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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Words: The Power of Love-Giving Words

 

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

This is part four 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.

 

“There is nothing you can do that will make me stop loving you.”

I’ve said these words to our boys since before they could talk. And it turns out, these are words they’ve needed to hear.

When they’ve done things right,

When they’ve gotten things terribly wrong,

When they have let a big, scary anger rule their words and actions,

That’s when they’ve needed these words most.

As boys who are cherished by two sets of parents,

As boys who are trying to figure out who in the world they are in the big picture of things.

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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

Words: What We Say About Ourselves

 

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

This is part two 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.

 

“I’m an idiot.” The boy says of himself. Far too often for my liking. He holds himself to such a high standard no person could possibly achieve it, much less maintain it. It’s a standard of perfection. No mistakes allowed.

In his mind, to fail even in the smallest way is worthy of calling himself a name.

It about breaks my mama’s heart. Every. Single. Time.

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Words: Speaking Words of Affirmation

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I am beginning 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!

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My husband knows me well. He knows my love language. He knows what fills me. He knows I love words.

I may have had a significant birthday over the weekend.

Yes, I turned fifty. I realized I can’t call myself a girl anymore. And yes, I have done that on occasion. But, I digress . . .

My husband. He talked to me in April and said, “I have been thinking for the last year about how to celebrate your fiftieth. I thought about a party. What do you think?”

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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.

Chosen and Approved: You Are—Your Identity in Christ

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+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

We are in part five 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’d love for you to join us each Tuesday through November 8th and share your journey with us.

This week, Mary Geisen writes:

“the world paints lies with just enough detail to resemble your outline and you visibly shrink against the portrait wishing for so much more.”

 

These words caught me, because I’ve been the girl she describes. I look at the outline of the world’s lies, or incomplete truths, and I take that as gospel. And I wish for so much more than the picture painted.

So many voices vie for our attention, don’t they? The world, shouting its messages of what we should look like, what we should do, who we should be . . .

There are those messages in our own minds . . . the ones that tell us how we have failed, not lived up to others’ expectations (or our own).

If you’re at all like me, it gets kind of noisy inside our heads sometimes. All those words, spoken in condemning, demanding tones of voice (that sound suspiciously like our own).

How do we filter out the messages? How do we know what we should be listening to? How do we know which of the voices trying to define our identities is accurate?

As Mary says, the world and our own voices often paint an incomplete silhouette of all God has created us to be. We can be discouraged with the often skewed incomplete picture, or we can learn truth that helps us to know which voice we need to listen to.

This week, Mary’s post speaks firm yet gentle truth to a spirit that is weary of trying to figure out what—or who—defines our identity. Join me as I click over to her site to read the rest of her encouraging, uplifting words.

Today, I’m linking up with Katie Reid for #RaRaLinkup

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.

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Chosen and Approved: Lessons from David for the People-Pleasers (Like Me)

chosen

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Welcome to part three of our six-post series, Chosen and Approved: Untangling Our Identities from People and Perfection, with Emily Conrad, Mary Geisen and me.

This week, Emily shares all about King David . . . and his failings . . . and how God called him a man after His heart. How did David manage that?

When I read this:

The people-pleaser in me would have a hard time praying the same prayer as David. That part of me would demand I focus more energy on rectifying the situation with people than with God.

I nodded my head at the idea that I needed to focus my energy on rectifying situations with people before I did so with God.

How off-base I have been at times, because I was so afraid to offend people. God forgives, right? But people? Not always.

So, of course, I needed to make sure I fixed any offenses I’d caused.

God does forgive. And He invites us into relationship with Him. He tells us to set Him above anyone and anything else. This isn’t as easy for me as it should be. And those people-pleasing mindsets I’ve held to for years die hard.

In her post, Emily shares some great insight into the mindset of a God-pleaser. I hope you’ll read and glean as much as I have.

Join me over at Emily’s place and see what David did that helped him to be called a man after God’s heart.

If you’ve missed either of the first two posts in this series, you can read them at this link.

Today, I’m linking up with Holly Barrett’s Testimony Tuesday and Kelly Balaraie’s #RaRaLinkUp.

Chosen and Approved: Reflections of Ourselves

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+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Mirrors never lie. The world’s reality is the best reality. Others perceptions are always spot on. Social media speaks the truth at all times.”

When I read these words, my heart remembered the many times I’ve believed and made decisions based on one or more of these lies.

I’ve been the one caught up in believing another’s perspective about me had more validity than my own perspective. In my younger years, I lived as if the world’s reality was the best reality.

Because in my heart, I didn’t see my own reflection as valid. I was certain the world knew best what I should reflect, what I should look like . . . right?

The problem is, those sentences? They’re all lies. And my friend, Mary Geisen , goes on in her wisdom-filled blog to help us understand that there’s more to us than what the physical mirror reflects.

I am honored to partner with Emily Conrad and Mary Geisen in this series: Chosen and Approved: Untangling Our Identities from People and Perfection. The three of us are still works-in-progress, learning to find our identities and value in Jesus alone. We’d love for you to join us each Tuesday through November 8th and share your journey with us.

You will find the rest of Mary’s post at her lovely blog, Passage Through Grace.

And, if you missed last week’s introductory post, you can find it right here. You can check out the live posts right here.

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