Morning friends,

I hope you are anticipating a joyous Easter. If you’re not on my newsletter mailing list you’ll want to join because this week’s newsletter shows you how Five Words Can Change Your Life.

I am starting a new CORE Focus Group Session that will meet on Saturday, April 26 and Saturday May 3 from 10:30 to 12:00 ET. This is conducted entirely by telephone so you can attend from the privacy of your car if you’d like. I only do one Saturday group session a year so if this time frame meets your needs and you’d like to be a part please join us.

Today’s Question: I am 61 years old. My marriage has been in recovery for some time; God has brought us a long way. There is still much distance. Neither of us really know how to be close; I still have a lot of fear, but not nearly what it used to be.

My problem is that for most of my life, my identity has been defined by the men and strong personalities in my life so that I struggle to be able to trust my own ideas, convictions, faith, the calling of God on my life.

I need to allow God, in His love and grace, to define who I am. I need to have a much stronger root or foundation in His truth for me, but I feel paralyzed to know how to make this shift.

Answer: You are not alone. Many people find trusting what God says above the words of mere mortals very tough. But think about it. Why would anyone allow another flawed human being to determine his or her value and worth? In addition, we often have some pretty unrealistic expectations of ourselves such as I should know better, or I should be better than I am. When we measure our value and worth against our ability to maintain either our own or someone else’s ideal standards we always fall short and suffer. No one ever stands next to “perfect” and feels good about being imperfect.

But you want to know HOW to absorb the truth of God’s word so that it impacts your thinking, feeling and living. That’s the goal for all of us. [truth]Romans 12:2[/truth] says that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. Here’s an analogy: when you’re ill, you need some medicine. But the medicine only works if you take it as you’re supposed to and you take it consistently so it can do its work in your body.

In the same way, absorbing God’s medicine of truth takes time and consistent intake. Please be patient with yourself. God is. He knows that absorbing pure truth is often too potent to be administered alone. Truth is always mixed with grace and love, and the Lord usually gives us small amounts of truthful medicine to start. Just as we need to take certain medicines for the rest of our lives, the healing elixir of God’s truth isn’t only taken when we’re sick and weak. We need daily doses of it to help us stay healthy and grow.

The Bible says that our heart automatically leans toward believing lies over truth ([truth]Jeremiah 8:5[/truth]; [truth]Jeremiah 17:9[/truth]; [truth]Romans 1:25[/truth]). We don’t intentionally plant lies in our heart, but like weeds in our flower garden, they are there. And just as weeds mar the beauty of a garden, lies and deception (whether it be self-deception or lies told to us) ruin a soul.

When we believe lies about ourselves, lies about God, lies about life, lies about how to handle problems, and lies about others, we become or stay mentally, emotionally, and spiritually ill. To become healthy, we must first identify these lies and then renounce them for what they are. This process needs to be done regularly because, like weeds, many lies we have believed have deep roots that are not easily killed.

Next, as we grow to see things more truthfully, we must learn how to live in that different reality. For example, how do I live as a woman of dignity and value? How should I handle myself when I fail or disappoint myself? How do I speak the truth in love to others when they hurt me? How do I draw close to God when I no longer see him as a harsh judge or as a disinterested Deity, but rather as a loving Father who enjoys me? Learning to believe these truths is the first step; living from them takes time and practice. As in most other things, the more we consistently apply what we are learning to real-life situations, the more we will gain confidence and become better with these situations. We will find ourselves becoming whole and healthy.

So friend, each time you identify a lie, renounce it. Call it a lie and tell yourself what the truth is. Next, pray those scripture verses that support God’s truths out loud. This begins the process of uniting God’s truth with a heart willing to receive it. You might not yet be totally convinced of the trustworthiness of God’s character, but you can, by faith, choose to trust it anyway. We do this every day when we choose to put our trust in a cab driver we don’t know to safely take us somewhere or a doctor to give us the right medicine when we’re sick. In many ways, we choose to take a step of faith and trust, even when we’re not sure. Faith is a decision our will makes – even when our feelings are reluctant or negative.

Take that leap of faith and tell God you are willing to believe his words over your own internal words or the lies you’ve been told. Start to internalize his Word every day into your heart. And perhaps a good place to start is with Paul’s words to us in Ephesians. He writes,

“Long ago, even before he made the world, God loved [me] and chose [me] in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. His unchanging plan has always been to adopt [me] into his family by bringing [me] to himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave him great pleasure.” Ephesians 1:4-5 NLT

Some other blogs on this topic are:

September 23, 2013 “I lost myself in my marriage”

August 20 2012 “How to get negative words out of your head”

Friends, share how you have learned to believe God over your own thoughts and feelings or the negative words of other people.

16 Comments

  1. Mark on April 17, 2014 at 7:50 am

    Understand who you are in Christ. You are his beloved, whom He adores and cherishes. And you are a woman. As a woman you bring beauty into this world. Understand how important and rich that is for all within your sphere of influence to see, and experience,…, beginnig with your husband, for your marriage is a relection of His marriage to His church, … His marriage to us. If we do not have a clear vision of who we are in Christ we will falter. We all falter, but the wise man/woman gets back up after each fall (because there is a hope that sustains). And as you continue in this process, abiding in His word (let it richly dwell within you), you will see more clearly as time passes and live more fully into all He has for you. Be encourgaged. You are blessed. You are His beloved.

    • Jayne on April 17, 2014 at 9:07 am

      Beautifully said….thank you.
      and thank you Leslie for helping us all in so many ways, for pointing us to Christ….you have helped me so much in my walk… I love this blog…it’s so encouraging! God has used you in my life in big life changing ways….thank you thank you thank you

  2. Brenda on April 17, 2014 at 8:11 am

    Leslie, What a wonderful message you just preached Sister. May the words of truth penetrate all of our hearts this day that we will live out the plan that God had for us from the beginning.

  3. Christine M. on April 17, 2014 at 9:40 am

    Dear lady, you have taken the first wonderful step toward renewing your mind: realizing that it needs to be renewed! My advice is to stay in the Word; read it EVERY day. Get to know it intimately. Sometimes it helps me to write down a reflection on what I’ve read (such as, what is this verse teaching me?). Pray for His Holy Spirit to indwell you moment by moment.

    Yes, you will have moments of stumbling; we all do. But you will still be moving toward your goal!

    • Sandra on April 17, 2014 at 1:02 pm

      Thank you, Christine! I’ve also found that staying in God’s Word every day and also keeping a journal to reflect what the Holy Spirit is teaching me from each reading.
      Thank you also, Leslie, for your encouragement, godly coaching and insight into God’s Word. My husband constantly berated me for my past sins, always blaming and never forgiving or trusting me. Even though I know that all my past sins are forgiven by the precious blood of Jesus, my husband’s accusations kept filling me with guilt and regret. Now that he has deserted me, I’m able to focus on God’s Word, secure in His unconditional love and forgiveness.

  4. Sara on April 21, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    You mentioned that our hearts are predisposed to believe lies first. My question is this: how can I know that leaving is right for me and my family if biblically all I can see is 1. divorce is only an option for adultery 2. God says vengeance is His, and 3. He (God) will not give me what I cannot handle. Each time I am prepared to leave my (not God honoring and at times verbally abusive and controlling) marriage, something holds me back. Is it Fear or God? How can I distinguish between the 2? I also have a hard time trusting my own thoughts, and my capability of finding and identifying God’s will for my life. Am I supposed to wait for God to deliver me or take a more proactive measure?? 3+ years of this dilemma is making me so weary!

    • Leslie Vernick on April 22, 2014 at 9:04 am

      Sara you ask some very good questions that I think merit a more comprehensive response than I can offer in this short reply so I’m going to take your questions and put them in a future blog post.

      • Monica on April 22, 2014 at 2:18 pm

        I would love to hear your answer to Sara’s questions Leslie. I struggle with the same issues. Part of that struggle is because of what it says in 1 Corinthians 7:13 & 14 ” And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.” How does this apply in light of Sara’s questions?
        Your website has offered me so much Godly encouragement over the past few months Leslie. Thank-you so much!

  5. Susan on April 22, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Sarah,
    Let me share what Henry Cloud said on a New Life radio show. Christians often tell one another simplistic sayings that sound like scripture or may be partial truths of scripture and we have accepted them as fact, without going back to see if that is what scripture actually says.

    The Christian saying that we have heard is: God doesn’t give us that which we can’t handle. But where does scripture actually say this. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says:
    No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond which you are able, but with that temptation will provide a way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

    This verse is about facing temptations. It is not about how to deal with our trials or sufferings. But Christians frequently parrot this verse to those in unbearable situations to try to normalize or minimize our circumstances and sufferings. Dear Sarah, you are repeating this “lie” to yourself and in believing this, you think God has determined that you must bear your sufferings without a way to escape your sufferings.

    I’ll let others speak to your other questions. But please know that God loves you and doesn’t sentence you to mistreatment.

    • Leslie Vernick on April 22, 2014 at 11:18 am

      Thank you Susan. That was one of the points I was going to make in my lengthier response but you said it well. Sometimes we do have more than we can handle – that’s why God says we are to bear one another’s burdens. And if we are tempted to despair or lose hope or retaliate with some evil of our own while living with a destructive spouse, perhaps separation is God’s way of saying that is your escape route for now.

      • sara on April 22, 2014 at 6:05 pm

        Thanks for your responses…I will look forward to reading your blog, Leslie….I above all want to honor God in my actions and attitudes, and not try to take an “easy” way out of a tough situation.

        • Kim on April 23, 2014 at 10:34 pm

          Sara, keep that desire to honor God as the highest priority! It’s so important!

          Having opted for divorce from my own destructive spouse, I can tell you this is not the “easy” way out. I think for those of us in this destructive relationship boat, it’s the Hard Way or the Hard Way.

          I hope that someday I get to a point where I don’t wonder if there was something more I could have done to make it work. Knowing that God was calling me out of it and keeping in a lot of prayer and wise counsel throughout the process of making this decision helps me in really tough moments of doubt and struggle.

  6. tawnya on April 23, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Hi Sara, after reading all the way down the page and seeing your last reply, I had saw your response be much like mine when I was in denial. I am 5 yrs out and through my class’s and support groups realized why I stayed. A great thought provoking question that my instructor say’s when we are doing our weekly check in’s is..” What advice would you tell your daughter or girlfriend if they came to you with this situation? My situation was about him belittling and throwing water in my face, and many more abusive, crippling of the spirit things that were part of our sick cycle. So through this class I realized that when I wrote all the things he did down that were hurting me, then was given 2 pieces of paper which were the power wheel of abuse and the healthy home wheel.. I realized from the abuse that I endured while growing up made me very thick skinned and I was able to endure, numb out, and minimize so I did not have to feel the real pain of my abuse at home. I carried that fault in every relationship and marry people from my point of reference, my mom or my dad.I see the lie I believed as I would escape confronting or putting scripture on my marriage to get me to just hang in there and bear my lot, kinda thinking.. I today am a very healthy an amazingly Loved child of the most high..I always have been but I needed to get into a group that had truth and allowed me to see my timeline and make sense as to why we pick men, friends, jobs.. out of our belief and wounds.. Because I have a new point of reference , I believe God made a way out, his will is for us to be whole and have safety and sanity..My 4 kids have a generational curse that is reversed and are thriving as for myself..The class I take and have watched over 100 members of my church walk through is called LIFESKILLSINTERNATIONAL.COM they are in every state and I dont know if is for you, all I know is I dont reconize myself and have had things pulled from the root and no longer lil bible studies that just cut my grass. My relationship with God is so deep and has allowed me to reach heights in my life that I didn’t have time to dream of but am really free and living them! May God use this sight to break lies and free you from religion and blocks that would stop you from being all that he has called you to be!!God thank you for Leslie and her partnership with you as you have given her wisdom to lead your people to truth, may she be hedged and protected and all material and cd’s be anointed and spread into church’s and homes to bring healing and restoration and manifestation IN JESUS NAME AMEN!

    • Leslie Vernick on April 23, 2014 at 2:10 pm

      Hi friends, I’m running late with my blog today. It will get posted later tonight – I hope.

  7. Confused on November 26, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    It’s me again – looking for some guidance and support. Now that I am waking up to the fact that I am in an emotionally abusive relationship I am feeling that I can’t trust my husband- that I have been living a lie. Now that I notice these pattern I see that growing up I watched my father verbally abuse my mom- but she took it swallowed thinking that was the Godly,right thing to do. Now I feel like I am struggling a lie that I can
    Trust anyone. I know I can really only trust the Lord but surely he puts people in our lives that we can trust? I love my parents dearly but feel scared to think that I can
    Trust them- is that a lie though? I hope I am being clear.

  8. Confused on November 26, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    I just wanted to clarify a bit- when I wrote my last comment I was in a state of panic and feeling like I could not trust anyone anymore. Does anyone else have moments of panic like that where the irrational lies pop in your head?

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