Treading Water

Hi friends! How are you? I’ve been treading water these days. The good news is that I am treading Living Water. Not only treading but gulping too. It’s been good and God has been so amazingly faithful to provide many things I have needed the past several days.

I had 10 new radio shows due today and pretty much wrote them in 2 hours last night. That’s a record breaker for me!

I needed to edit them down some today before I sent them to our radio consultant for review so I know a sigh with big relief – whew they are done! For today anyway. Next week I’ll get them back with revisions and then I’ll start practicing them for recording next Wednesday.

I also had a batch of P31 devotions to review today and those are done, too! Whoo Hoo!

Also, for the past week, I’ve been part of a project to connect P31 with Amani, a ministry we are going to promote through P31. It’s a really amazing event that is coming to Charlotte next month. (Click here to find out more).

Amani is a ministry in Africa that’s bringing 18 women from war-torn areas to the US to do a high-end fashion show with clothing and accessories they have made to sell and support other women there. The fashion show will be interwoven with their testimonies of absolute transformation from brokenness to hope and redemption through Christ. Our family has signed up to host two of the women in our home while they are here.

I am so excited and a little nervous. I am excited to learn more about Africa from women who are much like the mother of the daughter(s) we will adopt. And I’m hoping they can teach me how to cook African food. That is what I am most nervous about – providing them with food they’ll like and a place to stay that is comfortable for them. It’s so different here. I am sure it will be a bit overwhelming for them, too.

Another big chunk of time has been very well spent the past week or so while I’ve been digging into the Word to prepare for a retreat I am doing this weekend and next weekend in New Hampshire. I’ve developed new outlines, new small group questions, new power points, etc. Fun and challenging all at the same time!

Now I am going to go rest and hang out with my guys before we all go to bed.

Oh, and one more thing I’ve been wanting to ask you – my bloggy friends and oh so wise counselors! One of my sessions for my retreat is about resting in Christ in the midst of worries, concerns and busy schedules. I want to talk to the women about having a rested heart and spirit even if our bodies might not be able to be still as much as we want or need. I will address how we can create those down times. But what I’d love to know is this:

What do you worry about most?

How do you find “rest” in Him when you are struggling with those worries, upset about things, or just feeling restless? What do you do?

PS. Thanks for your prayers for me as the Lord has prompted some of you. I have no doubt that is how I have been able to accomplish all that He’s called me to do this past week. I treasure your prayers more than I can say. They carry me!

About Renee

Renee Swope is a Word-lover, story-teller, heart-encourager and grace-needer. She's also a wife, mom, friend, daughter and author of A Confident Heart, a Retailers Choice Award winning book that became a best-seller and has been published in six languages, with over 150,000 copies sold. Renee is speaks around the country at women's events and and serves on the writing team for DaySpring’s inCourage blog. For twenty years, Renee served in leadership at Proverbs 31 Ministries and as former co-host of the ministry's radio program, “Everyday Life with Lysa & Renee.

Comments

  1. Hi Renee,

    So glad your writing went smoothly.

    What do I worry about?

    How am I going to get “it all” done?

    I lie in bed with all of these thoughts running through my head about everything that needs to be done. I feel like I’m always playing catch up.

    Will I ever find victory over my besetting sins?

    Finances…that’s a big one.

    The preception of others…

    How do I “rest” in the midst of anxious circumstances? I pray a lot, I read encouraging scripture and godly books, and I surround myself with godly people.

  2. Ohhh New Hampshire this time of year!!! Blessed you!!!

    My greatest “worry” is my kiddos. their choices. I pray-pray-pray. And He is faithful-faithful-faithful.

  3. Without a doubt, my children’s safety and their salvation.

    This is how I rest in Him. I kneel down and then fall forward with my face on the ground and pray. I have a little space behind our bed where it’s private and no one can see me. I also sometimes stay like that and listen. It’s very comforting.

  4. It's a good job you asked what do I worry about MOST. I am a natural 'worrier' and it's a constant surrender DAILY to walk in freedom from worries. Anyway, I think my biggest worries are personal concerns. I seem to be able to trust God with everyone else's prayer requests, and know and believe that He's working on their behalf, but when it comes to my 'worries' they seem to multiply and become greater than reality.

    Health issues always seem to be a biggy. When I think of that, it's not because I'm afraid to die – I know where I'm going, but I love living and I worry about my son not having the influence of a Mom.

    Worry seems to breed fear in my heart as well….and you know the battle that has been. BUT, I have seen God's faithfulness as I've trusted Him in my worry and fear.

    When worries attack, I find scripture to counter-attack. For example, if I'm going through a difficult time physically with some problems and Dr's appointments, I remember that "it is appointed unto man once to die" and know that not even disease or a scary diagnosis can change the time God has chosen to call me home – a day chosen before I was even born.

    Besides reading and claiming scripture, I visualize something I first learned/heard from Lysa. I remember in Philippians where it says, "The Lord is near. Don't worry about anything…" Phil 4:5-7 I imagine the Lord sitting right with me and in His presence worries flee.

    Thanking the Lord for all He is enabling you to accomplish. Praying for your speaking retreats and for your time with the African house guests. Cooking for others? Another huge worry for me! I'm not at home in the kitchen – ever!!! May the Lord bless your endeavors!

    Love & prayers,
    Joy

  5. I worry about anything I can’t control. So.. everything! Money, raising kids, the safety of loved ones… I have to balance what I know with what I feel. I can’t trust my emotions when they don’t line up with what the Bible says. So I give all the worries and emotions that go with them, to Him. I may have to do it a dozen times in one hour, but eventually I am able to leave them with Him. His word says that “my God shall supply all yours needs..” so my emotions don’t line up when I’m worrying about my husband losing his job. So I have to give those over. It doesn’t mean they’re not real or valid but just untrue. I still struggle a lot but He is helping me get there.

  6. Hi Renee,

    Just wanted you to know that you have been in my thoughts and prayers. One of the deepest concerns of our hearts right now is my husband’s job situation. He has had an extremely stressful time since early June when he received a new boss. After much prayer we have felt led for him to look for a new job. The waiting and being in limbo has been difficult.

    After his first job interview we received a definite no. We had been praying for a specific answer. Last week he had another interview at a different company and this time the answer was wait. This is something that I don’t always do well. This is probably the job that we most desire – a small company owned by a Christian man and many of the coworkers are Christian as well.

    Well, we are to hear this week whether or not they want him or not. In the mean time I have seen a lot of job potentials in his area of expertise being posted on the web. But we have felt that we need to not pursue anything else until we receive this answer, but just wait on the Lord and trust in Him. For the most part I have been at peace, but I guess sometimes I get a little nervous, the later in the week it gets and we still haven’t heard anything. I keep going back to my Heavenly Father’s feet and asking Him to carry the load and that I will be able to just rest in Him.

    I will be praying for you as you head to New England this weekend. Hopefully the leaves have started changing there and it will be beautiful. I know the weather has been wonderful here – in the 70’s. I think tomorrow is to only be in the 60’s. My kind of Fall weather.

    Take care and May God truly bless you and give you what you need for each day.

    Blessings,
    Jodie

  7. Be still and know….be still and know that I am God. I’ve heard the verse all my life. Psalm 46:10. You probably have too. We all probably have it somewhere on a t-shirt, a card, a bookmark, bumper sticker, and probably a paper weight or two has been given for gifts that have that verse etched on it. A nice reminder. Be still and know that I am God. How many times has it been just a reminder? Honestly for me, it is just that… a nice reminder. I do know and understand that He is God. I understand what it means to be still…for a time. I understood what be still meant one Sunday morning when my Daddy was preaching and well, that’s another story. I really like the idea. I want to be still. I have so much to do… I have two babies at home…How can you be still with an 18month old on the loose? And it begins to wear on me, the pressures of life mound up around me, and I cry out for rest. But, I remember, I have been still. I’m still before God each day for a quiet time. I’m still before God every Sunday for worship. I did learn that lesson, by the way.

    I was visiting a friend in the hospital. A sudden heart problem brought his life to a halt instantly. He told me that it took this heart problem, a life threatening problem, to get his attention. He was forced to be still. But it mentioned it in different way. Sometimes reading the same verse we’ve read for years is brought to new life for us by reading it in a different translation. In the New American Standard Version of the Bible, Psalm 46:10 reads a bit differently than what most of us memorized. It says, “Cease striving and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.” Cease striving… That opened my eyes to see my life so differently. Cease striving…

    To strive after something is looked at as noble…a good thing to do. The dictionary defines the word strive as to devote serious effort or energy. That sounds like a good thing to do. We applaud strong work ethic, and serious efforts of students, and athletes, and business men and women. We applaud the serious efforts and energy put forth to maintain our schedules. But then the second definition, probably the better definition says the word strive means to struggle in opposition. The word is derived from the words meaning to quarrel, to fight, to contend. Our word for strife is from the same derivative. Cease striving and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth. Oh, I was striving…I was seeing quickly how my serious efforts were actually works in opposition of really knowing that He is God. My mind was suddenly flooded with thoughts. He was telling me….Maybe he’s telling all of us…

    Cease striving after the next big deal at work and know that I own the cattle on the hills

    Cease striving to find the money to pay the bills and know that I am Your Faithful Provider

    Cease striving to have to the perfect high school resume for colleges and know that I am the Open Door. I will provide the way.

    Cease striving to find the perfect spouse and know that I am Your Bridegroom

    Cease striving to cover up the mess of my life with bandages and make up and know that I am Your Healing.

    Cease striving to follow the right career path and know that I am Your Shepherd; I will guide you

    Cease striving to be accepted and know that I am Your Father and I have covered you with grace

    Those verses say so much to us individually but they also speak to us as a church…Cease striving and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.

    What are we doing that is in opposition, or contending, or causing strife….What should cease? He will be exalted among the nations. He will be exalted in the earth. He wants us to join Him in that. We don’t want to miss it.

    Cease striving…Be still….know that I am God.

  8. Hi Renee,
    I’m a single mom with 2 kids. I worry about finances, losing my job in today’s economy, and raising them without a Godly male influence.

    I surrender each morning during my quiet time and REFUSE to let my boss or Satan steal my joy. I recite scripture and pray at lunch especially during stressful days (yesterday I walk around and around the building praying). I recite Psalm 46:10. I loved the previous post about that verse. I printed it and will read it daily.

    Thank you for sharing with us.

    Tonya

  9. Glad to hear that God is bathing you in His Living Water! What a wonderful word picture. It makes me think of a baby sitting in the tub and Papa gently pouring water over her head and her giggling with delight.

    My big three worries:

    1)When I am experiencing difficulty in my marriage.
    2)When I am experiencing difficulty with my son.
    3)Financial hardship.

    Any time I am faced with one of these worries, the only way I can get through the day is to ‘bathe’ myself in more of God. Be that through more time spent in His word, more prayer, more quite time or more worship and praise.

    In times of stress or worry, my first reaction is to act based upon feelings. NOT GOOD! I must refocus myself to hear God’s truth and trust in His love, goodness and grace in my life. It helps to remember that this life and any difficulty that is experienced along the way, is but a vapor.

    Now, am I good at doing all of that? No. But I am getting better, with daily practice and being intentional.

    Be blessed sweet sister!

  10. Renee,

    I am glad the writing is going well. It was good to see you post.
    I struggle with making sure that my boys never have should of’s, could of’s or would of’s. At the same time trying to be sure I am the best parent I can be to them. Watching them struggle is so hard for me to do. But I know it is important to all them to fall sometimes. The kids today don’t face same issues we did. Everything is maginified and over rated. I took my middle son’s cell phone away a couple weeks ago. He was so lost without it that he carried a pack of gum around in his pocket. There is so much in our world that can slip into their hearts and minds without the foundation of the Lord.
    I just have to say to myself at the end of the day, be sure to be in their lives as much as possible. The most important thing for my family is to make sure they always have a soft place to fall, home.
    Thanks,
    Diane

  11. Hi Renee.
    This is probably more than you want to know and probably much deeper than you wanted but my worries….

    I believe I’ve written you via email and told you so it’s no surprise but I do worry over my absolutely dead divorced marriage being restored for God’s glory. My husb—my beloved is a Christian man of 43 years and I worry about him never realizing how bad satan has gravely deceived him and tricked his sweet soul. Satan has fed him lie after lie about God saying our covenant was broken (nope, notta) and has convinced him he’s okay with God (not sinning through unbiblical divorce). He’s even used scripture sorely out of context to defend his reasoning. It just breaks my heart that satan is having a hay day with beloved and beloved doesn’t have a clue that he’s been tricked by the enemy. He thinks he has God’s blessing and he doesn’t. (I’m no way judging another reader who may have been through divorce but in my case it’s an obvious sin and obvious play from satan.)

    Okay, then I worry about when my house will ever sell. I was left with the house we had together and it’s been on the market 15 months. In the last two months I’ve actually felt ready and I’m excited to buy a smaller place that I can manage financially and physically on my own. It’s so stressful to have a house on the market and the demand to keep it tip-top shape. Just like it’s being shown tomorrow at 10:30 (Fri) and I have to run home and have an evening full of cleaning.

    I just want to be done with the house. I’m thankful for the beautiful place God’s provided BUT only, but only if He’d sell it, I could move on with my life as it is now UNTIL He answers and provides my mighty miracle of reconciliation. I guess I see a new house as a toy and a distraction to keep my attention on decorating and landscaping a new place.

    I worry with my physical appearance. My desire to lose about ten pounds and my long desire to be healed from a “bad” complexion from which I’ve suffered most all 34 years of my life.

    I didn’t mean to overload you. I’m sure you wanted less deep issues of worry but these are it for me and for now and the last 15 months. I long for the day I can worry about smaller things…I don’t even know what others worry about except for kids, which I don’t have and don’t believe I will.

    Oh, how do I overcome them. Scripture. I find so much hope in scripture. One that was given to me today is Heb. 6:15, he endured patiently and he received the promise.

    Verses on waiting are helpful. Scripture that speaks of the benefits of waiting like the Lord being good to those who wait (Lam. 3:25) or how we gain strength and other spiritual gains from waiting. Verses on trials give me hope. To know that there is purpose in my trials. Verses like Rom 8:28, Jer. 29:11, Prov. 3:5-6. Sometimes, I have to literally repeat them over and over and slowly. Almost like forcing them past my brain and into my heart. I have them on my heart and mind but they need to make it fully into my heart. You know what I mean?

    Again, forgive me for the book but love me all the same for it. 🙂

    I don’t always comment but I always check your blog.
    Blessings,
    Paula

  12. As someone already wrote, I worry about what I cannot control. But what I have learned to do, is to sit at His feet and pour my heart out to Him in praise of His goodness to me. Or I cry to Him. But I don’t leave my private time with Him until I 1)feel relief from the worry or 2)until He has given me a Word to hang on to. It really is all about worship during the storm, doubt, trials of life. My focus must be on Him, not my problem. And I must sit at His feet until He has re-focused my spiritual eyes to see things His way.
    “Oh, what peace we often forfeit, oh what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer.”
    May God bless you with His peace as you praise Him,
    Karan

  13. Hi Renee,
    What do I worry about? What people think of me – a pointless worry when God is the only audience that matters. Can I do it – another waste of time, His strength is sufficient. As you know the list goes on, but wanted to focus on your other question this morning, how do I rest?
    The best thing for me, is to be alone and quiet, with three little ones it is a challenge, but it’s worth the effort. God can speak to me and remind me of the truth. In the daily routine, I find music can give some rest or at least provide perspective along with prayer, the word and talks with my husband and sisters in Christ.
    Pray your weekend goes well.

  14. Hi Renee,
    What do I worry about?
    Well, right now, my husband’s machinist union is on strike at Boeing here in the Seattle area. The strike is now going into it’s 3rd week, and that means no paycheck, except for $150 a week strike pay which starts next week. So I worry about paying bills. But to rest, I just have to make myself stop and remember God is our provider, it’s all His anyway, and I can get to see Him action (and already have) taking care of us.

  15. I’m praying for your talks. I know God will touch women through you.

    Amy

  16. Hello Renee.

    I am always blessed to read your blog–thanks.

    I worry about my children–their health, future, temptations they will face, their salvation. I worry if I am being a good mother. I worry about my husband, his happiness, his health. I worry about my family members and their salvation.
    To keep my eyes on God and not on these worries, I remember who God is. I think about what He has done for me in the past. I think about all I have read in the Bible that tells about his omnipotence, faith and power. I have to turn it over to Him because He is in control. I KNOW He loves me and pray that His will is done. It is a struggle but I have to let God win.

    Thanks for sharing your worries, Paula. My prayers will be with you and your husband.

    Jill

  17. Renee, That fashion show sounds wonderful! One of our dear friends is from Nigeria and he comes to the U.S. several times a year. His sister made me a beautiful traditional African dress that I cherish. I LOVE people from Africa and have found them to be very refined, dignified, and SOLD OUT to the Lord. I hope you have fun with these ladies and if you want to borrow my dress just let me know.

  18. I think one of the best things we can do for our worries is replace it with gratitude. Finding praise and thankully acknowledging it to our Lord can mold and change a worried heart!

    In His Graces~Pamela

  19. Hi Renee! I worry about my kids. When my kids are okay, I am okay. When the kids are not okay, I am a wreck! I also worry about getting everything done as a working mom with a husband who is often traveling.

    Thanks or listening! Love in Christ, Steph.

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