When Doubt Tries to Bully Us

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things?
If God is for us, who can be against us?”
Romans 8:31 (NIV)

Have you ever felt beat up by discouragement? Has your mind been bullied by thoughts of doubt such as:

I can’t do it all!

I am not cut out to be a wife, a mom, a daughter, a _______, a _____ and all the other things God has called me to.

In my Proverbs 31 devotion today, I share how I felt bullied by doubt one morning when I woke up. My thoughts were completely against me, and my feelings were too.

While I was laying in bed feeling completely inadequate, my radio alarm came on and my thoughts were interrupted by Twila Paris singing to me.

With confident assurance, she told me it was no time for fear, but a time for faith and determination. She challenged me not to lose my vision or be carried away by my emotions, but to hold on to all that I had hidden in my heart, and all I believed to be true. Then she reminded me of the most important truth of all: God is in control. [1]

Her words aligned my thoughts with God’s truth, and I went from feeling afraid to feeling determined and from feeling out of control to knowing God is in control.

We have the choice either to let doubt beat us up or to let God’s truth build us up.

I had set my radio to that station the night before so I would wake up hearing encouraging music and truth. Just like I intentionally set the dial of my radio alarm, we need to get intentional about tuning our thoughts into God’s thoughts toward us – every day.

In the same way a radio has AM and FM frequencies, so do our thoughts. They are either AM (against me) or FM (for me) thoughts. The truth is, we are often our worst critics and have a lot of AM thoughts.

If our thoughts are against us, our feelings will be too, BUT we don’t have to let doubt bully us anymore.

We have full access to God’s power and His promises to live with a confident heart. Yet it won’t just happen because it’s possible. We have to take action.

So, the next time we get feelings of uncertainty and self-doubt, let’s stop and ask the Holy Spirit to show us what we’re  thinking that is making us feel that way. Then let’s compare our thoughts about that situation to God’s thoughts, which are reflected in Scripture.

Do they match? If not, find a promise in God’s Word to replace the lie that has filled your heart with doubt. Here are few to get your started:

• When doubt comes against me, saying I’m weak and all alone, I will focus on the truth that God is for me! I can be strong and courageous because the Lord my God is with me. He will never leave me nor forsake me. (Deuteronomy 31:6, NIV)

• When doubt comes against me, saying I’m not good enough for a certain role or position, I will remember that God is for me! He says I am His masterpiece, created to be new in Christ so that I could do good things He planned long ago. (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)

Lord, thank You that You are with me to fight for me against my enemies of insecurity and inadequacy. In all these things, I am more than a conqueror through You who loves me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

[1] “God Is In Control,” © 1993 by Twila Paris.
© 2012 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.

A Confident HeartIn what area of your life do you currently have the most “against me” thoughts?

“Share your thoughts” below this post. I’d love to pray for you today and enter your name to win 2 copies of my book, “A Confident Heart”  (to keep or share with a friend) along with my conference message “Don’t Throw Away Your Confidence” on CD

Then click here for more AM/FM thoughts.


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.


  1. Great Reminder thanks for sharing Renee.. JUst finished reading your book and Loved it!!

    • Lori Hurt says:

      Dropped my son off at school and heard your thoughts on doubt and fear. I had just had a conversation with my son about this very thing. He is gripped with fear and doubt as he starts a new school and group of friends. We have just moved to a new town. He was in his former school since kinder and now is in 7th. He is in athletics and as we all know, 7th grade is where it all begins. Dressing and undressing in front of others, showering in front of others, coaches that are not ‘volunteers’ any more, but fighting for their jobs. My son has allowed fear to just grip his whole being. Your advice was a HUGE light bulb. I got to work and went right to my computer and pulled up your blog. I am going to share with him all of this when I pick him up today. Thank you Renee.

  2. Kris Bloise says:

    Thank you for your post today. I am a recent subscriber to your daily emails. What struck me personally as I read your comment about what assailed you first thing in the morning is at least you are doing all of those things. At leas you are a Mom, a speaker, a writer. I don’t intend to compare or be a pity pot. Its just that everything is relative. What is one persons struggle is another persons wish.

    I have been trying to get pregnant for the last two years and am 45 years old. I wake up many mornings with doubt in my mind. Fear that my prayers will go unheard, constant striving to find the “right” prayer to reach God, assurance that he has heard my prayers but am met with silence and the constant battle to not let the Devil in my house (mind) and simply Trust God’s timing, which seems to take forever. I reach out to God, worship him, try to put him first but still find myself in a place of doubt, a lingering doubt that maybe I just should put the whole idea to rest and say it’s Gods will and if it comes to pass and I am not pregnant and never will be, so be it. But I can’t just let it go without pressing on and believing and fighting the doubt with faith. When will I get my revelation from God that this will happen or not? When does my doubt turn to total Faith and Trust with out a shadow of a doubt? Alas, no one has the answer and the biggest trick I’m told is that the answer lies within me and my belief.

    • God's grace given to 1 says:

      I am so sorry for your pain but do not allow the enemy to cloud your trust.
      You know God answers prayers according to His will and in His time. Sara was well beyond birthing years but our Lord remained faithful to His promise. God’s time is not ours & I want to reassure you that God does hear your hearts cry. He know, Kris…b/c He created YOU. Remember also when the angel was held up in battle? U just continue in faith and expectancy!

      My husband and I have been married for 18years and I walked in your shoes for 10 years.
      Our first born is 13 and to our surprise 3 years ago we were blessed with our second healthy child on this side of God’s creation. BUT, I have ten (twins included) beautiful children who have been made whole with Jesus. No, they were never to be in my arms but they are always in my heart (and tears, sometimes). I was pregnant every year from 2001 – 2007…(twice in 2001). Then in 2005 we lost our precious Benjamin “Ben” at five months gestation.

      Yet through all those “maybes” God spoke to my heart and re assured me of just how blessed I (and my husband) am to have children already in His presence. As the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart, I realized I am NOT defined by my losses! I am not to waste the testimony that God has given. When I turned my WHOLE heart over to God and said, one is okay…He was already preparing our #2. I was almost 4 months before I knew. How gracious is that?! With all the first trimester losses can you just imagine the fear / doubt / wonder / He covered me from! He gave me a glimpse of her – so when a test result seemed to indicate Trisomy 18 – fatal diagnosis…I could be reassured. He will give you the same confirmation!

      Now, it’s NOT been an easy journey and believe me God and I are going to have some kind of conversation :), yet each step of the way He comforted me / us. I do not know God’s response to your petition but I do know He is FAITHFUL and SUFFICIENT to meet you where you are. AND He IS always there! I know your walk and I pray for you to be encouraged as you walk in God’s time…not your own.

      Grace given to 1
      As I walk in God’s time…not my own~

      • Kris Bloise says:

        Thank you SO much for sharing! As I read your reply I felt God’s presence rush over me. As you shared your pain and struggle I felt reassurance, a heightened Hope and my Faith strengthened. I will read and re-read what you wrote and thank you from not just the bottom, but my whole heart.

  3. PAM SCHAEFFER says:

    Your devotional thoughts and book have been such a blessing to me! I just can’t thank you enough for reminding me to think FM thoughts, when I often think AM thoughts. Having been faced with rejection and cruel words lashed at me, it is easy to believe the lies rather than God’s truth. Last week, I was hearing God’s words all day saying “Trust Me”, “Praise Me”. On my way home from the store, a woman smashed into the back of my car at a busy intersection. She had two precious, young children in her car and no one was hurt, although both of our cars were totaled. At first, my thoughts could have been “God must be against me or this wouldn’t have happened.” But, I chose, instead to praise Him for His protection and look forward to how He is going to use this incident for His good purpose in my life. I often reread your book and thank you for sharing from your heart and experiences, as you go through daily struggles. You have touched my heart with God’s love, Renee.

  4. I think alot of women struggle with this, I know I do, I feel like I’m not good enough to be a Mom or Wife, most of all a child of God and live out His purpose for me.
    I’ve got sooo many tools at hand to fight the bully, but Satan keeps knocking on my door and I let the bully in, it’s become a vicious cycle. I know what to do, but “feel” I don’t have it in me to get it done…..AHHHHHH somedays I want to scream, the Lord is showing me, why can’t I just grasp on and go for His ride?!?
    Thankyou for this!!

    • Donna,

      I so understand how you are feeling. I am going to order Renee’s book…..sounds like something helpful. My aunt just bought me a book called, ” Gods shield of protection” by pastor mike servello. It is a small book but I guess you could say I am a “slow learner.”. I keep reminding myself that if I am living in fear or anxiety or whatever my emotion is at that moment that I am NOT living in faith. I just sometimes wonder if God doesn’t hear me……struggles with severe depression for so long and it is now really interfering with my family life.

      So, I understand about letting the enemy in. Anxious to read Renee’sbook!

  5. Sharon Donaghe says:

    What song was Twila Paris singing?

  6. Thanks so much for the devotional you sent today. I much needed that. I have noticed this summer my thoughts have seemed to consume me and steal my joy and peace. One of my biggest AM thoughts has been about myself being a mom and raising 2 teenagers (1 freshman in college and 1 freshman in high school). Feelings of disappointment and resentment come when they continue to disobey and lie. And then I have those AM thoughts while being a pastor’s wife. Today’s devotional was just a big reminder to take those thoughts captive and replace them with His FM thoughts/ promises from scripture. I am thinking I need to read your book.

  7. Loved the post. I struggle with discouragement. But i love the am and fm idea….

  8. I’m neither. Not a wife, was never able to be a mom and unemployed AGAIN. Definitely having an AM day but moving the dial to FM – because I know what his word says… “I look to the hills for where does my help come from? From the Lord the maker of heaven and earth”. Ladies, would appreciate if you could keep me in your prayers. 🙂

    • I like your post and the scripture reminder. You are in my prayers for wisdom and favor with an employer. Psalm 138

    • mv, daughter of the Most High, am and will be praying for you. your help most assuredly DOES come from the Maker of the heavens and the earth! anchor on that. <3

  9. Deanna Thompson says:

    I am going through a rough peri-menopause time right now but still having to work full time and have four kids at home….two who are out of high school and having trouble finding jobs. I am tired and burned out and really really struggle with the AM thoughts and feelings. Please pray for me. My husband is fairly understanding and considerate but he can never really feel my inner pain. Only God can, but I find myself hiding from Him because I feel so inadequate and weak. It is good to know that other women struggle with the same things.

  10. I was so glad to receive another devotion today! I have REALLY MISSED your lessons/devotions coming in during the study. I hope you received His blessings at the “women speaks conference”. I am sure you blessed everyone you came across.
    This doubt situation is extremely larger than I ever could have thought. I always thought it was just me! I have always doubted myself and really had thought it has been just me. I mean, “No one could be as stupid as me”. It wasn’t until I read your book that it has been satan turning me against myself, every since I was very young. I have had so many AM thoughts, with people in my life confirming them (w/o knowing I had already thought of them). I still struggle, trying to catch all the am ‘s and replace them, but you have given me tools to conquer! For I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! I have learned so much from your book and telling everyone about it. God has truly blessed me through you. (I always lowercase the devil)

  11. deborah fultner says:

    Your book is such a blessing. I struggled with my past in that I knew I was forgiven but I felt God couldn’t use me. Through the scriptures, you have shown me how God takes me where I am. I love the AM and FM comparisons. My mind was filled with AM too long. Praise God I can turn the AM off and the FM on.

  12. Hello Renee. I came home from SheSpeaks even more confident in what God was calling me to; I had even more confirmation last week. Honestly though, since this past weekend I have really been coming up against it. I feel like the AM radio is stuck on high and doubt is overwhelming me. I drove home from a meeting today, reminding myself of something Whitney said. I told God this just isn’t worth all of the struggle…but You are so worth it!! I asked Him for more encouragement and found it on the Proverbs 31 page. Your words today were just what I needed! I am extremely grateful!!! Many blessings to you!

  13. Catherine P says:

    I have been having many against me thoughts today. I’m so glad that I
    read this post. I just keep thinking that I have to do something to
    be good enough, that I can’t just rest in who I am in Christ because
    that would mean that I might be happy and fulfilled and be able to be
    all God wants me to be – who I really am. It was revealed to me
    yesterday that I have unforgiveness towards myself. I’m a young
    talented single mom and yet i struggle deeply with my mistakes
    expecting myself to be perfect or get lost from His presence because
    “your just not good enought to be there.” I’m praying over myself and
    other women that our lives would no longer be run by guil and shame
    but by an overwhelming filling of God’s love that just HAS to be
    shared. This is who I know i was created to be!

  14. Holly W. says:

    What a simple way to be aware of our own thoughts and help ourselves to bring them into obedience to Christ…I love the AM and FM thoughts. AM=lies. FM=Truth.

  15. Your post today was such a blessing! I loved the analogy of the radio dial/am & fm! Man, do so needvisuals! I fall into such doubt regarding my healing of diabetes; because I feel such guilt of the choices I have made for over 20 years & still am doing so.

  16. Linda D. says:

    I don’t have a problem with doing what is right . Sometime when I get upset or talk to much that is what makes me think that I am not worthy of doing God’s will.Then .Sometime I don’t think I am qualified to do certain jobs or say certain things. I want to be able to do God’s will anytime

  17. Cecily R Bornemann says:

    I really liked your email about Against me thoughts. My thoughts are against me most of the time in the area of forgiveness from God where the thoughts tell me I’m not forgiven. Another area where my thoughts get me is does God really love me so I have a lot of thoughts about God not loving me. I worry too much about these things and am currently on medication to help with the anxiety these thoughts cause me. Sometimes, I feel unforgiven and unloved by God so it’s hard to get rid of these doubts.

  18. Right now my AM thoughts are trying to outweigh my FM thoughts. With God’s help, I will not let this happen. Thanks for helping my to focus.

  19. Your post today was exactly what I needed tonight as I read it. The day had gone well until a meeting late in the afternoon. After it was all over and done with I knew I should rejoice with the person and celebrate what God had done, but was really struggling with it because of several things that had a part in the whole picture. After talking, crying, and praying with the person and then more later alone, and talking with my sister, God revealed that what I had done a couple weeks ago was in obedience to Him. And through my obedience not 1 but 2 families ended up being blessed. If I had not obeyed both families may not have been blessed.

    The end result was it was not about what I did but my obedience to God. At first I was doubting my hearing what the Lord had told me to do, but after the exciting things that had happened I knew that I was truely hearing what God was prompting me to do.

    So, sometimes doubt tries to turn you from obedience, but when you hold faithful to the Lord’s direction and obey He will bless you and others around you.
    Thanks for those words of encouragement today.

  20. Luz Haro says:

    Thank you for sharing these words with us. It really help me see that God is in control of my life. And that satan wants me to feel depress and unworthy.

  21. Teresa Richardson says:

    I live in TX and my parents and sister live in VA. My parents have been diagnosed with various stages of Alzthimers. My sister is asking that my husband and I move back to VA to be temporary caregivers. I was always the “black sheep” of the family. Going back where I was criticized for making so many bad personal and professional decisions is bringing up many many doubts. Here in TX I have no one except my husband to question my choices. Returning home means walking back into the place where nothing I did was ever good enough.
    I know God can change circumstances and mend these relationships. I need to heavily lean on Him to help me know if this return to VA is the right one

  22. Wow! I thought I was the only one with so many AM thoughts. Thank you for helping me focus on FM thoughts instead.

  23. Yep. Me too. Lately, and really since I’ve been a mom, (almost 11 years!) my a.m. thoughts concern my ability to be the mom my children need. I so often forget that God made no mistake when He made me the mom of my two amazingly beautiful kids. I so often forget that He has specifically chosen me as and equipped me to mother them and to love them as He does. Thanks, Renee, for this post. Truly.

  24. I’ve been discouraged lately because of a couple of broken relationships. I felt like a victim of circumstance but most of all, I doubted my God-given abilities to be a good, trustworthy friend to others around me. I felt insecure and very unsure of who I am… I’m thankful for your post; it reminds me to look to God constantly, again and again, rather than to my problems.

  25. Coming from an abusive home, I’ve struggled with feeling of inadequacy for most of my life. I’m tired of constantly feeling that I don’t measure up. I echo Linda D’s heart when she shared that she often feels that she is not worthy to do God’s will because she is not qualified. I so desire to be an instrument in His hands, but I am my own worst enemy and obstacle. Your book has been such a blessing to me. I love the reminder in Ephesians 2:10 ” I am His masterpiece, created to be new in Christ so that I could do good things He planned long ago.”

  26. Shuquin F. says:

    Good morning I just was reading this devotion & its right on point because alot of times I just feel like Im not good enough for anything because of my past & the things I did when I was living of the world which is now affecting the chances of me gaining employment. I went to a university on yesterday to fill out a job application & the lady was ready to hire me but because of a charge I have on my record stopped me frim gaining employment. On the application as many have state that even if you answer yes to the question of have you ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor & if you answer yes & explain the matter at hand that answering yes to the question does not affect the chances of you getting the job even with the background check. Well anyway I cried when she told me that it was nothing she could do to get around me getting the position because my charge was a CDS ( control dangerous substance). So now I feel as if Im not ever goin to get a career or I should say have a career & this just dicourages me to go on in my search of employment.

  27. thanks, renee, for your constant transparency as you allow us to see your struggles…and the myriad ways that the Lord has helped you to deal with and be delivered from them. “Your Word, Lord, i have treasured in my heart so that i may not sin against You.” this is my desire, my effort, my yearning, my stand. using the structure of am/fm surely assists me in attaining to this! God bless you each and all. <3

  28. I have enjoyed your book now for the second time. It has carried me through hard times along with some new friends Lysa,Tracie, just to name a few Proverbs31 friends that has given me encouragement every day. l translate as best l can encouraging words for my husband.The world sees this larger than life buisness owner, making decisions everyday I see him being bullied by the world and he is expected to be right all the time or in his mind he’s a failure,and if he fails his people and their families will be hurting, so l translate what l hear you saying in you book to a male, and sometimes l quote bible verses but l really think men hear things differently NO Du, LOL please think about a Confident Heart for men, maybe as told from Jay’s perspective LoL. Pray for David l have always said it must be very hard to be a Business man and a Christian, but my friends said no you have to be a Christian business man, and he says its just not that easy.

  29. Charlene says:

    I know better than to listen to those AM thoughts- but that doesn’t stop Satan’s smooth tongue from saying convincing and doubting things to me as if they were my own thoughts.

    Renee- your post today really woke me up that I had bought into the lie- everyone at work is against me, nobody likes me or respects me, no one wants to be around me, my body is broken & I will lose my career and worth to others in this world…. those are all LIES. Those thoughts are not my thoughts. No- it’s the devil whispering them as if they were my own- playing off my back pain from an injury & migraines and adding in a bunch of defeating ideas. THANK YOU for reminding me to SWITCH the channel. I’ve been wallowing in self pity – it is time to clime out of the hole and grab the rope of Hope. I remind myself that God has purpose for me otherwise the devil wouldn’t be after me. HA HA- the veil is off & I see the TRUTH.

  30. Thank you for this ……. HIS perfect timing…. So discouraged before I read this.

    Thank you!!!

  31. Not just today but for the past year I have been wondering why I’m on this earth. I was in a long term relationship and found out my boyfriend had been seeing someone else. I was and still am heart broken. I have reflected on this period in my life and realise that im always trying to please others and also seek their approval. My am thoughts tell me that I’m worthless, however, there are times my fm thoughts say God will get me through this time and in time send me a decent husband. I find it difficult to maintain fm thoughts. and would like you to pray for me.

    God bless you all.

  32. God's grace given to 1 says:

    Beautiful and powerful message!

    Grace given to 1
    As I walk in God’s time…not my own~

  33. Charlotte Richardson says:

    I have to tell you, I keep coming back to this post as my thoughts seem to continuously come back to am thoughts. I know that God is working in me and I am choosing to focus on truth but there are so many moments when they win. I covet your prayers.

  34. Stephanie says:

    What a timely post. I was just thinking how nice it would be to have one encouraging person right now. Everywhere I turn it seems someone is wanting something more or something better from me. So tiring and discouraging. Time to dive into the word!

  35. Kathy Boles says:

    My confidence in my ability to find the rightng people to give me heart to is lacking. I have desperately sought out women to be friends and each time find I’ve confided in the wrong people. I am a married mom of two little girls trying to find a good group of women to lift me up and in turn lift them, but instead I’m torn down and lied about and lonely. Feeling a bit unworthy at this point but trying to turn my thoughts to grace.

  36. Renee, I just finished your book a month ago and it came at a very appropriate time. My family just became missionaries to Ecuador and since being here, God has allowed me to begin work on a lifelong dream. However, the mix of the two “challenges” often get the best of me and I find myself focusing on the idea that I can’t do it, or I’m not talented enough, or I’m not dedicated enough. Thanks for writing with such transparency for in that I saw myself and realized I wasn’t alone. I’ve learned to recognize AM and FM thoughts and begun to battle them. This post was a reminder for me on a day I woke up feeling purposeless!

    I would love to share this book with a friend! Thanks again for following God’s call.

  37. I have been struggling with doubt for awhile now. Not really knowing if i truly gave my all to god. Everytime i try to trust and believe on his promises here come doubt and im back at not believing. I came from very hard life if you knw what mean and still i am trying to keep going toward christ. I am struggling to be stable in christ and when all those doubts come in it just knocks me down. I am totally lost and feel like giving up the fight cause i see no victory how can i walk by faith when i cant win a aingle victory over doubt?

  38. Thanks so much for your sweet testimony and reminder of God’s control in our lives. There was a time in my life when self doubt truly had an upper hand – however, I have just come out of a 6 year health battle and while it was an enormous trial – the strength and comfort that I learned from the kindness of His hands have left me confident that, no matter how big the trial, He is a bigger God. Praise His Name!
    He is sweet – very sweet – in the suffering.

  39. Amy Gordon says:

    Please pray for me to be the best mom and wife that I can be. May 16 , 2011 my baby girl , Amber was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called Rett syndrome. She probably will never talk. She didn’t start walking till she was 2 1/2…. She is 3 1/2 now. She has the sweetest smile that can heal all heartaches. She also has a 14 yr. old brother n amed Adam. They are my life. I am married to their daddy now for 20 years. Rett syndrome is a very scary thing.

  40. Christine says:

    I love how you wrote “When doubt comes against me, saying I’m not good enough for a certain role or position, I will remember that God is for me! He says I am His masterpiece, created to be new in Christ so that I could do good things He planned long ago”. The Lord has called me to pursue a degree in counseling in order to help young women work through childhood abuse. Satan has continually told me, that I was not good enough for that role. God is continuing to confirm for me that this is his plan, not mine and he is sufficient to accomplish all that he has planned. I will continue to pursue his will and not believe the things the devil tells me to try to deter me.

  41. I was just checking out the Proverbs 31 website. I enjoy the daily emails that I receive.
    Currently my struggling is with being a mother of 3, very active, loving, crazy boys. My 6 yr old has just been diagnosed with ADHD. Its a struggle to find the support, my husband and I need. Just to have someone to talk to about it that might be able to give us some guidance. I was hoping that you might have some advice. If not your prayers are appreciated too.

  42. I’m enjoying my daily emails and always look forward to them. Currently my struggle is in being mother of 3 boys. My middle son has just been diagnosed with ADHD. I have the faith that God is in control and has given this to us for a reason, but my husband and I are struggling to find the right support. i was hoping you might be able to offer some advice for us, or be able to point us into the right direction.

  43. Leila Saber says:

    I went through a very hard time yesterday and wanted to write it as you are so caring. My husband finds my character difficult and may not stay with me forever. Then in the evening my daughter was shouting at me and eventually I lost control. I felt so bad afterwards and this morning as I left home I put on the radio (I live in Switzerland) and heard such a message of encouragement from Renée about loosing control when one has children. I felt it was a message from God as yesterday I felt He was no longer there as I was in such pain. But it’s hard when one looses control.


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