Don’t Let Yourself Be Held Back

Now that we’re a week into the New Year, you’re hopefully off to a strong start toward reaching your goals. But– you WILL encounter obstacles, causing that unwelcome, familiar sense of something keeping you from where you need to go!


The “mire” could be circumstances, people, your own thoughts, or limitations (perceived or real).

That’s how I felt when I set out swimming toward a buoy at our local bay-beach.  I was so excited!  Until I encountered a swarm of seaweed grasping at my arms, legs, and torso, entangling me– pulling me down, holding me back—from reaching my goal!

As I fought to disentangle myself, I had a decision to make—should I return to shallow water and comfort?  Or was I going to press in, press through, and press on toward my goal?

After all, that kind of opposition was not in the plan.

But, just because it was unexpected didn’t mean I had to be held back by it.

The choice was mine, not the seaweed’s.

I based my choice, as we all do, on the answers to two questions:

  • Was the goal worth the effort to overcome the obstacles and opposition?
  • Did I have the power to overcome whatever was holding me back?

Yes—on both counts.  I really wanted to reach that buoy!  So—kick, slash, swim, kick-some-more… finally leaving the seaweed behind in shallower water and underneath in deeper water… I swam on to the buoy.

Sure, I knew I’d face the same seaweed on the way back—but I’d reached my goal and enjoyed the exhilaration of both the “product” and the process!

On the way back, I encountered the same seaweed—this time treating it as a mere temporary nuisance, sure it wouldn’t stop me from reaching the shore.

Life lesson –> When God’s in the goal, don’t let anything or anyone hold us back!  He makes the goal worth it and gives us the power to achieve it! (Phil. 4:13).

We have Jesus as both our model and Empowerer (Heb. 12:1-3).

~Obstacles come.  Opposition comes.  Many times they’re unforeseen.

~But goals worth reaching are goals worth the effort it takes to overcome those obstacles and opposition—which are often just a temporary nuisance.

~Also, whatever and/or whoever is trying to hold us back, is often an indication of the high value of that goal. 

For example—if we’re running a race to win and see hurdles on the track, it’s because of the type of race we’re in!

Or, if we’re seeking a position at work and someone else tries to discourage or bad-mouth us, it probably means they want that position because it’s valuable!

Would we stop running when we see the hurdles?  Would we “lay down in defeat” and let an unscrupulous colleague attain a position of authority?  Hopefully not!

Then, there’s spiritual warfare—which exists.  The devil uses whatever tactics he can to keep us from being and doing all that the Lord wants us to be and do. (Eph. 6:12)

Do we want to let him win?  No! Then don’t let him hold us back from the goals God has set before us and will empower us to reach.

“…I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” Phil. 3:12

What goals do you have for this year?—For personal growth and health?  For relationships?  For career?  For impacting the world?  If something/someone is holding you back—1)Examine your goal; 2)If it’s worth it, don’t let anything hold you back!

Written by: Julie Tofilon


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