What's Holding You Back?

Valorie Burton is a bestselling author, speaker, and life coach dedicated
to helping you:

  • Be happier and have more fun, even when life seems routine.
  • Navigate setbacks or disappointments that make you better, not bitter.
  • Make a major life change that's exciting and scary at the same time.

Humility and the Right Place

To say my first year of college was a humbling experience is an understatement.  I went from a high school career good enough to get me into one of the toughest universities in the nation to spending an entire year on academic probation.  I don’t mean “I got a D in one class” academic probation. I mean, like, “I’m failing two classes and thank God swimming is a class because it’s my only hope for a B” academic probation.

Other stuff stressed me out that year, too. Like the average four hours of sleep a night I was getting. Like my parents’ divorce during my first semester. Like the day I was so buckled over with pain on the lower, right side of my abdomen that I had to be wheeled into the emergency room because I could not stand up. They thought maybe it was my appendix. Turned out I needed surgery for an ovarian cyst that burst that morning as I was preparing to march to breakfast with my squadron.  The rigorous physical and military schedule was tough, but that wasn’t what stressed me most. It was the fact that nothing came naturally to me in that environment. It was a true honor to be at the Air Force Academy, but it wasn’t my calling.  Truth is, if I had done well academically, I would have stayed rather than leaving after my first year.  Sometimes you have to fail miserably to be forced onto your right path.

This week, I want to remind you that sometimes an intense struggle isn’t God’s way of teaching you something, but rather God’s way of telling you that are moving in the wrong direction. Rather than forcing something that doesn’t fit or beating yourself up for “not being good enough,” why not ask this question:  Is it possible that there is a better path for me?  One that aligns with my unique gifts and strengths? And if so, what is it?

You must find the right place for you. Whether in your career or relationships, the place that looks impressive to everyone else, may not be the right place for you. A good place isn’t the same as the right place.


My challenge to you:
If you’re moving in the wrong direction, be humble and willing to change course.

Journaling assignment:
In what way(s) are you forcing something to happen that simply is not a good fit? In what way(s) does pride (or caring too much about what others think) keep you moving in a direction that is not meant for you?  What new direction might it be time to embrace? Leave your comments below; I’d love to hear from you!

It’s Time to Make a Bold Decision!

I’m not sure who this message is for, but I felt a strong urge to write it, so since you’re reading it, perhaps I wrote it just for you. It’s short and sweet. Enjoy…

A real sign of growing up spiritually and emotionally occurs when you stop making decisions based on everyone else’s expectations. You end unhealthy relationships, take a leap of faith towards a new career path, or speak up for what is right. Some decisions in life are tough. Some conversations are uncomfortable. Some choices will not be popular. And yet, there are moments when you are called to go against popular opinion and stand apart from the crowd. When you lay your head down at night, there is no better feeling than being at peace with God. If you must compromise that peace in order to please others, you’ve compromised everything. Don’t do it.

This week, I feel led to encourage you to be bold and courageous in your decisions. Pray. Listen. Don’t overanalyze. Don’t “super-spiritualize” it either. Sometimes we pray for an answer, and when the prayers get answered through a person or event or opportunity, we don’t recognize it because it’s not a booming voice coming down from heaven. Use your common sense. Some decisions don’t require prayer when God has blessed you with the common sense to make the right choice. As a friend once told me as I agonized over making a change, “You’re like the frog in a pot of cool water who didn’t notice that the heat had been turned up and the water was starting to boil. All he had to do is jump out of the pot!”

Don’t worry about what others think. Do what you know is right. Your choices are between you and God. No one else has to live your life – or your consequences.

My challenge to you this week:
Rather than people-pleasing, be bold and courageous in your decisions.

Journaling assignment:
What decision am I hesitating about? Who am I trying to please? In my current situation, what would a bold and courageous decision look like? Leave your comments below; I’d love to hear from you!