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Do You Know What's Good For You?
When I was in Italy I couldn’t help but notice I was in the hometown of Pinocchio. He was everywhere, in every shop, in every window. There were big one’s, small one’s, hand carved one’s and ceramic ones.
Pinocchio, is a wooden marionette. He was created by fictional character, Geppetto, an Italian woodcarver. As the story goes, Pinocchio longed to be a real boy. He believed that he would be happy if he could be free to live his life as he pleased.
Pinocchio thought that the good life was eating, sleeping, and playing, without anyone telling him what to do. Pinocchio hated school and he was allergic to work. Along the way people tried to help Pinocchio grow up but He refused to listen to their advice and was easily fooled with promises of fun and fortune.
Many painful lessons later, Pinocchio finally began to grasp the idea that to find any real happiness he would need to focus on something besides having a good time. Pinocchio started to work hard on his school lessons and tried to be less self-centered and selfish.
But one night, Pinocchio’s friend, Lamp-wick, enticed him to run away to the Land of Toys. Lamp-wick boasted, “I’m going to a real country…the best in the world…it’s a wonderful place!”
Initially Pinocchio refused, but Lamp-wick coaxed him by telling Pinocchio, “You’ll be sorry!”
Pinocchio struggled. Should he choose to stay on what looked like the right path and work hard or should he forsake that and take the easy path straight to the Land of Toys?
“Wow”, Pinocchio mused. A place where there was no school, no teachers, or books. A place where no one studies or works and everyday is like vacation. Sounds wonderful, too good to miss.
Pinocchio’s promise to work hard at school vanished and he eagerly agreed to run away with Lamp-wick. “This is the place for me!” Pinocchio exclaimed. “All countries should be like it. How happy we should all be.” And — for a while —that’s exactly what it seemed. But one day several months later, Pinocchio woke up and found that his ears were twice as big as usual.
When he peered into a basin of water, what Pinocchio saw staring back at him gave him a start. His ears and snout were growing; he was becoming a donkey, just like the one he rode on when the wooden cart toted all the boys to The Land of Toys.
Pinocchio suddenly realized that he had made a very bad choice. He woke up to the lie that living for himself and pleasure would make him happy. Pinocchio discovered that it didn’t free him or make him happy at all, rather, it enslaved him.
As a Christian counselor and coach I have worked with hundreds of people who are searching, like Pinocchio, for a way to make life more fulfilling, more joyful. But how? What is the pathway to a genuine heartfelt sense of joy and happiness?
Just as Lamp-wick enticed Pinocchio by assuring him that he would find his hearts fulfillment in the Land of Toys, the world promises us that happiness is found when we find ourselves, fulfill ourselves, love ourselves and satisfy ourselves.
Daily we’re bombarded with slogans that guarantee that we will feel good about ourselves and have more satisfaction in life if only we have whiter teeth, a Platinum Master Card or a certain type of car.
But does living with ourselves at the center ever really bring anyone lasting joy or satisfaction? That is what Satan would like us to believe.
Pinocchio learned the hard way after turning into a donkey that the Land of Toys was not what was promised. It almost destroyed him.
In the same way, what looks good on the surface, what feels good to our flesh, may turn out to be poison to our soul and spirit.
The Bible says “There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death” Proverbs 14:12.
We don't always know what’s good for us but God does. Can you trust him today and follow his path for your life (Proverbs 3:5,6)?
Staying Well – One Woman's Decision
Here is my interview with M. My question are in bold, her answers are in regular text.
After many months of being separated you decided to return to your home. Tell me a bit about how you made that decision and how it’s been for you.
When I first separated I knew I wasn’t staying well at all. I was scared to speak up. I owned all his negative responses. Somehow it was always my fault and I believed him. I was the bad guy, blamed for everything that was wrong with our family. We had gone to numerous counselors but nothing was working. I was feeling more and more depressed and defeated. I knew I had to separate for my sake and to get myself in a different space mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.
When you separated, what did you do to help yourself get stronger?
I had two goals when I separated. One was to get stronger and healthier for myself. The second was I hoped my husband would wake up to his part and want to work on the things he needed to face. I told him I needed to do personal coaching and asked him to do the same since marital counseling had not worked for us.
Before I left I talked with my pastor asking for his support letting him know I was working with Leslie and hoping my husband would be willing to work with him. My pastor tried, but my husband disagreed with his approach and did not continue and left our church.
I asked several women from the church to pray for me and hold me accountable for the work I needed to do. I shared with my children what I was doing and they were unsupportive. They didn’t understand my decision to leave and it was tough to hear that they supported their father.
During that time I worked with Leslie to build my CORE strength and deal with my own attitudes and behaviors that contributed to our destructive dance. I learned that I wasn’t a great listener, sometimes (unknowingly) would say things that shamed my spouse.
I also learned that his reactions were his, not mine to own and I could control the way I said things, but I could not control the way he heard them or responded to them.
I learned how to take better care of myself, how to find my voice and speak up, (not only with my husband but with my adult children), to set better boundaries and stop over-functioning all the time. (tweet this)
My relationship with God deepened tremendously. I kept asking him to change my husband but he was working to change me.
What happened that you decided to return home? Did your husband “get it”? Were things different between you now?
I returned home solely because felt that’s what the Lord wanted me to do even though nothing had changed in my husband or marriage. I went home with the understanding that I could have no expectations for a good marriage, no demands on my spouse to change and communicated such to my husband.
I also told him my boundaries. I would not “pretend” we had a good marriage publically by going to friend’s houses together or dinner parties. We had separate bedrooms.
At first I cried every night to sleep. I wanted so much for my marriage to work. I had to pray for God to lift that terrible sorrow. I knew I couldn’t stay well that way very long.
Thankfully God answered that prayer. I don’t cry anymore at night. My coaching and support people have been a great help, but I have two faithful friends who have stuck through this whole process with me and continue to be a big support even now.
Right now I’m in a different church than I was before I left. When my husband left our previous church – I ended up following him, hoping that would help but he quit going there. He hasn’t gone there for a year and half.
In order to continue on my path to wholeness and accountability, I joined a 24 week Faith Walk Class. It built on a lot of the CORE values that Leslie helped me with. I had the opportunity to put into practice what I was learning.
Two things that helped me the most – we talked about learning where I ended and my husband started, owning how much I let him define me. I couldn’t quite get it even though Leslie talked about that in our coaching I was still fuzzy. How do I walk this out?
A book was recommended to me to read, Scary Close by Donald Miller, and it was very helpful. One particular illustration really resonated with me – the three pillows illustration. The counselor placed 3 pillows on the floor, one for the husband, one for the wife and one pillow placed between them. Read full interview here ….
Do You Know What's Good For You?
Accepting Coaching Applications
Take a look at the upcoming events to watch for from Leslie
Double Cross by DiAnn Mills
LESLIE ANSWERS YOUR QUESTIONS
Staying Well – One Woman's Decision
For more information on Leslie's coaching program, please click below:
FBI Agent Laurel Evertson’s investigation into a scam targeting the elderly takes an unexpected twist when key evidence leads her to Morton Wilmington, a felon she arrested five years ago on her first undercover assignment. That case has haunted her since, and though she’s vowed to forget Wilmington?and what she sacrificed to put him away?he is now her best lead.
Houston Police Officer Daniel Hilton fears his grandparents may be the scammer’s next targets, and he’ll do anything to protect his family?even force interagency cooperation. But he’s quickly drawn to Laurel’s empathy and zeal and agrees to follow her lead . . . even if it means teaming up with a felon
“As with all of DiAnn Mills’ books, this is a fast paced thriller. Many of her books are not only good mysteries, but they also are tackling an important issue. In this case, she focuses on the lives of those with Alzheimer’s disease, their care, and the lives of those who love and care for them.
It was written with great sympathy and dignity. Her characters are well developed. No one can help but fall in love with the feisty octogenarian, Abby, as she seeks to care for the love of her life, Earl. It was a great suspense thriller, but there was also much food for thought.
I received this from the Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.”
If you would like to enter to win, you can click here to provide your name and email address.
Winners of the Moving From Fear To Freedom by Grace Fox are Janice L. and Karen Z.
Sept. 22-26, 2015
AACC World Conference
Oct 9-10th, 2015
Providence Presbyterian Church
Conference For Abused Women
Details Coming Soon
HERE'S WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT LESLIE'S COACHING.
“Leslie's questions and insights during each telephone conversation caused me to learn so much about myself and others! Before I started, I felt stuck. After just the first call, I could see a glimmer of hope. Soon, my eyes were opened wide. Leslie's coaching was an investment in my future.”
— Patty D.
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.