Perseverance, Perspective, Writing

Idea: When We Need to Be Brave

A photo from the back of a woman gazing toward the ocean with the word "Idea"

@JeanneTakenaka

In May, I participated in a twelve-day Instagram writer’s challenge. It was both stretching 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’ve expanded on the original posts, and I’d love your thoughts on these words as they relate to your life as well.

*******

One of the biggest reasons I was never brave enough to write a book was because I had no idea what to write about. From the time the initial desire, when I was a teen, to weave a story on the page until my early forties, I struggled with the idea of writing a book. 

As a teen, I wrote poetry. I journaled a ton, and most of those words came through the filter of experiences or events I was trying to understand or/and remember. But writing an actual book? I wasn’t brave enough to even pray about that . . .

a photo taken from the back of a man and woman holding hands

Until Hubs and I attended a marriage retreat. That weekend, a couple shared about the correlations between ballroom dancing and marriage. And it was like God was saying, “Are you listening, Jeanne? Here’s your heroine’s name. And ballroom dancing is the vehicle for the story.” I straightened in my chair, scribbled down the ideas that filled my mind, and my heart beat out a crazy rhythm. 

I was out of excuses. 

A woman typing on her laptop

The idea marinated in my heart and my thoughts for a couple of weeks before I even shared it with my husband. Excitement pulsed beneath my every thought. I wanted to write, but how did one go about writing a book?

A simple conversation with an author friend spurred me on the journey to learning how to write a novel.

God’s timing is always perfect. Long after I had given up on the idea of writing anything besides journal entries, He resurrected the, “Maybe someday . . . ” that lingered at the outer edges of my heart. 

A paved path through the woods with sunlight casting shadows through the branches

At the right time, God sprinkled the seeds of that book idea into my thoughts. I wasn’t looking for it. But, for whatever reason, He showed me writing a book was the next step in my life journey. 

The idea had to come from Him because I would never have been brave enough to step out and ask, “How do I get an idea to write a book?” I‘d have continued to sit on that desire, live my wife-mom-busy life and always wonder what it would have been like to really write.

A country road with trees on one side, a field on the other and mountains in the distance

Sometimes, God uses ideas to nudge us forward, to spur us to action. Other times, He uses them to change the direction we’re traveling in. 

One thing I love about God is that, when He gives us a calling or a responsibility—especially one that requires faith in order to fulfill—He offers us all that we need when we need them.

When I began blogging, I had no clue where ideas for blog posts would come from. And yet, here I am, six years later and I’m still sharing weekly posts.

A narrow path leading around a large rock on one side and a forest on the other

As a writer and blogger, I often feel like I’m at His mercy. If He doesn’t show me what to write about, I’m sunk. He has a way of showing me where to look for inspirations for writing. 

Sometimes, I have lots of topics to write about. I also have dry seasons when I find myself begging Him for inspiration for the next blog post . . . the next scene for my book. 

The thing about being at God’s mercy is that He always meets us where we are. 

When we choose to depend on God—to ask Him to walk alongside us—He provides what we need. 

A meme with a picture of a bridge going over a creek and the words, "When we choose to depend on God—to ask Him to walk alongside us—He proves what we need."

Often, we must cultivate the habit of looking around. 

We need to pray for His perspective. 

I’ve found when I look beyond my way of doing things, my expectations, He surprises me with a fresh perspective.

This is true in writing and in life. When I’m struggling in a relationship, I ask Him to help me see that person through His eyes. When I’m open to seeing them as He does my heart has greater compassion for the other person. 

A man and a woman walking with a small child, the woman holding the child's hands

When we choose to be brave, to place ourselves in a position of dependence on the Lord, He opens our hearts in ways we never could have expected and often takes us to places we never could have imagined. 

What about you? What helps you find ideas for the things you’re working on? When has God surprised you with an idea?

***I’m taking a short break next week to spend some time with my family, but I’ll see you back here in two weeks!***

Click to Tweet: I’ve found when I look beyond my way of doing things, my expectations, He surprises me with a fresh perspective.

I’m linking up with #TellHisStory and #RaRaLinkup

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39 thoughts on “Idea: When We Need to Be Brave”

  1. I’ve never had a real idea,
    for me, that is par for the course.
    Like building shelves from Ikea,
    whatever doesn’t fit, I force.
    I suppose that I might envy
    all the quick creative folk,
    but to ensure Creation’s plenty,
    God made some shell, and others yolk.
    I have enjoyed the role I’ve played,
    blowing doors and picking locks;
    compared to genius arrayed
    I’m dumber than a box of rocks.
    I’m not a lover, I’m a fighter,
    and never claimed to be a writer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would have to disagree with you, Andrew, on the thought that you’ve never had a real idea. I believe God’s given you perfect-for-you ideas, whether they’ve been done by another or not. Your ideas for your stories, and choices you make for living well? Those are ideas you came up with . . . just for you. 🙂 I’m praying for you, my friend.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you, Jeanne, for this beautiful reminder. I am so encouraged by your posts to keep walking in His calling. You are right, we must walk around with eyes that see things His way. All along the path He is willing to show us. I suppose that is how I get “my” ideas, namely in the solace and quiet places. But also in the mundane and ordinary I can often hear Him whisper His love to my heart. Will miss you next week 🙂 Enjoy your time with your family.

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    1. Heidi, your words are an encouragement to me. Thank you for stopping by here each week to share your insights. Like you, some of my ideas come from that quiet place. I’ve gotten a number of blog posts during my quiet times, or just after I’ve laid my head on the pillow for the night. And yes, in the mundane too. I think, as we attune our spirits to the Lord’s presence in each part of our days, that maybe we hear His thoughts toward us. Have a great week, friend!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. He’s pretty amazing, isn’t He, Melissa! Literally last night, as I was laying in bed, He showed me something that I hadn’t realized. Of course, I had to get up, write it down. It will probably become a future blog post. 🙂 He speaks beautifully through your words on your site!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jeanne, your post on writing has helped me so much. I keep a list of topic ideas on my computer so as I need one, I begin browsing my list. Lately, the topics I have chosen seem to be less and less about my faith and I have been feeling bad about that. It’s not that my faith is lacking. I just don’t feel called to write about it right now. This line ” The thing about being at God’s mercy is that He always meets us where we are.” helped me so much! Thank you!

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    1. Laurie, I’m so glad this post helped you! I find that I write when the thoughts won’t leave me alone. Sometimes, I have a number of blog posts waiting their turn to go live. Other times, I am begging God to show me what my next post should be.

      In terms of my books, He always has a way of showing me what the book will be about and who my characters are. This journey is so much nicer having God to rely on. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love how God has led you in this writing journey and given you inspiration when you needed it. And it’s amazing that he resurrected your dream of writing a book and has been helping you in that process.
    God surprised me with an idea a couple of weeks ago. I had been working on an article to submit for a while and thought I knew what I was doing. Then I woke up at 4.30am with a very clear idea of how to approach the topic completely differently! It was two days before the deadline but I managed to start again and the whole thing came together very easily. I still don’t know if it’s been accepted but it felt like it was from God!
    Hope you enjoy your break next week!

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    1. Lesley, God is so, so good to give us what we need, isn’t He? It’s always kind of fun when He redirects us after we’ve written something. When we see His fingerprints enhance our efforts there’s something exhilarating about that. I hope your article is accepted, my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, wouldn’t we all be so much braver if we would just ask? Pray and ask for the nudging..the direction and then for the faith to follow. It seems so simple, but so often the praying is the last resort. Enjoy your blogging break – will look forward to your return as your posts are such a blessing!

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    1. Jennifer, I admit sometimes I’m too prideful to ask, and sometimes I’m too fearful to ask. I’m so thankful God honors humble faith. I need to remember to pray first, not last too. Have a great week, my friend!

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  6. Hi Jeanne. For a number of years I’ve had in the back of my mind to write a novel and it’s still there. But I know it’s not time yet. In the meantime, I’ve been blogging and writing Bible studies. I lead 2 Bible studies and material for one group (weekly) often becomes material for the other (semi-monthly). It seems like the weekly study zips on by and before I know it, I’m at the point where I need to start preparing for the next series and I often have no clue what it will be about. But I have found that God has given me a topic every time. He somehow leads me to the right Bible passages and I often end up with a full outline of the series before Session 1. This has always amazed me about God. It is His Bible study, not mine, and He takes care of it.

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    1. Stephen, that’s wonderful that you’ve written Bible studies and shared them. What a blessing they must be to those with whom you meet! God is so faithful to give us what we need when we need it. I love reading your story of God’s faithfulness in providing you with the themes and passages for Bible studies!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Jeanne, writing my novel used to come easier to me. I don’t know why I haven’t had the motivation to work on it for… too long. Please pray for me. My plate is pretty full, but at the same time the word BRAVE in the blog leapt off the page. There’s an old Christian song by that name, I think by Nichole Nordeman; maybe I’ll look it up and remind myself where my bravery comes from.

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    1. Candice, writing a novel is such a journey, isn’t it? I’ve found I have seasons of great productivity and seasons where I don’t spend much time on it. Sometimes it’s because real-life consumes all my time. Sometimes, it’s because I’ve allowed fear of the unknown to steal the joy of the process. And sometimes, the emotion expended in real life saps my creativity for my writing life. I always have to bring it back to the Lord and ask Him to refresh my inspiration for the story.

      And that song by Nichole Nordeman? I love it! I used to have it memorized. 🙂

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  8. Such a word of encouragement. I love the first word you used, Perseverance. That was my word the Lord gave me last year. I continued on right till the end. There was a deadline for Chicken Soup for The Soul and the deadline was Dec 31st. So I spent New Years Even finishing it up and sending it in. God does use things in our daily lives to nudge and encourage us to share His thoughts with others. what a beautiful reminder that yes, we do need to be brave and step out to do what He’s called us to do… Blessings!

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    1. Del, Perseverance is such a good word, isn’t it? Good for you on sending in your submission to Chicken Soup for the Soul! May we choose to walk in bravery alongside the Lord through each day. I so appreciate you sharing here!

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  9. Jeanne,
    I love how God gave you an inspiration for your book! How exciting! If He calls you, He will enable you! I know I have a book inside me, but until I feel a narrowing of the subject by God…I will wait on His timing and His inspiration. Like you, I believe the Story has to come from Him. There’s so much I could write on, but most folks wouldn’t read an encyclopedia. Also, like you, I am amazed that God keeps giving me inspiration after 7 years of writing. I, too, have dry spells and I honor your decision to take a time out to refresh…always needed! Enjoy!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

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    1. Bev, God is so faithful, isn’t He? He reveals the timing and the how-to when He places a desire in us. I hope you DO write a book one day. God’s given you so much wisdom from which you can draw! I’m thankful God has allowed our paths to cross in this blog-o-sphere. You are a blessing!

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  10. I love this: “Sometimes, God uses ideas to nudge us forward, to spur us to action. Other times, He uses them to change the direction we’re traveling in.

    Amen, Jeanne. Enjoy your break. God bless!

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  11. I find that the more I am “living” life, the more opportunities God takes to give me inspiration. When I am not reading and listening to others or if I stay cloistered in my house, inspiration is slow. When I am paying attention to others and listening to what is being said, the Lord shows me what He wants me to write about. Then, I jot it down on the closest thing that accepts ink so I don’t forget!

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    1. Beth, I like the correlation you draw between actively “living” life and how God gives us inspiration. I agree. There’s something about engaging with others, about stepping out beyond the comfortable and living that opens our hearts and minds toward His inspiration. Thanks for sharing this!

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  12. Have a wonderful week with your family Jeanne! There’s many ways I’ve been inspired but do so have many dry seasons too. I know reading, reading, and more reading keeps me immersed in words, and new experiencing beyond pages into the tangible world inspires me to write my own words.

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    1. Thank you, Lynn! I’ve definitely had dry seasons. I’ve found that, sometimes, God wants me to wait in those seasons. To wait for Him to reveal Himself and to wait for His inspiration. And sometimes, He’s challenging me to write anyway. It seems like it’s during those times when I am actively seeking Him because I know I can’t do it without Him. I love what you shared how reading and experiencing give you words to share. Have a great weekend, friend!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. It’s not always easy to be brave, but thankfully we have a God who gifts us exactly what we need to do whatever He calls us to do. Thanks for an encouraging blog, Jeanne!

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    1. Yes, Jessica. We do have a God who gifts us with exactly what we need to do what He calls us to do. So, even when something seems scary, we can know, if He’s called us, He will equip us. Thanks for sharing your insights!

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  14. So many good truths here! I especially liked “…being at God’s mercy is that He always meets us where we are.” And how we are brave in the Lord and depend on Him. One thing I’ve learned, bravery is always lost when I rely on my own strength.

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  15. This is so good for me to read today! I’m right there with you, depending on God. Looking for inspiration in HIs word, and lots of time alone with Him. I’m also learning to be brave enough to let go of what I thought His initial plan was and roll with the one He is laying out in front of me. Sometimes we can hold God to a plan that was ours thinking it was His, and then miss the story He is writing for us. Looking up to Him and then being willing to walk where He leads is a brave step of faith for me. 🙂

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    1. Marcie, amen to needing to let go of our plan (even the one we thought was from Him) and trust Him when things go differently than we expected. I don’t want to miss the story He’s writing in and through my life. I want to, like you, choose to be brave, and follow where He leads. Thanks so much for sharing your insights!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Nancy! It was a mostly relaxing couple of weeks. This week, I’m playing catch-up and getting back into the swing of normal life. 🙂 I did look around and saw so much of God’s handiwork!

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