When You Get Off Track

Sharon JaynesEnough, Living Free 70 Comments

If you’ve ever gotten off track spiritually, then this post is for you. I’m writing over at Proverbs 31 Ministries today and thought you might enjoy it too. Come join me on the steps. 

Rachel and I sat on weather worn steps leading down to a pristine beach. We had a front-row seat as the morning sun stretched its arms over the horizon. She was hurting. I was attempting to love her back to health. Salty air. Salty ocean. Salty-of-the-earth friend. It is hard to beat that combination when you’re soul sick.

Rachel’s life had taken some unexpected turns. Let me rephrase that. It wasn’t that her life “had taken” some unexpected turns, as if she had nothing to do with it. She had strayed from God’s path, and she had taken some unexpected turns. She had given in to sexual temptation, and as a result, had lost her marriage, the trust of her children, and many of her friends. She had lost her true self.

As we sat on the bottom step with our toes buried in the cool sand, we stared out at the glassy ocean and pristine beach. It was as if Jesus had spoken, “Peace, be still,” and the wind and waves obeyed. The sand, airbrushed smooth by the night breeze, had not yet been disturbed by vacationers’ feet, kids’ buckets, and sunbathers’ chairs.

“We all make mistakes,” I breathed. “Just different ones.”

Rachel turned her eyes from the ocean and spotted a set of tire tracks running close to the water’s edge. Four shallow ruts. Parallel indentations. Ruts that never deviated in distance one from the other, as far as the eye could see. If one swerved, the other swerved in union.

“I wish life were like that,” she whispered.

“Like what?” I asked.

“Like those tire tracks,” she replied. “Us and God. Me and God. Always moving in tandem. Side by side. Hooked together. Moving in the same direction. Connected. Easy. Perfectly aligned.”

We sat in silence, staring at the tracks, both knowing the reason why most deviate from God’s path. They detach themselves from the Master chassis and made tracks of their own. They willingly let go of God’s hand and walk away.

The Christian life is often referred to as our spiritual walk. “Walk by faith, not by sight,” Paul encouraged the Corinthian church (2 Corinthians 5:7, nasb). Another version translates this same verse, “We live by faith, not by sight,” (NIV).

Paul wrote to the Galatians, “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.… If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit,” (Galatians 5:16, 25, nkjv). Again, the NIV says, Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” I love the idea of keeping in step with the Holy Spirit. What a wonderful way to live: walking in step and keeping time with the Holy Spirit’s pace in everyday life.

Rachel and I rose from the steps, placed our feet in the tire ruts in the sand, and walked in their path. Singing, worshipping, praising God that no matter how far off His path we may veer, He always welcomes us back to walk with Him.

Heavenly Father, keep me on the right path today. May I be known as a woman who walks with You. Lead me. Guide me. Show me Your way. Father, don’t let me run ahead of You or lag behind You; instead, encourage and enable me to walk steadily in tandem with You. May Your Spirit guide me to walk in the way You have commanded me so that I may live and prosper and prolong my days. Hem me in so that I will not veer to the right or the left, but keep my feet on the path You have marked out for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on today’s post! Hearing from you is food for my soul!

It is often after a time of failure that the devil tells us we’re not enough and never will be enough. Don’t believe him! He’s a liar. If you’ve ever struggled with feeling “less than” because you’ve gotten off track, check out Sharon Jaynes’ book, Enough: Silencing the Lies that Steal Your Confidence, and learn how to replace the devil’s lies with God’s Truth.

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Comments 70

    1. Amen. I pray that God will help your friend or any woman that has walked away to fall back in love with Jesus. That she would know God’s love doesn:t change when we sin or walk away. He always draws us back as he relentlessly pursues us. There is always hope. Repent and turn.

  1. What a beautiful reminder of The Father’s unconditional love for us!
    I love the scriptures and the story. We all fall short, just in different areas.

  2. Loved the HOPE in this devotion. Thank you!
    It is so easy to “get off track.
    Praise God, He never gives up on us.

  3. This is good. Yes, we all have other areas in our lives where we have missed the mark, or grown away from the Lord. I love the example of the tire tracks. Let us each keep on track with the Lord, no matter the circumstances around us. Thanks.

    I received the devotional by e-mail to my cjbhop@scarlet.be account. But I prefer to use carolbrussels@hotmail.com. Thanks.

  4. Beautifully written, lovely part of the story, with the best message! Thank you!

    This speaks to the fact that grace not judgement draws a person back to God!

    I pray to be the voice of grace not judgement in other’s lives.

    1. That was beautiful Dina! Thank you for that comment. I don’t usually read many comments but thankful I was led here. God’s blessings & guidance always.

  5. This is just what I needed to hear … Thank you 😊
    I truly LOVE how Father brings me messages through other people . So Blessed and grateful
    Have a Blessed Day🌷

  6. Sharon, words cannot express how much this devotional ministered to me. To say it was timely, is truly an understatement. There’s so much I want to say, but it would take up way too much space. Thank you for allowing God to use you to bless me THIS DAY. I’m so grateful….wish I could write more, but I’m full💖🤟🏽

  7. Its’so easy to get off track. There are so many voices distracting pleading with you “say it” “do it”,. It feels right so it must be right. Growing up in a perfectionist family I leaned in to be the perfect daughter , sister, mother ,friend. But I quickly found out disappointment came all too quickly for both of us. The fact is you are going to fail to measure up. Even when it comes to God sometimes you feel you can’t measure up. After years of disobedience and going my way I finally realized that God was always there loving me through my struggles to find love, forgiveness, and acceptance. Everyday I need to tell myself Christ paid it all! So if I go off track for just a second, the Holy Spirit brings me back in perfect union with my Father- God) Every Time! 1st John 1:9 .

  8. This really touched my heart today. Nor because my situation is the same but because I really want to lead the life that is in step with God and his perfect plan and purpose.
    Thank you

  9. Thanks For This ENCOURAGING Word, Sister Sharon. This Really Hit A Nerve, Feeling That GOD Has Forgot Me; Blessing ALL Around Me and Feeling As If He Left Me DOROTHY ANN MOORE Out Of The Lineup Of HIS Blessings ‼️

  10. This so resonated in my heart. Walking in step… keeping in time…
    Wonderful word picture of tandem tracks; I also thought of a metronome. When I falter, it keeps ticking and I just need to get back in sync with the Holy Spirit.

  11. So excellent. I was struggling right now because of a past mistake. I am trying to shut the door that I think I may be shut. Ive been praying that God be the desire of my heart. I’m trusting him for being in tandem with him. I love that. Great writing I really enjoy these. They are so helpful. Thank you Jesus.

  12. We need God’s help. Pastor, husband, 85 years of age is in hospice. We need wisdom, healing comfort and God’s peace

    1. Praying for God’s comfort as your loved one is heading home. May you feel His holy presence guiding you thru! 🙏✝️🙏

  13. I love the way you use your words to softly express the feelings and your surroundings to relate to me exactly when I need God’ s presence
    Thank you for constantly and faithfully sending your emails to me. I may not get to read them every day but when I do I am truly blessed. You are a gift of God to me and I know to so many. Thank you for sharing! Love, Your friend in Jesus, Judy

  14. Oh I know this woman all to well! It’s been 23 years and the devil still slides in but I know that MY GOD has been with me every step of the way. I also know that MY GOD has used me in so many ways possible to connect with others and blessed me with his overwhelming grace and love. The path always has different prospects but keeping my eyes on God and abiding in his direction makes the walk (or sometimes run) worth the goal.

  15. Thank you for sharing this story. My sin is not sexual but one unto myself.. wrong eating and weight gain. We Christians Many times do not see this as sin, but it is, and defiling the temple in which He lives. And the enemy uses this to shame me farther. I know there is victory in Jesus,. I know there is overcoming and right thinking and acting.. He’s not finished with me yet! Encouragement points us in the right direction and obedience to Him is absolute! Thank you 🙏🏻 I pray others know they are not alone !

  16. Your story of Rachel reminded me of how God forgives us and wipes the slate clean. I have forgiven, but I have hung onto papers that remind me of being hurt. I feel God has just told me to get rid of those papers to really wipe the slate clean! I feel refreshed and forgiven. Thank you Jesus!

  17. Sharon,

    Allow me to respond by sharing something that is in my next book. It is being released in December.

    “I would like to encourage you to find that gift that God has blessed you with, your passion, and go for it. Follow your dream. Yes, you may be criticized and judged for doing so. However, I can tell you from personal experience that you will never be truly happy until you are doing what God has called you to do. Therefore, I Happily Offer People (YOU) Encouragement to follow where He is leading you.”

    From – One Incredible Journey: From City to Farm by Wendi Hartman

    Sharon, it is true that we all sin. However, there are also times when we are judged, criticized and made fun of because we follow God’s lead. Therefore, I want to encourage your readers not to deviate from the path that He has for them because of someone not approving of what they are doing.


    Wendi Hartman

  18. I feel as if I have let go of God’s hand so often that He doesn’t even want to make contact with me anymore. I feel as though I’m not worthy of one more chance. Praying that I am wrong.

    1. Post

      Oh sweet friend. You are worthy because Jesus makes you worthy. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, even when we mess up. He is no a human with fickle feelings, but loves you dearly.

  19. Oh how I have been there….and how that past just seems to linger with you no matter how straight your walk is today. Fighting the same battles day in and day out can be overwhelming, taxing, exhausting, despairing…but, when we remember God’s great forgiveness, mercy and grace we can lift our heads and KNOW that we are so dearly loved and held high in His regard because of the sacrifice Jesus made for us!! Thank our dear Heavenly Father that we can always have faith in Him for He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow and He will never fail us! May we ALL live for these great truths every day!

  20. Thank you for these encouraging words. Very timely! I am living with stage four cancer. God has led me down the path of natural healing instead of traditional cancer treatment. This includes a very strict diet of raw vegetables. I thank God for giving me taste buds for veggies!! Last week I was discouraged and I wanted to just give up. I wanted to eat a big juicy hamburger and indulge in a big piece of moist spice cake with coconut frosting. But God reminded me of the journey he has for me. He reminded me of His love and faithfulness for me. So,instead of falling into Satan’s lies, I did not eat the burger or the cake. Praise God for the Spirit that is always with me and praise God that He gave me the strength to deny my temptation. I praise God for my life and where He is sending me!!

  21. Today’s lesson and prayer is just what I need. I suffer from clinical depression and for a long while I have been yielding to it and feeling hopeless. I walked to the beach today, just a short distance and I could hardly make it I had gotten so weak. It scared me. I came and read your message and felt encouraged that even if it a small thing but is God’s way I can get free and help myself with good habits. I will be honest and tell you I do pray every day but then I sabotage myself by taking too much medication more than prescribed. Then I go down hill quickly when I run out. I have a good therapist but I am desperate for more help. Please pray for my health and my closeness to Jesus for help.

  22. Thank you for the perfect timing of this message. I needed the reminder that God ALWAYS welcomes me back on track, even when I step off time and time again.

  23. I needed this so much! I needed to be reminded that we all struggle in different ways, in different areas and to extend grace. Repentance is the beginning of restoration.

  24. Sharon, your words always touch my heart. Today’s post spoke directly to me as someone who has tried to go it alone, thinking I knew best! But just as the title of the TV series, Father Knows Best, I needed your reminder today. Thank you.

    May God continue to bless you, your family and your ministry.

  25. I love this message. It’s god speaking through you to me. At this time my life is such a mess. So much on my plate. But I realize I need to give that plate to the lord. I need to just sit at the cross and breathe. Like the woman sitting beside you I have similar situation. I thank god for this message. Praise god

  26. This message resonates with me so much. Thank you for this message and I have your book Enough, think it’s time to pull it out and remember who I truly belong to

  27. Good message. The devil will remind us of our sins years afterward and continue to tell us we’re useless and worthless. Choose to listen to God and grow strength though His Word and prayer.

  28. Good message, sometimes in m y spiritual life i know at times i am not walking with him. Going through different illnesses i sometimes lack faith. your messages and words keep me working. I am working and striving to keep on the right path and to keep my walk with the Lord. As I know that despite what is going on around us he is the only answer to the issues and He will continue to guide and protect us despite our short comings

  29. What a beautiful testimony! Yes, we all do things that deviate from God’s plan but thankful He loves us enough to bring us back to His “tire tracks”.

  30. Please tell your friend to fight for her marriage. The devil temps us to destroy families. That doesn’t mean God won’t restore. He is a God who can raise dry bones into an army. She is a true reflection of the New Testament. She is precious and her testimony will be powerful. Look up rejoice marriage ministries!! I’m a stander. Standing for my fallen beloved to come back to himself, the Lord and to me. God bless you and your friend.

  31. What a perfect analogy, what a beautiful blog. Thank you, Sharon, for your blog. Thank you Lord for the gift you have given Sharon, and that she uses it for your glory!

  32. Awesome read
    Encouraged to stay in tandem with God and the Holy Spirit, not to cave in under the lies of the devil…to walk by faith and not by sight though we make mistakes we can still trust God to help us along the way as His forgiveness and unfailing love help us to soldier on

  33. May Your Spirit guide me to walk in the way You have commanded me so that I may live and prosper and prolong my days. Hem me in so that I will not veer to the right or the left, but keep my feet on the path You have marked out for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
    The past three weeks I have been struggling with health issues. I have been blessed with very good health for the past 33 years. I am approaching 57. Although I would never end my life I can understand why people would want to give up, I want to live a good life full of life and to bear much fruit for His Glory. I have to trust Him to prosper me and prolong my days. To Hem me in. Thank you for this reminder!!! 💕😇💕🙏

  34. Yes feel it’s so important to let the Holy Spirit lead and guide us each day/hour. I pray I will be able to listen & hear the Spirit even in al the business of each day. God always loves us so much to bring us back to him.

  35. Thanks for this word of encouragement. I think as women we are constantly beating ourselves up with our own inner self talk especially when the enemy is feeding us those lies. Also, as women we need to stop judging, and being in competition with one another we should be praying lifting up and encouraging nit taking delight in another’s failures. Praying for all you beautiful strong women of faith.

  36. Your prayer – “hem me in” – immediately brought to mind Psalm 139:1-6 (especially vs. 5).

    1 O Lord, You have searched me and known me!
    2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    You discern my thoughts from afar.
    3 You search out my path and my lying down
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
    4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
    5 You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay Your hand upon me.
    6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is high; I cannot attain it.

    Thank you, Sharon!

  37. Father God, Master Jesus and Holy Spirit my Helper ever present keep me on Your righteousness path and keep me near to run to You for restoration and not run from You when I stray. Catch me on time when I let go according to Your multitude of mercies and unfathomable unfailing favour in Jesus ‘mighty name. Amen.

  38. I’ve been through so much in the past 2 years, I couldn’t have done it without God. My brother hung himself, my husband was diagnosed with cancer, both of my parents passed away several years ago. So, I’ve found that reading your book or listening to everything audio, I do okay. I definitely walk by faith and not my sight.

  39. Anala, I feel exactly the same way now. I mess up too many times and willingly choose wrong actions or words because I feel so hopeless and worthless. My marriage is in such shambles I don’t even want to try anymore. I’m at the point of just wanting to hide away from everyone and live in solitude. I know these thoughts are wrong but I don’t know where to start to turn things around. I feel like I’ve gone so far off track I’m so lost. Such a terrible example to be for others! The guilt, shame and hopelessness is so deep, how can God love me or even deal with me anymore?

  40. Father God also welcomes back the prodigal daughter! I know because I am one. I am again safe in His arms! HalleluYah!

  41. Sharon,
    I love the metaphor of the tracks that run side by side and our walk of faith. It reminds me that I really need to work on my prayer life. I think back to when I would spend time in prayer each morning along with a devotion.
    My walk was so much closer and I experienced such peace. God is drawing me back and is using you to remind me of just how good it feels to be in close fellowship with the One and Only.
    Thank you for remaining faithful and following in His footprints.

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