Chosen and Approved Series, Faith, God

Chosen and Approved: You Are—Your Identity in Christ

chosen

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

We are in part five of  the series, Chosen and Approved: Untangling Our Identities from People and Perfection. Emily Conrad, Mary Geisen, and I are still works-in-progress, learning to find our identities and value in Jesus alone. We’d love for you to join us each Tuesday through November 8th and share your journey with us.

This week, Mary Geisen writes:

“the world paints lies with just enough detail to resemble your outline and you visibly shrink against the portrait wishing for so much more.”

 

These words caught me, because I’ve been the girl she describes. I look at the outline of the world’s lies, or incomplete truths, and I take that as gospel. And I wish for so much more than the picture painted.

So many voices vie for our attention, don’t they? The world, shouting its messages of what we should look like, what we should do, who we should be . . .

There are those messages in our own minds . . . the ones that tell us how we have failed, not lived up to others’ expectations (or our own).

If you’re at all like me, it gets kind of noisy inside our heads sometimes. All those words, spoken in condemning, demanding tones of voice (that sound suspiciously like our own).

How do we filter out the messages? How do we know what we should be listening to? How do we know which of the voices trying to define our identities is accurate?

As Mary says, the world and our own voices often paint an incomplete silhouette of all God has created us to be. We can be discouraged with the often skewed incomplete picture, or we can learn truth that helps us to know which voice we need to listen to.

This week, Mary’s post speaks firm yet gentle truth to a spirit that is weary of trying to figure out what—or who—defines our identity. Join me as I click over to her site to read the rest of her encouraging, uplifting words.

Today, I’m linking up with Katie Reid for #RaRaLinkup

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Family Relationships, Five Minute Friday scribblings, Relationship

Eat: A Time to Connect

Prayerful hands

 

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—EAT. 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!

EAT

Last night, I listened to a psychologist speak on youth issues. Focusing on suicide. I know, sounds depressing, right?

One of the things he shared that surprised me most was how important it is for youths to stay connected to their families, and how one of the best ways to encourage this is by eating supper as a family.

It’s something hubs and I have been intentional about with our boys. The older they grow, the more challenging it is to eat supper all four of us. One boy has football a few nights a week. There are drum lessons, Boy Scouts, youth group.

So many activities—many of them good—that are a draw away from our family time.

Can I be honest? I love eating with my family. The fellowship, the laughter, the thoughts our boy-men are sharing make me smile.

Big.

family-table

 

We share things we’re thankful for about each day (yes, sometimes I have to pull a few molars to get the three gifts in their days), but it’s worth it. What often happens is, in the course of thinking about the gifts and the happenings of the day, memories surface.

Good times with friends. Struggles in the classes they’re taking. Who won the football game at recess.

Connecting.

Jesus focused on eating with His disciples as He trained them. They fellowshipped, learned lessons through His words. They grew in their relationships with Jesus and with each other.

Eating a meal is a natural place to slow down, to connect with those we care about most. 

Thanksgiving Breakfast table

 

Yes, it can be done quickly, in the middle of completing other tasks. But food digests best when it’s accompanied by sitting and enjoying others. And we find the greatest refreshing when we share a meal with others.

Funny how God created eating to be good for our bodies and for our spirits.

What about you? How do you connect with others in your life? What are favorite memories of eating with your families when you were growing up?

Click to Tweet: Eating a meal is a natural place to slow down, to connect

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

Chosen and Approved Series, Identity, Validation

Chosen and Approved: Knowing Where Our Value Comes From

chosen

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Today we continue our series on Chosen and Approved: Untangling Our Identities From People and Perfection, with Emily Conrad, Mary Geisen, and myself. We’ll be sharing posts on Tuesdays through November 8th. To read previously published posts, click here.

kids-playing-in-water-together

 

He slid into the car, a storm cloud parking itself over his head on an otherwise sunny afternoon.

“How was your day?” My usual first question.

“Bad.” He crossed his arms. “Really bad.”

Something told me to wait rather than dive into dissecting his day with him.

Continue reading “Chosen and Approved: Knowing Where Our Value Comes From”

Dreams, Five Minute Friday scribblings, Trusting God

Park: When Our Dreams Are Parked

waiting-for-a-catch

 

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—PARK. 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!

PARK

I pictured 2016 going in a very different direction than it has. I envisioned myself finally moving forward in my dream of being published. Or at least being agented. I had sugar plum visions of that happening early this year and then working with said agent on my book. Readying it for the world.

Silly me. I guess I forgot to consult God’s plans and timing in my dreams.

Instead of moving forward, I’m still parked where I’ve been for the last few years. Unagented. Struggling at times to do the writing. Disillusioned at times.

The thing is? I may not be moving forward externally toward my dream. But God’s been moving in me.

From the torn ACL in January to today, He’s been teaching me a ton.

He’s moved me into a deeper place with Him. I’m not parked in the same spiritual spot I was last year.

He’s teaching me to be honest with Him. To express those ugly emotions that He can handle hearing. And He won’t strike me down for feeling and expressing them.

Sometimes it’s in choosing to be honest with Him that I am freed from chains that have bound me since childhood.

its-in-the-waiting-when-copy

He’s teaching me to wait on Him. Waiting chafes at my spirit some days. I just want it now. (Do you hear the inner toddler in me screaming to get out?)

But it’s in the waiting when I can become still enough to draw near to Him. To hear His whispers of love over me. 

He’s teaching me to listen to Him. I’m learning to hear His voice in my days. No, it’s not audible, but I’m learning to hear what it sounds like. Yes, I ignore it sometimes. And then I regret it.

He’s teaching me to trust Him. With my dreams and with every area of my life. His timing is always, always perfect. Even when that means my dream doesn’t move forward in my time frame.

running-at-sunset

So yes, in some ways I have been parked in the same place. But in the most important ways, I’m moving right into the plans He has for me.

What about you? When have you felt parked in a  situation and how did you handle it? What lessons have you learned in the waiting times?

Click to tweet: His timing is always, always perfect.

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung Five Minute Friday—Park.

Chosen and Approved Series, God, People Pleasing, Series

Chosen and Approved: Lessons from David for the People-Pleasers (Like Me)

chosen

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Welcome to part three of our six-post series, Chosen and Approved: Untangling Our Identities from People and Perfection, with Emily Conrad, Mary Geisen and me.

This week, Emily shares all about King David . . . and his failings . . . and how God called him a man after His heart. How did David manage that?

When I read this:

The people-pleaser in me would have a hard time praying the same prayer as David. That part of me would demand I focus more energy on rectifying the situation with people than with God.

I nodded my head at the idea that I needed to focus my energy on rectifying situations with people before I did so with God.

How off-base I have been at times, because I was so afraid to offend people. God forgives, right? But people? Not always.

So, of course, I needed to make sure I fixed any offenses I’d caused.

God does forgive. And He invites us into relationship with Him. He tells us to set Him above anyone and anything else. This isn’t as easy for me as it should be. And those people-pleasing mindsets I’ve held to for years die hard.

In her post, Emily shares some great insight into the mindset of a God-pleaser. I hope you’ll read and glean as much as I have.

Join me over at Emily’s place and see what David did that helped him to be called a man after God’s heart.

If you’ve missed either of the first two posts in this series, you can read them at this link.

Today, I’m linking up with Holly Barrett’s Testimony Tuesday and Kelly Balaraie’s #RaRaLinkUp.

Faith, Five Minute Friday scribblings, God

Mail: Receiving Heart Mail

junk-mail

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—MAIL. 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!

MAIL

When I was a girl, I waited for the clack of the lid of our mailbox (attached to our house). I would watch the postman from our front window, walking away in his blue uniform, and I’d eagerly check the mail.

I rarely received any mail with my name on it, but a girl could always hope, right? There was something about holding a letter, a card, from someone that made my heart leap in warmth. To know someone thought enough of me to write a letter (remember those?), stick it in the mailbox and send it my way.

It just touched my heart in deep places.

These days, I almost dread getting the mail. Most of what comes in is junk mail. There’s general mail I don’t have time to read, and almost nothing personal. I miss those days of finding more personal mail than junk mail in the mailbox.

good-mail

 

It got me thinking about the mail my heart receives. We do receive mail, you  know. Those messages that speak to our heart one way or another.

Those messages that discourage us, that leave us feeling like we’re lacking in some way? That’s junk mail filling up the spaces in our hearts with nothing of value. Just papers that should be thrown away.

We have to be diligent to check our heart-mail. To see what we’re believing and holding onto as truth. We need to throw away those emotional, mental fliers that hold no value.

Those messages that come in and affirm who we are as people? As children of God? Those are the letters we need to cling to . . . to re-read when we need the reminders of who God created us to be.

Heart in Pages

 

And God’s word is the best mail we can deliver to our heart. His life-giving words, the messages of affirmation, the love letters He sends just to us . . . those things we should clutch in our fists, spreading them out to re-read whenever our hearts need a boost.

What mail has been delivered to your heart lately?

What about you? What are your memories of mail from your growing up years? What mail has your heart received lately?

Click to Tweet: We have to be diligent to check our heart-mail.

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

 

Affirmation, Chosen and Approved Series, Identity

Chosen and Approved: Reflections of Ourselves

chosen

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Mirrors never lie. The world’s reality is the best reality. Others perceptions are always spot on. Social media speaks the truth at all times.”

When I read these words, my heart remembered the many times I’ve believed and made decisions based on one or more of these lies.

I’ve been the one caught up in believing another’s perspective about me had more validity than my own perspective. In my younger years, I lived as if the world’s reality was the best reality.

Because in my heart, I didn’t see my own reflection as valid. I was certain the world knew best what I should reflect, what I should look like . . . right?

The problem is, those sentences? They’re all lies. And my friend, Mary Geisen , goes on in her wisdom-filled blog to help us understand that there’s more to us than what the physical mirror reflects.

I am honored to partner with Emily Conrad and Mary Geisen in this series: Chosen and Approved: Untangling Our Identities from People and Perfection. The three of us are still works-in-progress, learning to find our identities and value in Jesus alone. We’d love for you to join us each Tuesday through November 8th and share your journey with us.

You will find the rest of Mary’s post at her lovely blog, Passage Through Grace.

And, if you missed last week’s introductory post, you can find it right here. You can check out the live posts right here.

Today I’m linking up with Holly Barrett’s Testimony Tuesday and Kelly Balarie’s #RaRaLinkUp

Five Minute Friday scribblings, Mothering, Time With God

Test: When Life Tests Us

wave-after-wave

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—TEST. 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!

TEST

Today’s been a testing-sort of day. And I confess, I’m pretty sure I failed.

I learned a long time ago that in order to pass a test, I need to prepare.

Somehow, I keep having to relearn that lesson.

From getting to bed way too late last night and up early this morning, I didn’t prepare well for the tests this day held. I’ve been running on tired for days now, and my sharp responses and impatient words give me away. Not to mention that need of a nap at about noon today.

The test was handling two boys on fall break, both of whom had to live out consequences from earlier in the week.

Yeah, I know. Not a great way to begin fall break.

I tried to cram for this test with time in the Word. And I got some reading time in . . . in bits and pieces. Between interruptions from one boy or the other.

Bits and pieces of time with God has been all I’ve gotten lately. See? Cramming. Trying to get some good time today, because I knew I was going to need His presence, His wisdom, and His grace.

When I don’t prepare well for life’s tests, my failings often show up in how I treat others.

The hard thing is? This is such a reflection of what’s going on in my heart.

storm-over-water

 

I’m learning with the boys coming into the teen years that I must be on top of my game. I have to be prepared for whatever the day throws my way.

The best way to prepare for any test is to come before my Father. 

It’s when I come before Him that I can be at peace with what may be coming. Something about that time in His word and in prayer equips my spirit for whatever tests the day holds.

It’s the meditating on His word that reminds me how to pray when my boys affirm they’re most definitely still in training.

Getting the physical rest I need, eating right? These also prepare me for life’s tests.

But it’s that time in the Word, that time spent still before Him that is the most effective way to prepare for any test that comes my way.

lam-3-2223-copy

Thank goodness for God’s grace. And for those mercies that are new every morning. I have a chance to begin tonight to prepare for tomorrow’s tests.

Because I already know, they’ll be written into my day.

What about you? How do you prepare for life’s tests? What Bible verse helps you on a day when you feel like you’re failing?

Click to Tweet: When I don’t prepare well for life’s tests, my failings often show up

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

Chosen and Approved Series, Identity, People Pleasing

People-Pleasing: Where People-Pleasing Leads

 

chosen

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I am honored to kick off a blog series with two writers I truly respect: Emily Conrad and Mary Geisen. Over the next six weeks, the three of us will take turns sharing on our series called— Chosen and Approved: Untangling Our Identities from People and Perfection. This series resonates with my heart—both because of what I’m learning about my identity and how insecurity affects it, and because I suspect others also struggle with knowing who they really are. It is my hope that this series will minister and speak life-giving truths to all who read the posts.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Frozen flower

 

If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know I’ve been a people-pleasing girl for most of my life.

I’m not proud of this.

Peer-rejection does crooked things to a young girl’s heart. It leaves her craving acceptance and approval . . . to the exclusion (and the erasure) of learning how to be herself. Who God created her to be.

Continue reading “People-Pleasing: Where People-Pleasing Leads”