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A Confident Heart Devotional

3 Ways To Boss Your Heart Around


I caught my heart heading to the 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 had just found out 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.

Earlier that week our upstairs air conditioner broke, again. And a week later, we were told our international adoption expenses would not apply as a deduction that year, which meant we owed significantly more on taxes than anticipated. Yet, our savings had been depleted by adoption expenses and failing air conditioning systems.

My heart was overwhelmed. My spirit was depleted. And my body was completely exhausted.

I couldn’t stop worrying about my friend. I couldn’t stop fretting over our finances. And I couldn’t stop wondering, “How am I supposed to rest and relax on vacation with all of this happening?”

Although I had packed my bags for the beach, my heart decided it wasn’t in the mood and started marching straight toward the pit.

I didn’t want to go on vacation, but I didn’t want to camp out in a place of despair either. I knew somebody needed to take charge of my emotions, and my husband knew better than to try. So, I decided it was time to boss my heart around!

King David was really good at getting bossy by telling his heart and soul what to do. In Psalm 103 he starts out with this:

“Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name.” Psalm 103:1

Nothing in me wanted to do this, but even in the midst of my turmoil and troubles, I told my soul to praise the Lord. And I had an attitude about it, too.

This was no “sweet bedtime prayer” talk to my soul. No, I needed a deep-down, preach it to my inmost being sermon: “Renee Swope, GOD IS GOOD no matter what your feelings are telling you!”

Then I bossed my heart with some more Truth and pulled it away from the pit by telling myself to “forget not ALL his benefits” {Psalm 103:2}. Next, I followed King David’s lead by walking down memory lane and reminded my heart how good God is at being God: the One who . . .

Forgives all [my] sins and heals all [my] diseases,
redeems [my] life from the pit
crowns [me] with love and compassion,
satisfies [my] desires with good things
so that [my] youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Psalm 103:3-5

No matter what the answer would be 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 do this. And, my emotions eventually got in line and filed behind my words as they led my heart out of the pit.

My circumstances didn’t change, but my perspective did when I re-directed my thoughts and my focus, which then re-directed my emotions.

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….

Join me on (in)courage, where I’m sharing the rest of my story and 3 steps you can take to “boss your heart” into a good place. Click here and let me know how I can pray for you to be brave and a little bossy with your soul this weekend! 


When Grace Kneels Before You

Welcome Encouragement for Today friends! I’m so glad you hopped over after reading my devotion!  I’ll explain in just a minute how to enter today’s giveaway. But first I want to share 3 ways we can replace our guilt-induced doubt with grace-infused confidence pulled from Day 12 of  my “60-Days to Stop Doubting Yourself Confident Heart Devotional“:

“She never thought anyone would find out about their affair, but now her secret and her sin would be public.

Just as the people gathered in the temple, surrounding Jesus as he sat down to teach them, the teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman who had be caught in the act of adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus,

“Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.” (John 8:2–6)

They hoped Jesus would condemn her, but the opposite happened.

Instead of lording over her, Jesus lowered Himself before her. Grace knelt down to write on the ground. {tweet this?}

“But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. (vv. 6–8)

The Bible doesn’t tell us what Jesus wrote but I’ve always wondered if it was the Ten Commandments, since her accusers said Moses’s law commanded them to stone her. Plus, after writing, Jesus challenged them to examine their own sins and see if any of them were without fault.

When Jesus stooped down to write a second time, perhaps He wrote over the law with redemption. Could it be that He covered the commandments with words like grace, forgiveness, and mercy. Scripture doesn’t say. But we do  know that something radical happened. Everyone dropped their stones and walked away.

“At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?'”

“No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (vv. 9–11)

In my Proverbs 31 Ministries devotion today, I shared about a time when I really blew it and guilt convinced me I was no longer qualified for my calling. But God used my friend and spiritual mentor/mom, MaryAnn Ruff, to show me what the redemption of God’s grace looks like. And ever since that day, Jesus has been teaching me how to replace my guilt-induced doubt with His grace-infused confidence.

3 Ways to Replace Guilt-Induced Doubt with God’s Grace-Infused Confidence


Remember: Remember sin is not who you are; sin is what you do. 
Although Jesus knew this woman had sinned, He made sure she and the crowd knew her sin was not who she was. It was what she had done.

Her sin didn’t get the final say. Jesus did.

Refuse: Refuse condemnation, but lean into loving conviction.
They hoped Jesus would condemn the woman, but the opposite happened. Instead of lording over her, Jesus lowered Himself before her.

When you fall into a trap of the Accuser (Rev. 12:10), close your eyes and picture Jesus – the person of Grace – kneeling down before you, looking into your eyes and loving you out of your sin.

Ask Jesus to help you recognize condemnation’s accusing statements like “You’re a failure” or “You can never be counted on.”Refuse to listen to his lies. Instead lean into God’s loving conviction that is specific. Instead of a broad, sweeping you-are-a-loser label, Jesus will point out our sin and show us what to do to right the wrong.

Instead of “You’re such a failure,” God might say: You were critical in the way you talked to _________ . You need to say you’re sorry and ask forgiveness. Then tell _____ something to build them up.

Replace:  Replace the guilt of sin with God’s redemptive grace.
In the presence of Jesus, the woman’s accusers walked away. He dismissed them one by one, until He was the only one left standing. He replaced their position of authority. He was the only One left speaking into her life.


Jesus help me replace my guilt-induced doubt with God’s grace-infused confidence. @ReneeSwope {click to TWEET}

God’s grace lures us out of darkness; His kindness leads our hearts to repentance. (Romans 2:4)

He wants to draw us away from destructive behaviors that hinder our relationship with Him and others, so we can live in the freedom of His forgiveness and the security of His love.

Lord, You say there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, and my life is hidden in You. Thank You that because of Your love and grace, my sin never gets the final say about me—You do! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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