What’s Holding You Back From Moving Forward?

Sharon JaynesDealing with Your Past, Expectant Living, Living Fully, Take Hold of the Faith You Long For 184 Comments

When I was six years old, I skipped off to first grade with a fresh box of crayons, a crisp green dress with Swiss polka dots sleeves, and a fresh hope that I would be good enough—that someone would at least like me.

But first grade only confirmed my fears. I wasn’t good enough after all.

From the time my teacher held up the first spelling flash card, I knew I was in trouble. Back in the day, kindergarten focused on coloring, playing, and napping.

But first grade was a whole new ballgame with letters, numbers, and words. First grade had flash cards.

I remember one exercise that makes my palms clammy even today. We lined our miniature wooden chairs up in a row like a choo-choo train. The conductor, Mrs. Morgan, held up a spelling flash card for the lead passenger to identify.

If he or she could not correctly decipher the word on the card, that passenger lost the lead seat and had to go sit in the caboose.

I spent most of the first grade in the caboose. I could not spell to save my life.

Mrs. Morgan decided that she was going to give me a little extra help. After all, she had taught my brother five years earlier, and he was pretty smart. Maybe there was hope for me.

She kept me after school to work on my reading with another little boy named Mike. I might not have been very bright, but I was smart enough to figure out what being singled out with Mike meant.

For some reason I had particular trouble with the word the. In an effort to help me remember that all-important word, Mrs. Morgan made a nametag that read “t-h-e” and pinned it to my little chest.

I had to wear this scarlet letter for two weeks. My peers taunted me with words of their own.

“Why are you wearing that nametag?”

“Is your name ‘The’?”

“Are you stupid?”

“What’s wrong with you?”

After two weeks, I learned how to spell the word, “t-h-e,” but that’s not all I learned. I learned that I was stupid, just not as smart as everybody else, and once again . . . not enough.

Fast forward thirty years, and now God was nudging me to write? With words? Words that I had to spell?

One of my greatest weaknesses?

One of my insidious sources of insecurity?

The very thing that put the rubberstamp on my greatest fears so long ago?

The truth is, I was not stupid. I just couldn’t spell very well. Still can’t.

And even though I graduated with honors, did well in college, wrote a passel of books, there are many times I feel like that little girl sitting in the spelling train caboose. I wonder if you know the feeling.

Isn’t it mindboggling that God will sometimes take our greatest weaknesses and turn them into our greatest strengths?

But that won’t happen until we let go of the fear of moving forward and take hold of the hand of God with grip of trust. We can choose to stay stuck in the caboose, or come up front with the Chief engineer.

I’m still not a good speller. However, I am not going to allow my weakness to stand in the way of my God-given purpose. I hope you won’t either.

God said to Moses, God said to me, and God is saying to you: “I will teach you what to say. I will show you what to do.”

What more could a person ask for? What more could you or I need?

Is there something that you feel God is calling you to do? If so, what’s holding you back?

If you are TakeHoldOfTheFaithYouLongForwilling to take a step of faith, leave a comment and say “I’m willing!”
I’m going randomly pick one response and send a FREE copy of
Take Hold of the Faith You Long For: Let Go, Move Forward, Live Bold!



Forward to a Friend

Did someone forward this devotion to you?
Click Here to Subscribe

Comments 184

  1. I’m willing!
    The Lord has put on my heart and spoken to me via at least three different people at different times who didn’t even know me, that I am to write a book or books. I have topics already, but when do I start is another thing.

  2. I am so so willing. I want that faith that God is holding my hand to go toward and never look back. In Jesus Name I Pray!!

  3. This story made me cry for many reasons. To be a child and be wounded in your little heart and mind is unacceptable. But then our Lord was wounded and beaten for far less. He is THE great I am.
    Thank you…from a former teacher, stories like this melt me into tears….oh our precious children. Let’s give then God.

  4. I’m willing after a life of abuse and poor choices looking to a Heavenly Father to build my confidence. I have several of your books and read them over and over. God bless.

  5. Good morning, I hope all is well. It’s 7:17 am and I am crying ad I write this comment…it’s been that kind of week. It’s been that kind of year…years. Whenever I read blogs I never leave comments and I’m not sure why. This morning as I read this email it spoke to me in a way I can’t explain. I’m afraid, I’m unhappy with myself and fear holds me hostage. Fear is what keeps me from doing what I know God instilled in me. I believe once I face my fear I will feel better about myself and be able to move forward in my life. Today, I’m willing!!!! I’m willing!!!

    1. Post

      Being willing is the first step! It is like running. The hardest part is putting on your shoes. Now, take the next step. I’m cheering for you!

  6. I’m willing! I am introverted and shy and filled with anxiety. This holds me back from mamy things I would like to participate in.

  7. About 10 to 12 years ago, I and my family were missionaries in Almaty, Kazakhstan. I loved people but was timid and lacked confidence. Nevertheless, one of my favorite things to do was cook for people. After one dinner for new teachers at the school where my husband taught, one woman suggested I write a cookbook for expats living in Almaty. Who, me? Really? I chose to ‘take hold’ and step forward, and I did write a dual-language cookbook, which I printed and bound at home and sold over 300 copies before leaving Kazakhstan.
    Fast forward to today, I am teaching in an international school in China along with my husband, but having been out of the workforce for many years, I feel like an old dog learning new tricks – especially with the pressure to use all the new technology. I really struggle to be a teacher of excellence when I really feel like the only reason the school keeps me is because my husband is an excellent teacher, and we were hired as a couple. I am now, again, in a place where I need to take hold, move forward and have confidence in what God can do with my weaknesses.

    1. Post
  8. I’m willing! Thank you Sharon for this devotion. I was a fat kid and have always been heavy since. I never felt good enough…couldn’t do what a lot of kids could do so mocked…last chosen for teams….couldn’t wear cutesy clothes cuz not in my size and wouldn’t look right on my large body any way…etc. I too remember the pain of loneliness. But the Lord used my gifts to help todays children’s self esteem in schools. I work w/ special needs children in schools, but I find those without the labels who just don’t fit the norm are the ones I seek to help most. God is good…using our past to help others in the future. Praise God! And thank you Sharon for sharing!

    1. Post
  9. I am willing.

    Originally I was going to put an exclamation mark as the punctuation and then I thought, I really feel like a question mark is a MUCH better description of my true feelings. So, I went with a period; some where in-between. : )

  10. I am willing to take the leap of faith and trust the Lord to guide me in taking over womens ministry in our church.
    I have prayed and believe that this is God’s will . I am someone who has a hard time speaking in front of others. I
    don’t mind answering questions or giving short views on things but have a hard time remembering all that I want to
    say on a subject unless I have it written down. Then I tend to want to read it instead of just saying by memory. I
    just fill that I don’t have what it takes to speak in front of others it scares me to death. I hope this makes since to you? But my heart is for others and I want to be obedient to the Lord! Please pray that I can be all that the Lord
    desires me to be!! Thank you for your time and God bless you.

    1. Post

      Oh girl. It gets better with practice. God will see you through. You might like my book, Building an Effective Women’s Ministry. It has lots of helps!

  11. I am definitely willing. Sharon I don’t consider myself a good speller either but I managed to graduate from college earn my masters degree and run my own business as well. Thank God for tolls like thesaurus and spell check.

    1. Post
  12. I’m willing!
    Some years back, God told me to start crocheting little dolls, teddy bears, etc with “God loves me” written on them.. He told me to trust Him to provide the children for me to give them to. I’ve been procratinating a lot. Many are in progress but none, not one of them is completely finished! I’m ashamed of it. Don’t I want to do this for my Heavenly Father!?

  13. This is perfect to forward on to my sister who has been stuck in fear, stuck in covering her fears with drugs & toxic relationships. It’s a deep, deep pit of fear & blaming other’s for the choices she makes. She is 47. Thank you for your transparency & the Hope you show through Jesus!

    1. Post
  14. I AM WILLING! It is time to do what I know I am called to do. Sometimes you just gotta step out and do that thing in fear and faith combined! Lord hold my hand tightly…here we go!

  15. I’m willing! (And I even need strength for “being willing!”) Our precious daughter who always loved the Lord, and we believe still does, has been living in the gay lifestyle for 4 years. She is obviously very confused. There is love between us and her brother, but we certainly have drifted over the years. A once very close relationship has become very broken. As my husband and I continue to persevere & wait for our 31 year old prodigal, we both admitted last night how tired we are…even as we rest in Him! He said he felt “emotionally flat”, which perfectly described my condition, too. So, your blog couldn’t have come at a more perfect time! I’m willing.

    1. Post

      Oh sweet friend. I have a friend who lived the gay lifestyle for several years. God delivered her…and it was rough. She is now married and has two children. Don’t give up! Consider yourself hugged today.

  16. I am willing. I just finished reading To Heaven and Back by Mary C. Neal. As I was reading it I noticed it was not so much as what she’s saying but what God was saying to her, and what He needed me to hear from Him Love the book.

    1. This story reminds me so much of my life and still today! I too wasn’t a good speller or reader. My mother would work with me over and over. But when I got to school I’d get all nerved up and wouldn’t remember again. Always hearing why can’t you be as smart as your oldest sister? I know she didn’t mean any harm but it hurt me inside. So far as I remember my first day of first grade. All excited when I can home off the bus, mom asked me who was my teacher? When I told her she said “there must be something wrong she teaches the SMART kids”. That devastated me for life. When I’d mention it she didn’t even remember it. But me and my middle sister of three girls still jokes around about our oldest sister being the ” smart ” one. Well we started our own family prayer group on a closed site to mainly help my niece with a family mater of her daughter and her son with the boys birth father that needs to find the lord bad! Well its became a court thing. So my neice been asking fore prayer. My oldest sister came up we all meet on our site at 9:00pm all together and pray continually for a good 5-10 mins each , that God would hear all our prayers at once and have more impact. Well last night I reminded everyone it was time. My neice was on and her sister and my oldest sister their mother. The smart one lol. And her sister in law. Anyway my neice was getting horrible texts from the ex boyfriend. Blaming her family for his behavior and mistakes. Well my neice Jackie was really upset! So I just right out said an additional prayer writing it out on our site. It went back and forth but mainly Jackie and I. Me giving her biblical advise and scripture. I noticed my sister wasn’t saying anything for quite awhile. Toward the end after I was done, my sister ( the smart one) texted “I don’t know when Jan got so smart, but she’s right in all of her saying!”. Well that totally had me flying high!!!! Then my neice came back and said ” yes she is and what she’s saying makes total since”. Praise God I felt like maybe I wasn’t as stupid as I thought all my life!!!! Well about a year ago I heard God telling me my calling was to help women that husbands that died and still was faced in racing a young family. And to help women that has been or going through physical and emotional abuse. Since the other day when I started this 2 days ago I was looking on my Facebook and God placed this older woman that posted my cousin in another state her husband drank and then would get both verble and physically abusive. I intro diced myself and I reached out to her. She friends me and thanked me and said she was glad I was here for her! Praise the Lord he makes things possible. God Bless and keep posting your a blessing! Sister In Christ, Janis Cartmill

  17. I am willing. Your srory is familiar, I had a second grade teacher call me stupid once. I can still hear her voice when I mess up. I have struggled with insecurities, some I have overcome through Christ…Some I still battle.
    I know God is calling me for greater things. Yet, currently every direction I take, contains a road block that only God can move….so I wait & keep searching.

  18. You know, you always make the point with me, well God thru you. English is my second language and I have not mastered yet. But my job is marketing coordinator and I write business proposals…in English. What a contradiction right? My grammar is less than perfect, my spelling and punctuation skills too. I even was given a written warning for not spelling correctly a name of a person in an email. On top of that, I don’t see very well even with glasses, so I have to really look into what I’m typing. Isn’t that a very good joke?
    I got into this job through God 10 years ago. I started in this industry as an Administrative Assistant, not marketing coordinator for the A/E industry which is highly competitive. All the time I have to ask my son to review my writing, to look up in dictionary.com meaning and synonyms of words, stop and ask the Holy Spirit to give me ideas and words, and sometimes I feel plain stupid. But something I have learn (and you Sharon, have some credit on this) and it is that I am not alone in this journey, and that what I do he wants me to do it, and He tells me how to do it, and gives His amazing grace to shine thru. And like if all of that is not enough, He has surrounded me with amazingly smart and grammar conversant people that help me without making me fell less or stupid.
    One of the latest proposals I lead from the marketing point took me 8 months of coordination, meetings, writing, reviewing, redoing and redoing, endless days of work, etc. Yesterday was the committee meeting and we won the project. It is a major accomplishment for the company, probably the most important win this year, because of what the scope of work entitles. It’s a unique opportunity. This morning I got an email from the Vice president of the company addressed to all employees (many, many, many people). He was thanking all the team and he said …“Ileana should be especially commended for her efforts in leading the proposal development…” To me that is an amazing display of His Glory, Grace, Unfailing Love, and all the other words that I fall short—describing if there are enough words to describe—what He is and what He does for and thru us. It reminded me immediately of 1 Corinthians 1:27 “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong” Isn’t He extravagant in His love display?

    1. Post
  19. I needed to read this today. God is calling me to be a group leader in a women’s Bible study at my church in the fall. I have always lead children, not women. God is definitely calling me out of my comfort zone!! I am praying that God will help me every step of the way as I go through this spiritual growing time in my life.

  20. Wow. This is so God speaking to me today! I have been working on becoming a Virtual Assistant and I have just been putting it off thinking I’m just not as smart as all those Virtual Assistant Groups that I am online with. Just yesterday, I stuck my head out of my shell and contacted someone that hopefully will help me get involved with realtors so I can learn this as a niche to start with. I love what you said.
    “God will sometimes take our greatest weaknesses and turn them into our greatest strengths? But that won’t happen until we let go of the fear of moving forward and take hold of the hand of God with grip of trust.”
    I’m tired of staying stuck in the caboose!

    Thank you for this!


  21. Fear of other folks reaction and that my response will not make sense to them. In the world we live in today where the trend is to think that everyone’s perception is their reality I’m not sure how to overcome their mindset. This is my biggest stumbling block

  22. I am an educator becoming acquainted with a new teacher evaluation system. My biggest fear is that my appraiser will accuse me with my weaknesses and not be my advocate to help me improve myself. So, I am really seeking ways to use weaknesses in a positive manner.
    Thank you for providing this example of how Jesus is our advocate for our weaknesses. Jesus modeled for us how being weak will make us strong.

  23. I’m willing! This just confirms what I’m thinking after I wrote a note regarding the beans in my garden yesterday. It’s time for me to come up from under the dirt! Thank you.

    1. Post
      1. Post
  24. I’m willing ! My childhood has many memories such as yours; I am in the same car with our Chief Commander, The Lord Jesus Christ.. Thank you for the reminder. Praise God ! Love ya …; )

  25. I’m willing… My childhood has many memories such as yours. I am in the same care with our Chief Commander, The Lord Jesus Christ.. Thank you for the reminder. Praise God ! Love ya.. ; )

  26. Thank you for sharing your struggles of unworthiness from that time of your life. Your message reinforced what God has been teaching me in the midst of my trials. Currently I am faced with one of the biggest “unworthiness” moments in my life. My husband said he was moving out after 21 years of marriage with no warning. Now, God is using this time to renew me in seeing how he will be my strength through my weakest moments. and lead me to the realization that he has equipped me to shine in every way He meant for me from the time I was created. He has blessed each of us with specific talents and once we realize them, we can be our best with His guidance. He is directing me back to a career field where I truly felt my best and I am embracing the future ahead. Thank you for sharing your talents and gifts with all of us!! I am WILLING!!

    1. Post

      I am so sorry about your situation with your husband. Take a deep breath, a big step, and get ready for what God has for you.

  27. I’m Willing!………I’ve spent the last 55 years being told I wasn’t good enough by everyone important in my life except my Grandfather, Step-Dad and a high school sweetheart that I’m now engaged to. Sadly I never could live up to the expectations of the many influential women in my life.

    1. Post

      And praise God, you don’t need to live up to anyone’s expectations. God says, you are my daughter, whom I love, and with you I am well pleased.

  28. I’m willing even though I’m fearful. I can really relate to what you shared about feeling stupid and in other ways. I definitely want God to turn my greatest weaknesses into my greatest strengths!

  29. This reading has brought me to undestsding that I have allowed fear on man, fear of rejection to hold me back from serving my purpose and destiny preordained of God. I choose to move forward allowing God to perfect all concerning me!

  30. I am willing. I have learned and relearned so much reading and studying through your book, Take Hold, with 15 women. We will finish up Monday night. Thank you for writing this book and taking hold with God so that others can, too.

  31. I am sooo willing. God please teach me what to say and show me what to do. I put my trust wholly unto you. In the most powerful name of Jesus. So be it!!!!

  32. I am willing!
    I have been held back for years now. Fear has held me captive, and the lies from the enemy.
    I am choosing to step forward in little baby steps of faith. God has a plan awaiting me.

  33. I’m ready! … This was a boost this morning that I needed as I prepare for doing something I’ve never done before but, God has given me today’s opportunity!

  34. Thank you for this email! I have such a hard time moving forward from feeling in adequate as a child! Always wanting to be better, measure up, thinner! Ugh! I have laid it at the foot of the cross over and over…I am willing!

  35. I am at a job where I am constantly beat down with words. I need to step out in faith and get another job. My husband has given me the go-ahead I’m scared to leave the job without another job God to show me what he wants me to do. I am willing. Please pray for me that I will do God’s will

  36. Hi Sharon,

    Although I am 51 years old, I too have been considering writing, and/or a real estate. I know, seems a little crazy. However, in these empty nest years, I still can’t shake these dreams I had early on in life. I lack confidence, but apparently, and more importantly, faith and trust in God. I’m a work in progress!! 🙂

  37. I may be tardy to the party but this is such a blessing for me. For so many years, I have been thinking that I am not good enough, I’m not going to do this or that because no one will think it’s any good or no one will care — that I would be wasting my time. I still don’t know what it is that God would have me to do but whatever it is, when God ordains it, it will be for whomever has an ear to hear what God has for them to hear. I have to remember that it’s not always about me. Shoot, 99.5% of the time it’s not about me. It’s all about God and if I learn, and yes, I’m still learning, to move out of the way and learn to trust God and let him have HIS way, then God can be truly glorified.

    I have such a long journey, but again, this spoke to me and gave me hope to believe in just one more day. Thank you and God bless.

    1. Post
  38. I am reading your book, Take Hold of the Faith You Long For. I have been so blessed by each chapter. I know that God loves me – and now I really believe He has already given me everything I need to live the life he is calling me to. The story of the husband (in a wheel chair) and his wife dancing brought tears to my eyes and a
    new freedom in my heart. It is love for others and not perfection that draws people to the God who loves us. Thank you.

  39. I’m willing also! And I’m so ready to see God work as I “let go” and trust Him to lead… I’ve also been the one to stay on the sidelines of life because of fear or feeling inadequate….(Sharon, thank you for writing this book – it is exactly what I needed at this time in my life)

    1. Post
  40. I am willing, I’ve had many struggles in life, I’ve lost two of my sons, I lost my mother when she was only 58 years old, too young. Right now I’m going through a trial, my only sister won’t talk to me I’ve tried everything to mend the relationship but she just isn’t willing. I already forgave her but she isn’t willing to accept her wrong and ask for my forgiveness. In my heart I forgave her but still she must ask. Am I wrong in that I want her to apologize? She has criticized my Christianity, ouch that hurts. I need to move on and stop relying on that relationship to mend and go on with my spiritual growth and leave the rest in God’s hands.

    1. Post

      Hi Monica: She doesn’t need to ask in order for you to forgive her. You just forgive her free and clear! It’s not about setting her free, but about setting yourself free. It’s a nice cherry on top, but not necessary for you to live free.

  41. I’M WILLING!!! Thank you for the reminder to trust that God has a plan! All I need to do is pray for the answer! Sometimes it is easier to try to figure it out on my own…but, that never works out.

  42. I am willing! All my life I have let fear stop me. As a young girl I wanted to be in fashion, to model (and I can’t spell either). My dad was good at telling me no to the things I wanted to do and being of a very tender spirit it always crushed me, though his reasons we for good reason most times, he never tried to direct me to somethings in the same field that was a better fit, it was just no. After growing up, it was my desire to become an interior designer and I have the talent, the eye, but fear of the responsibility has kept me from doing anything on a professional level. Now (at the tender age of 65) I am a quilter and embroiderer and would again love to grow a business, but fear takes me back again. I do have a hobby business, but would like to do more. I always panic at the prospect of to much work, fear of getting bored, dealing with bookkeeping, and all the other responsibilities. I am willing to let the Lord lead me.
    Thank you for sharing this and perhaps more of us will go from sitting on the curb all alone to walking the path God has for us.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *