Change: Love God, Love Others

 

Change word sign

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

***This is not my normal style of blog post. I had planned to post my third blog about perfection and good enough, and I will . . . next week. This week, I’m wrestling with all that’s happened in our country. So, I thought we could wrestle with it together. I’d love to hear your thoughts at the end of this post.*** 

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I have a confession to make. I struggle with the thought of being just one person. Just one Christian. For years, this struggle has left me in a place where I figured I can’t change the world, so I’ll focus on living the best Christian life I can. And I’ll ignore . . . not ignore, exactly . . . pray, but keep myself distanced from the world and all that is espouses.

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Dream: Pursuing Dreams God’s Way

 

Les Brown dream quote

My Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—DREAM. 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!

DREAM

For decades, I was afraid to pursue a dream that had been on my heart since I was about thirteen .  . . To write.

Oh, I’d write in my journal, use descriptive language, and try to be coherent. I developed a love for God through writing out my struggles.

Hearing His voice through the written words, when I could hear it no other way.

But a few years ago, He upped the stakes. Or shall I say, He upped the calling. . .

. . . To take my writing from the privacy of my journal to a much more public, and intimidating venue—blogging and pursuing publication.

He began to prepare me to fulfill the desires He’d placed on my heart as a teen. To write a book.

Sometimes, God walks us through years of equipping—preparation—before He begins to grow those seeds, those dreams, He planted within our hearts.

He allows that dream to die. Not the dream itself, but our perceptions of what the dream would look like.

Then, He begins to give us His vision of what that dream will look like.

Open Gate

One obedient step at a time. It’s only as we take the first step that He shows us the next. We can stop at any stage of the process, but we’re the ones who miss out . . .

. . . On the beauty He’s fostering within us

. . . On the blessings He has for us on the journey

. . . On the closer relationship with Him

. . . On the fulfilling of the dream.

It’s never an easy thing to pursue a dream. I’m still dying to myself one day at a time. Learning to trust Him to bring me to the next place on this writing road. Still releasing my vision for the dream to come true. Still writing, making mistakes . . . and seeing how He brings accomplishments along the way.

Seeing a dream fulfilled is never really a solo project. If it is, I’d bet the dream is incomplete.

Sun dappled road

As I learn how to write for Him—to trust His timing for each step of this journey—I’m a little more conformed into the image of Jesus. Reflecting Him a little more clearly.

What about you? Is there a dream you’re afraid to pursue? What’s stopping you? What’s one lesson you’ve learned as you’ve pursued a God-inspired dream?

Visit Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday post—Dream—and link up!

Perfection: When Good Enough Is . . . Good Enough

Dewy Peonies

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

(This is part two of a three part series. In part one, I explored the idea of When Good Enough Isn’t and compromise). I look forward to hearing your thoughts!)

Years ago, I was driving around town with a dear friend. This special lady is an older woman in my life, and has a boatload of wisdom. As I shared my thoughts with her — my desires for living this life well—she gently said something that’s stayed with me. It went along the lines of, “Perhaps you need to lower your standards for yourself, just a little.”

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Fear: What Comes Next

Zion narrow trail

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

My Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—FEAR. 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!

***Confession: I thought I set my timer, but apparently, I forgot to push START. So, this post went a wee bit over five minutes.

FEAR

A number of years ago, hubby and I visited Zion National Park to celebrate our anniversary. We hiked and savored God’s beauty surrounding us. We walked on a narrow trail up, up, up, where the only thing to hold onto was a chain embedded into a rock wall. The trail was, maybe, three feet across. Did that strike fear into my closet-adventurer’s heart? Not really.

What left me trembling was what came after that. We hiked along a hidden path that led between trees blossoming in spring. The faint buzzing over our heads didn’t bother me at first . . .

. . . until I saw the trees were in bloom,

. . . and bees doing what they do best—pollinating. Hundreds of them. Around us, mostly above us.

I got hungry and pulled out an apple. Yeah, I’m not sure what I was thinking.

As I ate, and the sweet juices flowed, then the bees became interested in me.

That’s when I trembled from the inside out.

Both of my sisters are anaphylactically ( think I just made up a word) allergic to bee stings. What are the chances that I am?

Zion hiking between rocks

The fear of the possibility of being stung overcame any desire to be an adventurer. All desire to explore God’s nature. I’d had enough.

Isn’t life like that sometimes? We are walking our path, and a bee of uncertainty buzzes around us. We may not notice its presence at first, but something triggers an awareness.

Something awakens that fear within us.

Most often, it’s the unknown that kindles fear to flame within my thoughts and heart.

When I focus on what could happen, rather than Who is surrounding me, fear has its way, leaving me a shivering, shaking mess.

When those bees come around that try to cause us to fear, we need to focus on the Lord. We may end up having to face those things we fear the most. The best thing is, we don’t ever face them alone.

Zion beauty copy

God’s sovereign, and He walks with us. He knows what we need to be craft us into the image of Jesus.

He never forces us to walk alone through those fearful times. When we lean into Him trusting Him, then we can know peace. Peace helps us walk with confidence rather than with shivering fear from the “What if?” question.

I don’t always succeed in trusting Him with the unknowns, but I’m learning to, step by step, and with lots of practice.

What about you? What is one fear you’ve struggled with? What helps you to overcome fearful situations?

Be sure to visit Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday post—Fear

Good Enough: When Good Enough Isn’t

Sun lightened leaves

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

(This is part one of a three part series. I look forward to hearing your thoughts!)

One of the messages on my heart is never settling for good enough. I was single-longing-to-be-married for what felt like going on forever. I watched friends get married. I was invited to eleven—yes, eleven—weddings in one year, and I was a bridesmaid in three of them.

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World: Lessons of the World

New friends

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

My Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—WORLD. 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!

WORLD

I admit it. When I was a girl, I thought it would be cool to travel the world. I wasn’t sure how it would happen, but I dreamed of the experiences and seeing different places. I am pretty sure I idealized what it would be like to meet new people, live in different cultures and see amazing sights.

God didn’t have plans for me to make a trip around the world, but He’s given me opportunities to see certain parts of it.

A number of years ago, I had the privilege of visiting the Philippines with a missions team. I was so sure we were there to help them.

Delightful girls

Instead, God opened my eyes to so much more. I have so much materially. The believers I met there have such depth spiritually.

The way they served our team amazed me. Such whole-hearted kindness heaped upon us. In meals served, in meeting our needs. And in letting us come alongside them as they served the people in their communities.

At first, I was uncomfortable as I watched the people of the towns we visited. They loved us with simple abandon. They shared pieces of their lives with us. I tried not to share too much of my life in the respect of how much our family is blessed with. But I loved sharing lessons God was teaching me. And hearing theirs.

Special family

In that part of the world, families sometimes live in small shacks that sit next to mansions. My family is blessed with a moderate-sized home, according to US standards. As I shared pictures of my family, I included a dark photo of Peter crawling up a step. One lady commented about how big my home was. Her words played me. Never mind the fact that she couldn’t see the second story of our home in the picture.

God has given us much. I am convicted to realize I don’t use it all as wisely as I should for His glory. I am sometimes selfish with what He’s given us . . . when really? I should follow the example of the Filipinos I met and share lavishly, love lavishly.

Special friend

Even after all this time, I need to cultivate a heart that sees others’ needs . . . not just physically, but spiritually. A heart that sees the richness others have, in spite of physical circumstances.

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Wow, that time went fast! Finishing up here: It’s so easy to want to look for things that are common in our physical world, but really, God has given His children more commonalities in what we yearn for and how we worship. He’s given us similar desires to follow hard after Him.

My too-short time in the Philippines changed me in terms of how I view life and all God’s given me, and most Americans. May we not become so caught up in how things look on the outside—both for us and for those in other parts of the world—that we miss the beauty He’s crafting on the inside. 

What about you? What have you learned from other cultures? If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

Visit Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday—World

Doors: Keys to Our Children’s Hearts

GE Door

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Anger emanated from the boy’s tear-rimmed eyes. I could almost see the heat as he glared daggers at me. I’d said something that triggered the anger, and once that beastie escaped, there was no off-button. He stormed to his room. While I was talking with our other son, trying to pray and calm both of our hearts, Thumps and banging sounded from the floor below.

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