About the Author

Renee Swope is a Word-lover, heart-encourager and grace-needer. She's also best-selling author of "A Confident Heart" and the familiar voice of a friend to women around the world as the former Proverbs 31 Ministries' radio co-host for ten years. Renee is a mom of three Joshua (25), Andrew (22) and...

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  1. Renee,
    Oh how the enemy wants to squash our opportunities to bask in God’s abundant love for us. Recently I’ve been listening to this song by Hillsong United entitled “Not Today”. I often sing (albeit off key) God’s praise and thank Him for His goodness and I belt out the chorus, “Tell the devil no, not today!” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kebQsnSTRI. Yes, I agree we need to get downright bossy with our feelings and also with calling on the name of Jesus to tell the creep to take a hike! It is a choice and God gives us what we need to be victorious over our discouragement. It may be a “both/and”. We may be disheartened by our circumstances, but we can also set our hearts on enjoying His goodness. Great reminder!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    • Thank you for this wonderful reflection. So needed today as I get ready to leave on a short vacation this morning; but torn to leave as my mother is ill and in rehab and needing care and decisions need to be made for ongoing care. I needed to be reminded King David’s prayer and God’s faithfulness for the journey.
      Blessings!

      • Oh Rita, I am right there with you. My mom recently fell and injured herself badly, and I’m her caretaker. I needed this reminder and my own words for the same reason when this post when live March 30th :). Praying these words for you right now:
        “I lift my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
        Psalm 121:1-2

    • Yes, God’s word is my only hope in getting my thoughts and my heart out of a bad place, when they get stuck there. So grateful His word is a lamp for our feet and a light for our path. xoxo

  2. Renee, your post comes with opportune timing for me today. My husband and l have been hit with bad financial news (twice) this week and owe money to the state due to a miscalculation, and l have been in convalescence from burnout and depression for three years. My best friend walked away from our relationship a few months ago and l don’t know why. I needed to read your message and “boss” my heart again to look to God and keep His faithfulness that is the same yesterday, today and forever more.

    David is my favorite hero from the Bible because he always strengthened himself in the Lord, no matter how dire his circumstances. Thank you for bringing that to my focus again and in particular, Psalm 103:3-5. Blessings!

    • Madeline, I’m so sorry for all that you’ve been hit with. That’s a lot. Praying for God’s provision and for healing in your friendship or peace in letting go, knowing God’s always working for your good even when it hurts or doesn’t make sense. All lessons I’m learning too, sister. We’re in this together!

  3. Thank you so much for this. Such an encouragement. This is what it means to put on the armour of God! I’ve forwarded this to so many people this morning. We forget the power that we have in our Savior when Ihearts get discouraged. I so needed to hear this encouraging
    message today

    • Anne, I am so thankful God timed this post just when you needed it. And, I love that you shared it with so many friends too. Honestly, I needed these truths on the day this post went live too. God is so good!

  4. Thank you for sharing this with us, Renee. You are my favorite author and God always uses you to speak to my situation and heart. I’ve been crying into my pillow lately about dashed hopes over a failing job and now my husband might be losing his job. Our car almost lost a wheel last night, our back door needs replacing, and we need some plumbing done. It’s exhausting… Praying for a fresh perspective and stirring my soul to remain thankful

    • Sweet Carol, I’m praying for you right now. Lord, thank You that you see Carol and her husband and YOU are with them. You are working on their behalf even though it doesn’t look or feel like it some days. I pray that in this barren season, YOU would draw them close and show them Your love through YOUR provision and peace. I pray that they would depend on You like never before. That as they pray together and seek you with all their hearts, You would show up in personal and undeniable ways as You did for Moses and Joseph, and Joshua, and so many others who were in desperate need of a miracle. In Jesus name, amen!

  5. Psalm 103 is definitely one of my go-to bossy scriptures. I continually find myself having to take myself by the scruff of the neck and preach truth to myself.

  6. God wins!!!

    Beautiful article. I just wrote one last night that is so similar…except I didn’t think to use the word “bossy!”

    I think it is so great how God’s truths permeate our hearts and lives, no matter who we are, where we live, and where we go (or don’t go for Spring Break). I am glad you enjoyed time with your family!

  7. I’ve never commented here before, but this was so timely for me, that I know I have to thank you, Renee. God knew I needed to read this TODAY! I’ve felt some “overwhelmed-ness” this week, and needed a reminder of Who is in control. I plan to be more bossy to my heart and my emotions going forward, using you and King David as my examples! Thanks, and may God bless you.

    • Wow, Jeffrey, that means a lot! Thank you for leaving your first-ever comment on inCourage – under something I wrote. Reading your words, and how God spoke to your heart in a place of absolute overwhelm through my post, was a gift and encouragement to me!! I pray you got bossy like King David and led your heart to higher ground with Jesus!

      PS> Hope to see you here again soon. 🙂

  8. So, I was at an all-day women’s conference today, and one of the main speaker’s points was exactly this: get bossy with your soul. Get it back on board. I know you don’t feel like it. I don’t care. We’re gonna do this for God.
    Apparently, God really wanted to nail that point in for me today. Thanks for sharing.

  9. The subject of Worry has been coming up again and again in our small group over the past couple of months. Thank you so much for sharing your hard won experience. Our group will have an opportunity to talk, pray, and practice your timely words.

    • I love that Jodi!! Another one of my favorite verses about worry is John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

  10. Isn’t it funny how time and time again Jesus shows up through the words here?! I needed to hear this. Thank you for helping me to refocus where my eyes and heart should be it shouldn’t be in negative self talk due to disappointment of my own making, I need to focus on giving gratitude to God/Jesus and the Holy Spirit for what has been and the fact they are with me every single day. It’s crazy to forget how close they are, walking right beside us! He never lets me down and always provides for me. My thinking has got a bit lost with acts that have been going on in NZ lately. It’s so confusing the horrible tragic act the country is still in shock over.

    • Praying for you Jas. These beautiful truths came to mind as I read your comment. Praying them for you now:

      Psalm 23:1-4, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”

  11. Renee,

    Lysa Terkeurst in her book It’s Not Supposed to be This Way states “It’s our choice whether we stay stuck in our hurt or get renewed in our hearts”. “News & truth aren’t always one & the same.” Impossible when look at in light of who God is –The Great I AM-becomes I’m possible. All our tough situations can be viewed differently when seeing them through the eyes of God. The movie “War Room” said it best when Miss Clara tells Elizabeth Jordan to pray & kick the devil to the street. There is a scene in that movie where Elizabeth does just that. She goes to the porch & tells the devil that he can’t have her husband or the house any more. We belong to God!! There are times we have to get bossy with our emotions & the devil. We must tell them that nothing is impossible with God! We aren’t taking any more of his crap!! Go ahead America kick that scheming devil to the streets where he belongs!! Tell him he’s not wanted & rid yourself of sour emotions. Remind yourselves that God is in control & we must praise Him for what He’s done & going to do!!

    Blessings 🙂

    • Amen, He’s got us!! Love HIS reminder for us in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

  12. I needed to read this today. Although the title initially caught my attention because of my firstborn (bossy big sister, then mom), want-to-control-everything personality, I was pleased to realize that I can direct my bossiness to my own soul. I need to do this constantly to keep my emotions in check, but especially lately when I’ve been feeling overwhelmed by circumstances in my life. Although thankfully there are no serious matters or suffering, I have to admit that I’ve been struggling a bit with motivation and direction for practical household issues, as well as fighting a bit of anxiety concerning family issues that are on my mind. I’m learning that it’s best to recognize my “down” or sad feelings for what they are, enabling me to take steps to bring them to the Lord and receive direction and strength. It’s precious to understand his great mercy and love for us as we are, but also receive his wisdom and power to move towards him in every situation.

    Thanks for this great admonition to boss ourselves around a bit!

  13. As a Christian who suffers from Bipolar Disorder, I have to shake my head at this post. I know that you may not be aware of how many of us there actually are in the world, Christians who suffer from genuine medical conditions that affect our emotions.
    Yes, to some degree we must all pull up the boot-straps and cinch in our emotions, but genuine DESPAIR, not mere circumstances of affording a vacation or being able to deduct the costs of adopting a child from outside the U.S.A. or the luxury of being able to afford to fix air conditioning systems… these are all first world disappointments. Not DESPAIR inducing, death wishing, black as pitch DESPAIR.
    I may sound harsh or critical, but I think a dose of comparison is in order. I would happily trade your described DESPAIR for the nightmare that I live with every day. Not caring if you live or die? Wishing you were dead almost every second of every day? Praying to Jesus to come and take you away from the PIT? That my dear is despair. It’s bleak. It’s dark. It’s scary.
    The only thing I see in your list of circumstances that requires true emotion is that your friend may have cancer, and for that I am truly sorry for you and especially for her and her loved ones. I willingly offer up prayers for that.
    I realize this post will probably not be allowed to be published, but I hope, for all of us out here in the world that suffer from true mental health issues that run the depression side of the gamut, I hope that those folks can see this comment. I hope that they know that their faith IS strong enough, that their state of grace is granted to them from the Father through his Son, our Lord and Savior. Sometimes, though we pray for deliverance on a second by second basis, God has a reason for our suffering. Sometimes we WILL be healed, sometimes we won’t. Sometimes we just have to wait, pray, and remain faithful to the One Who Authors our Faith.
    Praise? Yes, when we are able to praise Him, we do so. But also know that Christ understands our suffering, and that he is compassionate, and that one day we will come to the end of our suffering, be it here on this earth or in the New Jerusalem. Then there will be praise indeed!
    I only breathe in and out because in doing so, there is some bit of glorification for Him.
    Boss my emotions around? Really? I am lucky to eat a meal every two or three days or run a brush through my hair, or amazingly, get dressed if I have to go out.

    • Kim, thank you for sharing your heart and how hard this post was to read from where you sit, and from what you struggle with. I hear you and I value what you are saying. You are right in that the struggles I described weren’t catastrophic, or debilitating like the ones you face on a daily basis. What I didn’t share (and didn’t know at the time) was that I was in the early stages of anxiety-induced depression. There were many other overwhelming circumstances leading up to this piece of my story, and my own struggle with mental health.

      Sometimes we share a small part of a bigger story and a bigger struggle, offering the hope we found at that moment. And that is what this post was. A moment. A decision. A woman really struggling (with what felt overwhelming to me). And a Psalm that became guide that helped lead my heart and my head to a better place, for a moment. Not for the whole week. But in that moment. And then in the next.

      I hope you’ll see this, and hear my heart. I’m glad you shared yours. That is why we pull up our chair to this table at inCourage, to listen and learn from one another. ~Renee

      PS. I also want to say I’m sorry I didn’t get to respond sooner. I’ve been walking through some hard circumstances with my elderly mom who fell recently and was severely injured so I’m just now getting to respond to everyone’s comments today.

      • Renee, I first want to open with an apology for the judgemental tone of my response to your blog piece. I do get your point about needing to take control of our emotions no matter the circumstances of our day/week/month/season. I fail, however, to be able to delineate when those time periods begin and end or when you simply need to call the issue one of mental health. I struggled with my’ feelings’ for years before I sought medical and professional assistance via psychiatrists and psychologists.

        I do a decent job of identifyin, in myself at least, the difference between petulant child and knowing I need to get to the Dr. ASAP. After spending the last 30 of my 50 years coping with bipolar disorder, but more specifically the bleak, black, bone-crushing despair of bipolar depression, I know when I need a salty dose of Scripture or a salty dose of Scripture AND a trip to my Psychiatrist’s office for a medication change.

        I DON’T do a decent job of always reading between the lines and seeing when someone is genuinely stepping over the edge of the pit into the deep murk in the middle of it. I apologize again, for being critical of your concerns and dismissive of your circumstances. I know that any one of those things that you were dealing with would have had me anxious and on edge. To have someone come along and act the way that I did in my response would have had me over the edge into the murky middle-pit region.

        Mental health issues are so intensely personal, and I think more so to those of us that are believers, because we are bombarded by the messages, over and over again, that either our suffering has a purpose (it doesn’t have to have a divine purpose,) that we’ll come through it a better person because we’re in the midst of the Refiner’s fire, that we need to take control of our emotions, or, heaven help us all, being told that we are not healed because our faith isn’t strong enough! Ooooh. That one is definitely guaranteed to get an EMOTIONAL/FEELINGS induced response, LOL!

        I think sometimes, that mentally/emotionally healthy folks don’t understand the difference between those two terms, Mental Health vs. Emotional Health, nor do they understand that many believers suffer from Mental Illness. There are not many mental illnesses that I can think of that are not expressed in a person’s emotions. I certainly can’t name one.

        I ask for your forgiveness, hoping that you’ll accept my apologies. I am very grateful to you for letting me know that I was missing out on what was between the lines. Depression is a tool of evil, wielded in hopes that we turn from the Truth, or to manipulate us into doing something that falls just short of that. I did need to see your message that night, for the now. For being able to see that I was in the wrong and acting on FEELINGS during my testy response instead of just simply letting the post you meant for encouragement go bye and my not responding.

        I wish you the best in regards to you getting help when and if you feel led to do so, for your anxiety induced depression, or just for anxiety in general (because I know it’s hard to turn off the anxiety switch once it’s flipped all the way on.) I also wish you well with getting your mom taken care of. I know that my aging mother is a source of my concern and worry.

        God bless you and thank you.
        Kim

        • Hey there Kim, thank you for taking time to read my reply, and for replying back to me. I absolutely accept your apology and extend all the grace and forgiveness Jesus gives us all. I really do understand what happened and how it may have seemed at first glance. I’m glad we got to sit in this space and talk it through the best way we knew how. That’s where the best things happen. Hope you are doing well this week!!

  14. Hello Renee!

    You are one of my favorite authors.
    I have several things pulling me down. This is an excellent reminder to remind myself that God is always good and keep going and keep praying!

  15. Jackie, I’m so glad these words encouraged your heart. Asking Jesus to keep tilting your head upwards, to see Him by your side. For strength and joy to get through the hard days. #withyou

  16. You had me with “when tempted to worry about what might be. ..”. The time I lose worrying over something that may not happen, robs me of the many things God has already done. Our oldest child graduates high school next month. Instead of celebrating this milestone in our lives, I have spent time worrying about who might attend and how that would take away from the celebration. The thoughts are already robbing me and my husband of this joy. Shifting focus to what God has already done has been tough and already rewarding. Thank you for sharing and giving permission to take charge of our emotions.