Sharon Jaynes ~ “Take Hold, Move Forward, Live Bold!”

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Does your faith walk feel a bit stagnant? When scripting your daily priorities, does tending to your relationship with God make the list? Maybe it makes that list but is not the first item and often gets cut when time is running low. Do you find yourself asking, “God, why aren’t you answering my prayers? Are you listening?”

Maybe you are just getting by with a mediocre faith. For some, that is just fine, thank you very much. If you are content in just getting by with what Sharon calls “cul-de-sac Christianity”, then the book I am about to share may be a little too exciting for you.

But women of faith and seekers of Gods truth, if you are ready to become more adventurous… listen up, draw close and be inspired to take hold of the tremendous heights and depths that the Creator of the universe intends for you specifically!

TakeHoldOfTheFaithYouLongFor-300x464In Sharon Jaynes’ latest book, “Take Hold of the Faith You Long For”, you will be excited to learn how to break free from that which has been holding you back from a deeper faith. Sharon digs in and uncovers the most common reasons why we “get stuck” in our faith and mired down by discouragement. She takes her reader on a journey from Moses’ desert experience with his Israelite “grumblers” into a “Promised Land” flowing with milk and honey. You, my friends, after reading this book, will walk away with a knowledge of how to live a bold and adventurous faith leaving the stagnant, grumbling and mundane in the dust!

For over 25 years, author, speaker, and blogger Sharon Jaynes has been doing what she was meant to do. “Encourage and empower women to walk in courage and confidence as they grasp their true identity as a child of God and a co-heir with Christ.” *

Through her ministries, she has provided thousands of women (Over 500,000 on her popular blog “Girlfriends in God”.) with insights on how to live “fully and freely”.

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For 10 years Sharon served as Vice President of Proverbs 31 Ministries and Co-Hosted their daily radio program. She has authored 20 books, written numerous magazine articles, is a frequent guest on radio and TV programs. In case that is not enough, she is also a popular conference speaker! I had the pleasure of interviewing Sharon about her latest book, “Take Hold of the Faith You Long For”, and I’m so excited to share it with you on Christian Bling’s E- Community – Living it Up!

Here are my questions with Sharon.

Why is the message of “Take Hold” so important to you?

 For so long in my life, I felt stuck in between things that happened in my past and moving on and taking hold of God’s promises and what He wanted for me to experience. In my book I use the example of a flying trapeze artist where the aerialist grabs the trapeze bar, jumps off a platform, and swings through the air. She swings out once, swings back above the platform, and swings out again. The fun begins for those below during the peak of the third swing. The performer releases the bar midair and grabs hold of another bar or the hands of a second performer hanging from his knees who swings toward her. When she grabs hold, the crowd shutterstock_365942696can breathe. Somersaults, backflips, and triple twists wow the crowd. Each move requires the performer to let go and grab hold – let go of one bar or pair of hands and grab hold of another. Without faith to do so, the trapeze artist would simply swing back and forth until the pumping momentum gave way to dangling or hang stuck in between two platforms with hands clinging to both bars. Not the greatest show on earth.

In your faith, when you take hold, grasp, and make your own all of what Jesus has already taken hold of for you, you begin to experience life to the full – the faith you’ve always longed for. If we would do this, our lives will look very different. Release what is behind and take hold of what is ahead… That is the greatest show on earth and you can experience this in your own life!

 

Please share your background story and what your life was like during your growing up years.

I grew up with a lot of dysfunction in my home. Particularly a lot of alcohol, arguing and fighting amongst my parents. I was basically left to raise myself. I began to think that nobody wanted me and no one cared. As a kid, my mother would say “You’re ugly” and “What’s wrong with you?” I would say back, “I don’t know but I know there is something.” I would always compare myself to others and how I measured up. Inferiority, insecurity and inadequacy scorned me.

MeetSharonJaynes-200x300When I was 14 years old I became a believer in Christ. While my life changed for the better, my feelings of insecurity persisted and the comparison game continued. “I’m not a good Christian, I don’t know how to pray as well as that person, I don’t memorize scripture as well as that person, I’m not worthy. How come I’m not Iike that person?”

When I was in my 30’s a woman in my church took me in and lovingly mentored me. I learned so much from her and that bad things happen to everyone, just not the same bad things. The real tragedy is being stuck there. My faith began to mature and so did I.

 

 Why do you think so many Christians “get stuck” in their faith?

Well, I think many of them may not know why. Like I mentioned above, they may not be letting go of that first bar on the trapeze. Holding onto the past and not moving on; not completely grasping the power that is theirs in Christ.

 

 

 Tell us more about what it is to “live free” in our faith

To live free and move forward in our faith is to experience all that God has for us this side of heaven. We must relinquish disappointments to God and allow Him to fill the expectation gap with more of Himself. We stop saying “Why me?” and start saying “What now?” 

 

I love your story in chapter 10 about the brave and bold David in the Bible. What should we understand about “living bold”?

shutterstock_282976718When it comes to living bold, you need to learn to turn away from the doubters, the joy stealers and the confidence crushers. When you start living bold and saying YES to God, you will be criticized. You need to learn to turn away from the naysayers and toward the God who says you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength! (Phil. 4:13)

David had absolute confidence; not that he could kill the giant but that God would kill the giant through him. Never let anyone tell you that you are not able. You are a child of God who has been equipped by God, empowered by the Holy Spirit and enveloped in Jesus Christ.

 

Many of us know the story of Moses but after reading this book, I have a new awareness of how similar we are today to the Israelites back in the days of the burning bush. Tell us about the choice we have in “taking hold of our own Promised land.”

God led the children of Israel into the wilderness, but they were never meant to stay there – to die there. The same fate can happen to you and to me if we settle comfortably into the mediocre land of in-between rather than move courageously and expectantly into the land of milk and honey – life to the full, replete with precious promises and mighty miracles. AND, the choice is up to you.

 

You talk about grumbling, gratitude and grace. Please define these and tell us. How does gratitude help us move forward?

 “If complaining creates a crisis, grumbling creates an atmosphere” Grumbling is an outward expression of an inward attitude of ingratitude. It squeezes eyes shut to God’s goodness and keeps life small. Gratitude is a feeling of appreciation for a kindness or favor received. The word gratitude comes from the word grace. Grace is getting what we don’t deserve. Gratitude is being thankful for it. Gratitude is the antibiotic of the soul to cure a variety of the world’s ills and restore a sense of intimacy with God.

Gratitude changes the lens through which you see your circumstances and frames them in the sovereignty of God. When we look at life through the lens of gratitude, God comes into view. We see Him. We hear Him. We detect His fingerprints on the darkest days and the brightest nights. It disconnects discouragement from its power source and gives us the impetus to move forward.

 

What do you want your reader to take away from “Take Hold of the Faith You Long For?”

 I want the reader to know that where they are weak, God is strong. The great “I AM” will fill in the gaps in their lives. It’s time to take action and leave the past behind, reach forward to all that lies ahead and stop comparing yourself to others.

When you know, who are in God’s eyes, you can revel in the uniqueness of you. When you believe, God will work through you, for you, and in you, there will be no stopping you. Let go of all that hinders you or holds you hostage to a mediocre faith. Take hold of all that Jesus has taken hold of for you. Move forward with the promises of God blowing your sails. Live bold with Jesus at the helm.

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Amen and thank you Sharon!

 

http://sharonjaynes.com/

http://girlfriendsingod.com/

Break It Up!

Is March Madness about basketball or the bizarre weather patterns this end of winter month seems to bring us? This particular March began like a lamb with pleasant spring-like sunshine. Then it briefly dipped into winter cold; back to lamb-like temps with flowers blooming ; and then, just to keep us on our toes… the lion awoke to deliver us cold, wet snow.

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The 3 inches of snow that covered our driveway was nothing we couldn’t handle but let me tell you about madness in March. My home team of more than capable shovel-meisters thought it was a good idea not to thoroughly shovel the snow off our driveway on day one of the storm. A slight shoveling around the cars would be sufficient. As Julia Roberts says in “Pretty Woman”…big mistake, BIG!

 

Overnight the leftover snow transformed into an all-out arctic shelf of solid ice.

(Question: Can three inches of snow turn into 4 inches of ice?)

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Observing the spotty job and knowing the forecast of frigid for day two and more frigid for day three, my initial reaction was to give my fellas the verbal once over. Thankfully, I made a rare choice not to complain for two good reasons.

(1) They did a beautiful job on our friend’s house who happens to be a widow and appreciated the surprise of a shoveled driveway and front walkway.

(2) I was inside warm by a fire reading a book while they were out braving the cold.

shutterstock_335642450Unfortunately, the next day the driveway became my problem. I had one helper, and my 87- year-old father who was climbing the walls after being iced in for two days. I looked at the clock and had one hour to free his car before a conference call I had to be on. I thought, No problem!

We grabbed our snow shovels and headed out. The plastic shovels proved utterly useless. Next line of attack was gardening shovels and even a pitchfork. “Nope.” They were all pain and no progress. Then I noticed a dusty, heavy axe nesting in a dark corner of our garage. “Aha, that’ll do it!” I grabbed it and went to work. (What a pity I wasn’t wearing my favorite flannel shirt to have that true lumberjack vibe going on.)

I barely had to put any pressure on the down swing of my tool slash weapon. Its sheer weight and sturdiness practically did the job for me. This new beloved axe not only broke through the ice, but it created instant large chunks that we could grab and toss away. It took some serious work but this axe was the answer to ice debacle.

The next time you experience a storm in your life and ‘good enough’ seems to be the easy choice … think again.  While it may seem easier to ignore or delay confronting a challenge, often a burden not handled at the onset can become the difference between a relatively easy clean up with plastic shovels and the hard labor of breaking hardened ice.

shutterstock_527921620The good news is God wants us to give our storms over to Him. He is the strong axe that breaks up our ice patches and frees us to move forward into the ice melting light and warmth of His love. The result? A freedom to live life fully and joyfully. This week, call on God in prayer to free yourself from the burdens of grudges or sin that have built up in your life. Make a check list of who you may need to forgive for something. Maybe it involves forgiving yourself for poor choices? As pastor and author Rick Warren says, ““We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.”

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:7-9

 

“For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith.” 1 John 5:4

 

“If man’s self is not kept clean and bright, his glimpse of God will be blurred. Like the moon seen through a dirty telescope.” C.S. Lewis

 

“Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.” Albert Schweitzer

 

Monday Must see Video: Frozen – Ice Workers Song

How Little it Takes

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I spend a lot of time waiting in line at the local pharmacy which is challenging because it might be my least favorite task on the planet. Between both of my parent’s, I am responsible for picking up a long list of medications and vitamins. I am a familiar face to the staff and often joke about having an apartment above the store because of the time I spend there. It’s safe to say I am no stranger to line waiting.

shutterstock_515934664The pharmacy line is filled with people on a mission…to take care of business and that’s about it. Taking a closer look, you see people staring at phones or into space until it’s time to shuffle closer to the “promised land” of the counter. One day, I snapped out of my pharmacy fog long enough to compliment a pharmacy assistant on her beautiful cross necklace. It was sweet how much it made her smile.

As a line-dweller I’ve witnessed her efficiently taking on a sea of tasks. Searching for misplaced prescriptions, putting out customer insurance fires, searching the computer while simultaneously, handling what could be construed as verbal abuse from frustrated, often germ riddled customers. The least I could do was pay her an honest compliment.

The other day, I was mindlessly waiting in that same line sorting through my emails on my phone until it was my turn to pick-up. When I got up to the cash register, the pharmacy assistant surprised me by having my prescription shutterstock_518537248ready and waiting. I said, “What?! Could this be mine? I haven’t even given you my name?” She said, “I saw you waiting in line so I pulled it right away for you.” You would have thought she told me I won the lottery!
My sudden joy wasn’t simply that she had my prescription ready. It was because she happily went above and beyond the call of duty. She made an effort that I have never experienced before in that dreaded line. Instead of just going through the motions of taking care of business – which is what I was doing in that line – she took care of me because she remembered me. (I’m pretty sure it had to do with that simple compliment I had paid her the week prior.)

shutterstock_485045233I’ve got to say, this small gesture made my day! I was inspired! After making a fuss over her, I spent the rest of the day smiling more and noticing the people I encountered… even starting conversations with them. (Note: In the DC area, that can actually scare people.) This little incident made me hyper-aware of the indifference that was trying to overtake me and smother the joy that I have in my heart. An indifference that would like to see me turn into some sort of a pharmacy-dwelling, void of emotion, zombie.

When we lose focus on the important and we run around trying to get our “to-do lists” over with – we miss the big picture of what God has put us on this earth to do in the first place… Bring Him glory by showing His love to others! As servants of Christ, this is where we are called to be a light. As simple as noticing someone, understanding they have burdens too, offering a smile or word of encouragement, perhaps even a compliment can have impact beyond what we intend.

This week, take the drudgery out of errands by taking yourself out of the equation and putting God front and center. Ask Him to “raise your thoughts a little higher and use your words to inspire.” (See Toby Mac song below.)

 

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:6

 

“Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” Proverbs 16:24

 

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14

 

“In prayer, it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart.” Mohandas Gandhi

 

“May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night and a smooth road all the way to your door.” Irish Blessing.

 

Monday Must see Video: Toby Mac – Speak Life