Living with Intention, Trusting God, Worry

Start: When We Face a Different Path

A meme with the word, Start in it

@JeanneTakenaka

Last month, I participated in a twelve-day Instagram writer’s challenge. It was both challenging and fun. We were given a different word each day and created posts about those words relating to our writer’s life. 

As I contemplated each word, I discovered correlations between writing life and real-life. I wanted to share some of those posts with you all, and I’d love your thoughts on these words as they relate to your life as well.

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A bridge on a tropical path, the other side of which leads to a darker part of the path

How often does this happen in real life? We think we’re walking on one path and something changes our course. We find ourselves on a rock-strewn trail that forces us to slow down and to approach each step with care. 

Or, sometimes, we must stop to navigate around a boulder, or figure out how to climb over it. We may want to walk one path, but God’s started us on a different route. 

What do we do with that?

We always have a choice . . . We can chafe with the change in direction. 

We can try to forge our own trail through the weeds.

A path and olive trees growing in the middle of the path and walking area

We can lean into our Father and trust that He knows the reasons and the means for navigating the change.

In real life and writing life I’ve walked a far different path from what I anticipated. Our family is working through growing pains as our sons press toward adulthood. Some days, I’m trying to just breathe through the emotion and constant decisions in response to some of their choices. 

Large stones creating steps to walk up a hill

Other life circumstances demand time and energy and a choosing of the necessary over the yearning. 

My writing journey has been filled with starts . . . and pauses, because life keeps happening. Real-life requires all of me, and I set my writing life aside to be fully present.

Our pastor recently spoke on John 14. The thing I keep remembering is, even during hard seasons, Jesus tells me not to let my heart be troubled. I get to choose worry or trust. When I determine I’ll trust the Lord in the middle of not understanding, in the midst of pain and weariness, I start to draw closer to Him.

Meme that says, "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me." John 14:1 on a creamy background.

When I don’t get to walk on the path I want to—and have regular time to write—my heart needs to choose Jesus over worry or disappointment or discouragement. 

I always have a choice.

My journey right now is choosing each step intentionally. Sometimes I can carve out writing time. I can be filled through the process of creating. But, sometimes I need to set all else aside to care for my real-life people. 

Cobblestone pathway leading to a darkened enclosure

And I need to be okay with that. 

The thing is, I’m not walking this journey alone. I can start off each day relying on Jesus, looking to Him for help, wisdom, and reassurance. 

Ancient stone steps leading upward and with wildflower growing amid the cracks

Jesus continues to show me I need to trust Him in each moment. My priorities seem to shift from day-to-day, and even from one moment to the next, depending on what’s going on. I guess that’s part of living fully in each moment. I’m learning the discipline of leaning into my Father when I don’t understand the pauses in life.

And each day, I have the opportunity to start—again—to live walking more closely with the Lord.

What about you? How do you respond when God sets you on an unexpected path? How do you guard your heart against worry?

Click to Tweet: We can lean into our Father and trust that He knows the reasons and the means for navigating the change.

I’m linking up with #RaRaLinkup and #GraceFull Tuesday

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26 thoughts on “Start: When We Face a Different Path”

  1. I have no time for idle worry
    in the flames that give no sound
    and there is no need to hurry;
    I’m Via Dolorosa-bound.
    The only step that really matters
    is the next one I’ll be taking.
    Don’t matter that my brave’s in tatters
    for here there is no shame in shaking.
    Memories of a different life
    swirl and fade and disappear,
    excised by cancer’s surgeon-knife;
    I’m no longer sure that they were here.
    Knees sag, head and shoulders bow;
    Jesus is my Simon now.

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    1. Awww, friend. My heart aches for the pain and suffering you’re walking through. Your laser-focus on living the next moment well, on leaning on Jesus as He helps you bear your cross, speak hope to those who read your words. I continue to pray for you, my friend.

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  2. Well, this is certainly true for me as well. So often I start out writing on a topic and the deeper I wade, the more I realize I didn’t know. Writing my way out of that bog is how I learn, I guess.

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    1. Michele, I know what you mean about studying a topic, digging deeper, and realizing how much you still have to learn. We do learn through studying, pondering, and sharing our words, don’t we?

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  3. Jeanne, I needed to read this today! Thank you. I loved this: “I get to choose worry or trust”. Far too often, I thoughtlessly choose worry. I need reminders to trust. We often wind up following different paths than we expected. I guess I go for a run in order to clear my mind of doubt and worry and listed for God’s small, still voice.

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    1. Laurie, I love when God leads us to the perfect words for our hearts. 🙂 Hubs and I literally JUST walked through 24 hours of having to evaluate a choice we made that had unexpected ramifications. I didn’t sleep well last night because I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I woke up thinking about it, a little heartsick. Sigh. It seems like sometimes I come to a place of trust only after beating that worry into submission and letting the choice to trust filter through my mind. I don’t know if this makes sense. But . . .

      I fall prey to worry far too often, especially when my path bends in a detour. I love that you have running to help you work through it all. 🙂

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  4. Life can certainly take us on detours! But when we remember Who is navigating we can trust we are right where we are supposed to be even when we feel lost! It sure isn’t always easy! (I tend to be a worrier and a whiner) but looking back, we can see how each step led us to His destination. I loved this Jeanne! Thanks for the reminder to trust the journey with God!

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    1. SO true, Cindy! When we remember Who’s navigating our journey, it’s easier to trust. Even if we have to process through worry and choose trust in the midst of that. I liked what you said about how we can look back and see how each God-ordained step led to His destination. Beautiful thoughts, my friend. Thanks for visiting. 🙂

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  5. I love all you path and step pictures! Intentionally living and being present to what is going on with our ‘real-life people’ is so important especially with so many distractions going on around us. Sounds like God’s got your attention and that is wonderful thing! My own pauses seem to also be self-inflicted rather that God-led, yet He’s teaching me why I take steps forward and then pull-back. He’s showing me where deeper healing and understanding is still to occur.

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    1. Thanks, Lynn! I might have a slight addiction to finding pathways and trails to photograph when I’m out and about. The distractions have been the biggest challenge lately. Some of my pauses are self-inflicted too. 🙂 Others are God-planned. And, like you, I’m grateful that He teaches us through them all. I’m so glad He’s revealing more of Himself to you, my friend.

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  6. My greatest worry/ fear is that I’m not valuable/ loved. I used to have a list of affirmations from the Bible; I need to print them out again and hang them on my mirror. I also worry about loved ones, but know those promises that are true for me are true for them. Thank you for this thoughtful post.

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    1. Awww, Candice. I know those lies of not being valued or loved. Affirmation lists are good for reminding us how God feels about us. During some of my struggling seasons, God helped me to see that He values me—that in His eyes I’m enough because of Jesus’ work and love—and that makes me enough. It takes time for our hearts to embrace the truth that, really, what people think of us pales in comparison to what God thinks of us. He loves us more than we can understand. Leaning into that is a step toward healing. I’m saying a prayer for you today.

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  7. Jeanne, I’m in my 60s (late) and almost every day brings change — people dying, people moving, my own body slowing down. My sister is selling the family home and how fraught with emotion THAT is. “I know that my Redeemer liveth.” That is all that matters. Thanks for another helpful post.

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    1. Awww, Kathy. It sounds like you have your own series of re-starts going on right now. We sometimes have to come back to those simple, profound truths, don’t we? what an amazing thing that our Redeemer lives, AND He loves us and cares for us more than we know. I’m saying a prayer for you today, my friend.

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  8. Thanks, Jeanne! What a beautiful and timely reminder! What do I do when worry takes me down an uncertain, hard path? I try to remember that the opposite of fear (worry) is love. I remind my wandering (and wondering) heart that God loves me and those around me and has us safely in in capable hand.
    “Hard is hard. But hard is not bad!”
    Thanks for helping me remember!!!

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    1. I love your way of dealing with worry, Heidi. Remembering the opposite of worry is love is a good way to defeat its impact in our thoughts. I have to remind myself that nothing takes God by surprise because I am held safely in His hand. Great reminders!

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  9. I’m glad you shared some of your posts from the Instagram challenge here, Jeanne! It’s so true, in writing and in life, that the path before can take unexpected turns and doesn’t always lead where we hope it will. It’s important to remember that God knows where the path will lead even when we don’t and to learn to trust him one step at a time. I have a path I’ve been trying to walk on for a while, which I think God has been leading me to, but it hasn’t worked out as I expected and sometimes I don’t even know how to move forward so this is helpful encouragement!

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    1. Lesley, you’re right. It’s so important to remember that God knows where our paths will lead, even when we can’t see beyond the next step. He even knows the timing when we are trying to be yielded to His path and not our own. 🙂 I’m thankful for your transparency, friend.

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  10. This is such a great reminder, Jeanne, to intentionally take the next step even when we don’t understand. Also to set things aside to be present for our “real-life” people. I think what helps me is remembering “God’s got this” and He is still in control. And whatever may change in life, His love never will. As always, I love your photos. Especially the rocky paths with an uphill journey. I was imagining how carefully I have to take each step. And by the time I got to the top, I would be huffing and puffing because of my lung disease. Life is like that, isn’t it? Sometimes those changes knock the breath out of us, but God picks us up again and breathes His breath of love and grace into us so we can take the next difficult step. Thank you so much for this encouragement! Love and blessings to you!

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    1. Trudy, like you, I’ve had to remind myself many times that “God’s got this.” I’m grateful He’s unchanging. He’s that steady foundation when everything else in our lives seems to shift. Isn’t God’s breath of love and grace restorative? Thank you for your words here, my friend.

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  11. Great post! When I married my husband almost 32 years ago, he was a pastor. We ministered together, side by side, for many years. Suddenly, he was elected to become a district official, which meant he would be too busy with his new responsibilities to pastor a church. I lost my church community, my position beside him, and had to deal with an empty nest all at the same time. I felt like I’d lost my identity. But I soon realized that God still had a plan for my life. I asked Him to show me what I should do next, and He did. He wasn’t finished using me just because my husband’s job description had changed. This new path I was on was also ordained of Him for me. Your post reminded me of that experience about four years ago.

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    1. Anneliese, losing a community can hollow out our souls, can’t it? You had a lot to deal with all at the same time. I’m glad you have begun walking the new path God had cleared for you. Thank you for sharing a piece of your story here!

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  12. Enjoyed this piece on paths from your writing challenge. The thought that resonated with me most is how we get to choose between Jesus or worry when our path is one we wouldn’t have chosen. It reminded me of Psalm 23, David didn’t say “if I walk through the valley….” He said “Even though I walk through the valley….” So when the hard paths come, the valleys, we trust the Lord to be with us and come out on the other side more like Jesus than before.

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    1. Karen, great observation about David’s words in Psalm 23. We will all walk through valleys during our lives. The question is, will we trust Jesus to lead us, or will we rely on ourselves. Only one of these choices will help us to become more like Jesus. Thanks for sharing your insights!

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    1. Thanks. Actually, this wasn’t a stream of consciousness post, really. When I write for Five Minute Friday . . . those are stream of consciousness. 🙂 I appreciate your visit!

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