Humility: Choosing to Live Real

Wearing masks

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I suspect I’m not the only one who’s done it.

Who’s donned a mask for one reason or another.

Sometimes I’ve done it to impress others.

More often though, I’ve placed that mask over the real me because it felt safer to have people look at the image they thought was me than the picture of the actual me. Living as the real me was too dangerous.

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Unite: When Women Unite

Snowy path

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

My Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—UNITE. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. I write for five minutes on a given topic. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out our hostess, Kate Motaung’s site. Or, click on the link at the bottom of this post. As you read my simpler Friday posts, I hope you’ll join in the conversation!

UNITE

If you’ve read my blogs for very long, you know some of my struggles with rejection and the impact it’s had on my perspective . . . for most of my life.

I can look back now and see that those mean girls in my past were just trying to figure out who they were. Unfortunately they found me, a sensitive girl, to pick on and to take out their own struggles on.

As women, we grow up with these images that our bodies should look a certain way.

We should be doing life a certain way.

Our lives should follow some sort of invisible timeline and we should be at this point by this age.

But what the world also encourages with these messages is isolation.

We are afraid to be real, to share the struggles we’re having, the discontent with life, the vulnerabilities we try to hide each and every day.

The world tells us anything less than perfect is simply unacceptable. But what if . . .

we united as women,

we determined we will not let the world try to define us?

What if we looked for the essence God has placed in each of us, and we encouraged each other to live in this?

 

Women huggingWhat would happen?

What if, instead of isolation, we choose to embrace each other?

Those who are married reaching out to those who are single?

Those who have children sharing compassion with those who yearn for babies?

Those who seem to have it all reaching out to those who obviously don’t?

Because, really, everyone can put on a mask to make their lives look a certain way.

But when each of us can admit we really don’t have it all figured out . . .

. . . that we are barely holding onto our mess with a fingertip, then we can do something amazing.

We can pray earnestly for each other.

We can encourage each other and remind each other that we can make it through this particular mess. We can come alongside each other and hold each other up.

We will cling to God, and sometimes we’ll help our friends cling to God.

When we unite with the determination to be there for the women in our lives . . .

. . . when we step out with compassion rather than hiding behind insecurity, that’s when God’s power can really bring about change in our lives and in the lives of those around us.

Women Praying copy

When we unite with a common purpose—to point each other to Jesus, to be a safe place—that’s when we are drawn closer to the Lord and grow stronger  . . . together.

***

For the men reading this, please forgive the blatant “woman-focus” of this post. I know men have their own set of struggles they deal with. How do men unite?

What about you? When have you united with someone or a group of people for a common purpose? What has someone done to point you toward Jesus during a difficult time?

Click to tweet:

Everyone can put on a mask to make their lives look a certain way. (Click to tweet)

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung and Five Minute Friday—Unite

Discouragement: 4 Ways to Move Beyond Discouragement

Crumby counter

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

As I walk through the garage door into the kitchen, they’re the first thing that catch my eye. On the table, the counters, even in the pantry.

Crumbs. They’re everywhere.

It doesn’t matter how many times I wipe things down, they’re magic. They keep appearing.

Especially when the boys rush from breakfast to the car for school. Somehow they never see the crumbs they’ve left behind.

Always I see them with my mama, want-a-clean-house eyes.

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Easy: When God Calls

Rock Wall 1 copy

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

My Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—EASY. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. I write for five minutes on a given topic. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out our hostess, Kate Motaung’s site. Or, click on the link at the bottom of this post. As you read my simpler Friday posts, I hope you’ll join in the conversation!

EASY

When I took my first steps on this writing journey, I was pretty confident it would be relatively easy to get published.

I knew I’d have a big learning curve. I’d need to figure out how to create characters, plot, an interesting story, but I found great websites that helped me to learn that.

I stepped back from some ministry responsibilities at church, and assured people: I’ll be back in a year. This story burned in me, and I just knew I’d have it written, be represented by an agent, and have this book baby on its way to delivery shortly after that.

Fast forward six (yes, six) years. I’m getting ready to begin my fourth book. None of the first three are published (and yes, I’ve been asked about when they’re coming out! Don’t ask a writer this question).

I’m not agented.

I’m nowhere close to having something publishable.

Six years.

Many, many words typed onto the pages in my computer.

Heartbreaks. Disappointments.

This journey is anything but easy.

When the journey is hard

But the thing I’m learning? Anything God calls us to is worth sticking with, even when the journey is hard. (Click to tweet) 

When the obstacles look bigger than the possible outcomes.

When the disappointments feel like they’ll never be hurdled.

God is teaching me that on this step-by-step journey into the humbling hard, He is with me. He is teaching me about His presence. His constant presence.

When someone says no to the story of my heart, it hurts. But God is there to encourage. He uses people, but He also uses His word.

The “easy” journeys seldom are that . . . if they are callings God’s given us.

clouds and sun on rocks

Those callings God places on our lives are the ones designed to bring us to the end of ourselves, to teach us to depend on and trust Him, and to refine us so we reflect Him more clearly.

What about you? What is the “easiest hard journey” you’ve walked? How do you keep going when the disappointments overwhelm you?

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday—Easy

Chosen: Believing God Loves Us

Beach stones at sunset

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

You are chosen.

Have you ever felt like the left-overs? Like people hang out with you because, well, there’s no one better to hang with so, you’ll do in a pinch?

As I shared last week, I dealt with rejection . . . heck, I am still learning to live beyond the lies rejection told me for the last number of decades.

Those lies we hear and accept as children sometimes take a lifetime to erase.

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Whole: When We Are Broken

Quiet dandelion splayed

 

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

My Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—WHOLE. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. I write for five minutes on a given topic. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out our hostess, Kate Motaung’s site. Or, click on the link at the bottom of this post. As you read my simpler Friday posts, I hope you’ll join in the conversation!

WHOLE

As a little girl, I began my school years feeling whole. Confident that I was a nice person, worthy of having friends. Who wouldn’t want to be friends with me?

It only took a couple years of being picked on to see that I was not really all that “whole” anymore.

A couple more years, and the lies broke apart my self-concept, leaving me fractured.

As I’ve written before, I spent decades trying to work through the fractures in who I thought I was, and align it with who God says I am.

I’m watching my boys walk through some of those same childhood struggles. Kids picking on them. Friends turning on them. It breaks my heart.

Always it’s the words that inflict the most damage.
I’m not advocating fighting, but boys sometimes throw a couple punches, and then they’re done with it.

But when the words come in? Those are what devastate a spirit.

white flowers snowy backdrop

When we believe what people say over what God says about us, that’s when our whole spirit becomes a fracture, a broken reflection of who God intends us to be.

That’s when we refract a crooked sort of injured light to the world around us. It’s filtered through the pain of words that broke our spirits.

I pray for my boys that they won’t walk through the years and years of pain that I have. I pray they will begin early to see who they are in Jesus’ eyes, rather than who they are spoken to be through their peers’ mouths.

It’s when we can begin to see that Jesus has made us whole—that He is the One who offers healing, that He is the one who puts the broken pieces back together—that we can be whole again.

Wild flowers burgundy amid white

It’s when we come under the sometimes painful revelations about the lies we’ve believed, the coping mechanisms we’ve developed— and when we allow Him to strip them awaythat we can become the clearer reflection of who God created us to be.

What about you? How have you seen God making you whole in some of the broken areas in your life? How has God done some healing in your life, making you more whole?

Authentic: When Rejection Needs a Final Word

sunlight in the trees

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

This post is a little longer than most of my posts. I wanted to share some of what God’s showing me about my One Word: Authentic. I hope you’ll read to the end.

*****

I’m living in the limp lane of life right now. My knee is slowly recovering from ACL reconstruction surgery in February, and I don’t get much done from sun up to sun down. I’ve had to accept that some tasks will be completed, and others will wait for another day.

I’m used to being in the “do-er lane.” Moving fast through my to-do list, accomplishing much in a day. I’m up and down and moving around, going to appointments and driving the kids where they need to be.

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Decide: The First Step

Sunny-shady path

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

My Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—DECIDE. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. I write for five minutes on a given topic. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out our hostess, Kate Motaung’s site. Or, click on the link at the bottom of this post. As you read my simpler Friday posts, I hope you’ll join in the conversation!

DECIDE

Have you ever made one simple decision and discovered it was only the first step in an unexpected journey?

Six years ago, when I decided to begin trying to write a novel, I had no idea where it would lead me. I wrote the first words of my first book, and edited. I had a friend who helped me learn craft and jargon and how to plot out a book.

In my naiveté, I was certain I would have it written and be represented by an agent within a year.

Yes, you can stop laughing now.

I’m six years in, three books written, and still figuring things out.

Sometimes when we decide, God is giving us the first step of an adventure, a journey. Just like what it says in Psalm 119:105.

Psalm 119-105 copy

God’s word is a lamp to our paths and a light to our feet. A lamp’s light doesn’t show us the entire path, only a few feet ahead.

We have to take each step in trust with the Lord.

Sometimes our decisions lead to wonderful fun places, dreams fulfilled, and joys refreshing.

Other times, our decisions lead us into hard, humbling, dying-to-self places. It’s in these places where we need God’s light the most. 

These are the places where we may question our decision. But ultimately, if we followed God in saying that first yes, we’re on the path we should be on.

Sometimes we say yes when we shouldn’t, but our God is a redeemer. He redeems our mistakes, gives us grace to walk through them, and still brings glory out of them.

Autumn Leafy Pathway

Making a decision for (or against) something never guarantees the outcome we expect. But, it can lead us into the deeper places with God as we learn to trust Him and to walk closely with Him.

What about you? When have you made a decision that started you on an unexpected journey? What’s one big lesson you’ve learned through deciding yes to something?

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday—Decide

Recovery: Prayer and Pride

walking a path solo

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

My name is Jeanne, and I’m a very independent woman.”

If I was standing in front of a “recovery” group right now, this would be my confession. Because when I had surgery on my ACL five weeks ago, I had the mistaken impression that, sure, life would slow down for a little while. But I would saddle up and “git ‘er done,” and life would eventually begin to look normal again.

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Easter: How Deep the Father’s Love

Light behind clouds 2

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

As I listened to a song during worship last Sunday, I was struck by the intimacy of the words . . . of the act of Jesus going to the cross, and His Father’s plan to save all humans from a fate worse than death.

I was struck anew at the depth of God’s deep love for us. That He crafted a plan at the beginning of human ages to offer an amazing gift to all people throughout time.

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