Calling, Fear, Trusting God, When Fear Tests Our Faith series

Fear (Series): When Life Changes Course

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

Have you ever read a passage in the bible—one you’ve read many times before—and God just speaks to you? 

I don’t know how many times I’ve read about Saul’s and David’s lives over the years. But this time? The Lord showed me many things I never considered before. I noticed how differently Saul and David responded to fearful situations.

Maybe the stories of these two men spoke so deeply to my heart because I, too, have dealt with fear. I discovered valuable, timeless lessons to take away from their examples.

Over the next few weeks, I’m sharing some insights God has given me. If you’ve missed past posts, you can find them here. I hope you’ll share your thoughts, struggles, and victories here so we can all encourage each other, and maybe even pray for each other.

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Many years ago, when Peter was still a tiny baby, I already struggled with the fear of him rejecting me as he grew older. That rejection wound carved crevasses in my heart, hollowing me out and filling those spaces with the poison called fear. 

I was determined to love my little guy, but I was scared there would come a day that my love wouldn’t be enough for him.

Living in the shadow of fear is a no-win situation. It skews our thoughts, our hearts, our intentions. It slants the way we love and interact with others.

Continue reading “Fear (Series): When Life Changes Course”
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Dependence, Enough, Fear, Pride, Relationship

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.

Continue reading “Weakness: Act Strong or Ask For Help?”

Fear, God, Life, Trials

Worries: Perspective on Fear

Snowflake on red

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Snowflakes leave me in awe. So small, yet so incredibly beautiful. Crafted so that each one has intrinsic similarities and yet are absolutely unique. As winter snows visit our little corner of the country, I find myself gazing out windows as snow falls quiet. Steady.

I’m reading The Hardest Peace, by Kara Tippetts. This book shares her story—of her life, her cancer journey—and the beautiful, deep lessons she’s learning. I come away from each chapter moved, wanting to grow deeper in love with Jesus.

Continue reading “Worries: Perspective on Fear”

Fear, Fear: Four Steps To Overcome Fear, God, Life

Fear: Four Steps To Overcome Fear

3 Cheerleaders

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Last week, I shared about being tethered and walking on a ropes course at a ladies’ retreat. So many life lessons came from that afternoon.

On the ropes course, each woman was on equal ground. Sure, some came in having suffered the loss of marriages, or children, or the death of a loved one. We all came in with the lies we struggle to erase. We—each of us—had at least a small degree of fear.

Continue reading “Fear: Four Steps To Overcome Fear”

Dealing With Fear Walking Through Marked Doors, Fear, Life, Passion

Dealing With Fear: Walking Through Marked Doors

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My friend, Beth Vogt, talks about the things that happened in her life when she opened the door marked, “Never.”

I’ve been thinking about that idea of doors in my life. Which doors I’ve opened. Which ones I’ve kept closed and locked up tight.

Continue reading “Dealing With Fear: Walking Through Marked Doors”

Adventure, Boundaries-Hemmed In, Fear, Life

Boundaries: Hemmed In

Note: For those who received an unusual picture masquerading as a blogpost from me, I’m sorry! I’m experimenting with Flickr, and well, it backfired. Sorry for the inconvenience!

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Guardrails. I like ‘em.

I discovered something about myself while in Yellowstone.

Continue reading “Boundaries: Hemmed In”

Risk, Taking Risks Okay Vs No Way

Taking Risks: Okay Vs No-Way

hinnamsaisuy at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of hinnamsaisuy at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

On Tuesday, I shared observations from when our family attended a baseball game. Here’s a slight addition to that story. One of our children is a risk-taker, and one is not. When Peter was so eager to meet the team mascot–Sox the Fox–I asked Edmund if he wanted to go too. He shrank into his seat and gave a definite shake of his head. Too risky.

He looked like he wanted to meet the mascot, but it would be too embarrassing for him. Edmund dislikes being singled out for something–good or not-so-good. Ruining his reputation is too high a risk for our youngest boy. He stayed in his seat and watched his brother greet the fox.

Peter rarely worries about what others think. If he wants to do something, he’s going to do it. This is the boy who climbed thirty feet into a tree when he was six. Risk and Peter seem to be synonymous.

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Image courtesy of andy newson at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ve thought about the different mindsets my guys displayed that night. Peter was uninhibited about going after what he wanted. Edmund let fear of embarrassment stop him from getting something he wanted.

What about me?

Too many times, I’ve let risks persuade me to say no to possibilities life offers me. Fear of making a mistake in front of others, of trying something and failing, of being hurt in the attempt have all convinced me to say, “No way” rather than to take life up on its possibilities.

I’m purposing to get beyond the “No Way” mindset. A few things I’ve discovered that help me to “take on” risks are:

  1. Realize I need to let go of some of the control I think I hold over my life. When I release my grip on life, I discover the ability to embrace adventure and try new things.
  2. Look beyond the fear factor to the possibilities–fun, learning something, accomplishing something I never thought I could do are all great results from taking risks.
  3. Tell someone I’m going to do something I consider risky. When there’s an accountability to “just do it,” I’m more likely to move out of my comfort zone and take a risk.
  4. Taking someone along with me. When I try something new with a friend or a loved one, it’s easier to move beyond fear. It’s also easier to take the pressure off and laugh at myself.

There are times to say, “No Way.” There are also occasions when I need to answer an opportunity with “Okay,” even when risks are involved.

Your Turn: What helps you to say “Yes” to taking a risk in your life? What’s the riskiest thing you’ve ever tried?

Adventure, Risk

Red Mustangs

Image“Would you like to upgrade to a convertible red mustang at no extra cost?”

Those words made my heart pound. Really? A red ‘stang? I’ve always wanted to drive one. The candy-apple red temptress whispered to that cautious part inside me saying, “Try it, You’ll like it!” I looked at my hubby, trying to tamp down the eager in my heart. We were ready for some fun. I thought about our friends’ faces when we pulled up to their homes in our red built-for-speed convertible and grinned to myself.

We drove out of the rental car parking lot, ready to be adventurous. Well, as adventurous as the forty-something mother of two dares to be in Vegas. This car had power. A tiny touch on the accelerator gave it plenty of speed. The barest tap on the brakes reined it in. Oh, I liked it.

It didn’t take long for other thoughts to nudge their way into my mind, though. Thoughts like, “This is Vegas. This car screams, ‘Steal Me!’” Or, the realization that our red adventure on four wheels would be a magnet for every policeman in our vicinity to radar in on our vehicle, judging the way we drove before looking at the occupants. And, thoughts like, “Honey, let’s park in the garage or use valet, to keep our rental car out of sight.”

I realized the risks inherent with driving a fire-engine red speed machine could steal the joy from my fun. Was I going to let it? I could worry about every police car we passed, about what might happen if we parked out in the open and what passersby would be thinking about how to break into “our” car, or I could learn to enjoy our adventure and take necessary precautions.

So, too, those unexpected adventures that find each of us on our life-journeys may hold risks.Image Are we going to let ourselves experience a mild walk on the “wild side” of the road and learn to manage the risks, or will we allow fear and worry determine how we interact with God’s planned adventures? This cautious gal is learning to deal with the maybes and enjoy the unexpected blessings.

Your Turn: Have you ever had a surprise adventure that came with strings attached? What was it and what did you do?

Fear

Dogged By Fear

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Image courtesy of Luigi Diamanti and freedigitalphotos.net

“Mommy, will you please hold me?” Peter asked as we knocked on the door at a friend’s house. The thought of being greeted by a dog, no matter how small, nice or mellow struck fear into the deepest part of my then five year old son.

I wanted to reply, “Honey, God doesn’t want you to be afraid.” To me, facing a dog is a normal part of life. To him, fear of the unknown loomed larger than anything else in the moment.

As I considered the terror my son had of dogs, I thought about a Bible verse. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7, NKJV).” It is easy for me to spout these words to my boy, but how do they apply in my life? What are the “dogs” I face? An unstable economy, difficult people, sickness and other concerns all fall into the “Things I fear” category.

This verse made me realize I cannot react in fear to a situation and still think clearly about it. And, I can’t work through it with God’s power and with His love if fear determines my steps. One half of the verse or the other will dictate how I respond to life’s challenges.

A spirit of fear persuades me to flounder through trials and uncertainties with my own strength rather than trusting in God. It encourages me to focus on myself rather than on Him. When I choose this manner of getting through tough circumstances, I end up confused, exhausted and defeated. If I choose to trust God in the scary things of my life, I can rest in Him and know that He’s “got it.”

That day at my friend’s house, I held Peter’s hand and stepped inside with him close at my side. How wonderful to know that God does the same for me. When I call out to Him, He gives me what I need to overcome fear and to walk with confidence through the situation.

Your Turn: What helps you to work through fear?