10312015_ReneeSwope_Psalm103

I caught my heart heading to the pit of discouragement for spring break. My heart was supposed to go to the beach with my family and me, but it was not cooperating.

We had been hit by one emotional and financial crisis after another. A close friend had just found out that, after a year’s worth of abdominal pain, extreme fatigue, and an undiagnosed illness, she had a large tumor that appeared to be ovarian cancer.

Earlier that week our upstairs air conditioner broke, again. And a week later, we were told our international adoption expenses would not apply as a deduction that year, which meant we owed significantly more on taxes than anticipated. Yet, our savings had been depleted by adoption expenses and failing air conditioning systems.

My heart was overwhelmed. My spirit was depleted. And my body was completely exhausted.

I couldn’t stop worrying about my friend. I couldn’t stop fretting over our finances. And I couldn’t stop wondering, “How am I supposed to rest and relax on vacation with all of this happening?”

Although I had packed my bags for the beach, my heart decided it wasn’t in the mood and started marching straight toward the pit.

I didn’t want to go on vacation, but I didn’t want to camp out in a place of despair either. I knew Somebody needed to take charge of my emotions, and my husband knew better than to try. So, I decided it was time to boss my heart around!

King David was really good at getting bossy by telling his heart and soul what to do. In Psalm 103 he starts out with this:

“Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name.”
{Psalm 103:1}

Nothing in me wanted to do this, but even in the midst of my turmoil and troubles, I told my soul to praise the Lord. And I had an attitude about it, too.

Some sweet “say your bedtime prayers” talk to my soul wasn’t going to work. No, I needed a deep-down, preach it to my inmost being sermon: “Renee Swope, GOD IS GOOD no matter what your feelings are telling you!”

Then I bossed my heart with some more Truth and pulled it away from the pit by telling myself to “forget not ALL his benefits” {Psalm 103:2}. Next, I followed King David’s lead by walking down memory lane and reminded my heart how good God is at being God. How He is the One who . . .

“Forgives all [my] sins and heals all [my] diseases,
redeems [my] life from the pit
crowns [me] with love and compassion,
satisfies [my] desires with good things
so that [my] youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
{Psalm 103:3-5}

No matter what the answer would be to my friend’s diagnosis, or how costly our air conditioner was going to be, or how much we owed on taxes — my soul needed to do this! And, my emotions eventually got in line and filed behind my words as they led my heart out of the pit.

My circumstances didn’t change, but my perspective did when I re-directed my thoughts and my focus, which then re-directed my emotions. And, our spring break wasn’t ruined after all!

Are there circumstances that have pulled you into a place of discouragement? Do you have concerns that are causing your thoughts to head down a path of despair? I pray you won’t go there.

Every time you are tempted to start worrying about what might be, use King David’s prayer to focus on what was, is, and will forever be — God’s faithfulness to walk by your side and navigate your heart through the valleys of life as you:

1. Praise God for who He is and how good He is.

2. Thank God for what He has done in the past.

3. Trust God for what He will do in the future.

Sweet friend, isn’t it good to know you can be the boss of your emotions by telling your heart what to do? And if you need to get a little bossy, you go right ahead.

Lord, empower me through Your Spirit to stop my emotions from bossing me around. I want to quit worrying about what might happen and focus on what has already happened by remembering and praising You for Your faithfulness in my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Sometimes we need to walk down memory lane and remind our souls how good God is at being God. {Tweet this!}

*Partially excerpted from 60-Days to Stop Doubting Yourself: A Confident Heart Devotional by Renee Swope.
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  • Bev @ Walking Well With God

    Renee,
    I feel like I’m drowning and you just threw me a life preserver. My heart has been on a descent into the pit. I have a beloved dog who is aged and dying and who barks incessantly from 4pm-bedtime each night. I fret and worry that not enough donations are going to come in to give 30 orphans in Pakistan some joy this Christmas. My husband broke two bones in his foot and he’s not a happy camper. Finances are tight from all my surgery bills and other unforeseen expenses….non of this life threatening, but yet disheartening. I NEED to get bossy with my heart. I need, like you said, to remind myself of the TRUTH that God, is indeed, good! I need to praise Him and remember all the times He’s been faithful and project that hope into the future. Thank you, thank you for this “just in the knick of time” post!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    • Beth Williams

      Bev,
      Prayers for you and your family! May God bring you all His healing touch! I pray God showers you with grace, mercy and blessings to numerous to count! May the finances come in for the school!
      Blessings :)

      • Bev @ Walking Well With God

        Beth,
        Thanks for your continual encouragement and prayers…you are a light of hope and friendship for me!!
        Bev xx

    • http://www.ReneeSwope.com Renee Swope

      Praying for you Bev and so grateful God timed this post just when you needed it so you’d know He’s right there with {{YOU}}. Praying for His peace and provision. His calm and comfort, and a big dose of joy. Just this week I was struggling and had to get bossy with my heart again and remind myself of all the ways God has been good even in the midst of really hard. xoxo ~Renee

    • Mevline Blackshear

      I feel like you! You took the words right outta my heart, Bev. I feel like I’m drowning, too AND I read what Renee wrote and wow, I feel so blessed to have Christians sisters like you… and YOU!

  • Keri Siegel

    Hi Renee, That is a great word! A church I was a member of before I was married (I’m divorced now) used to sing a song during praise and worship that said, “Teach us to war in our worship!” Back then, I had no idea what they were talking about. I only knew that there were things in my life that had to change and I didn’t know how to do it. In those days, you could tell where I was emotionally by whether or not I was singing. As I began to seek the Lord for what He meant by “warring in our worship” it became the first area of my life where I had a spiritual breakthrough. The passage of Scripture used to teach me was the passage from Joshua where the Israelites marched around Jericho for seven days: the first six days they marched around once in silence; and the seventh day, they marched six times in silence and shouted out in praise to God the seventh time and the walls came down. As I gained the revelation on what the Holy Spirit was teaching me, I began to implement it and He set me free in the area of my praise and worship. My praise and worship is no longer dependant upon things going my way. That was back in 1995, and I couldn’t have gone through half of what I’ve been through since without that foundation. Then, in 2000, God transformed my prayer life (but that’s a story for another time). I shared this because when you shared your post, that’s what it reminded me of. Be blessed.

    • http://www.ReneeSwope.com Renee Swope

      Oh I love that Keri. That’s exactly what we need when our heart starts going down a bad path: to be a warrior in our worship. To fight for our hearts. To remember our Hero and Rescuer. Our Conqueror and King!! Thank you for sharing!!

  • Beth Williams

    Renee,
    Such wise wisdom!! I need to get bossy with myself at times also! When my heart gets in that mood I will get my mind to thinking about all the good God has done in my life. I start by writing a thankful journal and listing every single item big or small that I’m thankful for. Then each day I write in what I was thankful for that day. In that way I find myself praising God for the good of the day and not the bad. He is good ALL the time ALL the time He is good!!!
    Blessings :)

    • http://www.ReneeSwope.com Renee Swope

      Journaling is so good for me too, Beth. And yet sometimes I forget and days go by and I wonder why and how my heart got into such a funk. As soon as I pick up my pen and start journaling and processing my tangled up thoughts with Jesus, He shows me what’s going on. He reveals things I couldn’t see or hear til I got it all out on paper. Thank you for reminding us all how powerful it is to journal and write down all the things He has done!! :)

  • Donna Jones

    Renee,
    Thanks for your wise words, great reminder and practical application. This is just too good not to share! Love it….and you! :)
    Donna

    • http://www.ReneeSwope.com Renee Swope

      Love you too sweet friend! Thanks for your always-on-time encouragement. I was just thinking about you this week. So good to see your smile here. :) xoxo

  • Mair Hodges

    Renee,
    Sorry this went so long but I soooo get what you are saying. I have been walking this out for over 4 yrs. now. My daughter gave birth to an amazing little angel (our first granddaughter) but for some reason after Hadley was born our daughter distanced herself from us plus she lived a half a country away from us. Anyway having a granddaughter which I had wanted since I was a little girl and lost my Nanny (GM) and not being able to see her or hear anything about how she was doing was nothing short of torture. The tears flowed daily and my heart was crushed beyond belief. BUT GOD!!! Through it all He was there and i learned to lean on Him like never before. I HAD to learn to praise God when my heart was so broken I could barely breathe. I learned to thank Him for every little thing in my life b/c the biggest thing in my life was a mess. I learned to remember how He had been there for me before and would be again but the biggest thing I learned was to pray His promises back to Him b/c His word never returns void! I quoted scriptures like Prov. 3:5&6, Isiah 44:3, Ps 119:133, Rom 8:39, Isiah 50:9, Isiah 49:25 (KJ), Luke 1:37, Ps 17:3 (last part about the mouth ;-) Jn. 14:27 & Jer 31:16&17 After 18 very long months my daughter & GD came to live with us for 21 months, that was soooo God!!!!! Hadley and my husband & I formed a bond that will NEVER be broken PTL! Our daughter is still holding grudges and anger in her heart and after the 21 months moved out and stopped speaking to us AGAIN! There went my heart again and the prayers started again and after 6 months of hearing nothing from her out of the blue she calls and we have been speaking since. Now that is what you call a miracle and God at work. This journey has taught my heart that only God can have control of my heart and circumstances are just that. HE is in control of everything so i don’t have to be and can rest in His presence when things just get crazy. I believe with all my heart (and it’s broken bits and pieces) that one day our daughter will have the scales removed from her eyes and see the love we have for her but most importantly how much God loves her. My heart truly knows how to love the unlovely, even though she is my daughter it’s been tough. God promises are just that and when we stand on them and trust Him “with ALL our heart” He is more than willing to work on our behalf. It’s truly giving it up to Him that is the hard part. So thank you for the reminder and encouragement. Blessings & love Mair

    • http://www.ReneeSwope.com Renee Swope

      Praying for you and your daughter Mair. Sounds like you have been though so much. Praying for healing, hope and complete restoration in the coming months. Your family is precious to God!!

      • Mair Hodges

        Thank you. God is in control so I don’t have to be which is a good thing ;-)

  • Rebecca Jones

    If things hit us one at a time we might could handle it, maybe not. It’s like things happen in threes, fours, or fives. There are definitely patterns and seasons in the Bible and in our lives.
    When my mother told me to calm down the other day, and I wasn’t really that upset, I suddenly realized, I couldn’t even do that. I had to let Jesus do it. When she left this morning, she was little overwhelmed. She told me she had a lot on her, I’ll remind her this evening, ” No, it was all on Him. ” He really should be our focus, we can’t count on us.

    • http://www.ReneeSwope.com Renee Swope

      Oh yes, if only the hard things would come to us, one at a time. :) Praying for both you and your mom, Rebecca. To be able to remind one another that’s He’s got you!!

  • Susan G.

    This is me this morning Renee… I’m trying desperately to boss my heart in the right direction too! Spending time in prayer and His Word I know will accomplish this! God is so faithful! Thanks for this today-it was just for me!:-) Your book is also one of my greatest books for encouragement as well as your devotional book. Love them so!
    Be blessed as you bless others!

    • http://www.ReneeSwope.com Renee Swope

      Sweet Susan, I’m paying that Jesus’ comfort and calm eased your worries and lifted the weight of your concerns this weekend as you were reminded of His faithfulness in the past and present. I have to boss my heart around at least once a day! So blessed to know we’re keeping company on the pages of A Confident Heart book and devotional too. :)

  • Michele

    Dear Renee, Thank you very much for your words of wisdom. I let my emotions run way to often. I sometimes feel like they run my life. I often doubt even who I am. But it was good to hear we can be the boss of where our thoughts take us. Thanks again for your help in getting back on track.

    • http://www.ReneeSwope.com Renee Swope

      You are so welcome. We’re all in the {{together}}.

  • ?

    My heart is broken and bitter. Please pray for Gods healing touch

    • http://www.ReneeSwope.com Renee Swope

      Praying His promises and pleading for your peace through Psalm 27 today:

      Psalm 27

      Of David.

      1 The Lord is my light and my salvation—
      whom shall I fear?
      The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
      of whom shall I be afraid?

      2 When the wicked advance against me
      to devour[a] me,
      it is my enemies and my foes
      who will stumble and fall.
      3 Though an army besiege me,
      my heart will not fear;
      though war break out against me,
      even then I will be confident.

      4 One thing I ask from the Lord,
      this only do I seek:
      that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
      all the days of my life,
      to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
      and to seek him in his temple.
      5 For in the day of trouble
      he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
      he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
      and set me high upon a rock.

      6 Then my head will be exalted
      above the enemies who surround me;
      at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy;
      I will sing and make music to the Lord.

      7 Hear my voice when I call, Lord;
      be merciful to me and answer me.
      8 My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
      Your face, Lord, I will seek.
      9 Do not hide your face from me,
      do not turn your servant away in anger;
      you have been my helper.
      Do not reject me or forsake me,
      God my Savior.
      10 Though my father and mother forsake me,
      the Lord will receive me.
      11 Teach me your way, Lord;
      lead me in a straight path
      because of my oppressors.
      12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
      for false witnesses rise up against me,
      spouting malicious accusations.

      13 I remain confident of this:
      I will see the goodness of the Lord
      in the land of the living.
      14 Wait for the Lord;
      be strong and take heart
      and wait for the Lord.

  • Julie

    Renee,
    Thank you for this! I was diagnosed in March with Lyme disease. I am having a terrible time and over the last few weeks have been finding myself in a pit of despair. I now have neuropathy in my feet and lower legs. It’s so painful- it even hurts to stand or walk long distances. I am a personal trainer and this has been so hard on me. The fatigue and pain are overwhelming. So far, none of the treatments have helped. Please pray for complete healing for me. I just want my life back! Thank you!

    • http://www.ReneeSwope.com Renee Swope

      I’m so sorry for all you’ve been through Julie. I know it must be overwhelming and tempting to despair. I’m asking Jesus to comfort you through Psalm 27, too and wanted to personalize it for you in case you come back and see it:

      Psalm 27

      1 The Lord is Julie’s light and her salvation—
      whom shall she fear?
      The Lord is the stronghold of Julie’s life—
      of whom shall she be afraid?

      2 When the wicked {impact of Lyme disease} advance against me
      to devour[a] me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall.
      3 Though an army besiege me, Julie’s heart will not fear; though war break out against her (with a sense of overwhelming dispair), even then Julie will be confident.

      4 One thing Julie will ask from the Lord, this only will she seek:
      that she may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of her life,
      to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.
      5 For in the day of trouble he will keep Julie safe in his dwelling;
      he will hide Julie in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.

      6 Then Julie’s head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me;
      at his sacred tent Julie will sacrifice with shouts of joy; she will sing and make music to the Lord.

      7 Hear my voice when I call, Lord;
      be merciful to me and answer me.
      8 My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
      Your face, Lord, I will seek.
      9 Do not hide your face from me,
      do not turn your servant away in anger;
      you have been my helper.
      Do not reject me or forsake me,
      God my Savior.
      10 Though my father and mother forsake me,
      the Lord will receive Julie.
      11 Teach Julie your way, Lord;
      lead me in a straight path
      because of my oppressors.
      12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
      for false witnesses rise up against me,
      spouting malicious accusations.

      13 I remain confident of this:
      I will see the goodness of the Lord
      in the land of the living.
      14 Wait for the Lord;
      be strong and take heart
      and wait for the Lord, Julie.

      Amen!!

  • Judy Reedus

    WOW. You know I really wanted to stay in the pit today. We are also facing some financial challenges that I just don’t want to deal with. I cant work because I take care of my husband who is a victim of agent orange. So today I was just going to be depressed, however, you encouraged me to take charge of my emotions because I know that GOD is good.

    • http://www.ReneeSwope.com Renee Swope

      God is so good to time things just what we need them! I pray you got to be the boss of your emotions this weekend!!

  • margaret_helen

    I am really struggling I lost my job on March 31 and have not been able to find work. There is only so much rejection a person can take. Through this I have learned to trust God more and more. However I find that I try and cast all my anxiety onto the Lord and I go back and retrieve it. I need to truly trust the Lord and that he will provide. I recently took a temp agency job out of desperation. I am worried I will not find a job that will be near my previous income. I fear I will not find work because of my appearance I have prayed that I will not lose hope.

    • Cathy

      Margaret,
      i read your post and had to reply. I will soon be 59 years old. I lost my full time job of 24 years 2 years ago. Like you I am learning to trust God more fully – to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. I currently work 3 part time jobs for a lot less income but God is good! He has been and always WILL provide. Wanna know something? Except for the money and benefits I don’t miss my former job at all. I enjoy what a do now (something COMPLETELY different) and the people I am with every day. Hold on, Seek Him and NEVER, EVER LOSE HOPE!!!!

      • margaret_helen

        Thank you for your reply to my post. I truly appreciate your encouragement

        Margaret

    • http://www.ReneeSwope.com Renee Swope

      Praying for you Margaret!! Do not grow weary in doing good. Just do the next best thing right where you are with what you have. Do all that you do for HIM alone. You are His masterpiece created in Christ Jesus to do good works HE planned for you in the big and little things He places before you each day. He is WITH you!!

  • Kelly

    Thank you Renee for this today, this morning I started to get overwhelmed because of some medical bills. I am currently on sick leave for the second time this year due to 2 more surgeries. I am not sure how I am going to pay for things while I am off. I k ow that I am looking at my ability and not God’s resources. Please pray for me as I recover and to use the time wisely while I am off.

    • http://www.ReneeSwope.com Renee Swope

      Praying for you today Kelly:

      God you are faithful. Help Kelly to see YOU in every detail and sense Your direction in her every decision. Guide and provide for her as she stays close to you each day. Amen.

      • Kelly

        Thank you for caring and praying for me. I was wondering if you have a new book coming out soon? It amazes me how you say exactly what I need to hear at a specific time. Thank you.

        • http://www.ReneeSwope.com Renee Swope

          Hi Kelly! I’m in the middle of writing my next book that will release in 2016. In the meantime, I’ve got some really great resources I’m super excited about that I partnered with DaySpring and inCourage to release in March 2016. If you’d like to know when each resource/book comes out, if you’re not on my email list, you can sign up for updates on my blog at reneeswope.come :)

          • Kelly

            Thanks and I will make sure that I am. I really l Iiked your book Confident Heart.

  • Emily Curtiss

    Renee,
    I have been living in the same house (renting) for 13 years. I need to find a new place to move. My friend is moving out of her house in December to join her husband over seas, and her house would be perfect for my family and my budget. I am just so overwhelmed and discouraged with everything that needs to be done in order for us to move out of where we are. I need to get bossy with my stubborn heart and remind myself that God is good and if this is His will for out family then he will make provisions and provide all the resources for us to be able to move by January.
    Thank you for this timely post.
    Emily

    • http://www.ReneeSwope.com Renee Swope

      It’s amazing what praise can do Emily. It’s amazing how I see so differently when I tell my thoughts what to think and my heart what to remember. Left on my own, I’m a mess – but focused on Him I’m so much more. Still messy but not stuck. Hope this helps you in the days ahead as you lean into Jesus and see Him come through. I’m praying for you right now!!

  • JeanneTakenaka

    I’m a day late, but I still needed to stop and comment. My heart has definitely been in the place you described. I love how you applied Psalm 103 to the circumstances to get your eyes and heart back on the Author of all life. I need to establish that discipline. And use God’s word to boss my heart around.

    I struggled a lot with my heart edging toward the pit this past spring when my hubby had to be overseas for weeks, and my boys were not handling it well. God’s word, praying with friends and journaling helped, but I should have done a little more of bossing my heart around with God’s amazing Word.

    • http://www.ReneeSwope.com Renee Swope

      It’s helped me so much to learn from David’s authentic honesty and spiritually “bossy” pattern of thinking, praying and praising. I’m so glad it helped you this weekend too. And together hopefully we’ll all have this to lean on next time we need to boss our hearts back into believing and focusing on God’s goodness more than the hard and crazy all around us. So glad your hubby’s home. That would have been super hard for me and mine too. :)

  • Danielle Stedman

    They say there are no coincidences with God. This is the Truth ..this morning God had me memorize a Scripture. Yes, Psalm 103 verses 1-5. When I read all of the comments, I stopped to pray for everyone’s prayers to be answered, as I could not choose just one! No Words …except His !!

    • http://www.ReneeSwope.com Renee Swope

      Love how He makes Himself known in the details. Thank you for sharing Danielle and for praying!!

  • Holly Jackson

    Amen!

    • http://www.ReneeSwope.com Renee Swope

      And amen!

  • Mevline Blackshear

    Renee, This is so beautifully written. Thank you for your inspiration. Thank you for sharing your story and what encouragement you have brought. Again, Thank you!

    • http://www.ReneeSwope.com Renee Swope

      You are so very welcome. It’s an honor to serve you and seek Him together. xoxo

  • Michelle

    I can totally relate!! This past year has been unreal!! It has reminded me that God is my only way; He is my only truth; He is my only life. Without Him I am nothing, and I can do nothing without Him. He is my very breath, and the thought of life without Him literally takes my breath away. All these things we have been through the last year have literally knocked me off my feet, thankfully, however, landing in His arms. He is my solid rock, the only sure thing on which I can stand. There is so much more that I must remind myself every moment of every day in order to survive this crazy life. I pray for you, Renee. I know God will use everything you have gone through to encourage us as He has done before. Your words are always an inspiration and encouragement. Your willingness to be real reaches to us, your readers, where we are, and I thank you for allowing God to use you to remind us of who we are and can be in Him. I also pray for all of you who have commented and are struggling. He is with us and will never leave or forsake us. God bless you all!

    • http://www.ReneeSwope.com Renee Swope

      Praying for you Michelle. And so grateful for your prayers too. xoxo

  • http://www.ReneeSwope.com Renee Swope

    Oh sweet Karen, you have been through so much. I hear the ache in your heart and I”m praying for you tonight as I read your words. Jesus loves you friend. He knows where you are and He is right beside you, waiting for you to back into His arms of love. He’s not mad at you friend. He’s just longing to hold you close again. Jer. 31:3 ~ “The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”