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

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Faith, God's Love, Identity

Approval: The Facade

Broken windmill

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I’ve mentioned before how people-pleasing tendencies have burrowed like weeds in my life. Though most of the time, I keep them tamed, that desire for approval still pops its head into the surface of my heart more often than I’d like to admit.

The rejection I dealt with in elementary school became a huge motivator for gaining peoples’ approval. Through my teen years—and into my twenties—I sought to become whatever I needed to in order to be accepted, to be approved of.

Continue reading “Approval: The Facade”

God, Identity, Infertility

Promise: When God Fulfills His Promise

barren hill

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

There’s something about Abraham’s and Sarah’s story that stirs my heart every time I read it. Especially the part of their lives as they walked through the disappointment of childlessness. As I read Genesis 17-18 recently, I was struck by a couple thoughts.

I wonder if Abraham had grown tired of hoping—of believing—that God would actually give him a child with his wife, Sarai. Waiting decades for a promise to be fulfilled is wearying on the soul and the hope.

Continue reading “Promise: When God Fulfills His Promise”

Five Minute Friday scribblings, Identity

Same: Valuing Being Different

Zinnias at sunriseBy +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—SAME. 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!

SAME

As a teenage girl, I desperately wanted to fit in with the kids around me. I tried dressing the same, taking some of the same classes as friends. I tried talking and acting the same as the other kids . . . sometimes betraying who I really was.

I’m not so different now. I still struggle with the desire to fit in. To be the same as those around me. There’s something in feeling accepted that lures me to compromise to fit in with those I hang around with.

I’m learning that when I seek to fit in with others, I deny the intrinsic unique qualities God’s placed within me. There is no one else with my DNA who has or ever will walk the face of this earth.

There is no one else who can touch the lives that mine touches. And, I can do this in the unique ways God’s given me. Or, I can try to do it the same way my friends, and those I respect, do it.

Yellow leaves

When I try to be the same as others, I lose out on discovering all that God has instilled within me . . . simply because He delights in me.

He’s given each of us unique qualities, ways of viewing the world around us. He’s gifted each of us with ways of touching others that can only be expressed “just-so” by us. My friends can’t relate to my neighbors in the same way I can. And vice versa.

We are each gifted with different strengths to work from. Different spiritual gifts to operate in. We’re each unique in the way we perceive circumstances around us. As much as I sometimes wish I was the same . . .

. . . as much as I crave the sense of fitting in . . .

I lose out on being all that God designed me to be when I strive for fitting in with others over being uniquely used by God.

Pink Peony

When we step out of the mold we’ve tried to build our lives around, and we trust God to form us into the people He designed us to be? Then we will know the fulfillment that only comes from being our unique selves.

What about you? What is at least one trait that makes you unique on this earth? How do you embrace your unique qualities?

Read Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday offering—Same

Enough, Five Minute Friday scribblings, Identity

Try: What’s Your Motivation?

Hand Fenced Off copy

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—TRY. 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!

TRY

How much of my life have I spent trying . . .

. . . to measure up to others’ expectations

. . . to be accepted

. . . to be good enough at something or other?

More years than I’ll ever admit to.

Most of my life, I’ve felt like if I just tried a little harder to be likable, or a better singer, or a better wife, a better mom, a better daughter-in-law . . .

. . . maybe all my efforts would be enough. That I would get . . . .? What?

Being accepted has been the motivation that’s driven me to try so hard for perfection most of my life. That sense of belonging in a group somewhere. Somehow, I might be considered worthy to have some sort of acclaim, or recognition. That I would be enough . . .

Rock Wall 1 copy

What I’ve come to realize over the past few years is that I don’t have to keep trying to be enough for everyone else to think that I’m worthy.

I just need to live each day in the way God’s directing me.

He’s already accepted me, called me His own. He sees me (and each of us who call Him Savior) as precious. He loves us. He is the One who goes before us.

Jesus is the one who makes me worthy. It doesn’t come from something I can do “good enough,” or something that is in me that is considered laudable.

I don’t have to try to measure up to human expectations, because God’s already called me accepted, beloved, His own.

This truth, as it sinks deep into my spirit, brings such peace. I do need to try to be the best Me I can be. The woman God’s designed me to be.

Good-bye to trying to achieve other’s expectations. To trying to measure up to human standards, which always change anyway.

Bougamvillea you are precious

 

Hello to accepting that I am exactly who God intends me to be. Growing in the grace and knowledge of Him, hopefully reflecting Him a little more clearly each day.

What about you? What’s one lesson you’ve learned as you’ve grown older? How have you come to a place where you understand your worthiness?

Visit Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday post—TRY

Five Minute Friday scribblings, Identity

Ten: Ten Things I Wish I’d Known

Ten and daisies copy

After being away on vacation for two weeks, I’m thrilled to be back among the community of Five Minute Friday!

Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—TEN. 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!

TEN

Ten Things I Wish I Could Tell My Ten-Year-Old Self:

As a ten-year-old girl, I had much to learn. If I could talk to her now, These are ten things I wood tell her:

  1. Those girls you so want to be like? They’ll still be mean to you when you get older. They may be mean now, and it probably won’t change anytime soon.
  2. Don’t let what others say about your talents define how you do/don’t use them. When God gives you a gift, He wants you to use it. Don’t let others shame you for it.
  3. It’s okay to be tall. Some day you’ll be glad you can reach to the top cupboard.
  4. Take comfort in the fact that having even one good friend is better than having many double-faced friends. True friends are beyond value. Cherish them.
  5. Take risks and don’t worry so  much about getting hurt. Pain often is the thing that spurs growth as a person and in compassion toward others.

    This is a picture of my sisters and me when I was about ten years old. :)
    This is a picture of my sisters and me when I was about ten years old. 🙂
  6. 6. Keep striving to do your best at all you attempt. God tells us to do all that we do our very best to bring Him glory. It’s never a bad thing to attempt greatness, even if you fail.
  7. It’s okay to be the smart girl, and to know the right answers on tests. Don’t try to shrink into invisibility when you’re right.
  8. Stand up for those who are bullied. You know how it feels. Be their defender and be their friend.
  9. Don’t let what others say about you define your perception of yourself. They often speak from their own pain in a n attempt to hurt you the way they’re hurting
  10. Be thankful for parents who love you and love each other enough to work through the hard stuff in life and marriage. It’s a gift.Looking at the ocean

Just in case you’re wondering, I wrote each item on this list as they came to mind, not necessarily in the value of the advice. 🙂

What about you? What life lessons have you learned that have helped you grow into the person you’re meant to be? How do you encourage the children in your life?

Dependence, God, Identity, Life, Rejection

Scars: How They Shape Us

Heart with cracks copy

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

We all have them. I still wear scars from the time I tripped while running up cement steps. One step tore a piece of my shin skin away. Or the one on my right hand from where I was practicing my starts for a backstroke race and the back of my hand met the bottom of the pool. They’re small visible reminders of past pains . . . and lessons learned.

They bled, scabbed, and healed over. Skin slightly warbled, but still good for go into every day life.

Continue reading “Scars: How They Shape Us”

Five Minute Friday scribblings, Identity

Gather: What Determines Identity?

Gathered Bricks copy

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

My Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—GATHER. 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!

GATHER

What have you gathered in your life? Has it been cars or clothes or a collection of one thing or another?

I’ve gathered different things throughout my life.

When I was a girl, I swam competitively, and I loved it. Competing in meets gathered me ribbons when I placed in a race. Those were a visible reminder that I had achieved something.

Swimming Ribbons

I gathered good grades through school, finding affirmation in the fact that I was a good learner, smart even.

In college, I gathered some rather bad memories as I made poor choices. I gathered embarrassing tidbits of regret that sometimes still sting.

But I also gathered true friendships. We grew together toward adulthood and learning how to live life well, in spite of our mistakes.

I gathered aspects of life to form my identity. A job as a teacher. Then later working in women’s ministry at our church. I gathered accolades of things done well. I let them form my identity.

Then when God began to give us children, I gathered beauty from the isolation of new motherhood. I learned the lessons that can only be learned as you walk out daily service to a helpless infant. Those things that I used to declare my identity were gone. I was Jeanne—on the shelf—no longer in the middle of everything.

Daisies in bloom FB copy

I had to learn that my identity didn’t come from things I’d done or accomplished. My identity didn’t come from the things I could gather. It came from understanding who I am in Jesus. I am God’s girl . . . loved perfectly, completely and passionately . . . by the One True Gathering God. Who gathers His children to Himself to love them well, and to call them His own.

What about you? What have you gathered in your life? What has helped form your identity?

Vist Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday post—Gather

Forgiveness, Grace, Mothering, Relationship

Grace: Choosing to Accept Grace

Spilled cereal

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

It was one of those mornings . . .

It seems we’ve had a lot of them lately. I’ve gone from being mad mama, to hurt mama, to  . . . this morning seeing the hurt in one of my boys and my heart aching for him.

He’s in a place I can’t touch. Change has always been difficult for this one. He resists it with temper tantrums and angry outbursts, leveling all hearts in his path when he’s on a rampage. When his sanity returns, we talk through what happened amid lots of cuddles.

Continue reading “Grace: Choosing to Accept Grace”

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?”