Identity, Mothering, Relationship

Wait: When Does Happily Ever After Come?

A bridge leading to a pathway with a mountain in the background

@JeanneTakenaka

Have you ever lain in bed at night and found yourself praying for your children or another loved one in your life? 

After a day filled with teen ‘tude from one boy and some extreme emotion that morphed into choices that left the other boy regretting how he’d handled himself, I felt unsettled. Part of me questioned when we would move beyond this stage of angst and grappling to our sons being at peace with who they are.

I suspect many of us wrestle with being at peace with who we are. Even in my fifties, I have days . . . But God. 

Continue reading “Wait: When Does Happily Ever After Come?”
Identity, Knowing Truth, Trusting God

Rewrite: When What We Believe is Wrong

Meme with the word Rewrite imposed over a picture of a hand holding a pen and writing

@JeanneTakenaka

In May, I participated in a twelve-day Instagram writer’s challenge. It was both stretching and fun. We were given a different word each day and created posts about those words relating to our writer’s life. 

As I contemplated each word, I discovered correlations between writing life and real-life. I’ve expanded on the original posts, and I’d love to read your thoughts on these words as they relate to your life as well.

*****

My friend and mentor, author Rachel Hauck, says, “Writing is rewriting.” 

A first draft is never a finished draft. Fiction writers have to develop the plot line, strengthen our characters, deepen their emotions, and sometimes rewrite large portions of the story. But, in the end, the story is stronger and much better for the hard work we do.

As I thought about what “rewrite” looks like in my life, I see my “first draft”—meaning the things I believed about God, myself, and others. 

Continue reading “Rewrite: When What We Believe is Wrong”
Identity, Priorities

Identity: The Greatest Showman

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

We just got home from watching The Greatest Showman (Click title to see trailer). I’m just going to say it. I loved the movie. So many life-infusing themes woven into one story . . . besides the fact that they made my writer’s heart happy, they uplifted me at the deepest levels.

There are so many different themes that resonated with me, but the one that hummed the deepest parts of me was P. T. Barnum’s journey to understand the essence of his identity.

I’ll begin by saying this is Hollywood’s rendition of P. T. Barnum’s rise to fame. That said . . .

Phineas T. Barnum comes from a poor background. He holds certain beliefs based on things that happened when he was a boy.

Continue reading “Identity: The Greatest Showman”

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?”

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”