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 . . .

Continue reading “Beauty: How Do You Define Beauty?”

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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.

Continue reading “Lies: Hiding Behind Lies”

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.

Continue reading “Words: Words of Life”

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, Faith, God

Chosen and Approved: You Are—Your Identity in Christ

chosen

+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 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”

Affirmation, Chosen and Approved Series, Identity

Chosen and Approved: Reflections of Ourselves

chosen

+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

Chosen and Approved Series, Identity, People Pleasing

People-Pleasing: Where People-Pleasing Leads

 

chosen

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I am honored to kick off a blog series with two writers I truly respect: Emily Conrad and Mary Geisen. Over the next six weeks, the three of us will take turns sharing on our series called— Chosen and Approved: Untangling Our Identities from People and Perfection. This series resonates with my heart—both because of what I’m learning about my identity and how insecurity affects it, and because I suspect others also struggle with knowing who they really are. It is my hope that this series will minister and speak life-giving truths to all who read the posts.

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Frozen flower

 

If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know I’ve been a people-pleasing girl for most of my life.

I’m not proud of this.

Peer-rejection does crooked things to a young girl’s heart. It leaves her craving acceptance and approval . . . to the exclusion (and the erasure) of learning how to be herself. Who God created her to be.

Continue reading “People-Pleasing: Where People-Pleasing Leads”

Authenticity, Five Minute Friday scribblings, Identity

Hidden: When It’s Time To Stop Hiding

Autumn sunrise 2 copyFive Minute Friday prompt this week is—HIDDEN. 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!

HIDDEN

I never really understood it until this year.

This crazy desire to keep the essence of who I am hidden behind the image I thought others wanted to see. Anyone who’s read my blog for long knows that I have struggled with finding my identity in Jesus.

The rejection that happens to a child stays with her for a lifetime.

It takes that long for some of us to erase those horrible words and messages and allow God’s truth to be written over the walls of our mind.

This year, as God teaches me about my word AUTHENTIC, He’s showing me I don’t have to stay hidden.

I don’t have to present the “got-it-all-together” face to the women in my life.

I don’t have to show only a fraction of the real me . . . the part I think others will find acceptable.

Do I show all of myself to everyone? No.

There are times when too much information is simply that: Too Much Information.

But, there are times when God is calling me—each of us, really—to reflect the whole of who we are. Authenticity begins copy

Authenticity begins when we trust Jesus with our inner stories. It begins when we choose to talk with Him about those wounds we all carry.

He’s showing me I need to choose to trust Him when He puts me with others. I need to trust Him enough to share His light—as only I can shine it—with others.

I need to trust Him enough to live as the person He created me to be. We’re each unique. There’s no one else like us in the whole world or its history. God created each of us for a purpose.

When we hide the essence of who we are behind a facade, we aren’t trusting Him, and we’re dimming His light within us.

We need to trust enough to share our stories with others. Because when we share, who knows? Maybe others will be encouraged. Light behind clouds

Maybe they will find glimmers of hope for their own lives.

Maybe they will even want to know Jesus . . . all because we opened ourselves up to trust Him to shine through us. As we are.

What about you? When you’re nervous about being your authentic self, what do you do? What helps you to live authentic? 

Click to tweet: Authenticity begins when we trust Jesus with our inner stories

Linking up with Kate Motaung for Five Minute Friday—Hidden