Facing Truth

Recently, I found a couple of my family members and I having a discussion (and argument) about hurt that we have and are experiencing with one another. Letting someone know that their actions and attitudes are causing pain can be difficult as well as hearing that your actions and attitudes are hurting someone can be uncomfortable. Hearing how someone feels or hearing truth can be unsettling, discouraging, and maybe even embarrassing if we are honest. It can even make you mad and respond back with more hurt. That is why healing is so imperative. When we face truth, God wants us to be able to respond from a place of love and eagerness for allowing God into every area of our lives, including the painful ones. Sometimes we put up barriers and shut down. Oh, I know that all too well. I would also shut down even when someone offended me or if I disappointed them in some way. Conflict was difficult for me. But thank God for His constant teachings, His grace, and therapy even with Him. I still have a ways to go but He has brought me a long way.

This morning, as I read one of my Bible plans and it discussed repentance, I began to also repent for the times I wasn’t totally honest with people in fear of how they would respond. I subsequently thought about the woman at the well and how she could have responded to Jesus during their dialogue. Jesus was frank with her although He preceded in love. He drew her in by validating her existence and showing her respect despite her reputation and although Jews didn’t deal with Samaritans like that. And he continued with addressing something she had to face. She had been married several times and her latest boo wasn’t even her husband.

Jesus knew the Pharisees had heard that he was baptizing and making more disciples than John (though Jesus himself didn’t baptize them—his disciples did). So he left Judea and returned to Galilee. He had to go through Samaria on the way. Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food. The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?” Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?” Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” “Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.” “Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her. “I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied. Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband— for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!” “Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet. So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?” Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” Then Jesus told her, “ I Am the Messiah!” Just then his disciples came back. They were shocked to find him talking to a woman, but none of them had the nerve to ask, “What do you want with her?” or “Why are you talking to her?” The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?” So the people came streaming from the village to see him. Meanwhile, the disciples were urging Jesus, “Rabbi, eat something.” But Jesus replied, “I have a kind of food you know nothing about.” “Did someone bring him food while we were gone?” the disciples asked each other. Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work. You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest. The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike! You know the saying, ‘One plants and another harvests.’ And it’s true. I sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest.” Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!” When they came out to see him, they begged him to stay in their village. So he stayed for two days, long enough for many more to hear his message and believe. Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard him ourselves. Now we know that he is indeed the Savior of the world.”
John 4:1‭-‬42 NLT
https://bible.com/bible/116/jhn.4.1-42.NLT

Notice though that she already knew the state she was in. Hence she traveled to the well at such an uncomfortable time so she can avoid others who looked down on her (dummies.com/religion/christianity/the-bible/spiritual-rebirth-the-samaritan-woman-at-the-well/). And she clearly states that she is not married. She also knows the “messiah (Christ Jesus) is coming and will proclaim all things to us.” However, what intrigues me when I read this story is how Jesus was so frank with her and how she did not run away from Him in despair or offense. She received the truth about the sin in her life and her thirst for a savior. She was so excited about such revelation, Him knowing what was going on with her. She was also excited about the fact that He can meet the need of eternal salvation and fulfilment, whether she fully understood it or not. She ran boldly in to the village and told others about Jesus. This resulted in many of the people believing that Jesus is the Savior.

Much of healing is discovering truth, truth about what’s going on inside of you and your heart. As God exposes some things for you to face, repent from, and heal from, don’t run from God in despair or offense. God wants you to heal. God wants to have a relationship with you. God wants you to know He loves you and He is here to fulfill you. And God will give you the grace and strength to endure this part of the healing process. Don’t avoid the pain, the emotions, the truth, the forgiveness, the repentance, and the Savior when He comes waiting for you at the well. Let us face the Truth–Jesus.

Father,

Help us to allow You to bring those things to the surface in our lives that You want us to face and we have been so afraid to deal with. It is uncomfortable and disheartening at times but give us grace to hear the truth and face it. More importantly, let us receive the Truth, the Life and the Way which is Your Son, Jesus. And help us to see ourselves and others the way You do. Your grace is sufficient and the joy of the Lord is our strength. Renew our minds and let us begin to heal. But first we must seek ye first Your kingdom and righteousness and we will have all we need including the things we need to heal and grow. Comfort us too and envelop us with Your unfailing love. Help us to give You all of our failures, fear, disappointments, traumas, and heartbreaks. You love us beyond measure and You care for us with Your omnipotence and mercy. In Jesus’s name, amen.

Use This Time Wisely

Many of us are enduring reopening phases as well as quarantine during this pandemic. It hasn’t been easy but for the most part, we have made adjustments to how we do things from our careers to education. Nonetheless, this pandemic has served much stress, loss, anxiety, uncertainty and hardships. Yet, many are still holding on despite the turmoil from Covid-19 and even the many issues, like racism and gun violence, that are now on the forefront of our current society that people are waiting and fighting for to finally be addressed.

As in one hand chaos and turmoil increase in the world and in another hand the world slows down. We are left to understand that we can’t approach life as we have been. We may have to make some adjustments that are deep within and that will prepare us for the next season. We may have to reevaluate how we were living before this time. Rediscover some goals and dreams. Realize that God can use this time for our good and He can help us use this time wisely.

Were you burned out prior to the quarantine? Were you in need of some quality time with your family? Did you have a business or foundation that has been on your heart to start? How about following through with writing or face timing a person God has laid on your heart to reach out to remind them God cares? Did you want to finally get healthy mentally and physically? Did you need to learn a second language? Did you need to let go of some things and some relationships? Did you need to get your bank account healthy? Did you need to finally deal with some pain and trauma? Did you need to strengthen your prayer life and faith walk? How about learning patience and trusting God?

Prior to the quarantine, shutdown, Pandemic, I was burned out. Overwhelmed and anxiety through the roof. I had some things I needed to deal with, boundaries to set, and goals to accomplish. One of those goals was to build my trust in God. And I also desired to have more quality time with God in prayer, His Word and presence. Other goals were simply to cook more, be more present with my family, write more, work on and eventually release my book. I also wanted to practice more self-care. I needed more self-care.

Using my time wisely and accomplishing these goals haven’t been easy and I am far from perfectly disciplined, if there is such a thing. However, by the grace of God, I have come to grow in these areas and accomplish some of my goals. I give glory to God because He not only knows what I need and what those around me need, but He works all things for my good.

I have been cooking more, making sweets and dishes such as cheesecakes, brownies, shrimp and chicken alfredo and more.

I love food and I love cooking and sharing my cooking moments and meals with family have been great.

I finished my book; praise God, and I am enjoying again taking photos of nature. I have also been tackling fear and anxiety by being vulnerable with God, prayer, His Word and grace.

Additionally, I’m learning to rest, spiritually, in the Lord and naturally to replenish and refuel. Walking with family, movie nights, and having pool time or errand runs have helped me to be present with family. I also sought a bit of therapy and started back journaling. God told me a while ago to reprioritize and organize my life. I wish I had started this mission before all of this but it is not too late.

God first and foremost and then everyone and everything else shall fall in their proper place. Learning to trust God and set boundaries will also help me to get some order in my life. Letting the Holy Spirit lead me and doing things with purpose and simplicity in mind will also help. Lastly, I aim to continue with strengthening my faith walk and love walk.

To conclude, I don’t know your goals or what God is calling you to do. I don’t know what you need to heal from, what things you need to part ways from and who you need to turn you attention back to. But I do know that you still have time today right now to choose to use your time wisely and set the stage for God to lead the way in your life. To choose to go deeper in the things of God and dwell in His presence like never before.

To choose to receive the life and life to the full Jesus came to give us as well as receive God’s unfailing love. To choose to live simply, fruitfully and purposefully. Prepare now and pray more. Rest while you can. Ask God to teach you to trust Him and rebuild your life on the foundation of His Son. Seasons will change. Prepare for the next season. Learn from this one and do all that you are supposed to do in this one.


Put Your Shoes On Honey,

Our journey awaits,

Tannika

Changing Lanes and Choices

Two guys, both on their way to court to go before the judge for various reasons, are involved in a fender bender. One, Doyle (Samuel L. Jackson), wants to exchange information and follow proper protocol. But, the other guy, Gavin (Ben Affleck), is in such a hurry to get to court. He, Gavin, is a lawyer representing a case but not in an honest way. The other man, Doyle, is headed to court to fight to stay in his sons’ lives. Gavin is in such a hurry that he does not oblige Doyle. So, Gavin takes off leaving Doyle on the highway stranded. Subsequently, Doyle arrives late for court and things do not go in his favor.

From there, things spiral out of control, and both parties take revenge as one man fights for his children and the other fights to get back a crucial file for his case. Both men are having the worst day of their lives, yet are full of pride that is bringing out the worst in both of them. This movie is like an emotional roller coaster.

I learned, however, three things from this movie. The first thing I learned is that we must slow down. Rushing can hinder us from thinking and responding carefully. It also can hinder our ability to listen to understand. Had the lawyer who although needed to be in court slowed down to follow the proper protocol the events might have been slightly different. Plus some car accidents happen because some one is in a rush. The second thing I learned is that we must not hinder someone from trying to do the right thing. The lawyer wants to give the father a check and call it a day. For some people that check would suffice but the father wants to follow the proper protocol following a car accident. He wants to do what he knows is right. The third thing I learned is that revenge and lies lead to one bad choice after the other. The lawyer keeps making one bad choice after the other, telling one lie after the other until he is in so deep. The father keeps making choices to seek revenge and it is making his situation even worse. One could argue it is the lawyer’s fault; however, at the end of the day we all are responsible for the choices we make.

So, without telling how the end goes if you have not seen the movie, these two men have some decisions to make. Or will this spiral so far out of control that both men will lose completely? Changing Lanes (2002) is a good movie and it makes one think about how he/she will respond. You can check this movie out on Amazon Prime.

Signing out,

Tannika

Rerouted…

This morning is as cold as a freezer and the air is crisp and gripping. Did I also mention it feels like another Monday, although it is Tuesday. So, I struggle to get out of the bed a bit. However, I awake grateful to God for a new day, read and listen to His Word, worship Him, and talk with Him. A day started with the Lord is a day better yielded to Him.

Upon leaving home, I miss my bus so I decide to catch the bus headed towards the Metra train to make up for lost time. The train tracker schedules for my train to stop at the stop I need to get off at to catch another bus. I have a lengthy commute. Anyways, one stop into our ride we hear that the train will run express all the way to the end stop. Ah man! I can get off at the current stop we just arrived at and wait for the next one but it is too cold. So, I stay on and am going to have to ride all the way to the end.

No problem. I will just have to do what I have had to do before, just travel back. I ride to the end. Now, I just have to walk down a few blocks and take another train. So, I walk to the Red Line and go downstairs and my train comes. However, this train confuses me with the fact that its route labels state not what it normally says. I get on because although the train states something different, this is where I am literally heading. The Red Line stays on the lower tracks (ground level) but this morning this train is riding on the higher track where you can see the roofs of buildings and blocks of homes and businesses lined up on our Chicago streets. I hate riding high up because of the height but God gets me safely to my destination and drives away my fears with this message.

I feel like I just took the long way around just to get to my destination. I have been rerouted twice but still heading to my destination.

What happens when you are rerouted? You have to take the long way around. Your journey gets interrupted.

Moses and the Israelites were rerouted. They had to take the long way after God led Moses to free them from slavery. In fact, God took them the long way and through the impossible.

The people got impatient. They murmurred and complained. They even wanted to turn back. Oh, I had that feeling this morning.
When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” Exodus 13:17

Yet, God took them the long way because had He led them the short distance they would have easily went back. Fear and discomfort makes you run back to comfortable situations even if they were horrible situations. They had to learn to trust God step by step, day by day. They had to learn to depend on God. They had to learn to persevere and develop patience. Prayer and patience go together. Faith and perseverance goes together. You can’t have one without the other and we need all of the above in life and through our faith walk.

So, when you get rerouted, be patient. Maybe God is protecting you from something. Maybe God wants you to develop patience. Maybe God just wants you to trust Him even on a routine day heading to work.