When “What If” Threatens To Take Over

I live my life in fear of “what-ifs”. I’m sure this isn’t new to anyone, we all wonder about the “ifs” in our lives, and we are in constant fear of them too.

What if I get sick?

What if I get rejected?

What if I get hurt?

What if, what if, what if.

I’m realizing that continually worrying about these situations doesn’t make our lives any better. Worrying about “what ifs” doesn’t protect us from those scenarios, it just makes us more scared. Worrying about the next danger lurking in the shadows makes our lives harder, not easier. It makes it harder to live a full and abundant life and it makes it harder to serve Jesus whole-heartedly.

A majority of the time, I worry about getting some weird illness and sometimes that stops me from loving like I should. But I’m learning that it’s silly to worry because I’ve already been saved. Jesus saved me by His grace when he died on the cross and that isn’t just a one-time thing. He knows about those dangers I can so easily preoccupy myself with and he is going to keep saving me from them through his grace.

Its’ through his grace that I’ve never contracted a parasite when I’ve gone to a foreign country.

It’s through his grace that I’ve never gotten lice while being in such close contact with children who could have it.

It’s through his grace I got accepted into college.

It’s through his grace that I wake up every morning alive and healthy.

His grace isn’t just in the good things either, it’s in the bad just as much as the good. Without him saving me from things I perceived as “good,” I would be in some big trouble right now.

He loves us and he knows us and he’s going to keep saving us.

In light of all this, I’m gonna stop worrying about the “what if’s.”

There’s this quote from my favourite book that I love, it says, “He didn’t love people the way that Hallmarks says to love people, he loved them linebacker style, in a full contact way.”

That’s how I want to love and help people. Full on, without fear of anything that may happen to me because the truth is, when we can fully forget ourselves and our worries and love others first thinking about their needs above our own, beautiful, significant, life-changing things happen and that’s better than any “safe” life I could ever imagine for myself.

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Kind Of All Over The Place

It’s cold outside, the wind is blowing, the rain is falling and I don’t know why but I feel like this is the perfect weather for Good Friday. We’re sitting in plastic chairs, eating copious amounts of popcorn and watching The Passion. It’s the movie that chronicles Jesus’ death. I’ve never watched it before tonight but now, after seeing it, I wish I had watched it sooner.

I was never allowed to watch it when I was a little kid, it was too gory, and it showed too much. This wasn’t a bad thing; I probably wouldn’t let my young kids watch it either. It was an awful movie to watch, some of the scenes made me sick, I contemplated running to the bathroom a few times actually…

Maybe you don’t have to watch this gut-wrenching (but utterly true) movie but I do think knowing how Jesus died is important. You see Jesus could have died peacefully, maybe in his sleep, painless and easy but that wasn’t the case.

In order for us to fully grasp how much Jesus loved us and in order to fully understand the grace he has given us, his death had to be brutal. It had to be awful, he had to go through the worst pain imaginable, he had to be beaten beyond recognition; he had to die this way. If his death was peaceful, I don’t think it would mean as much. Watching the horrors he went through play out on a screen left me speechless and the only thing I could think was, “He went through that for me?”

Was he thinking of me as he was whipped?

Did he think of me when he was beaten?

I tried to put myself in his place, I tried desperately to try and imagine how I would feel if I was in Jesus’ position and honestly, I couldn’t. I don’t think I could do it, which makes his suffering all the more powerful.

He loved me as the whips tore his body apart.

He loved me when the crown of thorns was pushed into his head.

He loved me as the nails were driven through his hands and feet.

He loved me as he took his final breath and died.

The weight of that truth is more than I can bear and it brings me to tears because love like that is so powerful. Love like that makes me believe that I can do anything because he loves me. Love like that gives me a place and a purpose in this broken world. Love like that means I don’t have to die. Love like that makes me a beloved and chosen daughter.

This post is kind of all over the place but I like it that way for the same reason that Good Friday is my favourite day of the year. Good Friday makes me feel so many things, sadness, grief, joy, pain, excitement, but most of all it makes me feel loved and forgiven and made new.

My Jesus died today, that’s something I can never repay him for and the craziest part? He doesn’t want me to repay him because he knows there’s nothing I can do that would be sufficient, he just wants my heart and that is enough.

When No One Raises Their Hand

You just finished explaining everything. You just finished telling the group of kids that you’ve come to love so deeply, how much they are loved and wanted by the creator of the universe and you asked if any of them would like to join his family. Then you wait.

And wait.

And wait.

And wait.

Until you realize that what you desperately wanted to happen, isn’t going to happen; no one is going to say, “yes” at this moment, no one is going to raise their hand.

There’s a sadness inside of you that overwhelms you in this moment and your first typical, human instinct is to look inward, selfishly. You think that you screwed up, you didn’t explain the story of Jesus well enough, like it was your job to change their hearts and make them believe in something they didn’t before.

I’m pretty sure this is something that’s happened to everyone who has ever shared the gospel a few times and I believe that it’s something we need to experience at some point, it taught me a lot.

I’m gonna be 100% honest here so watch out.

I want to see people want to follow Jesus and for about an hour after no one raised their hand, I thought it was completely my fault that they weren’t moved to want to follow Jesus. To me, this is inconsiderate. I should have been consumed with sadness simply because they decided not to follow Jesus, I should have been sad because they didn’t accept the incredible gift of grace. I should not have been too wrapped up in myself and “what I did wrong” to ignore these other things and pray that they would decide to follow Jesus some day in the future.

I think this is something that happens all too often, we want numbers, we want to see “the fruit”, we want to know that Jesus is moving in the lives of the people we’re preaching to, but sometimes that’s not the case. Sometimes Jesus makes us wait. He makes us sit there and trust him to do the work. This kills us because we want to do it all by ourselves, we want control, we want to change hearts and minds and the world and do something incredibly significant but the truth is, we can’t. Only Jesus can. Sure, we can be the messengers and we can tell people about God’s grace until we’re blue in the face but only Jesus can change hearts, only Jesus can make someone believe and only Jesus can make someone raise their hand.

So stop beating yourself up while your waiting to see results. It seems that most things I learn come down to this one simple thing… Trust Jesus and know that He is good.

 

When You Can’t Stop Thinking

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Hi, my name is Tatiana Blackburn and I am a professional over thinker.

I like to think I’m quite good at it actually. I stay up all hours of the night, replaying situations (ones that hurt and ones that make me feel warm inside) over and over again until I fall asleep due to exhaustion. I easily get caught up in the web of my own thoughts and go through every single “what-if” that could be possible.

My thoughts consume me. Most of the time it things I hate thinking about, things that make me wish those memory eraser things from Men In Black actually existed because I desperately want to forget.

I think way too much and the problem with over thinking is that when it happens, I begin to doubt God and the promises he’s made with me.

I doubt that he loves me, that he’s saved me, that he’s given me grace and I get so wrapped up in thinking about myself and my problems that I forget what Jesus has told me in the Bible.

That’s the biggest problem with over thinking – it’s selfish and it gives birth to doubt.

I think that’s how the devil tricks us, by planting seeds of doubt and not just planting the seed but by cultivating it and helping it to grow, doubt completely consumes us until we begin to see the lies as the truth.

I let lies consume me when really Jesus and his love should overwhelm me. This web of “what ifs” is spun by the devil and his elaborate scheme to trick me into thinking I’m not good enough.

I let it happen so often and it actually scares me. I start to believe the lies when really, I need to cling to the truth the Jesus has for me.

The truth that I am loved.

The truth that I have worth.

The truth that I can receive grace.

I am definitely a professional over thinker but I’m learning to “set my mind on the things above” and the beautiful truths that Jesus whispers to me rather than the dangerous ramblings of my own mind and I think you should choose to do the same.

The Little Reminders

I’m realizing that this grace thing is never ending; I constantly need to be reminded and those reminders come in so many different, even crazy ways.

Sometimes I’m reminded through the peaceful way Jesus writes on my heart.

I will not shame you.

My grace is enough for you. 

Sometimes it’s just through stories I find in the Bible. Beautiful stories of people who have messed up big time, people who are similar to me and who have found grace and forgiveness in the same God I do.

But other times, reminders come from the most unexpected places. Like from a small church in a Peruvian city.

The past two weeks we’ve been staying in Urubamba which is a city that is about an hour away from Cusco, Peru. We’ve been staying at the Seminary here and last night we decided to attend their church.

This church is just a little hole in the wall. You could walk right past it and never know it was there but sitting in church last night, Jesus hit me in the face with his grace all over again.

If I’m being completely honest, I wasn’t really paying attention to the guy preaching at the front of the church. Sometimes trying to follow a sermon in a foreign language when you’re not completely fluent in that language can be an extremely hard task that takes all of your energy and last night, I felt exhausted.

I was in my own little world, reading a completely different passage when I heard the pastor say these words,

“El justo murió por el injusto.”

The righteous died for the unrighteous.

The only perfect person to ever walk this earth died for the “bad” people, the murderers, the liars, the cheaters, me. He died for me.

I think this is a truth that will never cease to amaze me. It’s something that will keep me in complete awe and wonder of this man named Jesus who loves me.

It’s something that’ll keep hitting me square in the face, leaving me on my knees in worship and leave the words, “grace upon grace” ringing in my ear.

Tat blog

 

When You Think you are too Far Gone

It’s happening again.

My heart is starting to race, my palms are beginning to sweat, I feel the fear and dread welling up inside of me until it feels like it’s going to consume me.

I hear someone say, “You screwed up.”

In my heart I know I did. I know I messed up big time.

I hear the man start to tell me lies. Somehow I realize that what he’s telling me is deceitful but I’m to weak to fight and I begin to believe him.

You’re too far gone.

He can’t forgive you now.

What you did was too bad.

It’s too late.

I start to cry as I believe these lies. Is he right? Is it over? It can’t be, can it?

And just when I think I’m about crumble, just when it becomes too much to bear, I feel Jesus with me.

I feel Him hug me.

I feel how much He loves me.

I hear Him call me, “daughter.”

I hear Him tell me it’s okay, that He’s already forgiven me and not only that but He’s already forgotten about it.

I hear Him say that He won’t shame me, that I am made new and the girl I was in my past is dead and gone.

I hear Him say all this and I feel loved. I feel accepted. I feel free. And I walk away with Jesus knowing that I am.