God, Identity, Life, Uncategorized

Hats: Do Our Roles Define Us?

IMG_5570

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

How many hats do you wear in a day?

No, I’m not talking physical hats, but those we don when we fulfill a certain role.

Sometimes in the wearing of so many hats—in fulfilling many roles—I seem to lose the essence of who I am. I am Wife. Mom. Friend. Homemaker. Writer. Chef (which  may or may not be a generous title for the food I serve up on a daily basis). Lover. Confidante. Counselor. Cheerleader. Maid. Supporter. Teacher. Organizer. Event Planner.

The list could go on.

Continue reading “Hats: Do Our Roles Define Us?”

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”

Being Grateful For All Things, Gratitude, Life

Being Grateful For All Things

Image

How many times have I chosen bitterness or irritation over gratefulness in the midst of difficulty?

After being humiliated?

How often have I held onto the pain rather than look for even one small reason to thank God?

And disappointments? Don’t get me started on those.

Yet, I find encouragement in this quote today. Because it is one step from bitterness to gratitude. Two small words. And one big perspective shift.

It begins with a willingness to look beyond the initial hurt of a difficulty, a disappointment, a failure, of being humiliated. Sometimes, I must choose to move beyond the pain and into the beginning of healing. Into a place of rest, of peace.

And it begins with a simple choice.

As I make the decision to stop allowing these situations to dominate the way I perceive them, as I take my eyes off of me and place them on the One who created me, then I take one more step into spiritual maturity.

When I can say, “Thank You,” for allowing these into my life, I can walk in Jesus’ peace. Difficulties will visit another day, but when I choose thankfulness over bitterness, I am strengthened to walk through them in peace.

What about you? How do you move beyond the pain of life’s challenges into a place of gratitude? What’s a lesson you’ve learned through struggles that you’re thankful for now?

Dependence Strength vs Need, Relationship

Dependence: Strength vs Need

Image

I’ve always considered myself a fairly independent person. I can hold my own in social situations, business interactions, and in dealing with people who come into our home to do work on it.

Continue reading “Dependence: Strength vs Need”

Autumn, Autumn Beauty This Moment, God, Life, Perspective, Time

Autumn Beauty: This Moment

Image

This autumn, our colors have been particularly brilliant. Or perhaps, I’m more aware of them. Maybe it’s because I’m growing older, but I find that I want to soak in the beauty of each moment. . . .

Walking around our neighborhood and glimpsing two trees side-by-side—one sun-kissed yellow, the other rich shades of magenta—stops me in wonder.

Continue reading “Autumn Beauty: This Moment”

Expectations

Expectations

Image
Image courtesy of marin with freedigitalphotos.net

I have a young friend who auditioned for her high school play a few weeks back. As she shared thoughts about her upcoming audition, I smiled. She talked about how she didn’t have to worry about dancing well because people who know her don’t expect her to be a great dancer. But, when it comes to singing, that is different. She has a beautiful voice, and she wanted to perform well for vocal part of her audition. I love that she knows and is comfortable with her abilities as a performer.

That conversation got me thinking about people and expectations and performance. I find it easy to be myself when I either don’t care or don’t worry about measuring up to others’ expectations. On the other hand, when I know someone expects me to accomplish something, I tend to falter. I set myself up for failure, worried I won’t live up to expectations . . . and then I don’t. I walk away from the scenario beating myself up. But, when I’m placed in a situation where the “role” was given to me, I feel safe fulfilling it in my unique way.

Expectations, real or perceived, place pressure on us. Some of us perform well under pressure, and some of us crumble. It’s taken years for me to feel okay about not bowing to the pressure of others’ expectations. I finally understand I will never fulfill what some people expect of me. And that is okay. I’m learning to shift my focus from living to appease people to learning what pleases God and doing it. It’s not always easy, but it is always the path with less pressure.

Your Turn: How do you handle expectations? What do you do to maintain a good perspective about them?