Words: After We Make Poor Choices

 

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

This is part three of a 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.

 

It all began with a phone call.

As soon as the school’s number showed on my Caller ID, I knew my day was about to change. I just had no idea how drastically.

When the words, “Kicked in the head a couple times.” “Dizzy” and “Blurry vision” came into the conversation, my mama’s heart began to worry for this son of mine.

After hearing the details and asking some questions, I decided that, yes, the boy needed to come home to rest and be watched.

 

When I neared the school, I made a couple of decisions that . . . weren’t the wisest. And I quickly gained the eye of a police officer. I had misread a situation.

And she misread me.

I wanted to be angry. Only I knew she had a difficult job.

I wanted to defend myself, only I knew that nothing could change the choices I’d made.

And though I knew my choices were for the sake of my boy, she saw a different picture. Because she had information I wasn’t privy to.

She made judgments, and I clamped my mouth shut. Because every now and then, silence truly is the best answer.

Sometimes a humble apology is the better way.

After she explained what I’d done wrong and what she thought she saw in my actions, I said I was sorry. And I was.

There are times when we get things wrong. We make decisions that seem right, but for some reason, they aren’t. We make choices because they are for another person’s good. But the way we go about fulfilling them violates something.

 

When we’ve messed up and the stakes are high, we need to be quiet. Sometimes, there are no words that can make things right. And there are especially no words that can make our choice—as noble as it may be—look shiny and good.

We need to acknowledge this.

Sometimes humility is a difficult choice because our emotions get wrapped up in the circumstances.

One thing I learned through this experience is that I mustn’t allow my emotions to dictate a situation.

I know this when I’m dealing with an officer of the law. And I (for the most part) have the self-control to keep my mouth shut.

But what about with those who are close to me? Those who don’t have the authority to issue a ticket for words spoken?

 

There will be times when I blow it with my husband, my kids, my friends. I’m going to make decisions that, in the moment, seem right, justifiable. But the big picture ramifications are broader than I can see.

When someone nicely—or not—points this out to me, what will my reaction be?

Am I going to defend myself? Try to make them understand why I chose the way I did?

Or, am I going to receive the rebuke, the correction?

Honestly? I’m not good at receiving correction in the moment. I need time to process it, ponder it, pray over it.

And sometimes, even then, I may not agree with it. The way I respond to a person can make or ruin a relationship.

 

With my family and friends, I want to choose love. It’s okay to disagree with another. How we do it will determine a number of things.

How safe we are to those people.

Our response tells the other person a lot. And they will make decisions about future interactions with us based on how we receive and respond to rebuke.

When we are teachable—humble—relationships are strengthened because the other person sees depth in us.

When we defend ourselves, we tell that person we’re placing ourselves—our importance—above them.

 

Choosing humility is hard. But, this is also a response that is pleasing in our Father’s sight.

Do we want to be right . . . or right with God?

What about you? When have you chosen humility in a situation? How do you handle valid rebukes?

Click to Tweet: When we’re humble, relationships are strengthened

Broken: When We Let Jesus In

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

She entered the city leader’s home. Quiet, probably unobtrusive, carrying an alabaster vial of something.

As Jesus and His disciples sat at the table of the leader, she broke her vial over His feet. No doubt the aroma permeated the home, filling it with the heady scent of the costly perfume.

I wonder what everyone thought. No one said a word to her, at first. The men talked around her as if she couldn’t hear them. As if she was invisible.

Continue reading

Love: 14 Ways to Keep Your Love Strong

couple-sunset-beach-walk

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

From the time I became aware of what Valentine’s Day represented, I struggled with it. Who could struggle with true love, right?

Except, I wasn’t one of the girls who received Candy-grams in junior high. I wasn’t one of the girls who ever—ever—had a date to the Valentine’s dance. In my mind, I wasn’t pretty enough, or popular enough, or anything enough.

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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.

Community: Live in Community

Morning light on flowers

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I sat at my kitchen table, golden light filtering in. My back door slid open to let in the cool of the morning. As I closed my eyes I heard chickadees singing, dogs barking and a baby crying. Soft sunlight glittered on the puddles of last night’s rain storm. Piano music played from my computer.

As I listened to the noises all around, felt included in our community.  Continue reading

Test: God Is With Us

Test

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Why does God test us?

As I was reading Judges 3, I made it to the second verse before the Lord stopped me.

“These are the nations the Lord left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wards in Canaan 2 (he did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience):…” (NIV)

And it goes on to list the nations.

The first time I read this, I thought about the Lord testing the Israelites, as in—did He want them to fail? What was He testing? Their abilities?

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Chosen: Believing God Loves Us

Beach stones at sunset

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

You are chosen.

Have you ever felt like the left-overs? Like people hang out with you because, well, there’s no one better to hang with so, you’ll do in a pinch?

As I shared last week, I dealt with rejection . . . heck, I am still learning to live beyond the lies rejection told me for the last number of decades.

Those lies we hear and accept as children sometimes take a lifetime to erase.

Continue reading

Share: When We Share

Ladies sharing

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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

SHARE

God has a way of crafting our dreams into reality.

I’ve walked through a few disappointments lately. Who hasn’t, right?

I had one prayer, a very secret prayer, that I haven’t shared with anyone. And through my current disappointment, God is bringing that prayer to fruition. I have a need, and I don’t know how to meet it on my own. I needed someone to come and help me out a little.

We chatted a bit this morning—my answer-to-prayer and I. And God showed up. He spoke to me through her words. She shared what He put on her heart. For me to hear. And God opened a door for me to see how He wants to begin healing a very old wound.

When we can share honestly, vulnerably with one another, God shows up. He ministers to those areas in our lives—those secret hurts in our hearts—and He begins to brush healing across them.

Sharing involves risk. if we open up to another, we’re risking a piece of ourselves. We’re choosing to trust another with what’s going on in our lives, our hearts, our thoughts.

When we choose to share, we choose to let someone into our lives in a new, deeper, more intimate way.

Women Praying copy

And the good that can come from that fills us. With joy. With hope. God has a way of joining us right where we are when we’re willing to share with others, and with Him.

When we share what’s really on our minds with Him, we offer Him permission to carve out some of the lies we have believed, and replace those spaces with His truth. We open ourselves up to the healing work He wants to do.

If we choose not to share those things on our hearts with Him, He already knows them anyway. God often waits for us to come to the point of trusting Him. Of realizing we can’t go any deeper in our relationships, with Him or with others, until He does that work he wants to do in us.

share prayer

Sometimes the work hurts. But always, it heals. And sometimes when we share, God begins to work those dreams in our hearts as part of our reality.

What about you? When have you received the blessing from sharing? What happened one time when you risked and shared something?

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

Busy: 15 Tips For Managing Holiday Busyness

Christmas peace

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Two weeks ago, I shared some thoughts on the effects of busyness on the heart . When I’m too busy for my own good, everything—and those closest to me—suffers.

A too-busy heart—a too-busy life—has no room in it for connections . . . with Jesus, or with those around us. We respond to people and situations on a surface level, because there’s nothing in us that can dig any deeper.

Continue reading

Life Lesson: Making an Effort—Guest Post by Jill Kemerer and a Giveaway!

J Kemerer Making an effort quote

I first met Jill Kemerer over at the Books and Such blog. When I was ready to brave beginning my own blog, Jill stepped up to answer my every last question (with much patience, I might add!). We’ve since met in person, and she has become a special friend. I’m so excited to host her here today for the final installment in my series about Life Lessons. (You can read parts one, two, three, and four here). Read to the end and learn about her latest book and a giveaway.

Please welcome Jill!

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What life lesson has changed you the most?

When Jeanne posed this question to me, I had no idea it would be so hard to answer. Unfortunately, I’ve learned a lot of life lessons! I am NOT perfect.

But looking back, I think the one thing I learned that changed me the most was to make an effort with strangers and acquaintances. I’ve always been introverted yet oddly social. As a kid, I loved making my friends and family laugh, but I felt awkward around people I didn’t know.

For some reason, I always had this feeling that I didn’t have anything to offer, like why would they want to talk to me? Silly, huh!

My dog’s nose peeking out from the blanket reminds me of how I used to feel. Introverts often don’t enjoy crowds.

My dog’s nose peeking out from the blanket reminds me of how I used to feel. Introverts often don’t enjoy crowds.

As I entered my teen years, I made friends naturally, but I heard the following a few times, “When I first met you I thought you were stuck up, but you’re not like that at all.”

My first reaction? Gee, thanks. But I took their words to heart. I realized I had a different view of myself than others did. By allowing shyness to prevent me from making an effort, I was unknowingly giving the impression I was arrogant.

This is my husband and I on a recent vacation. A smile conveys so much. If I’m too tired or drained to speak to someone, I at least smile!

This is my husband and I on a recent vacation. A smile conveys so much. If I’m too tired or drained to speak to someone, I at least smile!

I began talking to people I would have been too intimidated to speak to previously. I’m not going to lie. It felt uncomfortable. Sometimes they weren’t friendly. Other times they were wonderful. But I realized how they reacted wasn’t the point. If someone didn’t like me, no big deal. At least I tried.

I’m glad I learned that lesson early, because my entire adult life has involved relocating every few years. Starting over in a strange town would have been much more isolating and difficult if I had never learned this lesson. When my kids were young, I joined playgroups. Often there were clusters of other moms who knew each other from way back when. I forced myself to talk to them. Sometimes it took three or four different tries before they were receptive. In other towns, I was blessed to connect with a kind soul right away.

I also learned not to jump to conclusions about people. If I’m at one of my kids’ practices and a mom I don’t know is sitting off by herself, I don’t assume she’s stuck up or antisocial. It might mean she’s uncomfortable or lonely. It could mean she had a bad day or had a bad experience with some of the parents. Maybe she’s nervous about her kid’s performance. Who knows? It’s none of my business. What is my business is to introduce myself and make her feel welcome.

Now when I’m at a writer’s conference or a dinner with strangers, I do my best to be friendly and welcoming to anyone I meet. And you know what? I think this was the real me all along. It feels good to brighten someone’s day. So many people feel lonely at big events. I’m glad God is using me to encourage others.

Thank you so much, Jeanne, for hosting me today.

Have you ever felt shy and self-conscious around strangers? If so, how do you work through this?

Jill’s newest book is releasing TODAY! She’s hosting a giveaway that begins at 6:00 a.m. on August 31st and ends at 9:00 p.m. September 5th. This contest is open to US residents.Read about her book and enter by pressing on “Entry Form” below to earn entries.  

Unexpected Family SmallUNEXPECTED FAMILY

His Surprise Daughter

After five years apart, Tom Sheffield is shocked to find his ex-wife, Stephanie, on his doorstep. The news that they share a child he’s never met sends him reeling. Four-year-old Macy has his eyes, his mouth and, from their first encounter, his heart. Things with her mother are much more complicated. He doesn’t understand what went wrong between them or why she kept their daughter a secret. And he’s afraid of falling in love all over again. Yet he feels a glimmer of hope that somehow he can convince Macy and Stephanie to stay in Lake Endwell—and with him—for keeps.

Unexpected Family purchase links: http://jillkemerer.com/books/unexpected-family/

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About Jill

Jill-Kemerer-Blue-300dpiJill Kemerer writes contemporary romance novels with love, humor and faith. A full time writer, she relies on coffee and chocolate to keep up with her kids’ busy schedules. Besides spoiling her mini-dachshund, Jill adores magazines, M&Ms, fluffy animals and long nature walks. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Jill loves connecting with readers, so please visit her website, jillkemerer.com.

You can also connect with Jill on Facebook and Twitter.