Brokenness, Identity

Accepted: When We Want to Fit In

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

I learned to embrace the lies at an early age. I don’t know if it came from being a tender-hearted girl, or if I was just a sucker to want to fit in, oh . . . .from kindergarten on.

From being pushed around in second grade, and bullied throughout elementary school, I was certain there had to be some way I could fit in. I just needed to discover that secret key to unlock popularity. Or at least acceptance.

Continue reading “Accepted: When We Want to Fit In”

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Identity, Priorities

Identity: The Greatest Showman

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

We just got home from watching The Greatest Showman (Click title to see trailer). I’m just going to say it. I loved the movie. So many life-infusing themes woven into one story . . . besides the fact that they made my writer’s heart happy, they uplifted me at the deepest levels.

There are so many different themes that resonated with me, but the one that hummed the deepest parts of me was P. T. Barnum’s journey to understand the essence of his identity.

I’ll begin by saying this is Hollywood’s rendition of P. T. Barnum’s rise to fame. That said . . .

Phineas T. Barnum comes from a poor background. He holds certain beliefs based on things that happened when he was a boy.

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God's Love, Identity, Perspective

Beauty: When the World Has Its Say

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Watching children grow up is both sweet and bittersweet. On the first day of junior high, as Edmund and I stood in line to check in, I watched former sixth grade girls—fellow classmates of my son—step into the line.

Many of them wore makeup, covering their natural beauty, their natural features. Brushing color onto their cheeks and nuancing their eyes to look more grown up, to appear more beautiful.

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God's Love, Identity, Perspective

Beauty: How Do You Define Beauty?

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I have five decades of life under my proverbial belt. And still, there are days when I let the mirror try to tell me truth as it sees it.

The bad hair days . . .

The days when my face bears pimples (yes, at fifty, I still get these) . . .

The ever-enlarging pores on my face . . .

The rounding middle, flabby thighs . . .

The thinning hair that sports more gray as the boys grow older and try new things . . .

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Faith, God, Identity

Lies: Hiding Behind Lies

 

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

For decades I believed a lie.

And though I’ve talked about it here before, I’m just now seeing how much I hid behind that lie. The lie that I am not enough. That I am less-than. That rejection defined me as a Loser with a capital L.

As I became friends with people, I waited for them to confirm that lie. For them to prove to me in some way that I was really and truly less than.

Looking back now, it’s amazing how easy it was to perceive actions in ways that was inaccurate. I saw everything through that lens of rejection.

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Identity, When There Are Words, Words

Words: Words of Life

 

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

This is the final post of my five week series on the power of words. We have all been impacted by the words of another. Some words have imbued us with confidence, while others have deflated us. We are created to be communicators. So, when there are words, how do we use them well? 

Let’s explore this over the next few weeks. I hope you’ll join me and add your thoughts to the conversation! If you want to read previous posts, click: When There Are Words.

 

Words have power.

I still remember the day. I was sitting in the teacher’s lunchroom, taking my break when they walked in.

Two teachers who were besties. They sat in such a way that one wouldn’t have to look at me. And then they proceeded to whisper and shoot furtive glances my way.

Talk about uncomfortable.

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Enough, God, Identity, Mothering

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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Affirmation, Five Minute Friday scribblings, Identity

Common: What Makes Us Significant?

Rain covered leaf

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—COMMON. 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!

COMMON

I’ve lived much of my life believing I am common. There’s nothing special about me. I have faults, I get on peoples’ nerves. I’ve fallen short so many times. I have realized that I sometimes equate “common” with “failure.”

I realized that in my mind, “common” meant “insignificant.” Not special. I suspect most of us want to feel special—significant—in some way.

Some of us try to get really good at some talent or skill we have. Because then we stand out. We don’t look common.

Some people were blessed with good looks. They enhance those through what they wear, how they style their hair.

golden-leaves

Some of us, who have had the lie that we are “less than” ingrained into our belief systems, we have a hard time seeing ourselves as unique. WE can only see the ordinary, not-standing-out aspects of ourselves.

The thing is? God sees each of us as unique, as significant. He sees each of us through His eternal eyes of love. He sees the beauty, the passion, the fierceness He instilled into each of his creations.

The thing is? We are all works in progress. We are all created by God. He sees each of us as unique. He created each of us with a purpose only we could fulfill. No one else can do what He intended for us to do (see Ephesians 2:10).

In God’s eyes, no-one is common. Each of us is precious in His sight. 

psalm-139-13-14-copy

He understands our failings and looks at them as learning opportunities. He sees the wounds we’ve lived with and sees them as things that can draw us closer to Him. That can conform us into Jesus’ image. God sees His fingerprints in every cell of who we are.

To Him we are not common. We are fearfully and wonderfully made.

What about you? What is one unique thing about you? How do you keep an accurate perspective about who you really are?

Click to Tweet: He created each of us with a purpose only we could fulfill.

I’m linking up with Kate over at Heading Home—Common

 

Chosen and Approved Series, Enough, Identity

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.

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”