Tatiana didn’t publish this blog draft, this was read at her celebration service by Aliza. We wanted to share it with you as we all search for meaning and purpose through the tough times of… More
I’ve been gone for a long time.
I haven’t written anything but weekly assignment and essays since September. I usually blame it on not having enough time – being a full-time student, RA and having a part-time job will do that to you.
But I’ve been feeling antsy lately. I told a friend the other day that I’m starting to feel restless again.
The problem is I want to do things. It doesn’t have to be something massive and world-changing – I just want to do something. Write something, be someone, have something to leave behind.
Writing is the thing I want to do. I wrote a lot in the summer, mostly because I had at least five thousand crises but I wrote a lot. I even started writing a book and I loved it. I am in my element when I write like this. When I write about things I’m passionate about or even just spill my many, many emotions onto a page, I feel calmer.
I feel like I can survive.
I feel like I’m contributing something.
I feel at peace.
The problem became that I started comparing myself. I started looking at other blogs and accomplishments and began thinking that I wasn’t good enough. My book would never be published so why would I spend so much time on it? My blog would never get thousands of followers and be read all over the world so why bother? I’ll never be good enough to be paid for writing so what’s the point at all?
So, in an act of true bravery and dignity, I gave up.
I just stopped writing because I thought I wasn’t good enough and because I thought that there wouldn’t be a point to any of this if I was never going to good enough.
If I’m honest, I do this with a lot of situations in my life. I run away because I don’t think I can measure up. So instead of trying my best and giving it my all, I run because I won’t feel good about it unless I ultimately succeed. Failure isn’t an option even if I do my best because I would still fail and I hate even the idea of that.
I’m learning (surprise) that this isn’t actually a healthy way to live.
So I started asking myself, why do I do the things I do? I realized the answer was either because I know I’m good at these things or because people will think highly of me if I do them.
That, my friends, is very very bad.
I am so afraid of failure and having people look down on me that I’ll give up something I love in fear of failure. And I’m learning that if I do anything outside of doing it for the glory of Jesus, I am doing it for the wrong reasons.
If I write just for people to tell me I’m a good writer and to get a lot of views, I’m writing in vain.
If I write because I love it and because Jesus has given me the ability and desire to do so, then I’m doing it right.
It doesn’t matter if anyone ever reads my words or buys my work, it doesn’t matter if no one clicks on the link to this blog or if everyone if the world thinks I’m a terrible writer.
I write because I love it, because it heals me, because it’s a God-given desire.
So I’m back. And I’m gonna keep writing and writing and writing, even if 0 people read these words, I’m gonna keep writing.
You’re not alone. If there’s one thing I want you to know in this moment it’s that you’re not alone.
I’ve been struggling this week and I guess for the whole summer with feelings of inadequacy, feelings of not being good enough and feelings of not being forgivable.
So I want you to know that you’re not alone in these feelings cause I feel them too, every second.
Here’s another thing I want you to know; that voice that’s telling you you’re not good enough, that you can’t receive grace, that you could never be forgiven – that’s a lie sent straight from the pit of hell.
satan wants you to be discouraged. satan doesn’t want you to receive Jesus’ love, grace and forgiveness because he knows that if you do, you’ll fall in love with Jesus and never get back up again. satan wants you to fail, satan wants you to believe that you are a terrible, disgusting piece of human life who has no worth and who Jesus doesn’t give a second look at so he lies.
He lies and he tells you that you’re not worthy.
He lies and says that Jesus could never forgive you for going to that dark place you were in.
He lies and tells you that there’s no way Jesus could even get you out of that dark place you’re in.
He lies and tells you that you’re not good enough.
He lies and tells you that you could never change.
He lies and tells you that Jesus doesn’t love you.
But, my love, that’s all they are – lies. satan’s words have no authority here because while satan is lying to you, Jesus is whispering truth into your heart.
Jesus hugs you and tells you that you are a worthy child of His.
Jesus says you’re already forgiven.
Jesus comes alongside you and brings light into your darkness. He tells you that He left the 99 others to go out and find you.
He smiles at you and says you’re more than enough.
He picks you up and tells you over and over again, “I love you, I love you, I love you.”
Jesus is with you, He loves you and He’ll never let you go. Today, I hope you know that.
I’m over on my friend, Beth’s blog today.
On this blog, I try to be 100% real with you guys. That means telling you what I’m struggling with, trying to tell you how I’m working through it and sometimes just simply saying that I have no idea what the heck I’m doing.
This blog is my way to work through things and try and process how I’m feeling. It’s a way I can worship Jesus and give him honor and glory.
SO because of all of those goals and dreams for this blog, I need to tell you what I’ve come to realize in recent weeks.
I’ve been so lonely lately. And I don’t mean lonely in the sense that I have nobody because I know that I have been blessed with some of the best friends and family on earth.
But guys, and please don’t laugh at me, I’ve been lonely because I desperately want to be in love with someone.
If you’ve ever been in a relationship you know that feeling of comfort knowing there is someone who always thinks of you, who prioritize your needs, who is always genuinely interested in what you’re doing, how your day was, what you’re learning, I could go on.
Now this isn’t a desperate cry of, “Someone please love me, I need a boy to complete me.” Because honestly if it was, I’d be missing the whole point of this blog.
But, I have done that before. I’ve made a boy my identity. I’ve completed replaced Jesus with a human being and that is not right.
Now I don’t know if there’s a way to do relationships right. I can barely do daily life right let alone add another person into the mix! I know that I have a lot of learning to do and I think I’m on a life long journey of learning. But here’s the conversation I had with myself and Jesus the other day while driving home.
*cue “Say You Won’t Let Go” by James Arthur*
I start to cry.
“Jesus, I want that.”
“Jesus, can’t you hear me? I want somebody to love me like that, I want somebody to care about me like that, I need that connection with somebody.”
“And, I’m scared, Jesus. What if I never find that? What if I just end up alone for the rest of my life? What if everyone I know moves on and gets married and I’m left in the dust?”
“Beloved, you already have that. I am so in love with you.”
Now this isn’t a man hating blog post declaring how I don’t need no man because I am a strong independent woman. I would still love to be married one day, I would love to fall in love and have all that mushy stuff. But here’s the thing, if I define myself by whether or not I’m in a relationship or if somebody likes me or doesn’t, I’m never gonna get anywhere in life.
This goes for all things too. If I define myself by anything other than loved by Jesus Christ, my life won’t mean much of anything.
So yes, it’d still be cool to maybe fall in love one day, get married and have a family but I’m not gonna let myself stress about it anymore.
I’m not gonna let myself get caught up in the fact that I am single. I’m not gonna let that simple fact stop me from living a full life and I’m definitely not gonna let it stop me from serving Jesus.
The truth is this, Jesus loves you and He cares for you and He wants the best for you. He has incredible things in store for you and really, in the whole grand scheme of things, whether you end up single or married, that’s all that will ever really matter.
So here I am, a single 20-year-old woman, helplessly in love with Jesus and just trying to live the best life I can, reminding myself over and over to find my identity in Jesus, find my identity in Jesus.
“Airports are weird,” I think to myself at 4 am. At this hour it’s the only semi-deep and cohesive thought I can come up with.
I’ve been travelling since 5 pm yesterday afternoon. My family lives in Puerto Maldonado, Peru and let me tell yah, getting there is quite the adventure.
It’s filled with long flights, endless layovers, overpriced airport food and aiming to get 8 hours of sleep but only actually getting 2. It’s long and hard and I get very cranky in the middle of the night when I should be sleeping but tonight, while eating an expensive quiche and coffee, I’ve found myself reflecting on the sanctity of airports.
To me, airports are so diverse. It always confuses me how there can be so much sadness and happiness in one place. You see people reuniting after days, weeks, months, maybe even years of not seeing one another. You hear screams of joy, you see hugs and long awaited kisses, you watch as tears of joy fall down strangers faces and yet, you turn the corner and see the opposite. You see the hurt the words, “good bye” carry. You see the tears of sadness and the farewell hugs. You see the words, “I love you” being said and meant.
I’ve been on both sides of the airport and I can tell you for a fact that one completely rips your heart out of your chest but the other makes it full until it is absolutely overflowing with love and joy.
The goodbyes don’t get any easier and the hellos never get dull. Yes, airports are weird but maybe it’s because people are weird. Maybe it’s because our emotions take us place we didn’t know we could go – if we even wanted to go there in the first place. I think that’s the beautiful thing about being human. We get to feel these emotions, we get to love and laugh and cry and yell and every time, those emotions are just as intense as the last.
On the other hand – it’s 5 in the morning and I could just be going crazy. You can decide.
Guys, I’m actually very bad at this whole Jesus thing.
This is something I’ve realized over the past two years and something that has shook me to the core.
If you knew me when I was younger, you might have thought I was a bit of a snob. Pride has always been a struggle for me and while what I believed in was good, the way I showed my beliefs was not.
I would look down on people, I would compare our sins and think, “Wow, I’m glad I’m not as bad as them, Jesus.” I would sit on my tall and mighty horse and point out everything others did wrong.
This is what pride does – it makes us think that we’re way better than we actually are.
I slowly and stubbornly realized how I had been acting and I actually had to start forcing myself to admit when I was wrong.
I wouldn’t just apologize either, I would quite literally force myself to say the words, “I was wrong.”
Through this quest for humility, I realized this important lesson – I suck at this whole Jesus thing.
I forget to pray about things, I often find myself pushing off spending time with Him and reading his word. There are times when I doubt and question and I screw up more than you know. I do things wrong every hour, if not every minute.
I’m not trying to glorify these things by any means – it’s wrong that things are this way. But I want to be 100% real with all y’all. I want you to know that I don’t have it all together and I want you to know that it’s okay to fall short.
This is why I’m so thankful for grace.
Because I am not perfect, I am desperately trying to be better but I will never be perfect. And grace says that I don’t have to be, grace says that it’s okay not to have it all together and that even if I mess up every second, I’ll be welcomed back with open arms. Grace says that I can’t do it but that’s okay because He did it for me.
Grace wins every time.
So real talk, I’m terrible at things I’m desperately trying to be good at and Jesus knows that. He still loves me any way and He loves you too.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about this past year.
Last year at this time, I was at camp getting ready for the hundreds of campers I was going to meet. I had just moved back to Canada and everything in my life was in transition.
A lot of new things happened in this year but the thing my mind keeps wandering back to is all the people I got to know.
I’ve met some incredible people.
I love meeting new people but it’s never been something that I was very good at. I’ve always been very shy and (something I also realized in the past two years) I always seem to attract people who take and take from me rather than give.
This year was different.
Guys, between camp, school and church, I can’t stress enough how many cool people I have in my life. Real, genuine, down to earth people who encourage and love me like Jesus does.
Jesus really knew what I needed this year. Moving away from my family was hard but it was made easier by the people He brought into my life.
We need people in our life who spur us on.
We need people who ask hard questions, who talk about real issues and who aren’t afraid to confront you when something is wrong.
We need people who teach us things – as hard as those lessons may be. We need people who leave and we need people who come so that we can learn and grow and develop who we are as a person.
Right now I’m sitting in bed and I am so happy. I feel so blessed that Jesus has given me the old and new friends and relationships he has this year.
This year was a real growing year for me and I think most of it is due to the people that are in my life.
So to my people,
Thank you, I love you and I’m better off because of you.
I bought a bikini yesterday.
I used to wear them all the time when I was young. I think it was because there’s something so innocent about a four year old wearing a bikini that no one even takes a second look. But when I turned 13, I can distinctly remember fighting with my mom in Sears over why I couldn’t buy a bikini like all my other friends.
I didn’t think it was fair at all but out of respect for my parents, I tried my best to find cute one pieces and tankinis that covered everything – which, as a side note, is a very hard thing to do these days. I understood where my parents were coming from, they were trying to instill good values in me and they were teaching me to guard my body and my heart. These were both good things but I think eventually, modesty became a wall I hid behind rather than something I really believed in.
Growing up I developed some body image issues. I’m sure every teenage girl has had them as well. In a mix of our own insecurities and satan telling us lies, we begin to hate ourselves.
I’ve hated myself for a really long time.
I’ve never thought that my stomach was flat enough or that my legs and arms were small enough. I’m never tanned or toned enough and there’s always someone prettier, am I right?
I was never enough and for a long time this lie was all consuming. All I thought about was the next diet fad, weight loss tea you could buy and how to get rock hard abs in 5 minutes. I researched metabolism-boosting pills and I prayed and prayed that I would some how lose weight. I was always thinking about how big my stomach looked or why my legs were the size of Texas and if my arms jiggled too much and there was nothing that could stop those thoughts.
But at least I was modest, right?
As a side note – I don’t blame my parents for any of this. I think there is so much value in dressing modestly especially in a day and age where every new style is just a new and creative way to show off more skin. I do value dressing modestly but what I’m struggling with is where do we draw the line between modesty and insecurity?
You see, I started to self-righteously hide behind this whole modesty thing. I said I was being modest in not wearing a bikini but I really just hated the way I looked. That, my friends, is not a healthy place to be.
I know Jesus doesn’t want me to show the world my body, that’s not something that everybody needs to see but I also don’t think He wants me to be ashamed of my body. He’s the one who created it, right?
So I bought a bikini yesterday and I didn’t buy it because I want to show off my hot bod and make all the boys stumble – I actually think it’s quite a modest bikini! I bought it because I have worked really heard in the past 5 years to get to a place where I actually love my body, a place where I feel comfortable and confident in my own skin.
Loving yourself is difficult, y’all and it takes a lot of work. But let’s not hide behind self-righteousness and pride, let’s get to the root of the issue and stop the lies we’ve believed. Cling to truth, cling to Jesus.
I’m not gonna lie to y’all – this week has been hard.
I don’t know if it’s the build of a few months of sadness or if it’s just satan trying to get the best of me but I can for sure tell you that this week has definitely made the top ten for toughest weeks in my life. Emotionally and spiritually, I am exhausted.
Honestly, it started out with just pure sadness. I even wrote in my journal that I wasn’t feeling it and that I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. Why was I sad when I should be healed by now? How could I go from feeling so great to feeling so crappy in a matter of a few hours?
This sadness turned into questioning and wondering why.
Why questions have always scared me because who am I to ever doubt God? I try to shove them down and ignore them because to question God is to question the entire foundation of my life and it’s to sin against the one, true God and what right do I have to that?
I started asking, “Why do I even follow Jesus?”
Friends, even writing that scares me to the core, but I want to be real with you so yes, I started asking that.
I realized that if my answer to that question was because it was expected of me or because following Jesus secures safety when I die that I was not in this lifestyle for the right reasons. But as I searched, I realized that my answers were not that at all and in fact, the answer to this question is the foundation for my life.
Here are my answers;
- God is real, there is nothing outside of God and we can’t be without him. He is everything and everything depends on him.
- I am, by nature, a helpless sinner. My life proves that there is nothing I can ever do to escape the sin I commit. Yes, I can try to be better and I can try to live a life free of the bad things I do but ultimately, I’m just going to do something wrong again. This isn’t hopeless, friends, this is in fact the beauty of Jesus. He came to do what none of us ever could or can – to live a perfect life and save us all from the wrong we do.
- Jesus is and forever will be my first love. I am head over heels, weak in the knees, butterflies in my stomach in love with Jesus and through him I have grace, joy, peace and everything else I could ever need. Take everything else away from me, as long as I have Jesus, I’m set.
This is my life. This is what I am living for.
Yes, satan is still trying to plant doubt within me. He’s constantly trying to convince me that I don’t deserve any of this, that I’m too far gone and that Jesus couldn’t love someone like me. But in those moments I am crying out to my Saviour, begging for him to save me and guys, He always does.
I realized this week that deciding to follow Jesus isn’t a one time thing at a summer camp or a church service, following Jesus – choosing him – is something I have to do every day for the rest of my life.
So friends, I encourage you to doubt. I encourage you to question. I encourage you to embrace your brokenness and really seek why you’re living the way you are. Don’t be afraid, Jesus can handle your questions. He loves you and he wants you to choose him.
I moved back to Canada a year ago today.
I knew I wanted to write about this year and what I’ve learned, all the wisdom I’ve gained as a young, trying to be a-typical millennial who’s living on her own for the first time. I’m being totally sarcastic of course because yes I wanted to write, yes I’m young and I’m trying to be different and I’m living on my own but I don’t feel like I’ve gained that much wisdom.
This has been an incredibly humbling year.
It’s been a year of recognizing who I really am and realizing how I’m never in control.
Last May when I left Peru I was struggling with losing the identity I had built my life around, I felt like moving back home would suddenly make me insignificant and I wouldn’t have a “cool” factor about me anymore. I had to realize that my significance comes from being loved by Jesus, not by anything I’ve done.
When I came back to Canada, I struggled with entering back into North American life. I would break down crying when I heard english worship music at church, I was always shocked that I could drink tap water, flush a toilet and walk into a grocery store and find everything I needed (I still sometimes just walk around Walmart and take in all the sights).
When I started Bible college, my spiritual life was at an all time low. I was so burnt out from the orphanage and camp that I didn’t want to try anymore and I really had to work to be intimate with Jesus again – Bible college was not what I expected it to be.
This year has been messy, full of grace and learning, and unexpectedly amazing. I’ve learned so many things and I’ve discovered so many passions that I had repressed before. My life plan has changed countless times and I’ve learned to trust Jesus in a way that I never had before.
If there’s one piece of wisdom from this year that I can share with you, it’s this: our life is never going to turn out the way we think it will. Our plans will constantly change, it’s when we can fully know and trust Jesus that we can be confident in the fact that even if our plans change, Jesus never will. This year has been one heck of an adventure – here’s to many more.