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

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33 thoughts on “Decide: The First Step

  1. Jeanne,
    oh the decision to say “I can teach those junior high math classes” this year. Whew! I truly believe God led me to say those words, but it’s been a journey of humbling for certain. I love you and your posts. Happy 20th anniversary again!
    Love,
    Tammy
    (#8 on FMF this week)

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    • Teaching junior highers is a calling, Tammy. And teaching in general, especially in the early years is humbling. I am certain God is using you in the lives of your students, even if you can’t see how. 🙂 May He be your strength as you finish out this year with your students!

      And thanks for the anniversary wishes. I can’t believe it’s been 20 years. 🙂

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  2. THIS: “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.” Amen friend. I love the words in Psalm 119.

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  3. I am reminded of part of a song from “Paint Your Wagon”…

    “Where am I going, I don’t know,
    when will I get there, I ain’t certain,
    all that I know is I am on my way…”

    I guess the ‘yes’ that’s made the most difference is one that’s been reaffirmed…

    “Stop the car, she’s a stray…we have room for one more.” Thus, a house full of love.

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  4. Um, I said ‘yes’ to starting a blog three years ago…it’s been a wild ride, but I’ve made so many sweet friends and have ‘met’ so many of ‘my kind’ of people (which is a good thing, because living in the sticks like I do, ‘my kind of people’ are few and far between). Thank you for being one of those friends!

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    • I started my blog just over three years ago too, Anita. How fun that God got us both moving on this journey at the same time. Like you, I’m so thankful for the online friendships that have come as a result. And, I’m most thankful for you. Your perspective and honesty about life minister to and challenge me. 🙂

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  5. Jeanne, am just learning about God’s lamplight and the trust – and surrender – that requires but -oh!- the freedom in that surrender! My ‘yes’es’: some good, some not so good but all exactly what they needed to be to place me where I am now. Hoping you’re feeling better….Helen xxx

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    • Helen, yes. There is definitely freedom in surrender. And you’re right. Those yeses we say, and act on, they all make up part of the fabric of who we are now. I love that God doesn’t waste anything.

      Have a great weekend, my friend!

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      • Hia Jeanne, just replying now as a virus stole two weeks of my life! Love your thinking and, yep, God doesn’t waste anything does He?! (And isn’t that a so so comforting thought?!)…Helen xxx

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  6. Great post! I agree we never know where the first decision will take us. But that’s part of the adventure, right? Sometimes I feel like we walk on a path and already want to know where it ends. But the first decision is just the first of many, many decisions. And each decision will twist the path a little. And that’s good.
    I have to make big decisions in the next few weeks on new job and living and I’ll excited/scared where it’ll take me! Happy Friday to you!

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    • Katha, I’m like you. When I take that first step, say that first yes, I want to know RIGHT NOW where I’ll be in five years. 😉 God asks us to trust Him to guide us on each step of the journey that unfolds. And yes, I love the word picture you share about how each decision twists the path a little. May God guide you in the decisions you’ll be making.

      Thank you so much for stopping by!

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  7. Yes, I feel the same way. I can think this one decision will be the final or that after making that decision it will be smooth sailing but it’s just the beginning of the journey and a whole adventure where He keeps leading! 🙂 It’s a good time, right!?! 🙂
    Have a great weekend and Happy Friday to you!

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    • Rachel, I see we seem to have similar tendencies. 🙂 We never, ever know where one yes (or no) will lead. Thank goodness God does! And He leads us according to His will and His best for us. Yes! It’s a good time! Most of the time. 😉 You have a great weekend too!

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  8. Great minds, Jeanne… 😉 Saying “yes” to the unknown; trusting God as we step out into a journey; trusting God as our journey winds in unexpected ways…. I’m still learning that this is the adventure of life. That these journeys are even more amazing when I don’t know all the answers and that decisions I make on the fly are often the best. Thanks, as always, for this reminder.

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    • Annie, I’ve seen God’s journeys unfold in many unexpected ways over the years. And yes, this is the adventure of life. 🙂 I love that, when we trust God to guide us on the path, we can walk with a bit more confidence, even when we don’t know where we’re going. I don’t like making decisions on the fly, but I too have seen times when they’ve worked out for the best. 🙂

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  9. Agreeing to step towards what God has placed in front of us can really be hard at times. Especially when it involves leaving friends, success, and comfort behind. I’ve learned that prayer helps me define my decision. But my prayers are usually more about informing God why I can’t do what I feel He’s calling me to. I point out the obstacles to Him, but as those obstacles fall by the wayside I begin to see that God is cutting a path for me. At some point along that path I look back on what I’ve passed through and realize that I’m in pretty good hands.

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    • So true, Gene. Leaving the known for the unknown is hard. I had to grin when I read about your prayers. I’ve done the same thing—telling God what I’m sure must be best. 😉 It always humbles me when I see how God has worked to bring me to a certain place. Even though I may have fought Him part (or all?) of the way.

      Thanks for sharing so honestly. I always appreciate your comments.

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  10. “But ultimately, if we followed God in saying that first yes, we’re on the path we should be on” Definitely! I know I have to keep reminding myself to take one step, and then another, and then another. If I look too far ahead, I stop breathing. Trusting him for the outcome, whatever that is, is more difficult. Knowing that we’re obeying him in the journey may be all He wants from us.This is something I have to keep reminding myself also.

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    • I’m with you, Christy. I try not to look too far ahead. I’m glad God only shows us the next few steps of the path. I think I’d turn around and run screaming backward if I knew some of what was coming. At least God equips us and walks with us through the rough parts of our journey. 🙂 And yes, sometimes it’s our obedience that God is looking for. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, Christy!

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  11. I like how you point out that the “lamp for our feet” only shows us a few steps ahead. Often I’d like God to show me the whole path but he just reveals things one step at a time so we will keep seeking him. And some of the best decisions I have made have taken me to places I never expected to go and I may not even have taken the first step on the path if I’d known it all in advance.

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    • Carly, I used to think I wanted to know the whole path He’d laid out for me. But I know myself well enough to know that if I knew some of what was coming, I would have said NO WAY! Instead, we learn to trust Him as we walk one step at a time, and He gives us the courage to continue forward. 🙂

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  12. I listened to an author recently discuss God’s will and he said even the closed doors are showing us His leading. And we may have more closed doors than open doors! I am learning to be content that my decisions that turn out to not always be the wisest, do still lead me in the right direction. I’ve had a few ‘hard, humbling’ experiences as you describe and so true, that those are where I have learn about God the most.

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    • Lynn, I hadn’t thought about that, but it makes sense! Closed doors do reveal God’s will for us. We don’t always like them, but they are answers, aren’t they? 🙂 Contentment about decisions, even those that weren’t the wisest is a good thing, and easier to embrace when we look at them in the light of God’s still using them to move us in His direction. Thanks so much for adding to this conversation!

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    • And isn’t that just one of the amazing things about our God? He is with us wherever we go. Wherever we land after our decisions are made. 🙂 I’m so thankful for this fact about HIM.

      Thanks, my friend.

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  13. Jeanne, there’s so much that resonates with me here. This is our hope and great encouragement: “We have to take each step in trust with the Lord.” because it reminds us just Who is really in control of events and their timing. Like you, I began blogging around 3 years ago and have been amazed by the beautiful friendships that have sprung up from being in a community of writers/poets/bloggers. Similarly, God laid a book on my heart 2 years ago and it has been set aside, altered, revised, cried and prayed over. Finally, a few short weeks ago it made its way into an ebook on amazon and will (hopefully) be available as a paperback copy in due time – phew!!
    A lot of patience is required to birth the work we are given. And attentive listening to God’s still small voice informing our days. Well done you on following through despite the time things have taken! I sympathise because life rolls exceedingly slowly when we have limited health, time or energy. But God uses the seeming delays to shape things to His design and for His greater purposes. Keep on taking those baby steps of faith with the light He provides! Blessings.

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    • Joy, how fun that we both began blogging around the same time. Congratulations on releasing your “baby” into the ether, so to speak. I hope it ministers to many people!

      Listening to God’s voice takes diligence and practice most days. And on the days when He speaks loudly, sometimes I need a humble spirit. 🙂 And yes, God’s timing is always perfect, even when I’m chafing at its apparent slowness. This is what I continue to see on this journey. I appreciate you!

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