My Pattern of Thought

It’s usually very subtle. Sometimes I’ll think about something I want to do or sense God calling me to, and I’ll just get that awful, insecure feeling. Out of the blue, uncertainty will wash over me as doubt whispers to my heart, You can’t do that. You’re not good enough.

Too many times I’ve gone along with the doubts, without realizing what I was doing I agreed with my insecurities.

For years, I didn’t tell anyone about my self-doubt. I figured if they knew all the reasons I doubted myself, they’d notice flaws I had worked hard to hide. And honestly, I thought I was the only one who struggled with doubt.

But I never called it doubt. Maybe you don’t either. Sometimes I called it worry — worry I was going to disappoint someone, worry I might make a mistake and get criticized for it, worry I’d start something but not be able to finish.

Other times I would call it fear — fear of not measuring up, fear of rejection, fear of looking prideful by thinking I could do something special for God.

It makes my stomach turn to think about all countless times my feelings became paralyzed by fear or worry, but the source was often hidden in my own self-doubt.

There has been a pattern in my thinking that led to a pattern of my un-believing…

Click here to keep reading and join me as we learn how to let God change the patterns of our thoughts over  at (in)Courage.

~Renee Swopeauthor of A Confident Heart


When You Feel Like You’re Not Enough


Have you ever had that awful, sinking feeling of not being enough . . . not smart enough or good enough?

For weeks I had 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. It got so bad one day, I literally begged God to pleeeaaasse take away my feelings of insecurity.

He didn’t answer the way I hoped, but instead He showed me what I needed to see in the most unexpected way. That afternoon, while I was putting on make-up in my bathroom, I turned around to put something away and noticed a huge nine-foot shadow on the wall behind me. I’m only 5’2″ so the humongous shadow caught me by surprise.

As I stood there looking at the shadow it dawned on me: I could only see the shadow when I turned away from the light. Not only that, I had created the huge shadow by blocking the light from above my mirror.

In that moment, I sensed God showing me something I will never forget: My insecurities create shadows of doubt over my heart and soul when I turn away from the Light of God’s truth about me.

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 how inadequate we feel, or what others think about us or how we’re performing compared to someone else, 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 8:12, 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.

Feeling paralyzed by uncertainty and insecurity is not where God wants us to live. Instead, He calls us to purposefully shift our focus from our feelings of inadequacy to the promises of His sufficiency in our lives.

When Jesus spoke to the people in John 8:12, He called them out of darkness. And each day He calls us as well, to walk in truth {Light} as we replace feelings of low self-confidence with lasting soul-confidence.

So the next time you feel like you’re not enough, pause for a minute to recognize you’re standing in the shadow of self-doubt, and turn your heart toward the Light by focusing your thoughts on God’s truths instead. Click here to keep reading 3 powerful truths and a prayer we all need to replace our feelings of “not enough” with God’s promises! I’m hosting this conversation over at (in)Courage today, and I’d love for you to join us there!

~Renee Swope,
author of A Confident Heart

Never Alone



Alone again. That’s what she must have thought as she walked to the well all by herself that day.

But she wasn’t alone for long. Jesus was there. Yet, she didn’t know who He was and she couldn’t help but wonder why He was talking to her, a Samaritan woman.

When He spoke, she heard gentleness in His voice. 

Kindness and humility in His simple request for a drink.

In His eyes she saw acceptance, not judgment. Love, not hate.

Many of us know her as the Samaritan woman, but I like to call her Sam to make her feel more like the real woman she was. A woman who struggled with hurt, rejection, and loneliness.

Jesus was on His way to Galilee that day, but Scripture tells us “He had to go through Samaria” {John 4:4}. Yet theologians would tell us Jews considered Samaritans to be the scum of the earth and would do everything to avoid them by traveling around Samaria — but not Jesus.

He had to go through Samaria. Perhaps it be because He knew Sam would be there.

Women normally traveled together to the well, in the cool of the day, to avoid the heat of the sun since they carried heavy jars filled with water back to their homes. But Sam went by herself.

Many believe that instead of avoiding the scorching heat of the sun, she went to the well at noon to avoid the scorching pain of others’ rejection and judgment. Sam had been married five times, and was living with a man who wasn’t her husband.

When Jesus met her, Sam was running an errand, and running from those who knew of her failures, shame, and imperfections. Pursuing her with His perfect love, Jesus timed it so she would run into Him.

He initiated conversation and asked her for the one thing she had to offer, water. It wasn’t much, but it was a start.

Sam stopped and listened. She let Him speak words of assurance and acceptance into the broken, insecure, empty places of her heart.

Jesus intentionally pursued Sam in one of the loneliest parts of her day and in the same way, He is there in the midst of our sometimes lonely, imperfect lives. He is there when our disappointments and failures leave us empty and make us doubt our worth and purpose. (keep reading here)

I don’t know about you, but this summer I have had many days when I felt alone and just need to know someone sees me. Knows me. Pursues me. Jesus is showing me, He does. Let’s keep talking about this over on the inCourage blog, where I’m hosting today’s conversation and praying for friends like you in our online community. Join me there. 

Lord, Help Me Not Forget


“God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them.”

{Hebrews 6:10, NIV}

“He will not forget your work….”

Six words my weary heart needed. After a week of crushing demands and behind-the-scenes sacrifices, I needed Jesus to tell me that all my efforts weren’t invisible.

No one else knew, and they didn’t need to. But I needed to know God saw and it mattered to Him.

As we celebrate the 4th of July this weekend, I’m reminded of military men and women who have sacrificed so much more than I ever could. I can’t help but wonder if there are days when they ask themselves if it’s worth it. If anyone cares, notices or appreciates the countless ways they love and serve our country, sacrificially.

I’m so grateful for the sacrifices of their lives and their time, away from family and a peaceful more simple life. Whether a military leader, behind-the-scenes servant or soldier on battlefields, in the past and in our present, seen and unseen, God sees all.

God promises He will not forget. 

Maybe it’s been a long hard week for you, and you’ve wondered if anyone sees the way you give up your time and give of yourself; acts of kindness as you pour out yourself for the sake of someone else.

Let’s soak in His promise to us today and offer it back as a gift of remembrance, for all the sacrifices that have been made for us by men and women we may never know. Servants who gave it all to give us freedom. An offering that echoes Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, that brings true, everlasting freedom for all who call on His name.

Lord, help us remember what our freedom cost. As we celebrate the 4th of July in America, help each of us to remember Your sacrifice and others’ who give their lives sacrificially. Help us never take for granted the liberty of our heritage as a follower of Christ and as a nation that was built on the foundation of Your Word and Your ways. 

But I Don’t Like Being Told I Can’t


I’m not a natural rule follower or a limit-liker. I love last-minute plans and just-because adventures.

If you let me stay up as late as I want, and sleep in as long as I can, I will be in heaven.

God gave me a soul that craves freedom and a creative heart that thrives on spontaneity.

Budgets and boundaries are not my friends. Feeling like I might suffocate during discussions about either, or both, have taught me it’s good to go into those kinds of conversations with the right mindset and lots of chocolate.

I feel like a child admitting this, but if someone tells me I can’t do something, I feel sad and determined to change their mind. Hearing “you can’t…” makes me feel locked out, at least until my heart understands the good within my guardrails.

So years ago when my husband, J.J, put child locks on our kitchen drawers and cabinets because our baby girl could reach inside them, I should have been grateful. But I felt sad instead.

As I watched J.J. drilling little screws into the wood to secure the white plastic locks, all I could think about was the joy in Aster’s eyes when she discovered her little hands could open the drawer that held colorful pens and countless paperclips.

Quite pleased with herself, she smiled at me with a handful of shiny silver treasures and sprinkled them on the floor. She had no idea how quickly she was going to lose access to her sparkly new friends, and it broke my freedom-loving heart.

Yet I knew it was for her good. I knew those paperclips weren’t safe and drawers that held more dangerous objects like scissors and matches needed to be off-limits. It was love that motivated her daddy to put boundaries in place to protect her.

I’ve needed to remember that lately, as I sense God setting some new and needed boundaries for me in a place where I have loved roaming free. {keep reading here}

Do you like boundaries or, like me, do you resist them? I’d love to hear your thoughts and chat about it over at (in)Courage where I’m hosting the conversation today. {Click here to join me.}

When You Need Prayer But Feel Hesitant to Ask { & a prayer journal giveaway}

Today, I’m talking with my friend Kathi Lipp on her podcast about the topic of prayer and I wanted to invite you to join us! As one of my regular readers, you may notice today’s post is familiar – half of it was shared here in April. Today I’m sharing the whole thing, in case you didn’t get to read it last month, and for new friends visiting from Kathi’s podcast. Welcome if you’re visiting from Kathi’s page. I’m so glad you’re here!

I would love to pray for you today, and have us all pray for each other. I’m also giving away my new favorite prayer journal. Keep reading to find out more.

Asking for prayer

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 few years ago, my husband had a routine check-up and blood test results that caused his 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, denial, or my own strength.

Within fifteen minutes of me hitting “send,” friends who were on their computers started telling me they were praying. And not only did they pray, they thanked me for sharing what was going on and for letting them be there for me.

One friend shared how someone she knew had been through a similar situation. Another asked questions and made some great suggestions. Then another cracked a funny joke that made me laugh, which I really needed to do!

The night before we went to the hospital, my friend Amy sent an email saying, “I’ve been lifting prayers heavenward for your family since your last email. Know that you’ll be in my thoughts and prayers tomorrow. Let us know as soon as you hear results. We’re all in this with you, friend.”

As I read her last sentence, I could almost feel the softness of her hands gently squeeze my shoulders and hear her saying, “We’re all in this with you, friend.”

And then it hit me, what if I had not shared our need?

I would’ve missed the comfort of having friends “with me” and peace that came through the power of their prayers.

They would’ve missed out on a chance to be the “body of Christ” by guarding our hearts and minds with God’s promises and the power of prayer. And they would have missed being part of what God was doing, the joy that came when medical tests went well, and the recovery that was quick. And as we waited that week for biopsy results that ended up coming back normal, their prayers and God’s peace were constant companions.

Are you are carrying a burden today? Don’t listen to doubts that make you question the validity of your need. Even if, like me, you hate to impose on others.

Asking for prayer isn’t about putting burdens on our friends.
It’s about letting them walk by our side down a path we were
never intended to walk alone.

Lord, thank You for never seeing my prayers as a burden. Help me remember the power and purpose of prayer in my life and in my friendships. 

Let’s walk together and carry each other’s burdens this week by sharing a prayer request and praying for each other in the comments by clicking “Share Your Thoughts.” I’ll be praying for each of you! And would love if you could leave a short prayer for the person who shares their need in the comment above yours!!!

ComeToMe_CoverEnter to WIN
I’m giving away my favorite prayer journal! Leave a comment or prayer, you’ll be entered to win. 

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

Order a journal for yourself, or a friend, by clicking the image below to order on Amazon

If Amazon runs out of journals when you try to order it, send an email to with your name and email. We’ll contact you to get your order taken care of!

God’s Not Worried {Friday GiveAway}

Pressing-Pause-CoverJust in time for Mother’s Day weekend, I’ve invited my friend Karen Ehman to share a devotional with us from her new book, Pressing Pause: 100 Quiet Moments for Moms to Meet with Jesus. We’re also giving away TWO COPIES of the book and one beautiful bracelet. Keeping reading to find out more.

As a little girl I loved being outdoors. I could often be found playing kickball with the neighborhood kids or riding my bike around the block. I liked to splash in puddles and jump in piles of leaves. There was one aspect, however, about being outside that I didn’t particularly care for: the critters.

Spiders were scary … dogs terrifying. And I couldn’t even bear the thought of snakes.

My intense fear of these creatures often kept me from fully engaging in play.

Unfortunately, even when I didn’t encounter creepy-crawlies outdoors, they occasionally wound up in my dreams at night. I would have the same reoccurring nightmare of snakes slithering toward me while I stood frozen, unable to run away. When I would wake up, I would be in a panic, heart wildly beating, palms sweating. I never thought my fears would go away until the one summer when I had no other choice.

The summer I turned 20, I took a job at a nature center teaching four-year-olds. It didn’t cross my mind that keeping company with critters would be a part of my duties. I had to capture insects to examine and release, scoop tadpoles to study pond life, and even hold the snakes that were kept in glass tanks in the main building.

Although everything in me wanted to run away, there were little eyes on me. So, I whispered a prayer for strength, pushed past my fears, and made those kids think I was a critter-lovin’ instructor whose calm demeanor (and lack of screaming!) showed them there was nothing to fear. If their teacher wasn’t freaking out, why should they?

Even though I worked through my fear that summer, as an adult now, I’m still tempted to “freak out” with fear. My imagination concocts all sorts of scenarios peppered with dread and doom. Sometimes I can’t shake fear as I try to fall asleep.

But I have come to trust this perspective-shifting truth: God is not worried. He’s not in heaven wringing His hands, wondering just how everything will eventually turn out. He is in control. He is loving.

God longs to use the circumstances of our lives to mold our mind, craft our character, and chase away the fears that threaten to slither in, paralyzing us and rendering us ineffective.

Ever the patient and wise teacher, if He isn’t freaking out, why should we?

Proverbs 3:24-26a is a sweet promise to us…


Now that passage doesn’t promise that we won’t ever encounter sudden disasters in life. But it does reassure us that we have no need to fear them. Why? Because the Lord—our gracious and wise teacher—is our security. He will be there to comfort and to guide as He teaches us the lessons we need to learn.

With God as our security, we can have calm in our present.

With God as our security, we can face the future without fear. And we can share this confidence we gain to inspire others, helping to keep them from unnecessary fret and worry.

Why it even helps me deal with little critters that get inside my house without squirming.

Well . . . without squirming too much.


PressingPauseEnter to Win
We are giving away two 
Pressing Pause devotionals and a beautiful bracelet from Fashion & Compassion. Written by my dear friends Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk,  Pressing Pause: 100 Quiet Moments to Meet with Jesus offers us a calm way to start our day, to refresh ourselves in Christ and drink deeply of His presence so we are ready to pour out love, time, and energy into the people who matter most!

These 100 encouraging devotions for moms has helped me start each day with Scripture, drawing on God’s power, soaking up His Word, and learning practical ways to love and PPopenserve my family more like Christ each day. And one of my favorite features is the set of questions and optional journaling or notes area at the end of each day’s devotional.

Just a few minutes each day can help you center your heart and mind on what God has for you as His beloved daughter. So resist the rush. Halt the hustle. Press pause and find some calm in the chaos.


TO ENTER TO WIN simply click “Share Your Thoughts” below today’s post and do just that. Your comment will be your entry into the drawing! Two winners will be chosen and contacted on Monday, May 9th.

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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.”


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



    • Want to receive a weekly gift of powerful prayers and God’s promises from my inbox to yours? Enter your email in this box below and you’ll be added to my “Promise & A Prayer” list. {PS. I promise not to share your information with anyone else.}


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


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





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


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.

Screenshot 2016-03-15 16.45.00

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


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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