When Self-Doubt Weighs Us Down {a FREE 7-Day Doubt Diet}

7DayDoubtDietDoes doubt or discouragement every weight you down? Are you tired of carrying the heavy load of uncertainty and insecurity?

If so, I hope you’ll sign up for my FREE 7-day Doubt Diet. Created with some of the most impactful parts of my book, A Confident Heart, I’ve written a short devotional for friends like you. My FREE 7-day Doubt Diet is something you can do separate from my book or go through to see if overcoming self-doubt is a topic you want to dig into through my book.

Join me and over 80,000 women from around the world who’ve lost the weight of self-doubt and gained a confident heart! To get started, enter your name & email in my sidebar form--> and you’ll start receiving my 7-day Doubt Diet Devotions today!


[If you're reading this via email, click here to sign up for the FREE 7-day Doubt Diet on my blog.]

What is in The 7-day Doubt Diet?
Filled with daily insights, powerful promises, and daily scripture-based prayers, I’ve written a week’s worth of FREE Confident Heart devotions from my book! It’s perfect to do with a few friends, co-workers, neighbors or family and to make it easy for you to invite them to join you, here’s an easy invite to share on Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ or via email:

Invite a Friend
Do you want to join me in losing the weight of discouragement and self-doubt? Renee Swope, from Proverbs 31 Ministries is offering a FREE “7-day Doubt Diet.” Just click here to enter your information in her sidebar, and you’ll receive a week’s worth of devotions from her upcoming book, A Confident Heart. Let me know so we encourage one another along the way.

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What Women are Saying about The 7-day Doubt Diet

Wow what a wake up call..I have sat for months maybe years filled with doubt. I realize now it had consumed me and was contemplating taking my own life..that is until I heard you on the radio then looked you up and now on day 2 of the 7 day challenge..You have made a difference and changed a life. Thank you! 

“Renee, it’s as if you are speaking straight to my own life! Thank you for sharing your story and offering encouragement for others, like me!”

“As I was reading day 1, I felt like you were writing about me. I, too, have found myself many times not doing things that would have brought me joy because of feelings of not being good enough. I am so looking forward to these 7 days!”

Did you write these devotions especially for me?! Again, today’s was perfect for my life and thoughts. You are either a mind reader or His messenger of words on a topic no one else has dared to speak on before. (I know it’s the second). I love the details with the topic/Bible verses. I’m going to print that out as a reminder until it is etched in my brain. Also, I love how you incorporated the story of Eve! I had never thought of it like that — Eve was tricked into thinking she wasn’t enough… She needed to be more and have more — great point!!! Thank you!

Giveaway Winners

The two winner’s of my recent I Want To Be Brave a giveaway are:  Katie T., Marie S.

You will each receive a copy of Annie Down’s new book, Let’s All Be Brave .

We have your emails from your entries, so my assistant Megan
will be in touch to get your mailing addresses. 


I Want to Be Brave {+ a giveaway}

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I’ve always wanted to be brave. And sometimes I am. But then there are those other times… times when I let fear, doubt and the comparison curse make me feel not-so-brave. And during those times, my feelings of “blah” and not-so-brave need a kick in the booty. Others times I need a friend to remind me I am brave. I just need to choose to “live” brave.

I invited my friend Annie Downs to stop by and be that friend for us {all} today. She’s part of the (in)courage contributor team with me, and her book about being brave just released into the world this week. All kinds of awesomeness is happening because she was brave enough to write this message; a message we all need to hear! Here’s Annie…

My friend Sarah said she never does anything brave.

She’s 37. Married. Three kids. A dog that yips too much. Her husband has a job and they live in a house.

It’s your basic suburban life, with a literal suburban as the family car.

As we sat at Starbucks, catching up while her kids were in Vacation Bible School, she asked about my new book Let’s All Be Brave and proceeded to inform me of her lack of brave.

I laughed. Sarah is one of the bravest friends I know. We’ve been in each other’s lives for years, since college, and I have watched her be brave over and over again.

Her first date with her future-husband. Brave.

Finding out she was pregnant with #2 quicker than expected (ahem). Brave.

When things got bad after her third baby, you that mama-doesn’t-have-it-in-her-to-cook-another-meal kind of bad? She didn’t run away. She cooked dinner that night and the night after. If you ask me, that’s brave.

Sarah walked away from a job she liked to raise her family. Brave.

Now she works part-time to help ends meet. Brave.

Do you see it? Do you see the brave in the every day? Do you see the moments when fear or hurt or worry could whisper so loudly that all movement halted?

Here’s what’s true about courage: being brave isn’t the absence of fear or worry;
being brave is stepping forward even when the fear still whispers.

Brave people hear the fears, they just don’t listen to them.

I laughed at Sarah. Yes, right in her face. (We’re good friends; it was appropriate.) I laughed because I know she is brave, just like I know you are brave.

There have been times when you wanted to quit, but you didn’t. There have been moments when you wanted to say no, but you said yes. There have been opportunities to stay when you knew it was right to leave. So you left.

You, my friend, are brave.

It isn’t just the ones who jump out of planes or move over the ocean that get to wear that courageous title.

It’s yours too.

And when you’ll be brave, the people around you will see that brave and they’ll choose it too. In the everyday moments, in the big moments, look for brave, choose it, and know that your people are watching and deciding to live brave because of YOU.

Let’s all be brave and watch as it changes the world.


labbAnnie F. Downs is an author, blogger, and speaker based in Nashville, Tennessee. Flawed but funny, she uses her writing to highlight the everyday goodness of a real and present God. An author of three books- Let’s All Be Brave, Perfectly Unique, and Speak Love, Annie also loves traveling around the country speaking to young women, college students, and adults. Read more at anniefdowns.com and follow her on Twitter @anniefdowns.




What resonated with your heart as you read Annie’s thoughts about being brave?

Enter to win Annie’s new book, Let’s All Be Brave, by clicking “Share Your Thoughts” below today’s post and do just that.  Annie is giving away 2 copies!

Giveaway Winners

Living #FREE {Giveaways} LL.ConferenceCallGraphicThe 2 winner’s of the Limitless Life Conference Calls are: Christine S., Debbie P.



nmpkbuyThe 5 winner’s of FREEDOM from Mommy-Guilt are:  Lesa F., Amber C., Gaylene, Pam (@aol), Chrissy (@gmail)




Kick Condemnation To The Curb {Giveaways} Swope_ConfHeartDevo_3Dsm  The three winner’s of my Confident Heart Summer Devotional Gift Packs are: Sue H., Pat (@hotmail), Tracy (@yahoo)  


How Are You, Really?


{Photo source}

Should I be honest? I wondered.

What if I start crying? What if she doesn’t really have time to listen? What if she’s just asking to be nice? 

I could keep it simple and say, “I’m fine.”

There I was, standing in the lobby at church waiting for my husband, when a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time walked up and asked how I was doing. Our 3-year-old had recently been diagnosed with Apraxia, a severe speech disorder, and I was not “fine.”

I was exhausted. I was overwhelmed. I was afraid.

Sometimes it’s hard to let people know how we’re really doing because we don’t want to be high maintenance, right? And it’s easy to believe people don’t really want to know when they ask. Sometimes they don’t.

But what about those times when others sincerely want to know and I still don’t want to tell them? Especially when I don’t have good excuse for not being “fine.”

There are times when I tell people I’m fine even when I’m not, because I want to be.  Or, I hope by saying “I’m fine” that somehow eventually I will be.

Other times I act like I’m fine because I think others expect me to be.

Then there are days when hormones trump all good manners and, if my people are within ten feet, they know I am NOT fine. And if I say I am,  what I really mean is that I’m  Frazzled, Irritated, Neurotic, and Exhausted!

But not in public. Not where others can see the real me.

And that is where I stood that day in the lobby at church. In public, at a pivotal point of decision, wondering… Should I let her know how I’m really doing?

Everything in me wanted to keep my guard up, keep my heart sealed off and my lips sealed tight…

You can keep reading today’s post at the (in)Courage community blog by CLICKING HERE where I’m guest-posting and hanging out today. I’d love to see you there and chat about about being real about how we’re “really” doing. Come on over and share your thoughts!


3 Ways To Kick Condemnation To The Curb {KC2TC}


Have you ever wished you could know the difference between conviction and condemnation? Are you tired of feeling weighed down with guilt and shame?

If so, you’re not alone! I believe condemnation is one of our most common and crippling heart-struggles. And I’m determined to kick them to the curb! I hope you’ll join me.

In my Proverbs 31 Ministries devotion today, I share the major difference between condemnation and conviction.

Condemnation is usually a broad stroke of shame that sweeps across our thoughts with generalized statements about who we are in an insulting and accusing way.  The tone of condemnation is always accusing, questioning, confusing and will leads to feelings of guilt and self-hatred.

Conviction is specific and won’t condemn us for who we are, but will be more focused on something we’ve done. The Holy Spirit’s conviction always includes wisdom and instruction to lead us towards resolution, not shame.

Condemnation focuses on the problem. Conviction offers a solution.

  • Take a minute to write down the most frequent shaming, blaming or accusing thoughts you have that make you feel condemned.
  • Using the contrasting examples between conviction and condemnation below, re-write the statement and replace your words of condemnation with convicting yet loving truths the Holy Spirit might say.
  • Be sure to offer yourself forgiveness plus a solution that reflects God’s goal of restoration and His tone of grace.

Instead of the lie: “You’re such a failure as a [wife, mom, daughter, friend],” the Holy Spirit might say, “You were really critical the way you talked to _________. You need to say you’re sorry and ask forgiveness. Then say something to build them up instead of tearing them down.”

Instead of the accusing label: “You’re so hypocritical!”  The Holy Spirit might say, “You judge others for gossiping, but you’re doing the same thing when you talk about your neighbor at work. Apologize for what you said today and share a few things that are positive about her.”

These are two steps to help us kick condemnation to the curb, and there’s more but….

** Due to technical roadblocks and major scheduling challenges, my “3 Ways to Kick Condemnation to the Curb” is not quite finalized. But no worries!! I’d LOVE to SEND it to YOU via EMAIL today this week.   Just ENTER your EMAIL below!

Also, BE sure to ENTER my GIVEAWAY and SIGN UP for the FREE download of God’s Promises too!

Swope_ConfidentHeartDevotional_CVR.inddENTER to WIN 
I am giving away 3 Summer Devotional Gift Packs!! Each one winner will receive my “Confident Heart 60-Day Devotional”  book, a prayer journal and my “Don’t Throw Away Your Confidence” message on CD! Enter to WIN by simply clicking “SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS” below and let me know how I can best help you overcome guilt and condemnation, and if you want to join me in my quest to kick condemnation to the curb! #kc2tc


FREE Download of God’s Promises
Using powerful promises from God’s word, learn how to replace condemning statements you think with loving (and sometimes convicting) truths God wants you to know! Simply enter your email, confirm your sign up, and you’ll receive the download in your inbox this Friday, July 11th.


Swope_200x200Want a daily devotional that’s easy to read, easy to share with a friend and filled with wisdom to get your heart grounded in God’s truth and grace? The “Confident Heart 60-Day Devotional” is all that and more! Click here to ORDER a copy for yourself or a friend today!


Last Week’s {Giveaway} Winners

Thank you for participating in last week’s GIVEAWAYS!
I love reading through your comments and praying over your hearts!

If you haven’t already be sure to SIGN UP for my EMAIL UPDATES
in the top of my sidebar so you don’t miss a POST or GIVEAWAY!

Swope_ConfHeartDevo_3DsmYou’ll Never Be Perfect {Giveaway}

The winner of my Confident Heart Summer Devotional gift pack is: Christy Duncan 

You will be receiving a copy of my Confident Heart Devotionala prayer journal and a Starbuck’s gift card!



AtlasGirl.ReneeWhy Women Are Hungry For Love {Giveaway}

The 3 winner’s of Emily Wierenga’s book, Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look are: Elaine S., Burdell C., Tawnee







Living #FREE

Freedom. We long for it. We fight for it. We will do anything to get it.

Yet sometimes we forget to live in it!

This weekend while our family celebrated the freedom and independence of our country, I was reminded what freedom means and how easily I take it for granted, especially as a Christ-follower. Yet Jesus said, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.“John 8:36

In Christ we are free!

  • Free from guilt that weighs us down and sin that holds us back.
  • Free from labels that define us and doubts that limit us.
  • Free from grace-less expectations and obligations.

It was for freedom that Christ set us free. (Galatians 5:1). Let’s take hold of this truth, and LIVE #FREE in the power of HIS promises and the purpose of His plans for our lives!

FREE Books & Conference Calls GIVEAWAY
I’ve been given FREE books and conference calls to give to you!
Just leave a comment under this post and share which one you’d want to win. And if you’d like to enter to win either giveaway, just say “EITHER” and let us know what area of your life you feel like you need to grow the most in {living} free.


FREE to Live a Limitless Life in Christ

LL.ConferenceCallGraphicReady to live in the freedom of knowing God isn’t limited by your limitations? If so, ENTER TO WIN {one of two sets we’re giving away} of our new extremely powerful  and fun “Limitless Life” conference-call series, hosted by Proverbs 31 Ministries Online Bible Studies team.

In this 5-part series we learn how to get rid of labels and limits that hold us back so we can live fully in God’s purpose for our lives!

This series’ topics include:

Part 1: “You’re More Than Your Past When God Holds Your Future”
Part 2: “From Mess to Masterpiece”
Part 3: “Losing My Religion, Gaining My Relationship”
Part 4: “Crafting a Life Vision Plan”
Part 5:“Living a Life Without Limits

*Derwin Gray, Author of “Limitless Life” and Paster of Transformation Church
*Renee Swope, Author of “A Confident Heart” & P31 Radio Co-Host
*Leslie Nease, Christian Speaker, Author & Season 15 SURVIVOR China Contestant
*Lisa Allen, Proverbs 31 Executive Director of Ministry Training and Christian Life CoacENTER to win one of two sets of CALLs or you can find out more and sign up for the calls here.


FREEDOM from Mommy-Guilt

NMPK Cover with Chapman name

Do you look at other families who seem so “put together” and wonder why your’s doesn’t isn’t? Does mommy-guilt over your child’s “issues” ever keep you from enjoying motherhood and where your kids are in their journey of growing up?

There have been times when I could answer “yes” to both questions. And during those days or weeks, or months, I miss out on what God has for me as a mom.

One of the best gifts we can give ourselves is GRACE to have an imperfect family and be an imperfect mom. And one of the best gifts we can give our children is to set them FREE to be all that God has created them to be—not forcing them to live out our dreams or comparing them to our friend’s kid.

Jill Savage and Kathy Koch have written a 
guide to help parents truly appreciate their kids. One thing I love about this book is their goal to teach us how to study and 
become an expert on our children, knowing that we cannot fully embrace them until you 
truly know them.

In No More Perfect Kids, Jill Savage and Kathy Koch equip parents with the tools and perspective to:
  • Identify and remove the Perfection Infection from our parenting.
  • Really know each child so we can fully embrace their unique design.
  • Release our children from unrealistic expectations.
  • Answer the questions our kids are silently asking in a way that gives them the courage and freedom to be themselves.

Written in a passionate, candid, and personal way, the authors 
will instill within you hope and contentment. You’ll be inspired to apply the practical, 
realistic, and relevant ideas and tactics Jill and Kathy share. (Leaders Guide included in back of book.) And thanks to Jill and Kathy’s generous publisher, I’ve got 5 copies to give away!! 

Just leave a comment under this post and share which giveaway you’d want to win and why. If you want to enter to win either, just say “EITHER” and let us know!

Why Women Are Hungry for Love (and a Giveaway)

This summer I’ve had the beautiful privilege of getting to know Emily Wierenga and have thoroughly enjoyed the gift of her story told in her new book  Atlas GirlEmily is an award-winning journalist, blogger, commissioned artist and columnist, as well as the author of five books including her memoir, Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look (Baker Books).

In celebration of Atlas Girl’s book release this week, I asked Emily to stop by and share some of her story with us {and she offered to give a few copies away too!}

Renee Swope

by Emily T Wierenga

I tried to starve away my curves when I was nine years old.

I had my mother’s pear-shaped body, and I thought if I stopped eating maybe I could become small enough to slip into the lives of the other girls at school, the ones the boys stared at. I would douse myself with Exclamation perfume and spend my allowance on brand-name clothes and cry myself to sleep because I was starving.

And even though it got so bad that I was dying at thirteen, and hospitalized at sixty pounds, my hair falling out and my braces showing through the skin of my cheeks, I don’t know that any of us women is much different.

I don’t know that any of us isn’t hungry like this for love.

I wanted my Dad to stop preaching at the pulpit about a God I couldn’t see or taste or touch or feel. I wanted him to come and hold me, play with me, read me stories again like he used to when I was little, the scruff of his beard on my cheek, but life has a way of stealing your loved ones away from you and so I starved myself instead.

And when a friend of mine died when I was eight I hurt so bad it felt like my soul turned inside-out.

Because no one had told me you could love so hard only to lose.

So I spent my life trying not to feel because it ached too much when I did.

And then I met Jesus.

I met him after years of thinking I already had. I met him after years of calling myself a feminist and relapsing back into anorexia when I got married, after years of battling infertility and addiction to sleeping pills and drinking too much wine and never eating enough because part of me always wanted to feel hungry.

Because full isn’t safe. Full means you might start to feel comfortable, and then you might get hurt because nothing good lasts forever.

But that’s where I was wrong.

Because God is good and He lasts forever, and I met Him one day when I was twenty eight and pregnant. I was standing in worship, closing my eyes, and I saw myself as a little girl in heaven. I was wearing a white dress and running to Jesus who looked a lot like a shepherd in one of those children’s paintings.

And Jesus picked up that little girl and he spun her around and then he held her close and said, “Emily Theresa Wierenga, do you know that I love you? I love your feet, I love your knees, I love your legs, I love your arms, I love your head, I love your hair, I love you.”

And sister? He’s saying this to you too. He sees you, the little girl in you—the one who once believed she could swing so high she could touch God, who now struggles to believe He even exists. And He loves you.

Jesus offers a kind of food that will never perish. A love that will never leave you hungry.

He provided the loaves and fishes for 5,000, with twelve baskets leftover. Some would call that a waste; I call it extravagance. He’s the Savior at the well, telling the woman about a kind of feast that will never end—with living water, and living bread. Food that will fill us up forever.

So, I’m eating again.

I’m eating, and I’m no longer scared of getting full.


Emily lives in Alberta, Canada with her husband and two sons. Her memoir, ATLAS GIRL, releases this week and she is graciously giving away 3 copies here! All you need to do is leave a comment under today’s post to enter the drawing! {If you’re reading this via email, click here and return to my blog to ENTER TO WIN.}

AtlasGirl.ReneeFrom the Back Cover

“Disillusioned and yearning for freedom, Emily Wierenga left home at age eighteen with no intention of ever returning. Broken down by organized religion, a childhood battle with anorexia, and her parents’ rigidity, she set out to find God somewhere else–anywhere else. Her travels took her across Canada, Central America, the United States, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia. She had no idea that her faith was waiting for her the whole time–in the place she least expected it.

“Poignant and passionate, Atlas Girl is a very personal story of a universal yearning for home and the assurance that we are known, forgiven, and beloved. Readers will find in this memoir a true description of living faith as a two-way pursuit in a world fraught with distraction. Anyone who wrestles with the brokenness we find in the world will love this emotional journey into the arms of the God who heals all wounds.”

Click HERE  for a free excerpt from Atlas Girl. Emily is also giving away a FREE e-book to anyone who orders Atlas Girl this week. Just order HERE, and send a receipt to: atlasgirlbookreceipt@gmail.com, and you’ll receive A House That God Built: 7 Essentials to Writing Inspirational Memoir – an absolutely FREE e-book co-authored by Emily and editor/memoir teacher Mick Silva.

Atlas Girl_700x175_2

ALL proceeds from Atlas Girl will go to Emily’s non-profit, The Lulu Tree.
The Lulu Tree is dedicated to preventing tomorrow’s orphans by equipping today’s mothers. It is a grassroots organization bringing healing and hope to women and children in the slums of Uganda through the arts, community, and the gospel. Find our more and connect with Emily on her blog at www.emilywierenga.comor find her on Twitter and Facebook.

But remember, before you leave, be sure and ENTER TO WIN!
Just leave a comment below.

This Week’s Wardrobe {a promise & a prayer}


Beautiful artwork by @incourage.

“Since I’ve been chosen by God for this new life of LOVE, Lord dress me in the wardrobe YOU have picked out for me: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline.

Through Your spirit living in me, make me even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you.

And regardless of what else I put on today, remind me to wear LOVE…
 my basic, all-purpose garment. I never want to be without it.

Peace of Christ, keep me in tune with others and in step with You. None of this going off and doing my own thing. Let the Word of Christ have the run of the house in my life and take up plenty of room in my life.

Let every detail in my life—words, actions, whatever—be done in Your name Jesus as You cultivate thankfulness in me. I want my life to be a thank you note, giving thanks to God the Father every step of my day. In Jesus name, amen and amen.

Based on Colossians 3:12-17, MSG