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What's New:

  • It’s Back: Our doors are open to our six-month coaching group (Empowered to Change). Our classes kick off the week of January 8th. What a gift this could be for yourself. We still have spots available. Next year could truly be different. Learn all the details at leslievernick.com/change
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Are Your Holidays Unhealthy?

By: Leslie Vernick

You wish it were true. You’d love to have a nice family gathering on Christmas, a day where people celebrated Jesus’ birth and treated one another with kindness and love. But that’s not your reality. Your holidays are filled with toxic and unhealthy people.

Maybe in your house people will be using it as a day to overindulge in alcohol, making them less kind or more aggressive. Or your holidays will be filled with you serving and giving while others are taking and complaining. Or maybe your spouse or adult children are generally mean spirited, critical, mocking, or completely indifferent towards you. Christmas isn’t any different than any other day of the year, but you keep hoping that this year will be different.

Knowing ahead of time that your holidays may be filled with toxicity gives you time to prepare to take care of yourself. Proverbs says, “Wisdom will save you from evil people, from those whose words are twisted.” Proverbs 2:12

How? If you knew ahead of time that you were heading into a toxic or unhealthy environment, what would you do to best protect yourself?

You might open the windows to let in some fresh air in. You might put on a protective suit or a mask, frequently wash your hands, or simply intentionally limit the time you stay in that environment. You don’t want to allow yourself to get infected with the other people’s toxicity and get sick.

In the same way, you can emotionally, mentally and spiritually prepare so that you will not be as negatively impacted. Here are a few things you can do.

Mentally: Stop taking someone’s treatment of you personally. How someone treats you says something about him or her, not you. Yes it hurts to have even a stranger be cruel towards you let alone a family member, but it reveals what’s going on in their heart not yours (Luke 6:45).

In addition, limit your exposure. If others are hostile or cruel, you can choose not to participate. You can stay home, leave early, not serve alcohol at your gathering, or not invite those people over. You are allowed to have boundaries, even on Christmas. If it’s your spouse, make other plans for yourself for part of the day instead of passively being a victim of spouse’s hostility. Get yourself a good novel to read, put your earphones on and head to your quiet place to get a break.

Emotionally: Accept the reality that you can’t control other people. Even Jesus could not control Judas or the Pharisees; not how they thought or felt about him or what they did. Observe rather than absorb the toxicity around you. Notice how unhealthy and deformed these people are (from the person God wants them to be) and don’t even know it. This may make you feel sad, but hopefully not as mad. Don't allow yourself to get provoked into reacting. When you start to feel yourself getting reactive, take a break to calm yourself down. Breathe, and leave if you need to.

Spiritually: If you’re a believer in Jesus, remember who you are in Christ. You are defined by Him, not by another fallible human being. You are a child of the most High God. You are a joint heir with Christ. You are seen by God as perfect, beautiful, and completely forgiven. Well before you attend your event, read Ephesians 6:10-18. Pray to God to help you be strong in Him and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God just like you would put on a HAZMAT suit if you were heading into a toxic environment. Consciously apply each piece. Picture yourself covered in grace and truth, protected by Almighty God against any and all lies and attacks from the evil one so that you can stand strong in the truth.

Remember, God did not intend his creation, including you, to thrive in toxic environments. It is not selfish to take good care of yourself; it is good stewardship of you.

Book Giveaway

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Becoming a Church That Cares Well for the Abused

by Brad Hambrick

Is your church prepared to care for individuals who have experienced various forms of abuse?

As we continue to learn of more individuals experiencing sexual abuse, domestic violence, and other forms of abuse, it’s clear that resources are needed to help ministries and leaders care for these individuals with love, support, and in cooperation with civil authorities. This handbook seeks to help the church take a significant step forward in its care for those who have been abused.

Working in tandem with the Church Cares resources and videos, this handbook brings together leading evangelical trauma counselors, victim advocates, social workers, attorneys, batterer interventionists, and survivors to equip pastors and ministry leaders for the appropriate initial responses to a variety of abuse scenarios in churches, schools, or ministries.

Though the most comprehensive training is experienced by using this handbook and the videos together, readers who may be unable to access the videos can use this handbook as a stand-alone resource.

Two winners will be selected in our next newsletter! (Giveaway only available to U.S. residents)

If you would like to enter to win, you can click here to provide name and email address.

The winners of “The Emotionally Destructive Marriage” by Leslie Vernick are Akeatha W. and Becky O.

Enter For Your Chance to Win

How Do I Get Someone to Care How I Feel?

By Leslie Vernick

Question: What are your suggestions for when you are in a relationship with someone and they do something that upsets you and when you try to address it with them they say this. “Don’t you know when you get upset with me it pushes me away?”

Or when I say something bothers me, they turn it back on me and say, “what you are doing is bothering me.” Essentially, I never get my feelings heard or needs addressed by the other person. I struggle with how to respond because I can't figure out whose needs are more important. My feelings or the fact that my feelings are upsetting the other person. Thank you for your help. Hopefully, this question is not too confusing.

Answer: Your dilemma is a common experience in relationships and when it becomes a pattern it does leave you feeling confused, angry, and devalued.

I’m going to give you a few things to reflect on, try differently, and then you’ll better be equipped to evaluate the health of your relationship and what you want to do going forward…

What People Are Saying About Leslie’s Empowered To Changed Coaching Group

“After 36 very rocky years of marriage, I believe I “left well” and have no plans to reunite. I do want to grow to the place where I can participate in family gatherings and be at ease with my husband's presence. I joined E2C to become stronger in my CORE, so that I'm healthier in all my relationships. I have focused waaaaay more on others' problems, rather than seeing my problem with their problem. I avoided doing my own work by “working” on their problems. It IS empowering to stop throwing away so much energy on efforts to change others, rather than exerting the productive energy of changing myself! I love connection and community, and in my delight of serving others I am growing more and more loyal to Jesus so that others are not idols to me, that I let control me. I definitely tend to be passive aggressive in conflict, but am gradually seeing how very FRUSTRATING that is for others who are in a relationship with me. Having a literal script to practice before having hard conversations was VERY helpful. I love the wheel of emotions :). I am also so thankful for my wise coach who was there every step of the way.“

Valerie

LESLIE WELCOMES YOUR QUESTIONS

Leslie wants to help you grow in your personal and relational effectiveness. Please submit your questions by clicking here.

Then, visit Leslie's Blog as she posts her responses to one question per week.

Note: Due to the volume of questions that Leslie receives, she is unable to respond to every question.

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Leslie Vernick PO Box 5312 Sun City West, Arizona 85376 United States