Expectations, Faith

Expectations: When All Is Not Well

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

“Through it all, through it all, my eyes are on You.”

This line comes from one of my most-favorite-est songs, “It is Well,” (click the link to listen) by Kristene DeMarco. But, this line challenges me. Do I really live it?

When we miscarried our only pregnancy, my heart shattered. The dream of being a mom to that baby . . .

. . . of carrying our child to term, feeling the kicks, 

. . . of one day meeting him or her . . . 

. . . of becoming a mom . . . 

It was gone. With the ceasing of a heartbeat.

My expectations of God—of Him bringing this dream to life—were also shattered.

Continue reading “Expectations: When All Is Not Well”

Expectations, Five Minute Friday scribblings, Trusting God

Stuck: When We’re Stuck

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—STUCK. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. We write for five minutes on a given word. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out the Five Minute Friday website. 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!


I was happy for her. Really, I was. When the latest friend eagerly told me of her pregnancy, I tried on a smile for her. I was thrilled for her. But that hole—the unmet desire in me—filled with a bit of sadness. When would it be my turn? 

When a friend who has been writing for less time than me announced her first book contract, I was happy for her. I rejoiced with her. But on the inside? I hurt a little too. 

Why was God choosing to let me stay stuck in the same place while others moved on to their next chapters? 

There can be such a dichotomy of emotion—of thoughts—when someone moves on and we stay where we’ve been for what seems like going on forever. 

I’m coming to see that what I called “Stuck” God called “Opportunity.” What I saw as being held back, He saw as refining.

God has lessons for each of us to learn in our stuck places. 

The question is, are we willing to look beyond what we want and what others have . . . can we have eyes that see past our perceived holding pattern to the Lord? 

When we see others getting what we thought we would also have—or what we want—it can be so hard. Jealousy moves in. Discontent. Dissatisfaction.

Stuck places stir up all the ugliness that God wants to scrape away in the refining process. 

We must come to the place where we acknowledge the envy, the ugly in ourselves, and bring it to the Lord. 

When we look beyond our stuck place and fix our gaze onto the Father? That’s when we can trust His plan and His timing for our lives. We can relinquish those things we think we need and realize the main thing keeping us stuck is our own expectations. 

When we can gaze beyond these and into the Father’s face? That’s when we begin to live beyond the stuck place and in the freedom of trusting Him. 

What about you? When have you felt stuck in your life? What helps you keep an accurate perspective when you feel stuck?

Click to Tweet: There can be such a dichotomy of emotion—of thoughts—when someone moves on and we stay where we’ve been

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Stuck

Expectations, Gratitude

Gratitude: When There Are Expectations

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

These weeks leading up to Thanksgiving (for those of us in the United States) are a great time to consider gratitude. In these shorter posts, let’s explore some different quotes about gratitude and see how we can prepare our hearts for the coming holiday season.


“Trade your expectation for appreciation and the world changes instantly.” ~Tony Robbins, Author

God has been talking with me about expectations. Honestly? He’s been talking to me for years, but it’s only as I age that I see the impact that holding tightly to expectations has on my heart.

Continue reading “Gratitude: When There Are Expectations”

ACFW, Expectations, Trusting God

Expectations: Reflections From ACFW 2017

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Have you ever entered an experience with a certain sort of expectation? I’ve done this. Many times. Sometimes those expectations are satisfied. More often, though, mine have been disappointed.

I just arrived home from my sixth ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference. It’s hard to believe I’ve gone to so many. Most of those years, I’ve tucked hopes and dreams along with clothes into my luggage.

Each year, those hopes and dreams have shifted.

Continue reading “Expectations: Reflections From ACFW 2017”

Expectations, Five Minute Friday scribblings

Should: When We Have Expectations


+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

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


Heat rising from the bubbling stew steamed her almost as much as her sister’s lack of helping. Martha stirred the pot again.

Why wasn’t Mary in here helping her? They were supposed to prepare the meal so the men could listen to Jesus, right? So what right did her sister have to sit at the Master’s feet and leave Martha to do all the work?

She should be in here, helping with dishes, and chopping vegetables and helping with  . . . . anything would be nice.

“Master, my sister should be helping me with the food prep.”

She was a brazen one when expectations weren’t met.

“Martha,” His gentle voice chastened. “Your sister has chosen the better thing. It will not be denied her.”


How would you have felt hearing those words from the One you were trying to please?

Isn’t it interesting how often we can get some great idea in our head, and it really is a good idea. But when we twist it up into what we think it should look like? We choke the life out of the inspiration the Master gives.

I’ve been guilty of this many times. I begin some grand endeavor, and then I get upset when others don’t go along with my plan (I might be hanging my head at this admission).

God challenges me to give up my expectations of what others should be doing to come alongside me in the great plan. Instead, He’s teaching me to turn to Him.

God has this amazing way of re-aligning my perspective when I begin to get out of sync with His plan.

When I take over the good plans He has, I always, always end up frustrated, discouraged, defeated. And then, I have to come back before Him, after His gentle (usually) chastening, and confess that I took His plan and morphed it into my less-than-great plan.


Instead of being the striving “do-er,” I need to become more like Mary and just be.

Be at the feet of Jesus.

Be attentive to His words and promptings.

Be open to His working in my heart.

What about you? When has God had to redirect you as you carried out a plan? What is one thing God has taught you when you chose to sit at His feet?

Click to Tweet: When we’re trying to “do our plan”

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday—Should


Expectations, Trusting God

Expectations: Looking To God

Lilacs almost blooming

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

How often does Jesus say to us, “Look at Me?” When we look, do we gaze at Him with specific expectations?

“If I look to You, Jesus, You’re going to make everything okay, right?”

“You’re going to help me get better at this skill, or solve that problem, or give me this thing I really want . . . right?”

Continue reading “Expectations: Looking To God”

Expectations, Forgiveness, Life, Surgery: Working Through Hidden Hurts, Uncategorized

Surgery: Working Through Hidden Hurts


Almost two weeks ago, my right side and back throbbed with pain. I suspected it was a kidney stone. Past experience revealed nothing would ease the pain, and I’d have to grit my way through it. The low-grade fever concerned me. The pain worsened the next morning.

Continue reading “Surgery: Working Through Hidden Hurts”



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?