Meme that says "Mantra" on a backdrop of a pond

@JeanneTakenaka

Last month, I participated in a twelve-day Instagram writer’s challenge. It was both challenging 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 wanted to share some of those posts with you all, and I’d love your thoughts on these words as they relate to your life as well.

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I know. This word kind of sounds hoo-doo, voo-doo. When I first saw this word as part of the writing challenge, I cringed. The images that came to mind were of monks on their knees, incense puffing through the air as they chanted the same thing over and over again.

But, as I considered this word—mantra—I realized I have a mantra that guides my choices in real life and writing life. 

a stream moving and reflecting blue sky with mountains in the background

And it’s this: God’s timing is always perfect. 

In real life, when Hubs and I prayed for, begged for, cried for children, God said, “Not yet.” 

He used those empty years to teach me about what real faith and real love—His love—looked like. We grappled with our differing ideas of how we should become parents. And God revealed things in each of our hearts that He needed to heal.

At the right time, our hearts were united—and God’s timing was perfect—and He added two boys to our family. 

A still pond reflecting sunrise colors and the neighborhood behind it

When the Lord placed a story on my heart, I naively thought I’d have it written and I’d have representation within the year. Yes, I was a wee bit optimistic. But, I had a plan. 

God’s plan followed a different timeline than mine. Sometimes, I’ve chafed at His guiding me in a different direction than I wanted to travel.

And in the years since I typed that first story, He’s taught me more about depending on Him . . .

. . . finding my value in who He says I am, 

. . . and just how difficult it is to craft an engaging story that uplifts and entertains.

Even when others have received book contracts and I haven’t come near that place in my journey, His timing is perfect. 

A stream flowing over a sharp , shallow bank of rock with a grassy shoreline

I’ve committed each step of this writing journey into His hands. So, when I’m stuck on a story element or I know the story is still missing something, I turn to God for His guidance. When disappointment accompanies my every step, I have to believe my days—my heart—are in His hands. He’s still guiding me on the best path. And, I’ve come to embrace the truth that God’s timing is perfect. 

The thing is: I’ve had a lot of real-life stuff going on. God knew this wasn’t the season for me to move into having a publishing contract. He knew I needed to be fully present with my family. Having a contract or a hard deadline during this season would have added serious stress to our family dynamic. 

A still mountain stream with tree shadows crossing it

There are times when Facebook tells me another friend has a book contract, or is moving forward in their journey to publication. I won’t lie, sometimes “when is it my turn?” rattles around in my thoughts. But God reminds me He holds me in the palm of His hand, that He wants me to keep my eyes on Him, not on what others are doing or achieving. 

Discontent tends to lead to envy . . . which never leads anywhere good. The Lord has reminded me that when my heart craves what others have, I’m not walking in the center of His will. Ultimately, that is where I want to be, even when I don’t understand His timing. 

Meme-words: God is gently faithful to remind us that each person's journey is unique, designed by Hi for His purposes, with a picture backdrop of the sun coming up on a walking path

The truth is, I sometimes wander from my mantra. God is gently faithful to remind me that each person’s journey is unique, designed by Him for His purposes. Each person faces individual struggles. Each person must come to terms with the differences between their plans and God’s plans for them. 

Which continually brings me back to: His timing is always perfect.

Dewy grass with a path leading toward the just rising sun between bare trees

And His plans for me are good. Because that is how He is. I choose to keep my eyes focused on Jesus and my heart yielded to Him, because His timing is always perfect.

My challenge to you is this: Consider what “mantra” guides your decisions, your perspectives. Is it leading you to where God wants you to be?

What about you? What is the “mantra” you live life by? What is God teaching you in your current season?

Click to tweet: God reminds us that each person’s journey is unique

I’m linking up with #RaRaLinkup and #TellHisStory

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