl wouldn't even know what moral truth means.
I don't know how I make decisions.
Four of your friends would say that they make moral and ethical decisions based on what feels right or comfortable to them. Again only one half of one girl would say that she makes moral choices based on biblical principles. Half of the group would have no idea how they make decisions.
All faiths are the same.
And, 43% of Americans - teens, parents, grandparents, ALL of us - said it doesn't matter what religious faith you follow because they all teach the same lesson. If we could gather ten of your friends, ten of my friends, ten of your parents' friends, etc., almost half of each group would say, "Nah, it doesn't really matter what you believe." And I'm guessing there would be people in every group who didn't know what they believe about what to believe!
I hate to jump to the punch line too quickly, but for Christians these numbers are troubling because they contradict what the Bible says.
John 17:17 says, "Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth" (emphasis added).
When it comes to defining Truth we tend to make things too complicated. Simply put, God's Word is Truth. When we want to know the Truth, we don't have to look any further than what is written in the Bible. So let's use God's Word as our starting point to break these stats down.
"I believe truth depends on circumstances."
Our culture trains us to avoid thinking in absolutes.
It feels impossible to think that anything could be true 100% of the time, but that is exactly the claim God makes about His Word. The Bible is chock-full of important and complex truths like God is omniscient (all-knowing), God is the Creator of all things, and God has given us guidelines for our good. The Bible presents these ideas as absolute truths, meaning that that they do not change based on circumstances or feelings.
In 2 Timothy 3:16 we read, "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness."
This verse says all Scripture comes from God and is useful for helping us be more like Him. But ... that was written a long time ago, right? Aren't there parts of the Bible that no longer apply or can change based on what's going on in your life? Great question!
Numbers 23:19 says, "God is not a man, that he should lie, or a son of man that he should change his mind."
Hebrews 13:8 says, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and ^ today and forever."
Put those verses together with what we read in 2 Timothy, and it's like taking a sledgehammer to the idea that moral truth depends on what's going on with you personally.
All Scripture is God-breathed + All Scripture applies to our lives + God does not change = Absolute Truth.
"I make decisions based on what feels right."
When I was in junior high and high school, I had a broken picker-outer. If a boy was going to treat me bad, hurt my feelings, or "forget" to return my calls, he was my kind of guy. I was drawn to guys who were just bad news. My feelings said that they were right for me, and on the rare occasions they actually liked me back, my emotions screamed, "This feels so good, it must be right!" I wasn't the first girl to base my choices about boys strictly on how they make me feel. And, sadly, I won't be the last.
Proverbs 14:12 gives us this strong warning: "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in its end is the way to death."
These words are repeated in Proverbs 16:25. When your parents or teachers repeat themselves, it's because they want to make sure you don't miss the point. We can assume that this double warning appears in Scripure for the same reason.
God is saying, "Listen up! Sin might feel right, but it will lead to your destruction. And in case you missed it: Just because it feels good, doesn't mean you should do it!"
In Hebrews 11:25 we find a reference to Moses that presents the same Truth in a different wrapper.
"... choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin" (emphasis added).
Go back and circle the word that describes the pleasures of sin. Did you get it? Fleeting. As in short-lived, temporary, gone in a blink.
This verse acknowledges that sin can be fun, but that those feelings are fleeting. It's the same reality Eve faced when she took a bite of the apple from the tree that was good, delightful, and desirable in the garden of Eden (Genesis 3:6). It felt right for a moment, but the moment was short-lived.
"It doesn't really matter what I believe, all religions teach the same thing."
We can punch holes in this statement with a single verse.
In John 14:6, "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'"
Jesus claimed that He was the only way to God. Other religions may have some teachings similar to Christianity regarding how we should live, but where the rubber meets the road is what they teach about God. It does matter what we believe, because Jesus is making a radical claim.
See the problem? The culture says truth can change. God's Word says Truth is solid. Most people make decisions based on what feels right. God's "Word says that our gut can't always be trusted. The majority says that all religions teach the same thing. Jesus says He is the only way. In human thinking - and all other religions - we have to earn rewards like heaven or oneness with God. But God's Word offers the only truth that makes oneness with God possible: Jesus paid it all. We don't have to earn it.
If Truth is an iceberg, we've just seen the tip. Remember that we just sucker-punched the idea that all religions are the same. (They may be similar, but they don't teach us that Jesus is the only way!) If we look below the surface, we will find more and more spots where what the culture says and what God's Word says simply don't match up.
Excerpted from my name is ERIN by ERIN DAVIS, Annette LaPlaca. Copyright © 2013 Erin Davis. Excerpted by permission of Moody Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1. One Girl’s Search for Truth
2. The Belt of Truth: Why Truth Holds It All Together
3. The Opposite of Truth: Understanding the Deceiver
4. You Are a Theologian
5. How Can You Stand for the Truth?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
John 14:6 "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." You actually have to know God's Truth to be tied to it. Study the bible "gird yourself" with God's Truth. The author asks, "What is the opposite of Truth?". Her answer is: The simplest way to define something that isn't true is to call it a lie. In chapter 3 we meet Lie's ugly cousins Bent Truth, Relative Truth, and Partial Truth. Chapter 5: How can you stand by Truth? Erin writes about the different types of Truth and untruth. She points out the way to the Truth (God) is through Jesus and the way to untruth leads to the Satan. Erin introduced some girls she calls the Gab Gallery. They entertained me with their past experiences and opinions of Truths and of Lies. I am looking forward to the next book in this series. Stay tuned to my blog for my next book I review in this series. I highly recommend this book. Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Moody Publishers/MP Newsroom for review. I was in no way compensated for this review. This review is my honest opinion.
Finding great material for your junior high girl is a hard task. When I came across this series by Erin Davis I was thrilled. It is so relevant to what that age of girl is facing. The language is in a style that girls of this age will relate to. The topics are very needed and it is set up in a format that would be very conducive to using in a small group setting. Each of the books are stand-alone and can be done in any order. There are five chapters in every book so they could easily be divided up into a five week study. It is set up where the group leader and the participants would use the same books, there isn't a need for a separate leader guide. While I think it would make an excellent small group study, I also think it would be wonderful as a personal devotional book as well. Or better yet, get the series and do it as a starting point for some great mother/daughter discussions! I received a copy of the book to facilitate my review.
This is an awesome series for your tween. I would say eleven to fourteen(ish)-year-olds would enjoy these books. Erin writes in a way that will resonate with young girls. She doesn't shy away from tough issues but doesn't go places that would make moms uncomfortable either. I love that the books have places for reflection for the girls to actually write in the book and think about what they are reading. The books are small and cute (just what a girl likes) and a quick read. For me I could read each book in about an hour but for my daughter I would suggest reading a chapter a day so she can reflect on each chapter. As always, I think reading it with your daughter or before you give her the books will give you a greater benefit so you can have conversations with her about what she is reading. If you are looking for ways to open up conversation between you and your tween (and mom isn't?) this could be what you are looking for. I highly recommend this series :) Copies of these books were given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.