Calling, Faith, Five Minute Friday scribblings

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

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37 thoughts on “Easy: When God Calls”

  1. I so identify with this post! Thanks for sharing. I remember in college hearing one of my professors saying she thought another student would have a book published by age 25. I thought to myself, I will, too! Well, I’m 33 now, and still unpublished. The journey’s been longer and harder than I expected, but I’m learning so much along the way and wouldn’t trade it! He really does bring us to the end of ourselves, like you wrote, and teaches us to trust Him 🙂 I’m you’re Five Minute Friday neighbor, spot 8.

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    1. Emily, I had no idea of the kinds of hard I would encounter when I embarked on this writing journey. I couldn’t see how God would bring me face-to-face with some of the lies I’ve believed and begin to massage His truth into those places in my heart. I agree with you. I wouldn’t trade this journey for anything. I’m so glad we’re neighbors this week, and I may have giggled just a little when I saw what you wrote about.

      Great minds. 😉 Have a wonderful weekend!

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  2. Oh, Jeanne, I hear you. And I feel for you. I definitely think when something’s not easy we need to keep our hearts open to figure out what it is we should be learning about the journey (in fact, this is the idea I touched upon in my FMF post this week). Fingers crossed for you: you’re a born writer and the publication will come. Helen xx

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    1. Helen, I agree. So often, God allows us to struggle so we’ll look to Him and be receptive to the lessons He knows we need to learn. This journey has been about sooooo much more than learning how to craft a great story. I can’t wait to read your post. 🙂

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  3. THIS: ” Anything God calls us to is worth sticking with, even when the journey is hard.” Oh yes friend! I believe those books of yours WILL indeed be published someday soon. Thank You also for reminding me that my book, my words need to be written, but it’s ok if nothing comes to fruition at first. I’m right ahead of you this week.

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    1. Tara, thanks for your words of encouragement. Yes, your words need to be written. God knows the plans He has for your book(s). And He will use them in the ways He knows are best. 🙂 I’m so glad you’re writing one. Only you can write the book you’ve begun.

      Have a great weekend, friend.

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  4. Great post, Jeanne. You hang in there…you have more talent than almost anyone I’ve ever seen, and a way of communicating your faith that’s so lucid, and luminous…I’m just in awe, more so every week.

    I guess the easiest hard journey is the one I’m on, partly because I don’t have a choice. and partly because I don’t resent it.

    If I paid attention to the ‘name it and claim it’ preachers, the come-get-your-miracle crowd, I’d be very depressed indeed. But after laughing at them, I dismiss them.

    They miss the point. We’re here for a purpose; God’s, not ours, and while He doesn’t send the rain, He will help us weather the storms. Miracles? AT His discretion, by His hand….and for His purpose, again. Miracles send a message. Cool to be in the right place when one’s needed, but He doesn’t owe us.

    And that’s how I get by.

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    1. Andrew, your words mean a lot to me, since you’ve read one of my books. 😉 I’m ever thankful for your encouragement.

      You’re right. The name-it-claim-it preachers miss the point. God does strengthen us, whether through the miracles, or through the struggles. He walks with us, and works His purpose in us. And when we’re open, He draws us into deeper fellowship with Him (which looks different for you than it does for me 😉 ). Your mindset is admirable. Keep holding onto God. Know that you touch many in the way you purpose to live each day. And know that you are prayed for day and night.

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  5. You ask some tough questions, my friend. Cancer (my husband’s not mine) was a hard ‘easy’ journey. My daughter’s mental illness–another oh, so very, very hard, easy journey. Strangely enough, it’s when we’re at the end of ourselves that the journey gets easier. When we know that there is NOTHING we can do. I’ve decided (as far as writing goes), that I need to work on my craft, but let God be my PR agent (I’ve been spending way too much time trying to do it on my own).

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    1. Anita, I couldn’t agree more. It’s when we come to the end of ourselves, the end of trying to “get ‘er done” in our own strength and we lean on Jesus, exhausted, that the journey becomes easier. Because that’s when He can carry us, strengthen us and we can know His presence more closely on each step of the journey.

      And yes, letting God be your PR agent is such a good thing! 🙂

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  6. Jeanne, I’d love to read those books of yours. As a former English teacher, I have always loved reading and I really think God has given you a beautiful way with words and a heart that reveals His beautiful compassion.

    When you get to the point of publishing, let me know: I’d love to spread the word on social media.

    Of all you share here, this is the most precious to me: “He is with me”. On Wednesday, I finally sat down to do a devotional reading for an online retreat I’d signed up to and it asked you to read through Psalm 23 and circle all verbs that reflect what God does and then all verbs that reflect what we (should) do. Eye-opening. Even just the number of verbs compared. Then, we were asked to identify what verb or phrase that stuck with us. For me it was “with”.

    There has been so much heartache and loss for people I love lately that I’ve had a hard time letting go and trusting God. Babies taken to heaven, before their first breath has been taken, refugees being told they are unfit mothers and should have them taken from them, when they have fought long and hard to keep afloat for their precious children and have sacrificed all they have for them…daughters walking forward without their mother at their side through the most horrendous of circumstances…And my heart has been heavy from it all. I ask: where are you, LORD?

    And then, Psalm 23 reminds me…and the men on the road to Emmaus: we only recognize Him, if we let Him open our eyes. He is “with us” always, but when we stop expecting Him to show up, we fail to recognize Him, walking right beside us. I had stopped expecting Him to be there, closed off my heart…but through it all, He is there: I just have to ask Him to open my eyes and expect Him to be there.

    So, Jeanne: thank you. Yes, He is with you in this and He will yet complete the beautiful works He has destined you to do. Expectant as you are, He will keep opening you up to the next step, and the next. For He is with you, guiding you forward. God bless you today and this weekend.

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    1. Anna, thank you for your life-giving words. May we both be open to the step God leads us to take in our lives—writing and otherwise. May we have eyes and hearts that are wide open to all God is showing us and working in us as we seek to do the work He’s given us to do.

      Thank you for sharing your insights about Psalm 23. Those were beautiful. You’ve given me some things to meditate on this weekend.

      I always appreciate what you add here, friend. Thank you.

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  7. Anything God calls us to is worth sticking with…yes! And I often wonder if it is worth it, all this time spent (and no idea really where it will go and how/if it will be financially profitable). Some days I think I am crazy as it is quite sacrificial too. And, honestly, have given up from time to time but then He nudges me back in.

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    1. Lynn, I have those days when I wonder if I was crazy to ever put fingers to keyboard in an attempt to write. But as I mentioned to someone else, this journey has become about so much more than writing. 🙂 God does have a way of nudging us on when we throw in the towel, doesn’t He? He has words and truths to share through you. I’m glad you’re writing.

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  8. Yep…. It’s so disappointing when what seems easy turns out to be part of our long journey. But, that’s what life is, right? That journey of disappointments and successes and seeing God in it all. I say this every week, but thanks for your transparency. I can’t wait to read your published work!!

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    1. Yes, Annie. You said it well: Life is “That journey of disappointments and successes and seeing God in it all.” I’m so glad He’s in every second of this journey. I can’t imagine doing it without Him.

      Thanks so much for your words of encouragement!

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  9. Yes, this journey of Him calling is not always easy but He works it for our good and I’m learning to trust Him and believe He’s got my back and it’s good!
    and I hear ya on this publishing thing… don’t ever ask a writer that! 🙂
    Your words are encouraging! Thanks… and have a great weekend!

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    1. Rachel, I think trust is a big part of this journey. There are so many facets in it that are out of our control. When we believe He’s got us that’s when we can move forward with a measure of confidence, because it’s not all up to us. Thank you so much for adding your thoughts here. 🙂

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  10. Life is full of disappointment, I guess what its taught me is that my perspective on what should be happening in my life may not be God’s.
    When it comes to publishing we have to realize that even if our manuscript is good, there’s probably a sea of published books on the same subject already out there competing against each other. The publishing industry is a business that ultimately seeks the best potential profit., not necessarily the best books. Jimmy Fallon wrote a children’s book with just 12 or 13 words in it. It immediately became a best seller. Why, because they were the best 12 or 13 words ever written? No, it was because it was Jimmy Fallon and the publisher knew that a profit was guaranteed.
    After a long attempt to publish traditionally, I ended up using a small Indy publisher from Atlanta, Georgia and have been very happy with the results. Publishing my memoir has opened many new doors in my life and has “called” me to a new ministry. I can see the hand of God in it now. To be “called” to something by God doesn’t necesarly mean we automatically pick the straightest path to get there.
    Keep your chin up 😉

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    1. I had to grin when I ready your first paragraph, Gene. RARELY has my perspective on life been exactly what God’s was. As for writing, I keep coming back to the truth that His timing and His plans for my words are the absolute best, and I don’t want anything less than that. No matter what that looks like.

      And yes, I’ve done enough reading on agent blogs to know that there are TONS of books out there, all competing for shelf space and purchases by readers. I heard about the Jimmy Fallon book. Publishers do have to look to their bottom line.

      One great thing is that indie publishing is becoming more well-known, and people are teaching the best ways to do it. If I ever feel God nudging me to go that direction, I’ll research it beforehand. I’m so glad you were able to get your memoir published. I’m sure God has used your story to minister to many people.

      Does God ever put us on the straightest path (in our eyes) to get us where He wants us to go? 😉

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      1. You know, department stores at the mall used to have aisles that went straight through the store. They changed that so that you have to zig zag your way through now. This way a person walks past a lot more product and may be tempted to purchase more than they had intended.
        I thing God also causes us to zig zag our way to His calling, so that we will experience more, grow more, and even pick up some additional strength and knowledge along the way. I’m pretty sure God knows what He’s doing, even when we can’t see it.

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      2. Gene, I love the image of the department store and God’s making our path a zig-saggy one so we can experience and grow more in Him. That’s a visual that will stay with me. And thank goodness He does know what He’s doing. If I didn’t believe that I would have given up on this life long ago. 🙂

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  11. I laughed a tiny chuckle when I read your first few lines. I don’t have a desire to write a book, but I thought writing a blog people, as in more than 40 – a lot more ;), would read and subscribe to would be easy. I often question what I’m doing. And then I’ll read things like your words that remind me it’s not about easy but sticking with something you feel that inner nudge to do. Thanks for being so transparent, Jeanne. You have spoken to many of us through your writing. Carry on, friend!

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    1. Yeah, Debby. I was a bit naive when I began writing. It didn’t take me long to realize how much I had to learn, which gave me a huge reality check. 😉

      With blogging, I’ve had to watch my expectations and trust that God would use “my” words with as many—or as few—people as He wants to. When I release the expectations to Him, that part of the journey is easier.

      Thanks for your encouraging words, Debby!

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  12. Jeannie, well done for keeping on with the writing when it’s also frustrating to not be published yet. But that’s certainly no reflection on the quality of your work. Judging by your beautiful blog posts, I think your books would be honest, vulnerable and full of insight. I’d love to read them! Hope you do achieve your goal in the not too distant future.
    Writing is work. Good,Holy Spirit-inspired work. There are days when words run out of our fingers like water, and others where it feels as if we’re dredging through soil and coming up empty. But we carry on because we have to. It’s a drive, a desire and deep pleasure when it all comes together as we want it to. It’s also a gift and one I see you have in abundance. I only went the self-publishing route because age and time were against me and who reads poetry from an unknown author? If you ever choose to go that route then do drop me a line. I researched it well. And I’d love to help promote your work too, really I would. Xx ❤

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    1. Thanks for your sweet words, Joy. I keep coming back to the truth that God’s ways are higher than mine. His plans and His timing are perfect. I keep pressing into writing, praying He uses the words that come from my fingertips (blogging and book-wise) to encourage others and offer doses of hope.

      Thanks for your offer to help me if I go the self-pub route. I’ll keep your offer in mind, my friend.

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  13. jeanne, i loved reading about your dream of writing. i enjoyed reading what you have to say, so i know the reason you aren’t published isn’t b/c you aren’t a good writer. but i’ve observed that there seems to be so much more to being published. the right book, the right timing, and so much more! i’m sure the day will come when the pieces will fall into place for you. i don’t know how, when or where, but as you work toward that goal and GOD grows you in grace, you will be ready to the time and place and the right book will be ready for the right group of people. then you will say…wow! what perfect timing:)
    blessings as you move ahead!

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    1. You’re right, Martha. There’s a lot to being published in this day and in this market. It’s flat-out hard. God’s plans are perfect, right? I’ll continue to lean into Him and trust Him with this calling, this dream. Yes, He’s growing me in grace, as I suspect, He’s doing for each of us.I appreciate your words of encouragement. Thank you!

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  14. Obedience is a tough, tough thing. It inspires and encourages me that you keep on this journey. One day, I know, I’ll be holding your book in my hands!

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    1. Yes, Marie, obedience is a tough thing. But I can’t imagine what I’d miss from Him if I didn’t keep at it, you know? And thanks for those words of encouragement! You bless me.

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  15. Jeanne, I appreciate your honesty about your writing journey. It inspires me to keep pressing on. The thing I like best about the writing life is how it drives me to God—to my knees—like parenting often does. Both have moments of joy, sorrow, and success. 🙂 I look forward to celebrating your firstborn book with you.
    Blessings dear friend ~ Wendy

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    1. Thank you, Wendy. We can always press on with each other. That’s one beautiful thing about the writing industry, especially for Christians, I think. And yes, this writing life has definitely driven me to God, and to my knees, repeatedly. 🙂

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