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Tag Archives: Renee Swope

  • Sometimes I Have to Boss My Heart Around

    Posted on November 14, 2012 by Renee Swope

    Renee

    "Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—" Psalm 103:1-2 (NIV)

    I caught my heart heading to a pit of discouragement for spring break. It was supposed to go to the beach with my family and me, but it was not cooperating.

    We had been hit by one emotional and financial crisis after another. A close friend learned that, after a year's worth of abdominal pain, extreme fatigue, and an undiagnosed illness, she had a large tumor that appeared to be ovarian cancer.

    Then our upstairs air conditioner broke, again. And that same week, we found out our international adoption expenses would not apply as a deduction that year, which meant we owed significantly more on taxes than we anticipated. Yet our savings had been poured into our adoption and our air conditioning systems.

    My mind was divided. My spirit was depleted. And my body was exhausted.

    I couldn't stop worrying about my friend. I couldn't stop thinking about our finances. How was I supposed to rest and relax with all we had going on?

    Although I had packed my bags for the beach, my heart had decided it wasn't in the mood for vacation. It was marching straight toward the pit.

    But as much as I didn't want to go on vacation, I knew I didn't want to dwell in a place of despair or pull my family in with me. It wasn't part of God's plans—nor mine.

    Eventually I realized I was going to have to boss my heart around!

    King David was really good at telling his heart and soul what to do. In Psalm 103 he said: "Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name" (vs. 1). I decided to follow his example. In the midst of my turmoil and troubles, I told my soul to praise the Lord.

    Now this wasn't a superficial "say your bedtime prayers" talk to my soul. No, this was a deep-down, preach it to my inmost being, "GOD IS GOOD no matter what your feelings are telling you" sermon. I bossed my heart with Truth and pulled it away from the pit by telling myself to "forget not ALL his benefits" (Ps. 103:2).

    Then I walked my heart down memory lane, reminding it of the One who:
    Forgives all [my] sins and heals all [my] diseases,
    who redeems [my] life from the pit
    and crowns [me] with love and compassion,
    who satisfies [my] desires with good things
    so that [my] youth is renewed like the eagle's. (Ps. 103:3-5 NIV)

    No matter what the answer was to my friend's diagnosis, or how costly our air conditioner was going to be, or how much we owed on taxes—my soul needed to praise the Lord. My heart needed me to ...
    Remember Who He is.
    Thank Him for what He had done in the past.
    Trust Him for what He would do in the future.

    My circumstances didn't change but my perspective did. By re-directing my thoughts and my focus, I was able to re-direct my emotions. And our spring break wasn't ruined after all.

    Every time I was tempted to start worrying about what might be, I used King David's prayer to focus on what was, is, and will forever be-God's faithfulness to walk by my side and navigate my heart through the valleys of life.

    Are there circumstances that have pulled you into a place of discouragement? Do you have concerns that are causing your thoughts to head down a path of despair? I pray you won't go there.

    Today you can be the boss of your emotions by telling your heart what to do-and if you have to get a little bossy, that's okay too!

    Dear Lord, please help me trust You and empower me through Your Spirit to stop my emotions from bossing me around. I want to quit worrying about what might happen and focus on what has already happened by remembering and praising You for Your faithfulness in my life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    This devotion was taken in part from Renee's Swope's best-selling book, A Confident Heart: How to Stop Doubting Yourself & Live in the Security of God's Promises.

    LET. IT. GO. How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith, by Karen Ehman, will empower and equip you to control what you should and trust God with what you can't.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Are there concerns that are causing your thoughts to head down a path of despair?

    Every time you're tempted to worry about what might be, use King David's prayer to focus on what was, is, and will forever be-God's faithfulness to walk by your side and navigate your heart through the valleys of life.

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 43:5, "Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God!" (NLT)

    © 2012 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org

  • When You Feel Like Your Not Enough

    Posted on October 30, 2012 by Renee Swope

    Renee

    "When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'" (John 8:12 NIV)

    I had that awful yucky feeling of not being enough ... not smart enough or good enough. For weeks I felt inadequate and incompetent about everything–from the way I parented to the way I served God in ministry to the way I organized my time and my life.

    I had begged God to take away my feelings of insecurity. Though He didn't answer the way I hoped, He showed me what I needed to see in the most unexpected way.

    One afternoon, I was putting on make-up in my bathroom when I noticed a huge nine-foot shadow on the wall behind me. And as I stood there looking at the humongous shadow, it dawned on me: all of my insecurities were creating a huge shadow over my soul–a shadow of doubt.

    That day in my bathroom, I came to two important realizations. First, I could only see the shadow when I turned away from the light. And second, I was creating the shadow by blocking the light from the wall.

    Shadows are created all around us when something blocks light, and so it is with the shadow of doubt.

    When we focus our thoughts on ourselves and how inadequate we feel, or what others think about us and how we're performing, we cast a shadow of doubt in our minds by blocking the light of God's Truth in our hearts.

    But we were not designed to block the light. We were created to live in the Light by focusing on what God thinks about us instead of what we think about ourselves.

    Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12b NIV) When we follow Jesus closely and completely in our thoughts, turning away from doubts and lies, we can find lasting security and confidence in Him.

    That afternoon, I realized my self-doubt wasn't going to just go away. I had to purposefully shift my focus from my feelings of inadequacy to God's promises of His all-sufficiency and grace in my life.

    I had to choose to focus on truth {the Light} so I could exchange my feelings of low self-confidence with lasting "God-fidence."

    Feeling paralyzed and stuck in a place of insecurity is not where God intends for us to live. When Jesus spoke to the people in John 8:12, He called them out of darkness.

    Now He's calling you - to step of out of the shadows of doubt so that you can become the God-fident women He created you to be. A woman whose assurance and soul-security is found in what He says and thinks about her.

    And, the next time you feel your heart dwelling in the shadow of self-doubt, ask God to replace your lack of self-confidence with lasting soul-confidence as you turn towards the Light and focus your thoughts on His truths:

    When you feel inadequate, God says: You are CHOSEN. "'You are my witnesses,' declares the Lord, 'and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he.'" (Isa. 43:10a NIV)

    When you feel unstable, God says: You are ABLE. "The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights." (Hab. 3:19 NIV)

    When you feel unworthy, God says: You are PRECIOUS and LOVED. "... you are precious and honored in my sight, and ... I love you." (Isa. 43:4a NIV)

    Dear Lord, You say I am a chosen woman, a royal priest, a holy daughter, a woman belonging to You. Help me believe that and live beyond the shadows of my doubts as I follow and focus on the Light of Your truth today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    In her book, A Confident Heart: How to Stop Doubting Yourself & Live in the Security of God's Promises, Renee helps you see how self-doubt overshadows your heart and how it can hold you back from all God has for you! Then she equips you to overcome your doubts and live with lasting confidence in ways you never thought possible.

    Reflect and Respond:
    "I had to choose to focus on truth {the Light} so I could exchange my feelings of low self-confidence with lasting "God-fidence."

    Power Verse:
    Romans 8:6, "For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace ..." (NASB)

    © 2012 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org

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