Expectations, Gratitude, Life, Perspective, Plan, Plans: My Plans and Jesus' Plans

Plans: My Plans and Jesus’ Plans

Lighted Star

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

**Confession: I wrote this piece about a year ago, but I still find myself thinking about the truths I learned. So, I’m sharing it with you. 🙂

So, I’ve been feeling a little sorry for myself today. As I push forward hard to get things done before my favorite writing conference of the year—American Christian Fiction Writers conference—nothing is going as I planned.

Somewhere in the preparing, I took my eyes off Jesus and put them on those around me. Those who seem to have the perfect stories ready to pitch in a few weeks—revised, edited and polished. Oh, and they’re amazing stories. Friends who seem to have it all going on.

Quiet Time

And here am I, the snail way behind the pack of writer friends who are moving forward toward their dreams come true. Stuck on words, thoughts that just don’t want to come out right. Here am I, feeling a little sorry for myself because my story didn’t come together in my timeline.

Vacations happened, unforgettable memories painted themselves onto the canvas of our family. Injuries happened, stealing some energy. Story snags poked their frustrating heads into my timeline, throwing off my goals.

Clock on shelf

Yes, here I am feeling a little sorry for myself.

A friend stopped by recently, out of the blue, and she let me dump my insecurities, my disappointment on her for a few minutes.

Silhouetted Trees)

Then she reminded me that through all the disappointments, the frustrations, the insecurities, I am still blessed. I have precious friendships, those who know how to speak truth and grace into me when I can’t see it for myself. Those who listen and encourage.

I have an amazing family, a love for words that God instilled within me, and I have the love of my heavenly Father.

1st day of school

When I take my eyes off Jesus, I start feeling out of sorts because I end up playing the comparison game. The problem is I’m the only player. So, I am ever so good at seeing the worst about me and holding that up to what I see as the best in others.

You know, I have yet to win that game.

Sorry game board

When my eyes are fixed on Jesus—my heart still before Him—I can hear the whispers of His love as it brushes across the scrapes on my heart.

I may not have children who make homework time easy. They struggle to stay seated to finish up their work for the day. But God’s given us two amazing boys who I love so much it’s a physical ache.

I may not have it all together on this writing journey, but I have stories God has given me to write. I have the promise that all things come to fruition in His timing. I have friends and mentors who patiently help me figure out things like pitch sheets and story snags.

Stone bridge

I have been given so much. It’s only when my eyes are fixed on Jesus that I can see the gifts He’s filled my life with. When I take time to look, to appreciate the many ways He’s said, “I love you,” my heart rests, and peace reigns there.

What about you? How did you kick yourself out of a pity party? How do you practice gratitude?

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7 thoughts on “Plans: My Plans and Jesus’ Plans”

  1. I have a couple of methods. First, I use comparisons…but in the opposite direction.

    No one is likely to try to kill me today (but if they do, they’ll be in for the most traumatic experience of their life).

    I don’t have to kill anyone today.

    I have food, and a place to sleep, and the care of wife and dogs to keep my heart occupied.

    I can see, I can hear, I can speak, I can move.

    So, comparisons done…I’m OK.

    The second tactic is to make things as hard as I can for myself, physically. Give life to “the only easy day was yesterday”. (Note – PLEASE don’t try this. It works for me, but I ain’t in the same area code as ‘normal’.)

    If I’m lacking sleep, I’ll deny myself any opportunity to rest. If I’m in pain, I’ll schedule some exercises that make the pain worse, to the point of passing out.

    If I can survive my own self-discipline, I can survive anything.

    God, for me, is more of a drill instructor than an encourager. If I fall, I hear a voice in my ear. It isn’t saying, “Rest in My arms, My son…”

    It’s saying, “GET. UP. You will NOT fail to do what I have assigned you.”

    That’s my God! 🙂

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    1. Andrew, I love your ways of keeping a good perspective. Remembering what we have is always good. I need to practice this one more. And though I won’t go to the “extremes” of your second method, the idea of choosing to press forward in our goals and not give way to the desire to give up is a good thing.

      I also appreciate how you brought out that God speaks to each of us in different ways. He knows what we need to hear and how we need to hear it. 🙂

      “The only easy day was yesterday.” Is that a SEAL motto? I’m trying to remember where I’ve heard it.

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  2. What a lovely testament to faith, and what a strong call to focus on Christ! Thank you for having given us another chance to see this, Jeanne.

    When I am tempted to comparison, I use a mental image of God, the sculptor, molding me. He uses His hands, and His careful eye, to create a unique being, with unique gifts.

    If I compare myself to others (except, perhaps, on the rugby pitch), I turn aside from those gifts an try to adopt those that rightfully belong to others.

    If I persist, I endeavour to focus upon the good that I have brought to others’ lives, and that wishing I were different morally negates that good, taking from it its wellspring.

    God made me to be me; His interest is in the eternal Surpreet, not the temporal man.

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    1. Great thoughts here, Surpreet! I love how you put this: “If I compare myself to others…..I turn aside from those gifts and try to adopt those that rightfully belong to others.” I hadn’t thought about comparison in that way before. I’m glad you brought that up.

      And thanks for the reminder that God is most interested in the eternal us, not what we can do with our temporal selves. I appreciate your perspective!

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  3. Jeanne, I could have written that! I go to conference with high hopes, but end up feeling, what’s wrong with my stories? All my friends are getting published.
    I’m at a stop light now, but eventually, it will turn green. If everyone moved forward at once, there would be a huge collision. Someday, an agent will want to represent me; an editor will want to publish my stories. In God’s time, not mine.

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    1. Terri, we can pray for each other as we walk this journey. It’s not an easy road, but there is comfort in knowing God’s timing is perfect. 🙂 When it’s our time to take those steps forward, we’ll be able to walk in confidence knowing He’s orchestrated our journey. We’ll wait (and learn) with purpose, right? I’m so glad you stopped by!

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