When my brother was a teenager, my mother used to threaten him when he hunched over at the dinner table. “If you don’t sit up,” she would say, “I’m going to buy you a back brace from Sears.” I don’t even know if Sears made back braces then, but it sounded like a pretty good threat to me.
Then I had a son who seemingly grew to six feet overnight. He didn’t know what to do with all that height, so he slumped. I tried my best not to say, “If you don’t sit up, I’m going to buy you a back brace from Sears.”
Then one night my father-in-law took care of it for me. We were measuring and marking various family members’ heights on the dining room door frame. My 77-year-old father-in-law, who was about five-foot-ten, stood with his back against the doorframe. Then he took a deep breath and extended his curved back to its fullest upright position. We marked him at six-foot-three.
I watched Steven’s eyes grow wide as Papa grew tall. He saw firsthand the difference it made to stand up straight. From that day on, my son stood straight and tall. I have never seen him slump once since then.
There was a woman in the Bible who slumped…not because she wouldn’t stand up straight, but because she couldn’t. Her story is recorded in Luke 13:10-17. “On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years.
She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, ‘Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.’ Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God” (NIV).
While we might not be able to relate to being bent over physically, most of us can relate to being bent over emotionally. We see feet…people passing by going about their busy lives. We see dirt…the mistakes we’ve made through the years. We see trash…the pain inflicted on us by others and many times by our own poor decisions.
Bent and bowed. The weight of the world on our shoulders. Little by little. Day by day.
Bent and bowed because of our color, gender, age, marital state, family history, or financial lack.
Crippled by shame, fear, pain, disappointment, depression, poverty, insecurity, inferiority, inadequacy, and broken dreams.
I was crippled for many years. I listened to words from my past telling me I was “ugly,” “not good enough,” and “worthless.” Inferiority, insecurity, and inadequacy were my three closest companions. I didn’t like these three lurking shadows, but they followed me everywhere I went. They stalked me, yelling taunts and accusations that no one heard but me. The more I listened to them, the more emotionally bound I became.
Then one day Jesus called me out of hiding just as surely as He called the crippled woman from the women’s section in the back synagogue in Luke 13. He placed His nail-scarred hand under my chin and lifted my eyes. It was as if He said to me, “Sharon, you are free from your infirmity of feeling less than. Because of the finished work I did for you on the cross, and My spirit in you, you are more than enough to do what I’ve called you to do and be who I’ve called you to be.”
That’s what He’s saying to you today. No more slumping in self-doubt or hunching in halfhearted conviction, but instead standing up to the full stature of a confident woman who knows she is equipped by God, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and enveloped in Jesus Christ. A daughter of Abraham by grafting. A child of God by choosing.
Is there something in your life that is crippling your spirit? Unforgiveness? Bitterness? Resentment? Guilt? Sorrow? Worry? Regret? Comparison? If so, cut it loose, cast it off, and throw it away. Whatever has been holding you back from lifting your head…Jesus has come to set you free! Lift up your head, dear sister. He has called you by name. You are His.
Dear Jesus, thank You for setting me free! Today, I choose to walk in that freedom and never be held captive by emotional chains again! In Your Name, Amen.
What is Jesus calling you to be free of today? Leave a comment and let’s share.
Read the entire story of the woman with the bent back in Luke 13:10-17. What impresses you most about Jesus’ interactions and reactions?
If you’ve ever felt less than because of your past, your present circumstances, or your gender as a woman then my book, Never Less Than: Living Empowered, Esteemed, and Equipped When the World Tells You Otherwise is just for you! This is a message that your daughters need to hear. Click here to learn more. Click here for a FREE download of 25 Ways Jesus Honored Women.
© 2023 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.
I would slouch over and my mom always said don’t slouch. I would stand up. It was hard but I listened.
Thanks for this powerful message. It has helped me to stop bending because of inferiority complex resulting from my children’s situation. It is as if their lives are stuck and I compare them with those who are successful in life
Oh my God! God bless you so much! dear sister Sharon! It’s me the Lord God Almighty is setting me free indeed now from many bondages of inadequacy, inferiority complex, fear, rejection from the the family I was born alone by mother and suffered greatly in the hands of my step brothers and their wives: more so by my sisters in laws where I got married! Thank you Holy Spirit of God am fee indeed in Jesus merciful Name
Oh my God! God bless you so much! dear sister Sharon! It’s me the Lord God Almighty is setting me free indeed now from many bondages of inadequacy, inferiority complex, fear, rejection from the the family I was born alone by mother and suffered greatly in the hands of my step brothers and their wives: more so by my sisters in laws where I got married! Thank you Holy Spirit of God am free indeed in Jesus merciful Name
A wonderful reading. I could identify with the message.
Please pray for me in my bitterness towards my husband! After 45 years of marriage we’re in the last phase of our divorce dealings! I allowed a lot of unhealthy behavior from him in a lot of years we’ve been married! Not that I was perfect either in some areas! We went to marriage counseling and it didn’t help! He still won’t take ownership of his shortcomings so I decided to say no more chaos! I had godly counseling that enough is enough! And as I’m finishing up the final chapter I get bitter thinking towards him and sometimes I text him and tell him his shortcomings! I want my heart to be free from bitterness! He’s a narcissist and has manipulated me for quite a few years! I need to be free from letting bitterness control me!
I can relate in many ways with your story especially “enough is enough.”
Every day I prayed and asked God to change ME! That was a scary request to me. What happened is God showed me through His word how much He loves me and cares for me and protects me. I began to really believe and it changed me. I put my marriage in His hands. I choose to rest and wait for the Lord. Bitterness, anger etc. is a bitter poison you need to stop taking. Stop texting him his shortfalls. Place it all in God’s hands. Only He is faithful and true. He has something better for you.❤️
I don’t know what my outcome will be but at the very least I know it will be God’s will not mine 🙏
I have depression which leads to anger and rage I’ve let loose on people. I’m ashamed. I’ve increased my meds and started therapy and leaning into Gods word and supportive community. All of this has helped immensely, but I can still feel the rage deep down inside. 😢
Your devotionals and bible study have been such a blessing in my life and this devotional resonates in my spirit. Blessings to you and your family!
I have been dealing with a lot of issues lately, mostly the lack of financial stability, depression, anxiety, and the empty nest of one of my sons! I have learned to be more specific in my prayers, but I feel like I still have a cloud of guilt looming over me. Please help me find the right words to say to God to help me give all of my guilt and shame away to Him!!
I have struggled to be free of my past I am praying this is the time.
Amen sister!! 🙏🙏🙏❤️❤️
Thank you Sharon for following God’s will for your life and sharing. I have lead a few of your Bible studies and found healing myself through your books. Your books are empowering as well as teaching me more about the Bible. I am very grateful to you as you have helped me heal from the loss of a 31 year marriage and all the years prior to that which allowed me to accept the relationship. 4 1/2 years later I am the most emotionally healthy I have been in my life. I am free to live my life, share my story and give God the glory through it all. I feel whole and loved by the one who matters most.
Thank you for walking through this with me.
“Sharon, you are free from your infirmity of feeling less than. Because of the finished work I did for you on the cross, and My spirit in you, you are more than enough to do what I’ve called you to do and be who I’ve called you to be.”
Inserting my name, this is what I have been saying and feeling for a long time. I am in the waiting process of hearing about a new job and we are going on week 3 of the waiting. My current job, I am part time and can be pulled to sub at any moment, making it seem like my job is less than. Then in the month of May I go back to subbing for the last month of school. Where on a daily basis I hear, she is just a sub! Years of doing this has taken its toll on me. I am weary and tired of it all. I don’t understand this waiting or why God doesn’t answer my cry for a full time position. So the quote above is something I have been saying and feeling for a long time. God is trying to get me to more than understand my worth in Him. Yet it is a very long distance to go from the brain to the heart to truly believe. Thank you for writing this for me, to once again say ok, I hear you God. Please help my unbelief.
Your story is so similar to mine. The feeling of being less than everyone else. Inadequate. Unworthy. Not good enough.
Thank you for the reminder. 😊
Thank you Sharon for this morning’s devotional. I have been on a journey for 15 years praying for deliverance from depression. God is healing me. I have been bent over in life by childhood abuse and a dysfunctional marriage of 35 years. I am seeking God for answers and have met with my pastor. For the first time in too many years I am literally standing up straight and looking up to my Savior for guidance and freedom. God is my strong tower and mighty fortress. I praise Him for never leaving me or forsaking me. He is all that I need.
I feel like I am in bondage. I love my husband but he has issues that he doesn’t want to admit and deal with. It is causing great hurt in my marriage, his relationship with our children and his family and friends. He is repeating the ways he was treated as a child and his parents toxic relationship. It’s narcissistic. He has deep
Wounds that create insecurities. We have been married 25 years but instead ofgetting easier it is harder. I am trying to grow in the Lord and he says he wants that too but it’s like he resists the work of the Holy Spirit because he is defensive and in denial. He is so quick to point out everyone’s sins except for his own. It’s soo sad, discouraging and depressing for me because I have prayed for him so fervently. His negative attitude and decisions affect me and bring me down. I am very weary and fear that he may never truly open his eyes and surrender to Jesus. He is supposedly saved but doesn’t act or talk much like Jesus. It’s confusing to all of us. I don’t know how much more I can take. This is a battle daily. I try to show him Jesus love but it’s hard when he is so selfish. I am lifting him up to Jesus and asking Him to set my husband free from these strongholds and sin issues. I pray Ezekiel 36:26 for him to have a new heart of flesh and filled with Jesus spirit! I know that our God the almighty can do Anything and I pray that Jesus will help me to be strong in Him and fight the good fight of faith. I desire that my husband mike would be the spiritual leader of our home and godly example to all around him.
Be the new creature in Christ!!! All old things pass away behind all become new!!! That he would receive Jesus love and grace so that he can love and extend Grace to everyone around him.
Please pray for me as I am in a difficult marriage for over 20 years. My husband is a wounded child and repeating the sins from his parents. Narcissistic, toxic relationships, pride, defensive, selfish.
It’s causing much hurt in our marriage and his parenting to our kids.
And he doesn’t even see it! And blames everyone else for the problems. He claims to be saved but doesn’t walk in the spirit or the love of Christ. It’s confusing and is really discouraging and depressing to me as I have prayed so fervently for him to be set free from these strongholds.
That he would be a new creation in Christ as God has called him to be.
These emails always arrive right when I need them. Thank you Sharon!
Jesus is softly and tenderly calling me to rise up and be free of the darkness of my childhood. Those deep unhealed wounds affected every area of my life. I am in a 40+ year marriage that is very unhealthy.
I am slowly standing taller and learning to let Jesus love and comfort me. As for me, I have expected my husband to fill a need for healing only God could provide. I confessed that as the idolatry it was. I am forgiven. Pray I will discern His voice and obey His calling no matter what.
I feel I have been frozen in the bent over position for so very long. I do believe I am beginning to thaw out though. This article actually confirms a word one of my pastors prayed for me recently. Thank you again.
Sharon, thank you, for listening to the Holy Spirit for this lesson. I’m free, free, free! God’s word continually reminds me daily. I weep and tell Jesus in a small, still
voice, with intensity, “thank you, I’m free!”
I am 71 years old and I am feeling unnecessary. I am married and my 3 adult children are all married with children. This past year I was dealing with feeling that I my thoughts or advice
are not really valuable. I have never doubted my children’s love for me. I guess it’s true growing old is not for wimps. I am so glad that every morning that I wake is because my Lord still needs me. For that iam grateful.
Thanks for the wonderful devotion.. I must be more worried about 2 upcoming procedures than I realized and do feel inadequate at times but have been walking more stooped since I learned I had cervical spine degeneration and will have an injection in a month that will help. Godbless you.
Thank you ❤️ I really needed to hear this.
May 16, 2023, AT 6;44 PM
Sharon, thank you for the Awesome words of encouragement, The song that says I am learning to lean and depend and Jesus, that is what I am doing I have so many disappointments and discouragement I am praying for healing in my too feet from Arthritis and Nerves pain, I don’t have a job because it is so hard to walk and stand up for any lenght of time I am trusting that God will give me healing and turn things around in my life. Thank you for the weekly deviation most time I don’t comment I read and applied them to my day- to day living, as we seek God in prayer for each other he will grant us the desire of our hearth
I have the same feelings as you. I have such a huge burden. A burden that hurts so much I can barely breathe. Praying for God to intervene.
I’ve let go of my burden. It was the kind of being insecure and being fearful. All it took was a photocopy of a message and it’s like it clicked and everything just fell away and I was at peace and being able to trust the person that I’ve felt a huge burden with. I’m so grateful for the prayers and 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 really came to mind and I surrender everything to God.
Thank you, Sharon, I can relate living as a grasshopper, in the trenches, in the self-defeated captivity. I can relate all to well, so glad we have the Grace of Jesus to carry us to freedom. Always, blessed in our walk!