Sharon Jaynes is a friend and colleague of mine and a highly successful author. So I jumped at the chance to feature her in my Book Corner Blog. Her newest book, Take Hold of the Faith You Long For, is the focus of today’s post.
I was alone, or at least I felt that way. Women huddled in happy clusters chatting about first one thing and then another. Some propped babies on their hips. Others clutched Bibles in their hands.
Most wore smiles on their faces. I wore one too. But it wasn’t a reflection of what was in my heart. The upturned lips were simply the camouflage I wore to blend in—to avoid being found out.
What I really wanted to do was run and hide. On the outside I was a well-put-together church mom with cute shoes and snappy jeans, but on the inside I was a little girl cowering in the far recesses of the playground hoping no one would notice me.
What’s wrong with me? I wondered. Why don’t I feel the joy these other women feel? What holds me back from experiencing the confidence and assurance they seem to experience? Where is that abundant life Jesus talked about? If I am a new creation like the Bible says, why don’t I feel like one? Why do I continue to act like the same old me, struggle with the same negative emotions, and wrestle with the same old sins?
The problem was I was stuck. Yes, I had professed Jesus as my Lord and Savior. But I had a niggling feeling He meant something more than heaven when He said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).
Have you ever watched a circus performer on a flying trapeze? The aerialist swings out, swings back, and then usually on the peak of the third swing he takes hold of another bar or performer. That’s when the fun begins as back-flips, somersaults, and triples twists wow the crowd.
But what if, when the trapeze artist took hold of the second bar, he refused to let go of the first? He would be left hanging in the middle. Stuck. That would not be the greatest show on earth.
And that’s where many of us spend our lives…stuck…dangling over “life to the full” but never quite letting go of what holds us hostage to a mediocre “less than” faith. I know it’s where I spent many years…until God challenged me to take hold of the truth and make it mine.
Paul wrote, “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me” (Philippians 3:12). And in order to take hold and make our own everything that Christ has taken hold of for us and placed in us, we need to let go of everything that keeps us from doing so.
If we would grasp and make our own what Jesus has already done for us, and what He had deposited in us, our lives would look very different than the tepid faith of the average churchgoer.
God’s power, provision, and purposes are for “who so ever will” (Mark 8:34 KJV). Will what? Will let go of all that holds you back from experiencing the abundant life of the adventurous faith and take hold of truth that makes it so.
So one day I sat at a crossroads with God and decided I was going to believe that I was who He said I was. Regardless of my past mistakes and failures, I was going to take hold of the truth that I was forgiven and free. Regardless of my deep-seated struggles with worthlessness and insignificance, I was going to take hold of my new identity in Christ. I was going to let go of the past, move forward in the present, and live bold in the adventurous faith that God intended all along.
And that’s what God wants for all of us. So today, I challenging all of us to let go of all that holds us back and take hold of all that Jesus has already taken hold of for us and placed in us.
• Let go of insecurity and take hold of your true identity as a child of God.
• Let go of the scarcity mentality that says that you’re not enough and take hold of God’s abundant promises that say you have everything you need.
• Let go of crippling bitterness and take hold of radical forgiveness.
• Let go of shame-filled condemnation and take hold of grace-filled acceptance.
• Let go of weak-kneed worry and take hold of sure-footed confidence.
• Let go of comparison to others and take hold of your God-fashioned uniqueness.
• Let go of debilitating discouragement and take hold of your next assignment
• Let go of timid reluctance and take hold of bold believing.
And that’s what God wants for all of us. So today, let’s ask ourselves if we’re hanging on to something that God is calling us to let go of. Shame? Resentment? Condemnation? Unbelief? Ingratitude? Bitterness? Unforgiveness? A false sense of who we are?
If He brings something to mind, let it go, move forward, and live bold. And when you do, that is the greatest show on earth…life to the full. The faith you’ve always longed for is just a decision away.
View the Book Trailer here: https://vimeo.com/160754501
Back Cover Copy:
On the outside, many of us are well-put-together church-goers with trendy shoes, beautiful families, and wide, white smiles. On the inside, we’re little girls hesitating at the edge of the playground, wishing we could join in, but feeling something’s not quite right. We don’t know how to truly take hold of the “life to the full” that Jesus offers us. So we settle for a life that’s . . . less.
But a mediocre, mundane faith is not your destiny! In this liberating and empowering book, Sharon Jaynes reveals the most common reasons we get stuck in our Christian faith. She shows you how to break free of all that holds you back, move forward with all that God promises, and live the adventurous faith of bold believing. She shows you how to leave behind feelings of inferiority, insecurity, and inadequacy that hold you hostage and take hold of the mountain-moving faith God intends. She uncovers untapped sources of confidence and courage, equipping you to move from simply knowing the truth to actually living it out boldly in a life marked by true freedom and expectancy.
“Get ready to have your world rocked in a way that will make you never want to go back to the way things were before.”—Holley Gerth, Wall Street Journal bestselling author of You’re Already Amazing
“Take Hold of the Faith You Long For is an absolute triumph. A must-read.”—Emily T. Wierenga, founder of The Lulu Tree and author of Atlas Girl and Making It Home
“Sharon Jaynes shows us how to go from a sluggish faith to one that’s truly alive. She offers hope, inspiration, and fresh perspective for faith-worn believers.”—Heidi St. John, speaker, author, and creator of The Busy Mom blog
Sharon Jaynes is an international speaker for women’s events and author of 20 books including The Power of a Woman’s Words and Praying for Your Husband from Head to Toe. Sharon has been encouraging and equipping women through ministry for over thirty years. She is co-founder of Girlfriends in God, Inc., former vice president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, and bestselling author of twenty books. A frequent guest on radio and television programs, Sharon speaks at women’s conferences and events all across the United States, Canada, Mexico, and South America. She and her husband Steve live in North Carolina. Learn more at http://www.sharonjaynes.com.
Take Hold of the Faith You Long For–Let Go. Move Forward. Live Bold.
May 3, 2016
Can be purchased from the above link all fine Christian retail stores.
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