Enough: Our Search For Significance

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I read a post recently that reminded me of a conversation I had with God a number of years ago. I had been very involved in our church, working in women’s ministry.

All that changed when God decided to fulfill a dream for my husband and me. He gifted us with our oldest son. As soon as we knew we were going to become parents, I let my boss know. He looked at me, a knowing expression in his eyes. “You’re leaving us, aren’t you?”

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Chosen and Approved: Whatever She’s Having, Please

chosen

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

We are in part six—our final installment—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’ve so enjoyed walking this journey with you. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and stories with us!

If you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, you can find them all here: Chosen and Approved.

This week, Emily Conrad writes:

“My sister and I took stock of the inventory, and my sister made her choice: a mechanical dog about ten inches tall with soft white fur. It walked on a leash, barked, and did back flips.

When I declared that I wanted the same thing, my aunt tried to gently talk me out of it. Wouldn’t I prefer a horse? Because, after all, I loved everything to do with horses. I read books about them, collected Breyer horses, drew them, used them in imaginary play. Everything was about horses. 

But I passed up all the pretty horses in that store to get what my sister was getting.”

As I read Emily’s story from her girlhood, I thought back to how many times I’ve chosen others’ preferences over mine . . . all in the name of being accepted. It’s taken me decades to realize that what I like—my preferences—have value because I am valued. By God and others.

When my hubs and I began dating, I had this “ability” to select whatever he was picking to eat for dinner at restaurants. He finally called me on it and assured me that I could—and should—pick what I wanted to eat. It was such a small thing, but it took me awhile to become comfortable with selecting the entree that sounded the tastiest to me.

I’ve also found myself picking what the other person picks because I didn’t want to feel left out, or I didn’t want to be thought of as lacking in some way. I didn’t want what I desired to be thought of as “not as good as” another person’s. Crazy, I know.

When we can find the confidence to embrace the unique preferences God has given us, we can live in freedom. We are no longer tied down by trying to fit in, or trying to not stand out.

Please join me over at Emily’s site today to read the rest of her story and her beautiful takeaways.

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

Try: What’s Your Motivation?

Hand Fenced Off copy

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—TRY. 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!

TRY

How much of my life have I spent trying . . .

. . . to measure up to others’ expectations

. . . to be accepted

. . . to be good enough at something or other?

More years than I’ll ever admit to.

Most of my life, I’ve felt like if I just tried a little harder to be likable, or a better singer, or a better wife, a better mom, a better daughter-in-law . . .

. . . maybe all my efforts would be enough. That I would get . . . .? What?

Being accepted has been the motivation that’s driven me to try so hard for perfection most of my life. That sense of belonging in a group somewhere. Somehow, I might be considered worthy to have some sort of acclaim, or recognition. That I would be enough . . .

Rock Wall 1 copy

What I’ve come to realize over the past few years is that I don’t have to keep trying to be enough for everyone else to think that I’m worthy.

I just need to live each day in the way God’s directing me.

He’s already accepted me, called me His own. He sees me (and each of us who call Him Savior) as precious. He loves us. He is the One who goes before us.

Jesus is the one who makes me worthy. It doesn’t come from something I can do “good enough,” or something that is in me that is considered laudable.

I don’t have to try to measure up to human expectations, because God’s already called me accepted, beloved, His own.

This truth, as it sinks deep into my spirit, brings such peace. I do need to try to be the best Me I can be. The woman God’s designed me to be.

Good-bye to trying to achieve other’s expectations. To trying to measure up to human standards, which always change anyway.

Bougamvillea you are precious

 

Hello to accepting that I am exactly who God intends me to be. Growing in the grace and knowledge of Him, hopefully reflecting Him a little more clearly each day.

What about you? What’s one lesson you’ve learned as you’ve grown older? How have you come to a place where you understand your worthiness?

Visit Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday post—TRY

Good: What’s Good Enough?

Solitary at sunset

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

My Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—GOOD. 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!

GOOD

Most of my life, I’ve struggled with not being “good enough.”

Good enough to be on a worship team.

Good enough to be accepted by others.

Good enough to be affirmed for anything about me or something I could do.

Good. Enough.

I still struggle, some days, with the fear that I’m not good enough.

A number of years ago, I poured out my angst-y heart to the Lord about my inadequacies, my desire to be significant to someone—anyone—in my world. I knew I was significant to my eleven-month old boy. To my husband. But to anyone else? My feelings convinced me I didn’t matter.

Solitary

Then God spoke to me. He told me I was significant to Him.

I justified why this wasn’t enough.

I know. Stupid idea. Arrogance and ignorance wrapped into one thought.

He asked me if He was enough for me. The question stopped me cold. If He allowed all my friendships to die, and all I had left was my relationship with Him, was that enough?

Conviction stabbed at me when my initial answer, honestly? was no.

Since that time, I’ve learned to lean on Jesus. to believe what He says about me. To let being His girl be enough for me. And finding incredible satisfaction and peace in this acceptance.

To know and embrace the truth that He loves me perfectly, passionately completely.

Crown Cross Stone

And as we head into Easter weekend, we remember the amazing Gift of love Jesus gave us as He hung on a bloody cross. As He took our beatings. As He felt the every thorn of the crown press into His scalp. Blood running down his face, His torso, down to His legs and His toes.

Is that enough for me? For us?

Yes.

So much more than I deserve. He. Loves. Me. He loves each of us.

And that is Good. And it’s way more than Enough.

We can take that truth, weave it into the fabric of who we are. If we let it, this truth can mend wounds in our hearts and make us clearer reflections of Him to the world around us.

What about you? How have you worked through the question of significance? How has the knowledge that God loves you completely changed you? 

Visit Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday post—Good.

Weakness: Act Strong or Ask For Help?

Destin late afternoon

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

“Why is weakness something we fear so strongly?”

I was reading Kara Tippetts’ blog, Mundane Faithfulness last week, and she shared about those days you just work to get through. At the end of her post, she asked some questions, but this one stopped me hard.

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Comparison: Comparing Ourselves to Others

Vanilla

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Things are meant to be compared. We compare fruit to determine which pieces are the best to purchase. We compare prices on similar items to get the best deal. We compare qualities of an item to decide what we need most for the money we have available to spend.

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Am I Enough: A Thought on Mom’s Night Out the movie

Image

By Jeanne Takenaka

A couple friends and I saw the movie, Mom’s Night Out.  I came away uplifted by the story. My still-a-little-sore right side ached from all the times I laughed.

Along with great humor, beautiful messages shine through the story line. One thing that resonated with me was when the main character is in her darkest moment. She’s talking with an unlikely truth speaker. She’s certain she’s a failure at everything (Because really, what woman hasn’t felt this at one time or another?). And she says, “I’m not enough.”

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