When You Feel Like You Can’t Measure Up

Welcome friends! I have some awesome giveaways for you, and a beautiful FREE printable bookmark packed with God’s truths about you! Keep reading to find out more…

Do you ever compare yourself to other women and feel like you don’t measure up?
Maybe you feel think you’re not as smart, pretty, fun, organized or as good at _______ as they are.

I’m sharing my heart over at P31 today about how easy it is to think that if we had more or knew more, we’d be secure. But the truth is, even people who have it all still struggle with feelings of insecurity. The Bible opens with teh story of a woman who had everything but it still wasn’t enough (Genesis 2).

Even though God established Eve’s worth as His child; the crown of His creation and lavished her with gifts of intimacy, beauty, security, significance, and purpose – it wasn’t enough. Satan convinced Eve to take her eyes off what she did have and focus on what she didn’t have.

Have you also heard Satan’s whispers, saying  you’re not all you could be — or should be?

Just like Eve, you and I have an enemy. The Bible calls him the father of lies, and tell us there is no truth in him (John 8:44). Interestingly, the meaning of the word lie  is “a falsehood with the intent to deceive.”

Satan doesn’t just lie. He has intends to deceive us by getting us to take our eyes off of who we are and what we have in Christ. It’s exactly what he did with Eve:

“Then the eyes of both [Adam and Eve] were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’

He answered, ‘I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.’” (Gen. 3:7–11)

In response, God asks who told them they were naked. In other words, “Who told you that something is wrong with you? By asking this, God made sure they knew someone was casting shame on them—and it wasn’t Him. 

The enemy whispered lies into their hearts, causing them to move away from Him and from each other.

Satan’s intent for us is exactly the same as it was for Eve. He wants us to believe his deceptions and fall into the distraction of feeling inadequate, insecure and like we’ll never measure up. But we don’t have to go along with him. Instead we can pray, “Lord, help me recognize Satan’s lies, refuse his temptations and rely on Your truth about me instead.”

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If we have put our trust in Jesus as our Savior, we can stand on the promises of who we are in Him. And when we are tempted to measure up, we can choose to focus “up” instead as we rely on these truths to remind our hearts of who you are in Christ.

I am accepted . . .

  • I am God’s child. John 1:12
  • I have been bought with a price and I belong to God. 1 Corinthians 6:19–20
  • I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child. Ephesians 1:3–8
  • I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ. Hebrews 4:14–16

I am secure . . .

  • I am assured that God works for my good in all circumstances. Romans 8:28
  • I am free from condemnation. I cannot be separated from God’s love. Romans 8:31–39
  • I have been established, anointed, and sealed by God. 2 Corinthians 1:21–22
  • I am hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:1–4
  • I am confident God will complete the good work He started in me. Philippians 1:6
  • I have been given a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

I am significant . . .

  • I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit. John 15:16
  • I am a minister of reconciliation for God. 2 Corinthians 5:17–21
  • I am seated with Jesus Christ in the heavenly realm. Ephesians 2:6
  • I am God’s workmanship. Ephesians 2:10
  • I may approach God with freedom and confidence. Ephesians 3:12
  • I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

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For MORE ENCOURAGEMENT

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ENTER TO WIN the “Contagious Confidence” Give-Away!

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One winner will receive a copy of  my book A Confident Heart  and a beautiful 8×10 “All Things Through Christ” canvas!

 

 

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Plus 3 more winners will be chosen to receive either a set of Confident Heart postcards, a set of 32 Confident Heart scripture cards OR my new 100-day Confident Heart HeartLifter, created by my friends at DaySpring and inCourage!

 

 

ENTER TO WIN by clicking “share your thoughts” below this post and simply share the truth from today’s post/devotion that spoke to your heart most OR which “Who I am in Christ…” promise you’re holding onto today! Your comment will place your name into the drawing to win!

PS. Wanna help make today’s encouragement contagious?
Just click the share buttons below. It’s super easy!

When You Don’t Want To Be A Burden

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It was supposed to be a prayer request, but my email started out more like an apology. I needed friends to pray, yet I was hesitant to ask. I didn’t want my burdens to burden them.

They already had so many problems of their own: illnesses, a job loss, death of a loved one,  relationship strains, overwhelming stress, and overloaded schedules.

I questioned whether my need rated high enough on the urgency “Richter scale.”

Was it really bad enough to ask for prayer, or should I wait to see how things turned out?

The first sentence in my email went something like this: “I hate to add to your list of burdens, but I need prayer for JJ.”

A routine check-up and blood tests results earlier that month caused my husband’s doctor to be concerned about his liver, which led to a biopsy that week. We didn’t know whether it would be anything serious in the end. I just knew I didn’t want to walk through it alone in fear… {keep reading here}

Ever hesitate to ask others for prayer, because you don’t want to be a burden?  Join me at inCourage where I’m sharing the rest of this story, and what God is teaching me about letting others walk by our side, down a path we were never intended to walk alone. I’d love to pray for you today. Join me here

Hoping you see this in time! {ends at midnight}

Some affiliate links are in this post. You can read my disclosure page here.

Mar 2016 ebook .99

Guess what?? I just found out the eBook of A Confident Heart is ON SALE for ONLY $ .99
until midnight today – 3/15/16! {TWEET THIS}

I found out through these sweet tweets below.

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And gosh, I hope my post doesn’t feel sales-y. If I could give each of YOU a copy to keep and give away,
I would!!  I guess that’s why I always tell you guys about these “almost free” deals! And I pray it’s a blessing- not a burden. :)


Spring 2016 Ebook DETAILS button

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE

PS. I’m thinking about hosting a Summer BOOK CLUB with A Confident Heart. 
My heart really needs a refresher. And I’d love to read it with you!

Would you be interested in an online Confident Heart book club?
If so, you can sign up for my Sweet Summer ’16 Book Club interest list below. {I promise not to share your email with anyone}

If you are reading this via email, please CLICK HERE to go to my blog
to enter your details for the interest list. THANKS!!

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Lord, I Want to Know You {printable + giveaway}

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I used to be afraid to trust God. 
And it bothered me.

I wanted to slip my hand in His and let Him lead.

I wanted to put my concerns in His capable arms 

and believe He could take better care of them than I could. 

I wanted to have more faith.

But I didn’t. And one day I realized why.

It’s hard to trust someone we don’t really know.

Therein was the reason for my hearts hesitancy to fully rely on God.

You see, I knew a lot about God but I didn’t really know God.

So I decided to start spending time with Him like a friend, getting to know Him.

Talking to Him with simple-sentence and conversational prayers

listening to Him through promises in His Word

depending on Him in different circumstances

relying on Him in faith as I struggled with different fears.

Over time my “knowing” and trusting God got stronger and stronger.

And my depth of dependence grew as I depended on Him and found He is dependable. 

What about you? Do you ever struggle with trusting God, like really trusting Him and fully relying on Him to meet your needs like I have? One thing that has really helped me get to know God and push through my fear of dependence is remembering the names of God and giving Him a chance to show me the faithfulness of His character through the power of His names.

The truth is we can’t know God as Jehovah Jireh, our Provider, if we aren’t in need. And when we are, we can learn to trust Him as we depend on Him to meet ours needs. The more we do this, the more our trust will deepen and our relationship with Christ with be strengthened.

Our confidence in Him will grow as we live in the powerful promise of this beautiful verse: “Those who know your name trust you, O LORD, because you have never deserted those who seek your help” (Psalm 9:10). Let’s pray: Lord, I want to know You for who You really are. I desire to trust and follow You more and more each day.

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Knowing God By Name – printable
I’d love to send you a FREE “Knowing God By Name” printable. Simply enter your email below ( I promise not to share it with anyone.)

 

ENTER TO WIN: I Know His Name by Wendy Blight

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My friend, Wendy Blight, has written a five-session Bible study about discovering power in the names of God. This study is for any woman who wants to move beyond simply knowing about God to really knowing God in a very personal way. This study will help women to:

  •  Realize their infinite worth as they explore the nature of the God who created and formed them.
  •  Live with bold assurance that their God is a personal God who sees them, hears them, and knows them by name.
  •  Walk confidently in knowing both who they are and Whose they are.
  •  Arm themselves with seven tools to pray more confidently and effectively in any situation or circumstance.
  •  Transform their walk with Jesus as they discover how He fulfills the Old Testament names of God.

ENTER TO WIN by sharing why you’d like to study this topic and have a copy of Wendy’s new book. Simply click SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS below. One winner will be randomly selected on Friday and notified via email.

Lord, I Need Your Help

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One evening after an intense “discussion,” my husband, J. J., told me that no matter what he did or how hard he tried, it was never enough for me.

He was right. I constantly found fault with him as a husband and as a dad.

But when he implied that I was impossible to please . . . well, that sent my already-out-of-control emotions reeling. I grabbed my coat and stormed out the front door. Hot tears streamed down my cheeks as I replayed our conversation in my head.

I was determined to figure out what J. J.’s problem was and get Jesus to fix him. So I started filing complaints against my husband in what you might call a prayer. And I finally heard myself — all the ugliness, all the anger. That’s when I realized, I need help.

I needed God to help me figure out— after seven years of a happy marriage — how we had gotten to this ugly place.

Instead of just crying, I found myself crying out to God for help.

King David had a habit of crying out to God for help when he was in distress. In Psalm 18:6 he wrote,

“In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help.” {NIV}

One Bible scholar notes that the phrase, “‘In my distress’ refers, most probably, not to any particular case, but rather indicates [David’s] general habit of mind, that when he was in deep distress and danger he had uniformly called upon the Lord, and had found Him ready to help.”

That night, when I stopped talking and started listening, I sensed God showing me I wanted J. J. to make up for all the ways my dad had fallen short as a father to me and as a husband to my mom.

Years as a child in a broken home with a broken heart had led to a significant sense of loss and deep disappointment. Yet, up to that point, I had never grieved the happily-ever-after that I longed for but didn’t have.

My unfulfilled hopes had become bitter expectations… [keep reading here]

Is there a place in your life where you could use God’s help? I’d love to pray with you today. Join me at inCourage where I’ve shared the rest of this story and how God became my help plus a simple prayer for YOU today. I’d love to be praying for you and with you! Join me here.

When You Feel Discouraged {a promise & a prayer}

The other day I had a hard conversation with a friend and her criticism towards me stuck to my heart like dried up Crazy Glue.

I tried to stop thinking about our conversation, but I couldn’t. And as the day went on, my heart started sinking into discouragement. Eventually my runaway thoughts were woven into a prayer for help.

Lord, show me what I need to do to let this go. I need your help.

Within minutes, these words from one of my favorite verses came to mind, “a generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25

I knew it was God’s way of telling me what to do next. My magic memory eraser wasn’t working. The way I could overcome my discouragement was by pouring encouragement into someone else.

So, I texted my friend Angela to see if she wanted to lunch the next day.

And it worked. We met for lunch and I gave her my full attention. Asking about her kids, telling her what a great mom she is… giving her all of me changed everything.

Somehow in God’s economy of grace, when we give we get.
When we pour out, He fills us up.

Encourage Someone Else


When I feel discouraged Lord, show me who to encourage

When I feel sad Jesus, show me how to give someone a little bit of happy.

When I feel forgotten, show me who in my life needs to feel seen. 

When I feel like I have nothing to offer, remind me that the greatest offering I have is YOU. 

Help me give Your love, Your attention, Your encouragement, Your smile to someone today.

When Change Is Inevitable & Hope is Optional

This post includes some affiliates links. You can find our disclosure page here.

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Sometimes you must leave the comfort of what is to embrace the potential of what will be.  @KristenStrong | #GirlMeetsChange {Click to Tweet}

I love these words written by my friend Kristen Strong in her wonderful book,Girl Meets Change: truths to carry you through life’s transitionsGod is stretching me with Kristen’s words, encouraging me to open my hands and let go of what is or what I thought would be, that isn’t – so I can embrace the potential of what will be.

Today, I got to hang out with Kristen and talk about change, and her book on BLAB! Have you heard of BLAB? It was new to me but so fun!! Anyway, we spent time together in a live video conversation with our two dear friends, Crystal Stine and Jennifer Dukes Lee.

We shared our struggles and our stories; how we’re learning to stay close to Jesus in the midst of hard transitions. I also shared some practical ways Ive had to make adjustments so my heart can survive and my family can thrive in the midst of big and difficult changes we’ve been walking through the past year.

GirlMeetsChange_Blab.Week3You can watch the replay of our conversation on Blab.  But… I need to warn you: I was a slight mess for the first few minutes because my mic wouldn’t work. And you will get to see my cute husband trying to figure out what to do while the rest of the girls acted amazingly calm and refrain from shouting, “Shut your computer, Renee!” because hello, we were quite a distraction :). But once we got going, it was so encouraging to listen to what these amazing ladies had to share. So. So. Good! Click HERE to watch the replay.

 

RESOURCES MENTIONED
During our conversation, we talked about a few new resources I’ve created to help my heart and maybe yours, too. I wanted to make them easy to find here, so they are shown below. My journal just released and  it’s on Amazon. The other two products are coming soon from DaySpring. I’ll announce when they are available – here on my blog! So, be sure to sign up for my EMAIL UPDATES – in my sidebar – you aren’t already!

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Come to Me {journal}
by Renee Swope

Jesus invites us to come to Him: to receive, rest, be renewed, and remain in His love. Experience the power of God’s presences and rejuvenate your soul with the living water of His word as you are reminded with the truth of who God is and who you are in Him.Filled with inspirational quotes and prayers, this journal will help you position your heart to receive God’s peace, plans, perspective and purpose for you each day.

6×8 Hardcover, 144 Pages
BUY NOW on Amazon

 

 

 

A Confident Heart {100 Days of Living in the Security of God’s Promises}
DaySpring HeartLifter (Coming Spring 2016)

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A Confident Heart {Scripture Shareables)
from DaySpring (Coming Spring 2016)

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Girl Meets Change
ENTER TO WIN a copy of Girl Meets Change
Whether you’re walking through a transition now, see one coming, or are recovering from the last one, change is inevitable. But thriving is optional. With Christ close by, be okay. As Kristen shares in her book,If God is calling us out of one place, He is sending us to another with His blessing.” 

Want to enter to win a copy of Kristen’s book, Girl Meets Change: truths to carry you through life’s transitions? Just let us know why you’d like to read it or who you’d like to give it to. Click  SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS (below this post) and do just that.

 

 

Is it worth it?

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I thought I was over the hurt. Was sure I had moved on. But as I slipped my thumb under the seal of the invitation to my 10-year college reunion, it hit me:

I had not forgiven her.

During our last semester at school, the harsh tone and accusing anger of a friend had been more than my heart could handle, especially in the middle of my year-long battle with depression. A deep sense of sadness and self-doubt that I couldn’t explain or escape had left me feeling depleted.

When she questioned something I had done and expressed deep frustration toward me, I didn’t have the mental or emotional strength to process her criticism without being pulled into a pit of condemnation.

I knew if I attended our class reunion I would see her and other friends who had gotten tangled in our mess.

And with that possibility came a flood of memories and emotions that paralyzed me. The same way I felt the day our friendship ended. The day that pretty much ruined the last few weeks of my senior year.

Holding the envelope in my hand, all that hurt took hold of me again. Instead of simply deciding how to RSVP, I stood at the edge of a pit filled with insecurity that threatened to pull me back in.

After weeks of holding onto the invitation I decided I was tired of living as prisoner to my hurt. I wanted freedom. The kind of freedom I had come to know in the ten years in-between. The freedom of forgiveness Jesus died to give me.

I needed God’s hope and assurance so I could walk into the reunion, not as a wounded woman but as a secure child of God. Continue reading here.

 

A promise and a prayer

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Do you ever have days when your mind feels crowded with competing thoughts fighting for attention; cutting in front of each other to be first in line?

Yesterday was one of those days for me. So many things on my to-do list felt urgent, tempting me to neglect what was most important.

On days like these I either pray through it all or let my thoughts fight it out and paralyze me. 

Maybe you’re in that same place. If so, I wanted to share my prayer with you….

Lord, I want You to be first in line, leading my days and my decisions. When concerns consume me and worry comes, remind me to pause to tell You what I need and wait on YOU to lead. I long for Your peace to surpass my understanding and for Your promises to guard my heart and my mind as I live in {and follow after} You.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7, New Living Translation

Planning for an (in)Perfect Christmas

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The other day I caught myself whispering an unrealistic secret to my heart:

“Maybe this will be the year everything goes as planned and we’ll have the perfect Christmas.”

Perfect is what I’ve always wanted for Christmas, but in all my years of living I’ve never been able to pull it off.

For me, perfect looks like peace on earth and in my home for 24 hours. A Christmas where everyone is happy and peaceful, loving and kind. No disappointments. No arguments. No debates. It’s all about Jesus and loving each other  – for a whole day.

Maybe like me, you’ve longed for the perfect Christmas too. Maybe you’ve shopped for perfect gifts. Or planned a perfect menu with everyone’s favorites. Perhaps you’ve worn yourself out creating the perfect setting, where your people will gather and you’ll hold your breath hoping nothing goes wrong.

Or maybe you’re not a recovering perfectionist and wonder if I need counseling. I do. And prayer. May I come to your house for Christmas?

Honestly, sometimes I can get so focused on wanting everything to go well that I miss what is right in front of me, and forget just how beautiful imperfect can be.

Jesus was the most perfect Gift ever given, yet He was given to us under the most imperfect conditions, just as God had planned.

This Christmas, I’ve decided to cancel my request for perfect. 

I’m actually anticipating an imperfect, messy, slightly chaotic and perfectly imperfect Christmas just like the one in Bethlehem. Because PERFECT is not what my family and friends need most. What they need is for me to be “in” each moment, making memories with them.

So, instead of trying to create the perfect Christmas and give perfect gifts, I’m giving more of me. {tweet this}

Because the best Christmases are made up of memories and unplanned moments that don’t come with price tags. They can’t be bought, wrapped or put under a tree. But with a simple shift in perspective, we can create an (in)perfect Christmas by being fully present “in” each moment as we look for ways to give these 3 special gifts to the ones we’re with:

Join me over at (in)courage to keep reading today’s post by {CLICKING HERE}. I’d love to connect with you there!