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!
In 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”.
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 can 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.
When 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”?
When 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.
Amen and thank you Sharon!