On Modern Witnesses today, Talya, a pharmacy student and sister from South Africa, shares her thoughts on trust, what it means to be real with God, and some excellent tips for spiritual growth. She candidly talks to us about emotions, fear and her love for the winter holidays in June.
Biblical inspiration of the moment: Joseph’s journey from being a spoilt brat and gossiper to becoming a man of character, worthy of being King.
Spiritual growth focus, at the moment: I’ve been on a journey, this past month or so, in learning the true, in-depth meaning of what trusting God means. We like to sound super spiritual and make bold statements like “Don’t worry about it, just trust God!” And it might even come as second nature to most who have walked a while with Jesus. But trusting God is truly tested when it comes to something that you cannot do on your own or even do as a human. It’s easier to trust Him to help you pass your module than it sometimes is when you need to rely on His goodness and mercy to change a hardened heart or moving the mountain in front of you. I’m slowly learning what walking on water feels like, and I am so thankful for the gentleman who Jesus is, always meeting us at our level of faith and trust.
“It’s easier to trust Him to help you pass your module than it sometimes is when you need to rely on His goodness and mercy to change a hardened heart or moving the mountain in front of you.”
Profession: I am currently a undergraduate student in Pharmacy at the North West University in South Africa.
One sentence bio: I am a nature-loving and fun-spirited daughter of the King, not taking myself too seriously and yet running the race with my eyes fixed on the goal, like Paul said.
When did you first encounter God? I was 15 years old, mid-depressive state and drenched in the dissatisfaction worldly lusts produce, when I met the Lover of my soul.
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? Being real with God has given so much substance to our relationship. Why try to be strong before the Lord, while all we really need is to lay all of our burdens and feelings at His feet. He can handle our insecurities and our doubts. Always keep your relationship as real as it gets.
Talk to God– share your successes, heartaches, dreams, truest feelings and desires with Him like you would a friend. Worshiping God isn’t an activity we practice when beautiful music is accompanying our time with Jesus– it’s a way of living.
In every moment, we are to worship Him, even if it is in a one breath sentence, “You are good”, “Thank you for your grace”. And yes, there is a time to worship with music and dance in front of the Lord with joy! But be real with God. He’s not someone we can sweet-talk into giving us what we want. I do encourage you, in whatever season you might find yourself in, cry out to God with raw and heartfelt honesty; “God I don’t know how to trust you, teach me”, “Show me that you’re truly good because my circumstances are flogging my vision”.
If you’re sad, experience it with Him. If you’re mad, tell God. If you’re doubtful, ask Him to reveal himself as He is and not as you think He is. God is real, and Jesus is alive. The Holy Spirit enables you to be as real as it gets.
“God is real, and Jesus is alive. The Holy Spirit enables you to be as real as it gets.”
Top three essentials: Hmm. This is a tough one. I’d reckon it has to be my Sandalwood candle, peanut butter and old pictures.
How has God spoken to you recently? Knowing that we could never limit God speaking to us solely in one way. God sure does speak to me in the way His presence supplies peace that surpasses my understanding. I woke up from a bad nightmare, and as soon as I started praying, I experienced Jesus’ presence in my room, and He let his peace overwhelm me. And I know He said that I do not need to be afraid, for He is with me.
“I know He said that I do not need to be afraid, for He is with me.”
A hobby? I love doing kickboxing and Pilates exercises in my down time, as well as doodling and practicing my calligraphy skills. I also love trying out new food recipes. I love getting outdoors and playing around with my camera.
Top three tips for staying spiritually strong:
Tip 1: Surround yourself with spiritually strong people. Don’t have friends like that yet? That’s all right. Sign up for a small group at your church, and make new friends that share your earnest desire to grow in your faith. Share about your journey and allow them to help you grow.
Tip 2: Don’t act on your emotions right away. It’s only one of the elements (spirit, soul and flesh) that make up the whole multi-faceted you. Emotions are secondary to God’s word. When you feel down, praise God. When you’re feeling alone, it doesn’t mean that you are. God promises that He never leaves us nor forsakes us. Whatever you’re feeling, do the opposite in faith. Loneliness, sow friendliness. Bitterness, sow forgiveness. Rely on God’s strength when you are weak, and it will start to become second nature to you.
Tip 3: Don’t be hard on yourself when you make mistakes. There will always be lessons that we need to learn. Don’t make the same mistake next time and go from glory to glory like the Lord wants you to. If you indeed seek to learn the lesson you will walk from that trial stronger and wiser, just as the Lord intended. Also, be real about your mistakes. You will be a set apart child of God when you start to be real in your journey, and you’ll lay down a solid foundation that cannot be shaken.
“Emotions are secondary to God’s word.”
Favorite person in scripture: Esther, definitely.
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? I want people to see the love Jesus has for them, in me. To have someone know that I will love them unconditionally, regardless of their past or their present. A perfect God still loves them, no matter how imperfect they might feel or how many times they have fallen.
Favorite season: It has to be spring. New beginnings and the fresh feeling that lingers in the air tangibly. I love that.
Favorite holiday: I love winter holidays, which is in June for us here in South Africa. I love all things cozy, soothing and cinnamon smelling. (*laughs*) The sound of rain is so calming. We don’t get snow in my home town, but we sure do get lots and lots of rain. Praise the Lord.
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: On Christmas day we have an Italian tradition. After church, we open a bottle of champagne and enjoy a panettone bread with it. It’s our own communion. I love this tradition and look forward to it every year. (We are not Italian by any means, but we do love this tradition!)
Question you will ask when you get to heaven: How does fire work?
Thing you want to raise awareness about: The tragedy of people who are sick and cannot afford health care. People all across the globe don’t necessarily have access to medical assistance of good enough quality to truly aid in their need. I think Doctors Without Borders needs to be supported a whole lot more.
“I think Doctors Without Borders needs to be supported a whole lot more.”
What do you usually do before 9 a.m. (Mon- Fri)? I drink a liter of warm water with freshly squeezed lemon juice, spend time with Jesus in His word and creation, and enjoy my porridge with peanut butter and banana after exercising.
For more Talya:
Until next time, keep witnessing!