3 Simple Ways to Release the Brakes

by | Mar 14, 2017 | Personal Growth | 11 comments

I’m delighted to have Dawn Wilson share her wisdom on how to “release the brakes” that hold us back. Dawn assists Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth with research and works with various departments at Revive Our Hearts. Learn more about this talented gal in her bio below.

Now here’s Dawn…

A Clinical Psychologist who motivates Olympic athletes, Dr. Larry Iverson, once said, “You can go amazing places when you quit stepping on the brakes.”

Photo credit:Megapixelstock_Stocksnapio

I have a little red, wooden car on my desk with that quote taped to the underside, and every time I see it, I think, “Release the brakes!”

From a Christian perspective, I think this is true too. Jesus said, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62).

While this verse may apply primarily to people’s response to God’s call of salvation and surrender, I think there’s another application. God calls each of us, once we have trusted Christ, to use our gifts for His glory. We start out well and follow Him closely. We delight in our marching orders from the Lord.

But then we encounter difficulties. Or distractions. Or delays. Or derision.

Maybe we didn’t count the cost of following the Lord. Maybe we got confused and consulted other sources for answers instead of God and His Word. Maybe we didn’t know how to counter attacks from the enemy or even from friends and family. Perhaps we just plain got tired.

So we put on the brakes.

  • We looked back and had second thoughts.
  • We dwelled on our regrets.
  • We questioned our calling or what God has asked us to do.

The proverbial expression in Luke 9:62 is in the context of verses 57-62. Jesus listed some of the reasons we don’t move forward in our adventure with Him. The problem is, when we start looking back, our hearts are drawn back.

This happened to me in regard to my writing.

I co-authored a book that had a short shelf life. Later, I felt like a failure. I kept looking back and putting the brakes on anything that might move me forward to approach publishers.

Surprisingly, all it took to change that around for me was a simple phrase: “Yes, Lord.”

All it took to change that around was a simple phrase: Yes, Lord. Share on X

It wasn’t a matter of how I felt. It wasn’t about my insecurities and fears. It was about obedience. Once I said “Yes, Lord”—with an emphasis on the word “LORD”—He started doing amazing things to prepare and equip me for the next part of my journey.

I discovered an important truth. If we’re not willing to surrender and sacrifice everything to the Lord—nothing held back, no brakes applied—God can’t fully use us.

We can still do “busy work” for the Lord, but it’s hard to partner in His amazing purposes when we have our own limited agenda.

We have to release the past before we can move forward in strength. We can’t let past failures govern future options. Just as a farmer keeps a careful eye on where the furrow must be plowed, which is forward looking, we must not be distracted or serve the Lord with a divided heart. We need to break away from anything that calls us to look back, or even to stay in the present.

The Lord wants us to walk in Christ’s resurrection power (Ephesians 1:18-20), which enables us to walk as children of light, discerning His will and bearing “the fruit of light” (Ephesians 5:8-17).

The Lord wants us to walk in Christ’s resurrection power. Share on X

In conversations with women, I’ve heard ways they are putting on brakes in their own lives. One woman said she feared what people might think if she moved forward to obey the Lord in regard to ministry. Another cited repeated failures, and how it was simply easier to tolerate her “besetting sin” instead of conquering it. One said, “I don’t know what will happen, and besides, who wants to rock the boat?”

There are two common threads through these and similar responses: fear and disobedience.

We fear what people might think instead of committing to honor the Lord with our obedience. We give in to addictions (idolatries) instead of overcoming them for His glory. Sadly, when we keep putting on the brakes, we fail to become the unique individuals God designed us to be.

I found three simple ways to get moving again.

  1. Ask God for clarity. What does He want you to do?
  2. Ask Him to show you practical habits to cultivate—some would call these daily rituals or disciplines—that will move you forward to accomplish His goals for your life.
  3. Become accountable to someone, or at least to the Lord. Use a check-sheet. Evaluate it once a week. Then let the past go and move forward again by His grace.

If we release the brakes and obediently start acting on a plan to move forward, who knows the amazing places the Lord might take us?

Where are you putting on the brakes in pursuing good health, an organized life, positive relationships, or effective ministry? How can you “release” those brakes today?

Click here to comment.

Dawn Wilson and her husband Bob live in Southern California. They have two married sons and three granddaughters. She is the founder and director of Heart Choices Today, and also publishes LOL with God and Upgrade with Dawn. Dawn also travels with her husband in ministry with the International School Project.

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  1. Melissa Henderson

    “Ask God for clarity.” I love that statement. 🙂

    • Debbie Wilson

      I liked that too, Melissa.

  2. Marilyn

    “Jesus, take the wheel.”

    • Debbie Wilson


  3. Ann

    Beautiful post and reminder. He is “I AM” always now, always in the present moment and that’s where we have to be as well – walking in obedience.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Ann, I love that. “I AM” Always in the now!

  4. Jacqueline Wallace

    This spoke directly to me. Your words hit home because I’m struggling with a writing/marketing issue as well! More about marketing at this point. I want to hear God’s voice clearly, no distractions and no disobedience. Thank you for your challenge and encouragement.

  5. Jacqueline Wallace

    I guess I should say, thank you, Debbie for posting Dawn’s article!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Jacqueline. And yes to clarity and trusting He answers!

  6. Kathy Carlton Willis

    I love the practical helps in this biblically-based article! Thanks for giving tips on how to let go of the things that hold us back!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Kathy!

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