Choices: What Will We Choose series, Fear, Mothering, Trusting God

Choices (series): When We Want Freedom

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I’ve spent the last few months reading through the book of Jeremiah. The thing that struck me was how many times God gave His people the choice of whether or not to forsake their idols and worship Him. As I read, I realized how many times we have choices to make. In our relationships with family, friends, co-workers, and especially with God. These next few weeks I will be sharing a 5-part series on choices (Read other posts here). I look forward to hearing your thoughts on what helps you make wise choices.


Sometimes we have to choose to risk and change if we want something different for our lives.

As I watch my boy-men move toward manhood, I’m a witness to their struggle. They yearn to stay in the safety being a child offers. There’s certainly less responsibility for children than for teens and adults.

But, there are also fewer freedoms. And anyone who’s raised teens knows those years are all about claiming freedom.

Freedom from childhood boundaries.

Freedom to explore new things.

Freedom to discover who they were designed to be.

And . . . there’s a lot of struggle.

One boy is struggling with the idea of wanting freedom without responsibility. The thing we keep bouncing back to is that freedom is earned by showing responsibility. And when the responsible choices are ignored, freedoms are denied.

If we want freedom, we must make different choices.

Freedom from fear?

Freedom from rejection?

Freedom from the sense of being held back?

I don’t know what you’ve craved freedom from, but the above are a few freedom yearnings of mine.

Just like for my sons, if I want freedom from fear, I must make different, riskier-for-my-heart choices. I must be willing to trust my Father-God when He allows me into places that induce a fearful reaction in my heart.

Freedom from rejection will only come as I choose to put myself in a position of possible rejection. This is scary!

That freedom from being held back? Yeah, that sense of being held back is often me holding myself back out of fear.

How do we change so we can have freedom in those areas where we feel bound?

The more I think about this, the more I realize I’m bound when I believe and live like I am the only one who can control my life. I am the only one who can make the decisions. I am the only one who can protect myself from being hurt.

The thing is, I call myself a daughter of the King. My Father has so much more for me—for each of us—than I can conceive.

If I want to learn to live in freedom and the fulness of all He has for me, I must make some hard choices.

Will I choose to trust myself or Him when I’m in a fearful situation?

Will I choose to walk where He leads me even when the way ahead is foggy?

Will I choose to ignore the fear of rejection, of losing control, and move forward in trust? 

God’s plans for His children are good, though they don’t always look good to a watching world. If we trust God, we can know that we know He will bring good from every situation. That good is often change on the inside as we discover more of who He is.

We will have trouble in this world. We will deal with fearful situations, with uncertainty. We will have painful things come into our lives.

But God . . . 

He walks with us through each situation. He offers the promise of His presence, and that He will act on our behalf.

We just need to trust. And be willing to make a different choice than we’ve made in the past.

So, as I watch our teenagers struggle with what freedom really is—with who they are designed to become—I will encourage them to make different choices. To step out of the place where they try to control the outcomes and be brave in trusting God in the unknowns.

What about you? How have you encouraged your children to step out of the known and trust God? How have you let go of controlling your life and discovered an unexpected freedom?

Click to Tweet: Our choices impact our freedom

Today I’m linking up with #RaRaLinkUp, Jennifer Dukes Lee, and Holley Gerth

25 thoughts on “Choices (series): When We Want Freedom”

  1. Great post, marvelous pictures, and an interesting question.

    One of the most important things I’ve learned is that we really have no freedoms, no rights; we have only responsibilities and obligations. An that has helped me to survive what is happening today.

    As I write this, I’m dealing with the most appalling pain in the chest under each arm…every few minutes I have to ‘do a Moses’ and hold my arms out to the side to relieve it a bit. In between my elbows are out, making me look like a typing Funky Chicken. Something is really dreadfully wrong, atop the pancreatic malignancy. (Even I’ll admit that an ER visit would be smart…it’s just not possible.)

    But I don’t resent it; I have no more right to good health than I have to the love in my life, shelter, and food of good quality. The latter things are blessings that I treasure; it’s hardly the proper thing to carp at the trifling matter of terminal illness in the midst of plenty.

    And my obligations, to care for my wife and my dogs and my friends, by offering love and encouragement, these are what give life meaning and context. Far more than my ‘achievements’, the small daily courtesies and kindnesses are truly my contribution to maintaining the bejeweled foundation-pillars of Heaven.


    1. Awww, Andrew. Friend. I continue to pray for you. I cannot imagine all you are going through. Your perspective humbles me. I’m not there, most days. I like how you can see the treasures in your life and focus on those. Kindness is essential, isn’t it? May we all remember they are gifts and not rights. Thank you for your words here today.


  2. This is a great, thought-provoking post, Jeanne! I agree, wanting to protect ourselves and wanting to have control can lead to a fear that holds us back. There is such freedom when we’re willing to step out and take the risk of trying domething different, trusting God to protect us.


    1. Lesley, you are one who lives out your words. Choosing to step out of comfortable anonymity and share parts of your story has been inspirational for me to watch. And you’re right, we find freedom from fear when we step out in faith trusting God, don’t we? Loved your words here. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jeanne,
    Having an anxiety disorder makes it hard for me to step out into the unknown a lot. I think it’s the anticipation that gets to me. But, like you so beautifully pointed out, when we do choose God and step out bravely even when we feel fearful, we discover more about who God really is. Each scary step we take with Him gives us confidence to take the next scary step.
    Bev xx


    1. Bev, one thing I keep seeing is that, we can be feeling fear but still step out in faith to choose God, right? Fear doesn’t necessarily denote failure. It’s something we each deal with. The question is, will we let it rule us, or will we choose to trust God in spite of it? Like you said, it’s only as we step out and discover more about who God is that we can begin to step out a little more confidently the next time. Love your thoughts today!


  4. Jeanne,

    What a beautiful, encouraging and truthful message! Those who prove themselves to be faithful with little will be trusted with much. So often I want to fully live in the freedom of the Christian life, yet, I do not want to make the sacrifice to be free. I have found that the only way to be truly free is by being a bond servant to Christ. Thank you for sharing your heart!


    1. Thank you, Jessica.You bring up an interesting point that I, too, struggle with. Sometimes I like my comfort more than sacrifice. More than the freedom God offers. I’m in a sad state when I let comfort dictate my level of intimacy with God. I so appreciate your insights, Jessica! Thanks for stopping by!


  5. A much-needed perspective for me Jeanne! Someone may have just pointed out to me the other night that I tend to be unwilling to take risks unless I have no choice. Seems reasonable to me! But…as you so keenly highlight here…change and freedom require risk. What a joy that trusting God feels risky but is actually the safest choice!


    1. Bethany, I am not naturally a risk-taker either. I guess we need to come to the point where we want something different more than we want the comfort of what we are already familiar with (good or bad). thanks for sharing a bit of yourself here.


  6. Oh, Jeanne … I know. I think I’ve helped my kids just simply by them watching me go … go through struggles, but keeping on. When I wrote a recent blog post on Mrs. Oswald Chambers, I was so scared. And then my computer crashed. I wasn’t at all surprised. I didn’t even fret over it. I really didn’t. I mean a hard drive crash … and my husband got it going again. Incredible. I usually freak out over things like this … but this time was different. I had such a peace. ❤


    1. Shelli, thank you for sharing how you are living this out. I am sorry about your computer, but I’m grateful that God helped you stay calm through it, and that your husband was able to help you. God’s peace is powerful when we trust Him with the unexpected, isn’t it?


  7. Jeanne, This was such an excellent post! There are so many things I could comment on.
    The best way I can sum up my thoughts is that the Lord has used this blog post to continue to minister to me in the difficult season I find myself in. I appreciated your insights and the way you drew out this subject in what was for me an unexpected but very effective manner.

    Thank you so much for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Karen, thank you for your words. I’m blessed that God used this post to minister to you. I love when He does that for me. I’m sorry you’re in a difficult season. I’m going to be praying for you tonight. I appreciate you stopping by for a visit!


  8. I love this thought-provoking post, Jeanne. Before I forget to mention your photos, I want you to know they always give me a sense of freedom. 🙂 I love the life insight God gave you through the raising of your children. This summer I made some “riskier-for-my-heart” choices and faced some fears induced by past abuse. This is so true – “I must be willing to trust my Father-God when He allows me into places that induce a fearful reaction in my heart.” The fearful reactions can still taunt me, but I am trying to remember God has my hand in His always. I am a work in progress. 🙂 Love and hugs to you!


    1. Trudy, God is pretty amazing, isn’t He? I’m glad He’s met you in those places where fear used to have the upper hand, and that He is helping you to find your confidence and strength in Him. You and I are both works in progress, friend.

      I’m glad the pictures minister to you! Have a beautiful week!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. God is definitely working on you through this series. Freedom is something that can seem so elusive but God… He is the provider of freedom if we just trust in Him.

    I am in a season of learning again how to trust God in all. It’s a process of becoming broken in order to be whole again. Your sons on the first round of experiencing freedom as teenagers. Every time you point them to different choices or ask, have you thought about doing this, you caregiving them the chance to expand their own understanding. You are doing an amazing job!

    I love your insights and thoughts on choices. Thank you!


    1. Mary, yes God is working on me in this area of life called choices. And you’re right. Sometimes we have to be broken before we can become whole again. Sometimes it’s in the place of brokenness where we see our need to make different choices, and where we are willing to choose different responses.

      And as for my boys, I’m praying for their hearts that they will be open to thinking through making different choices. 🙂 We’re all works in progress, aren’t we?

      Thanks for sharing a bit of your story and your wisdom here, my friend!


  10. Jeanne, this is such a powerful word in due season for me! When I read the trio of freedoms you long for, it was like looking in a mirror: fear, rejection, being held back. All too often I’ve allowed myself, aka chosen, to get suckered into “if only” or “because they” thinking. How empowering to be reminded that we have the power of choice! Blessings and prayers as you model making positive choices for your men in the making.


    1. Alice, I’m so glad God used these words for you. I’ve gotten sucked into some of those “If only” and “Because they . . .” thinking patterns too. We have to own our own stuff, don’t we? Then, we can begin the process of moving forward into freedom. We do have the power of choice. 🙂 Thanks for your closing words. Have a wonderful rest of your week!


  11. Oh, I tend to still like control J! I like to pretend I can protect myself from pain by controlling my world. But maybe the point is to learn how to deal with the pain from rejection, disappointment, loss, and failures? Yup! You have me thinking today where I am still doing this, and ultimately holding me back from living fully.


    1. Ahhh, Sarah. Yes, they are coming into the age. Denying freedoms is essential. The tricky part is being able to see when they are ready for some of them. 😉 Thank goodness God gives us wisdom and discernment as parents!


  12. Hi Jeanne …. it’s interesting, I’m all about freedom and all it offers.

    But risk? It makes me want to go hide in the corner. I want to play it safe even as I want to soar.

    I guess it really doesn’t work like that, does it …


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