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What's New:

  • FREE Workshop: Mark your calendar for February 4th. The topic will be Four (4) Lies That Make Women in Destructive Relationships Feel Crazy and Powerless. You can go to leslievernick.com/joinwebinar to grab your seat

Do You Talk To Yourself?

By Leslie Vernick

You may not realize it, but you do talk to yourself, all the time. You continuously have an inner dialogue about life, people, God, and your own self. It’s important that you pay attention to this inner conversation because much of the time, you don’t tell yourself God’s truth.

For example, God told the Israelites, “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth…” (Deuteronomy 8:17). See also Deuteronomy 9:4-6 for another example of untruthful self-talk.

Perhaps the better question to ask yourself is not do you talk to yourself but rather how do you talk to yourself? Sometimes the most destructive relationship a person can have is with his or her own self. Have you ever told yourself, “I’m so fat I can’t stand myself?” Or, “I can’t believe I did that, I must be an idiot.” On a personal note, recently I struggled with an inner voice that reminded me of some of my faults and failures. Once I saw what I was doing I started to feel anxious because I told myself that I should be beyond all that negative self-talk. I should be stronger than I am, better than I am, further along than I am. Sound familiar?

Although I have learned to recognize and talk back to my destructive internal voice, sometimes it still gets the best of me. Often our biggest persecutors are not external but internal. Even after a destructive person has left our life (or we have left theirs), we still find we aren’t free from hurtful words, only now they are our own.

The Bible tells us that words are powerful. For example, “Reckless words pierce like a sword” (Proverbs 12:18) and “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21). Pay attention to your own inner dialogue. Is your typical self talk laced with the three C’s of condemnation, criticism and contempt? For example:

  • Don’t try, give up. I can’t do anything right.
  • No one really cares. I’m stupid (or ugly, or fat).
  • I just made a fool out of myself.
  • Everyone is laughing at me.
  • Who do I think I am?
  • I’m a miserable mess of a human being.
  • I can’t do it. I’ll just mess it up. No one likes me.
  • I’m not good enough.

If you want to get healthy and whole (holy) start to pay attention to what you say to yourself and challenge it with the truth. I don’t mean simply replace negative self-talk with more positive words of affirmation such as:

  • I’m so wonderful.
  • I can do anything I set my mind to.
  • I can do no wrong.
  • I deserve to be respected, loved, admired, appreciated, rich, and/or successful.

Nor do I necessarily mean that you should solely affirm yourself with Biblical identity words like “I am a child of God” or “I am fully and completely loved.” Although much truer, this form of self-talk keeps the focus on you rather than on God.

Don’t get me wrong. Some introspection is necessary for healthy self-reflection and self-examination, but many of us endlessly think about ourselves in one way or another. Regardless of whether we speak positively or negatively to ourselves, when we are continuously focused on and wrapped up in ourselves, we have missed the gospel story. It is NOT all about us.

Jesus told his followers that the truth would set us free. This freedom releases us from Satan’s gripping lies AND frees us from our constant focus on ourselves. We were made for something greater than a continual self-improvement project. We were made to glorify God, not ourselves.

Seventeenth-century mystic François Fénelon wisely warned us about this proclivity toward our self focused, negative self-talk. He said, “Merely to see how wretched we are and to fall into despair over what we see is not being humble. On the contrary, to do that is to have a fit of pride that cannot consent to being brought low.” He goes on to say, “Discouragement is not the fruit of humility, but of pride.” Jesus came to save sinners, not saints. If we believe that to be true, then why are we so surprised, hurt, sad, and disappointed when we actually see our own sin?

What does this all mean in terms of the way we talk to ourselves? Recently one of my clients said, “I just need to stay focused.” Although a good strategy, let’s be clear on what we need to stay focused on. Focus on Jesus and he will show you how to see yourself rightly. Focus on knowing him, loving him, obeying him, serving him, honoring him, and glorifying him and everything else will fall into its rightful place.

Take some time this week to read and familiarize yourself with how Jesus handled the failure of the disciple Peter (Mark 16:7; John 21:15-21), and the sins of the woman at the well (John 4), or the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-7). We will only see ourselves truthfully (good and bad, strong and weak, beautiful and ugly) when we place the eyes of our hearts on Jesus and not on ourselves and our sins and failures.

Listen to what Paul writes about how God sees you.

“Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” (Ephesians 1:4-5)

When you focus on Jesus, it’s not that you aren’t aware of your faults and failures, but your attention doesn’t stay on you. Instead it is fixed on the loving, forgiving, and merciful grace of God. Paul’s response to these great truths is, “So we praise God for his glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.” It is all about Him. This is the gospel, the good news we celebrate and take refuge in.


The Emotionally Destructive Marriage

by Leslie Vernick

Something Has to Change…

You can’t put it into words, but something is happening to you. Your stomach churns, your heart aches, and the tension in your marriage is making you feel weary and a little crazy. The constant criticism, disrespect, cruelty, deceit, and gross indifference are eroding your confidence and breaking your spirit.

For any woman caught in an emotionally destructive marriage, Leslie Vernick offers a personalized path forward. Based on decades of counseling experience, her intensely practical, biblical advice will show you how to establish boundaries and break free from emotional abuse.

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 winner of “Jesus Every Day: A Journey Through the Bible in One Year ” by Mary E. DeMuth are Kathleen I. and Karen W.



Upcoming Events

Want to have Leslie speak at your event?
Click here to find out more information.

March 26th and 27th 2020
Dallas, Texas

Is Hiring an Attorney Fighting?

Question: My husband filed for divorce and hired a lawyer. I have been trying everything I can to save my marriage unsuccessfully – he is set on divorcing and there is nothing or no one that will stop him. My question is this. Is it okay for a Christian (myself) to hire a lawyer as well to help with an equal division of property and funds and childcare responsibilities? It seems like hiring a lawyer means “fighting.” What are your thoughts on this?

Answer: Divorce is not only a relational issue, but it is also a legal one and God has put the government and laws in place for our protection. Your husband has decided he no longer wants to be married to you. That is his decision and you’re right, you can’t stop him. However, there are legal consequences to his decision. Marital assets must be divided and children must be provided for and taken care of. The law spells out how that happens and it usually tries to be fair to both parties.

These days most states have no-fault divorce laws meaning one spouse can leave a marriage for any reason. Second, the law usually says joint marital assets are split equally after the dissolution of a marriage. Third, if both parents want custody, the courts usually award joint custody, sometimes requiring children to split their time between both households. Other times, there may be joint legal custody, but one parent has primary physical custody with the other having generous visitation rights. When there has been any history of abuse towards the children, there may be supervised visitation for the children. But most courts try to allow parents their right to parent their children, even when the marriage dissolves.

Here is What People are Saying About Leslie's Introduction to Core Strength Group.

I've been married 19 years and I have 2 children. I grew up in an abusive home so I went from an abusive childhood to an abusive marriage.

Before taking Intro to CORE Strength, my biggest hesitation was just thinking outside this religious box he had put me in and realizing there was more to this life as a woman then being this man's footstool. I wanted to join because I was so unhappy and felt deep down there was a better way that God would want for me.

My biggest takeaway is that I'm important and just because I'm married doesn't give him the right to treat me like a slave. God cares more about me than if I'm married, divorce, or separated. He wants me to do what he has called me to do and it's not walking on eggshells.

I learned to handle myself and stay in CORE. I've been angry for years over the way I've been treated. Now I'm able to realize it's okay to be angry but how I handle myself like a woman who matters.

I wish I had a time machine that could take me back in time so I could understand CORE before getting married.

– Sarah C.


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.


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