Join my email list and get FREE ACCESS to the MSM Freebie Library, including my top printables & eBooks.

How I Broke Free From Legalism

(Read the story behind this photo here.)

Well, this week’s episode of The Crystal Paine Show is all about Christmas and Christmas candy and cleaning your house for Christmas and one of our family’s favorite stocking stuffer traditions… and then we take a hard turn and Jesse interviews me as I share more of our story and specifically how I broke free from legalism.

(I know, those two topics have nothing to do with one another — but hey, you just never know what you’re going to get when you tune into the podcast each week!)

To be honest, I didn’t know how my conversation with Jesse was going to go as we shared this part of our story. I knew there were things I wanted and needed to share. I’ve shared them with people who know me personally and I’ve briefly touched on things in posts here and there, but I’ve never publicly opened up about those first few years of blogging like I did in this episode.

If you were around in the early days of blogging and read my original blog, I think you will want to listen to this episode. If you weren’t around when I was first blogging, but you have been curious how I went from being extremely conservative to where I am today, you will definitely want to listen to this episode.

By the way, I was a little apprehensive about how this conversation was going to go, so I asked Jesse if he could lead the interview instead of me. He did a fantastic job and I loved getting to have our roles reversed a little on the podcast! (Though, of course, he had to remind me about being irritable during the few month of my pregnancy! ;))

We also share about some of our first few businesses (yup, was not our first business — oh no! We tried quite a few things before then!), our business failures, and I share candidly what I learned from those. Plus, we end the episode answering a listener question about how to get over your fear of traveling.

By the way, be sure to download the 2-Hour House Cleaning Checklist. It’s perfect for this time of year when we’re either hosting guests or wanting to get our house in more orderly shape heading into 2019!

In This Episode:

[01:26] – It’s all things Christmas around here this episode! I talk about our favorite Christmas candy, tell you how my 2-hour House Cleaning Checklist has saved my life and how it might be the perfect checklist for your holiday season, and share about a fun family tradition for stocking stuffers we have each year that is inexpensive, easy, and so memorable.

[06:54] – Jesse joins me today, but we flip things around and he serves as the podcast “host” and interviews me.

[9:33] – When I realized I was pregnant (surprise!) and was so sick and had to quit working, I went online to try to learn how to make money at home. Listen in to learn about something I thought would be a good idea.

[11:52] – Jesse and I talk about how that first business idea worked (or, more accurately, didn’t work). We discuss what we thought would be a great idea and why it didn’t really work. 

[14:34] – We talk about one of the valuable lessons I learned from that business, and how it helped with future projects.

[16:10] – I talk about why I ended up starting my first blog, what it was called and why I’m pretty embarrassed about it now. I share how God used atheist and feminists (many of whom came and left very negative comments on my blog!) to open my eyes up to my legalism and to help me begin to start in on a journey of breaking free from legalism. 

[21:32] – And then I get really honest and share how I’ve learned some important life-changing lessons through all of this and I ask forgiveness of those I offended with my very black and white, abrasive, legalistic blog posts.

[25:25] – This week’s question comes from Carrie, who asks if I was afraid to travel overseas and whether I have any insights or tips on being comfortable in a foreign country. Jesse and I both share about what has helped us and how we’ve overcome our anxiety about traveling and long flights.

Links and Resources:

The podcast is available on iTunesAndroidStitcher, and Spotify. You can listen online through the direct player we’ll include in the show notes of each episode. OR, a much easier way to listen is by subscribing to the podcast through a free podcast app on your phone. (Find instructions for how to subscribe to a podcast here.)

Ready to dive in and listen? Hit the player above or search for “The Crystal Paine Show” on your favorite podcast app.

Sponsor Spotlight

Today’s episode is sponsored by Twigby — a company dedicated to providing fantastic phone service at great prices. As I mentioned in the podcast, if you are looking for a great deal on a phone for your teen (or yourself!), I’d highly recommend checking out what Twigby has to offer.

Unlike traditional cell phone companies, they give you the ability to create your own custom, prepaid plan — without a contract or an unnecessary activation fee.

You don’t have to mess with going to a store and picking out a phone plan. You just go to their site, pick your phone plan and either switch your current phone over or get a new phone, and they get it all set up for you.

My favorite part about their service (in addition to their great prices!) is that they offer plan flexibility with the ability to change plans or phones at any time for free. You’re not locked into an expensive contract that has activation and termination fees.

They also offer Free Overage Protection, so you can rest easy in knowing that you will never be charged for overages without your go-ahead! You have complete control.

Special offer! Want to save 25% off your first 6 months of TwigbyClick here.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission — at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your support!

Subscribe for free email updates from Money Saving Mom® and get my Guide to Freezer Cooking for free!


  • Linda says:

    Thank you so much for your honesty in this episode! May I ask, while you were transitioning away from legalism, what was your husband’s reaction? Did his beliefs mirror your throughout?

  • nicole seefried says:

    I have not listened to the podcast before and I really enjoyed it! I actually listened to part of 1 and part of 5 and I appreciate you telling your story of courtship. I am actually definitely against legalism and my husband and I believe it ruins the joy of having faith in Jesus. But I also want to say that I enjoy watching 19 kids and counting and bringing up bates..mostly because we homeschool our kids, its just a show I like watching. I don’t really agree with the courtship thing but have kind of been wondering how I will do it with my kids. My parents had no rules whatsoever and I do regret that. We have 5 kids age 8, 7, 5, 3, 1 and I guess its a little early but I would like to know how you plan on dealing with all of that when your kids get older. I would also like to know why you made your decision to stop homeschooling. Also I would love advice on how to deal with having a super weird always changing schedule. (My husband just became a police officer in north carolina, he has to work all shifts before he gets his regular shift, right now hes on night shift and hes always tired and the kids are on a weird schedule, were behind on school and they watch way too much netflix, but sometimes its all I can do just to keep them quiet so he can sleep!) Thank you so much!

    • Rosanna says:

      I would also like to know how you plan on navigating the dating scene with your kids. I didn’t have crazy tight rules for dating but one we did have was waiting until I was 18. My parents also STRONGLY advised that I wait to kiss until we got married. I did not do that, but I’m mostly happy with how dating went for me. I did date someone before my husband, but he was super-respectful of me and had similar goals (i.e. waiting until marriage for sex) so it was a good relationship. That said, I’m not sure how I want to navigate this with my own children.

    • Thanks for your encouragement! We always tell people that we are just seeking the Lord and will see how He leads us and our kids when the time comes for them to be in relationships!

  • Susan says:

    I was wondering if you could share how breaking free from legalism affected your relationship with parents/siblings. Did they respect your decision or try to fight you on it? Is that a source of contention presently? I didn’t grow up in a Christian family, but my mom did take us to church. When I got married and my husband and I became believers in Christ, and started attending a different church than the one I attended as a child, my dad would seemingly look for opportunities to make negative remarks. Sadly, I find it very difficult to maintain a close relationship with family members who are not on the same page.

    • I share more about this in the previous episodes (episode 5 especially). I think, for us, it has been knowing that our parents loved us so much and because of that love for us, that’s why they made the choices and the decisions they did. While we don’t agree with all of their decisions, we are grateful for them. Also, we are so thankful to have a good relationship with our parents; what a gift that is!

  • Kay says:

    Sincere question – what is your definition of legalism?

    • I think that Wikipedia actually has a great definition that someone called my attention to yesterday:

      “Legalism (or nomism), in Christian theology, is the act of putting law above gospel by establishing requirements for salvation beyond repentance and faith in Jesus Christ and reducing the broad, inclusive and general precepts of the Bible to narrow and rigid moral codes.[1] It is an over-emphasis of discipline of conduct, or legal ideas, usually implying an allegation of misguided rigour, pride, superficiality, the neglect of mercy, and ignorance of the grace of God or emphasizing the letter of law at the expense of the spirit. Legalism is alleged against any view that obedience to law, not faith in God’s grace, is the pre-eminent principle of redemption.”

      Basically, it’s a works-based, rules-based theology and belief system.

  • Kitty says:

    Such a lovely podcast. I love your honesty; so refreshing to hear someone’s failings, although it must have been horrible for you. I am struggling a lot at the moment with failure and disappoint. Desperately trying to change my job to something a bit more challenging but it is not happening in my timeframe – feel like quitting but as you said, ‘Winners are not Quitters’. Equally valid was your point about changing your approach. Didn’t think it was possible, but I like you even more. Love your apology for your old blog posts – I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for you to cope with all those negative comments. How scary! Instead of giving up and disappearing you soldiered on and learnt from the experience – amazing.

    • Aw, thank you so much for your encouragement! I’m grateful that you enjoyed this episode and that it was an encouragement to you!

    • Liz says:

      I really appreciate you sharing these areas of growth from your life.

      I wanted to say that legalism is a mindset and one can have it no matter where they draw lines and boundaries for their families. Legalism is depending on things I do to save me—Making myself the hero of my story—Jesus is the only hero!

  • Mavis says:

    I really enjoyed this podcast! I listened to it Wednesday and have been mulling it over for a few days. It raises so many questions, and I appreciate your honesty and vulnerability in the podcast. I feel that there is such a fine line between living a grace filled life, but also still following Biblical precepts. Just one example- your story about only wearing skirts—- no, the Bible does not command us to wear only skirts, but we are called to dress modestly and it seems that this is becoming a thing of the past, even in Christian circles. (I think you always look adorable and very modest- this example wasn’t directed toward you!)
    My sister and I were recently having a discussion about something similar. More and more often it seems to me that Christians are so afraid of being called “judgmental or legalistic” that sin is being overlooked. In our community there is a prominent businessman who recently had an affair, ended up divorcing his wife and marrying the girlfriend. He has caused so much heartache to his first wife and children. He has been actively involved in church throughout the entire affair. If anyone dares to point out his sin, they are accused of being judgmental and yes, legalistic. While I firmly believe in God’s grace, I find it hard to believe that he can claim grace while continuing in sin. Just my two cents on this topic!
    I have really enjoyed your podcasts so far and look forward to them in the New Year!

    • I think there is a danger in swinging the pendulum to the other site and becoming legalistic about legalism, if that makes sense. I’ve found that there is so much beauty in understanding what the Gospel truly is — and living out of that. He loved me so much that He sent His Son to die for me so that I don’t have to carry around the penalty I deserved for my sin. When He said, “It is finished” that means I don’t have to do more, be better, follow a set of rules to obtain His love. I am loved so much and this understanding makes me want to live a life of glorifying the Lord and honoring Him — because I love Him and am so grateful for what He has done for me!

  • Guest says:

    I’ve never been a fan of podcasts BUT yours are pulling me around! I appreciate that they aren’t very long. Great subject and conversations. It feels kind of silly to say this after such a serious episode but for any gluten free readers/listeners of yours, I made the Christmas candy with gluten free saltine crackers (Schar from Walmart) and it is SOOOO good!!!

  • Molinda says:

    Thank you for this episode! They flying information really helped me. I have taken one long flight, and now I have a family member flying to Japan and Korea. The honesty in this and hearing you and Jessie was awesome, I will follow your suggestions to help this member enjoy the long trip and feel secure! And…who knows, perhaps another one is in my future. God Bless and Keep you and Jessie as you continue to spread joy and abundance.

  • Bethany M says:

    I am curious what you define as “legalism” because at one point you mention “very conservative.” I have some friends that are very conservative, but they don’t believe that their salvation or their favor with God is greater because they have stricter standards. I was wondering if you just mean that you loosened the reigns on your standards, or if you have a change in your heart on how you view others and their standards. Or maybe you mean something else all together. I would be interested to hearing your thoughts.

    • I shared this definition above that sums up what legalism is for me:

      “Legalism (or nomism), in Christian theology, is the act of putting law above gospel by establishing requirements for salvation beyond repentance and faith in Jesus Christ and reducing the broad, inclusive and general precepts of the Bible to narrow and rigid moral codes.[1] It is an over-emphasis of discipline of conduct, or legal ideas, usually implying an allegation of misguided rigour, pride, superficiality, the neglect of mercy, and ignorance of the grace of God or emphasizing the letter of law at the expense of the spirit. Legalism is alleged against any view that obedience to law, not faith in God’s grace, is the pre-eminent principle of redemption.”

      Basically, it’s a works-based, rules-based theology and belief system. I hope that helps to clarify!

  • Stacey Barcomb says:

    I’ve been following you for 10 years! Thank you doing what you do. I loved this podcast. You were so transparent and I loved the honesty. I can absolutely relate. I’ve been legastic most of my life and honestly thought it was the right way to be. I’ve learned through time with God and godly women that it isn’t true. Keep doing great work 🙂

  • Traci Morgan says:

    I remember the Biblical Womanhood blog days so I am really excited to hear what you have to say about your journey away from legalism.

Money Saving Mom® Comment Policy

We love comments from readers, so chime in with your thoughts below! We do our best to keep this blog upbeat and encouraging, so please keep your comments cordial and kind. Read more information on our comment policy.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *