About the Author

Renee Swope is a Word-lover, heart-encourager, and grace-needer. She's the best-selling author of "A Confident Heart" and her new book, "A Confident Mom" is releasing Fall 2021. Renee is also the familiar voice of a friend to women around the world as former Proverbs 31 Ministries' radio co-host and executive...

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  1. Absolutely!
    In answer to your question, yes–my heart is “an idol factory” (great phrase from John Piper), and every good and perfect gift that God lavishes upon me, I am more than capable of fashioning it into an idol.
    Thanks for this important emphasis, particularly for us in North America where we are so concrete and oblivious to spiritual life and priorities.

      • I agree and I pray that Jesus would fill this empty void and become the first priority in my life.

      • Yes, an idol factory. We have idols we’re unaware of also I’m sure. Thanks for this great article!

  2. Renee,
    As far as looking for affirmation and someone other than Jesus to fill my cup – I’ve been there done that. I, too, looked to other people, my husband, my kids, my “title”, etc. I don’t know why I had to dip my bucket down into every well until I finally dipped it into the living water. Maybe I’m a remedial learner? But, once I found this “life source,” nothing else could ever duplicate the living water that is God’s great love for us. I still dip into other wells, but mostly I live for an audience of One. If God and I are good….then nothing else really matters. Great post and reminder!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    • “If God and I are good, then nothing else really matters”…. I LOVE this, Bev, and I am sooooo stealing it!

      Awesome in-courage-ment today, Renee! (& also the pitcher picture-Fiestaware, made in my very own West Virginia!) ;o)

    • Like you Bev, it’s taken me a while. I think for me it was developing a new pattern, for my heart to keep remembering to come back to THE well of God’s love and affirmation. But again, there is nothing that comes close to satisfying my soul like He does!!

  3. thank you for this! it was so timely. i just sent a prayer to my friend telling her about the thoughts and doubts trying to take root in my mind due to situations and circumstances. but thank you for the reminder that God will (and should) fill the void. i just have to let Him in. (that’s so easy, right?!) and in that space, i have to remember that He can do beyond what i could ever conjure up in my mind for my life AND He is more than enough! Have your way Lord!

    • For me, it’s definitely a matter of letting HIM be enough. Letting Him satisfy my longings. It doesn’t just happen. I have to intentionally invite Him to sink into those empty places created by hurts, disappointments, longings, etc.

      Praying for you and your situation Karyn, that Jesus would remind you of His grace, and truth, promises and peace to fill up those places that have been filled with doubt. “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more…” Eph 3:20

  4. So good, Thank you Renee! I found myself going for more “things” when some of my most important relationships were stolen, and at the same time precious innocent ones in great jeopardy, that I am not allowed to help. Something to do, something to look at, something to have, something distracting, trying to take my mind off of the torture; at the same time spending hours with the Lord in Bible reading, devotionals, praying, seeking help and answers from Him and counsellors. I am not over or through this mess and now where I live is stuffed full of nice and new things that I have no room for. Thank you for s “safe place” to share the burden and my sinful reactions. So that is what happens when we go for something other than God or God + something else, to fill those empty, tormenting places; we get stuffed with things or people that can’t really help, which creates more problems to deal with and work through. I am a prime example.

    • Keep on going, GM! HE is your strength!
      Sending you much love from this side of the world,
      Mary
      PS: HE will answer our prayers, I’m sure!

      • Thank you dear Little Mary!!! You have responded to me before about these issues, Thank you for your encouraging statements about Him! I need that! Thankful for you Little Mary and may He bless you indeed for taking the time to help me!

    • Thank you for being so honest GM. You are so right. That is exactly what happens. I’ve been there too. Praying for you today!

      You are not alone. HE is WITH YOU. He loves you. He is for you. And He is cheering you on, holding you close. One step at a time.

      • Renee, how sweet of you and time sacrificing of you as well, to send us your thoughts to each of us! Your comments and knowing that you were praying today really means so very much to me, and I really am blessed by your doing so. May HE richly bless you for your kindness and sensitivity.

    • GM,

      I’ve been praying for you & your precious innocent ones. May God do a healing work with the people involved. Sending hugs & Christ’s love to you. I pray He comforts you heart & soul.

      ((((((Hugs)))))

      • Dear Beth, you melted my heart to know you have been praying for my precious ones and me. And thank you for your specific words that “God would do a healing work with the people involved” that is certainly what is needed, lots of healing. Thank you for sending hugs and His love and praying for His comfort for my heart and soul. How special for you to take time to care and help me. I am very blessed. May He richly bless and encourage you as well!

  5. Once we let Him fill us up and experience His Living Water quenching our thirst, it changes us and we know, this world will never satisfy. I love the opening of the 23rd Psalm. The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.

    Only Jesus satisfies our soul.

    • Love that too!! Also Psalm 90:14 is one of my favorites: “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.”

  6. I need this. I look to other people all the time for assurance, help, and encouragement when I need to be relying on God more. The thing is, what do you when it seems Gods not telling you much, so you go to others instead? Thank you so much, I appreciate any advice. 🙂

    • Hello MaryMargaret,
      I have been where you are. What DO you do when it seems God’s not telling you much? It sure is tempting to look somewhere else for a quick answer, and I do still go there all too often. But I have learned that it’s not God who isn’t speaking to me, it’s me who isn’t listening. If I actually want to hear him, and let him fill me up with his love, I have to take the time to slow down and wait for the still, small voice. The one thing that works every time is to get alone with a Bible and determine that you aren’t going anywhere until you hear from him. Sometimes it’s 2 minutes, sometimes it’s 20 minutes. But God does speak, the Word is his message to us, alive and powerful. And it’s his message to each of us individually. Sometimes God speaks directly to me when I’m not reading his Word, but more often it’s the old familiar verses that suddenly come alive and I know that I know that I know that God is speaking them directly to me.
      I believe God is saying to you: my thoughts toward you are countless.
      He wants you to know that he’s not too busy to speak to you. He’s thinking about you all the time. He wants good things for you. He wants to bless you.
      I encourage you to open his Word and listen for his voice. Be blessed to experience his love!

      • Thank you Jeanne!
        I sorely needed to read your words of encouragement to keep coming to the well. To look to Jesus alone to quench this spiritual desert. I have been feeling empty for way too long. I’ve had small moments of drops of refreshment, but I know I need more.

  7. Just this morning, I took a spiritual inventory of myself. I’ve lacked self-control. I’ve bought superfluous items. Turned to emotional eating. I told the Lord today, “I have holes that only you can fill.” Such an apropos story for my season. Thank you, Renee. We spoke briefly last summer at the Northwestern Christian Writer’s Conference. Nice to see your story here! -jessica

    • Hi Jessica! So good to see your beautiful smile here. I have been in seasons where I’ve forgotten to let Him fill me. Where shopping, tasks, friends and food have been my go-to for a void or angst only He could heal or help me with. I love that you took a spiritual inventory today and landed in this place of knowing there are holes only He can fill – and then you read today’s post. Isn’t He so sweet to affirm our hearts, to confirm He is speaking and leading you back to Him. Love that. Encourages my heart so much. Thank you for sharing. xoxo

  8. How do we do this? The grief overwhelms me at times and I want Jesus to fill those empty places. I read your words but feel like I am missing something. How do I consistently have Him fill the empty places?

    • Kathleen, there are times when pain, grief, loss or sadness become consuming and in those times it’s harder for my heart to stay satisfied in Him. And in those times, it’s a moment by moment going to Him, reading through His promises, journaling and pouring out my heart and listening to His quiet spirit speaking back to me after I have immersed myself in His word.

      I have a set of promises that help me in times like these, when I don’t know where to turn in my Bible because my heart and mind are just aching too much to remember where I can find His comfort. I’d love to send those scripture to you if you’ll email me at connect@reneeswope.com

      Also, here is a link to a short teaching I did on letting God fill our empty places.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQEqoa5c8oo

      Praying for you now.

  9. thank you for this message this morning – fill me up, O Lord – all the dry places – water them, refresh them, wash over me and fill me with your Living Water I pray in Jesus name.

  10. This really hits home today. I feel as if I am the woman at the well. Reeling in waters that will never fulfill my needs yet I keep doing it day after day, knowing that I need to look towards Him. My human heart keeps looking at my family, my kids and my husband for confirmation of something that they truly cannot provide for me even if they wanted to. This is a dry harsh season for me and had been so since the beginning of the year. I must remember this message you given here and remind myself to fill my heart with His living water daily. Thank you for sharing this. Truly needed to hear this word of truth today!

  11. Rrenee,

    My idol is “busyness.” There are times when I get so busy doing “God’s work” that I don’t take time for Him personally. You think you are doing good. All He really wants is for us to slow down & take time with Him alone. This world is noisy & clamors for more-things, prizes, etc. Jesus asks us to be still & know that He is God. He is enough to fill all our empty places. When we get to the end of ourselves He is there waiting patiently to hear us.

    Blessings 🙂

  12. There was this guy who was older to me but he liked me. I never noticed this until recently. I prayed to God. I wanted His answer before he approached me. I started moving away because I had fallen into that kinda trap before.
    His church mates came up to me with the same proposal. My hopes went high. I kept praying. I invested a lot of my thoughts, prayers and other people into this. I wanted God to give me an answer.

    Last Sunday, I was shown an invite of his wedding.
    I flipped, I cried for daysme. I was upset. I was angry. I felt cheated again. My heart.
    I am an active person at churchthe. I never gave him a thought until he sent me ‘skewed’ signals and people affirmed that this was from God. People whom I admire.
    I randomly chose 2 Corinthians and began dwelling on the first chapter. I still wake up to this pain but the book says ‘God delivered..’
    I hold on to that.

  13. Praising God for this message, today! My husband is the pastor of 3 churches who have recently come together as one and bought land to build one church!! It’s an exciting time, however there are extra meetings and more to do. I rarely have time with just my husband and, when I do, he’s exhausted. It makes me feel rejected and lonely much of the time, as if he’s got nothing left for me. It’s difficult at tines, but I need to remember that Jesus is enough! His love is enough for me and fills those empty places if I just cling harder to the vine❤

  14. I read daily, and study the Word of God and pray. The question is How? Struggling with deep loneliness

  15. Thank you for this today Renee. Praying for my two daughters, who know Him, but still haven’t realized that God is their all in all…that He alone is their affirmation and the only recognition that they need.
    Thanks always for your encouraging words!