Leslie is speaking October 9th & 10th at the Providence Presbyterian Church in York, PA.Its a Domestic Violence Conference. Leslie will be speaking on the Emotionally Destructive Marriage and the Truth Principle. CLICK HERE for more information.
Our Moving Beyond People Pleasing Class is starting October 19th. CLICK HERE for some information.
Do You Want To Be Well?
By Leslie Vernick
After Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, God asked Adam and Eve a puzzling question, “Where are you?”
The question was not for his benefit for he already knew where they were. The question was asked for their benefit. They needed to stop and reflect upon what they had done and where they were right now – spiritually, relationally and emotionally.
In the New Testament Jesus asks another seemingly puzzling question. He asks a man “Do you want to get well?” (John 5). Seems like a crazy question to ask someone who had been paralyzed for 38 years, lying on a mat, begging his entire life. Why would Jesus ask him if he wanted to get well? Of course he would, wouldn’t he?
Here is where we must stop, press pause and think more deeply or we might gloss over this familiar story and miss what we need to hear.
The man replied, “I can’t, sir. I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.”
Why didn’t this man answer, “Yes, I want to get well. Please, heal me.” Instead he came up with the reasons or excuses why he was never healed.
I wonder if Jesus asked this man this question because he knew that getting well would mean significant changes in this man’s life. Was he ready for them?
Did he want to learn how to live differently then he always had? For example, he would no longer be entitled to beg for his sustenance. He’d have to find work to do.
What about his friends? As a crippled man, apparently he had no one to put him in the pool. How would that change as an able bodied person?
God has given each of us an incredible and powerful gift – our choices.
We get to choose how we spend our time, what we do with our negative emotions, what we dwell and meditate on and what we don’t, moment by moment, day by day, week by week.
These small choices repeated over time form habits and these habits shape our character and our lifestyles. Sometimes we get so used to being sick, we don’t even realize that we can get well and live differently.
Each week in my coaching and counseling practice I talk with people who are afraid to get well because getting healthy requires changes that they aren’t prepared to make.
They might have to learn to communicate more constructively, give up some bad habits, and/or change the way the see themselves and others as well as learn to think differently.
The apostle Paul refers to this process as “renewing our mind” (Romans 12:2) and “putting off our old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22,23) Let me ask you the question.
Do you want to get well? God wants to heal you and heal me. He wants us to be whole, holy and happy. But you’re will is involved.
Question: I am ten years post divorce. I am 68 years old and allowed this man to control me for 33 years. I am angry at myself for all those wasted years of trying harder and harder and harder and my marriage only getting worse and worse. I have gained a lot of weight and I cannot stop overeating.
I have tried to forgive him in every way I know how, but seeing him at family functions and hearing how my adult kids and grandchildren spend every single weekend at MY waterfront home (he got in the divorce) reopens the wounds.
His side of the family has not spoken to me. He told them I “just left” when it was him that initiated the divorce. And right or wrong, I let him totally get the lion’s share of the house and contents because I didn’t want my kids to not be able to enjoy the waterfront home.
I am now at a crossroads. My daughter wants me to move closer to her and her family, but that means moving closer to their dad. He is at every family event and acts like a dirtball to me. My daughter and family, and another daughter, all live there-4 1/2 hours away. It is a big decision moving away from my hometown where I have been for most of my life. It would be a much easier decision if he wasn’t there.
All his family is on his side visiting and spending time every weekend with him. He lied about what happened and here I sit getting fatter and fatter.
My kids don’t want to hear about it anymore. I don’t blame them. They say let it go, and I would really like to. I have overeaten myself up to 210 lbs. and I need to get a grip!
He is such a con artist and manipulator-he manages to charm everyone–particularly women. And the women relatives-they think he is the victim and believe every lie he’s conceived.
Thanks for any ideas you may have.
Answer: I’m so sorry that you are so stuck but I’m glad you reached out for help because you don’t want to continue to allow him or the situation to control you one minute longer.
Let’s take a look at your anger at yourself. You made some choices that in hindsight you’re furious about. You said you’re angry that you allowed him to control you for 33 years. You’re angry that you tried so hard to make everything work to no avail. You’re angry that you let him have the lions share of your marital assets including your waterfront house because you wanted your kids to enjoy it. You didn’t say this, but perhaps you’re even angry that you took the high road and did not tell everyone what a rotten husband or liar he was.
What would it take for you to have compassion on yourself instead of being so angry and disappointed in yourself? Several months ago I invited a guest blogger Kim Fredrickson who talked about her new book, Give Yourself A Break.
What if you could say to yourself, I wish I had been stronger back then so I could have stood up for mysel, but I didn’t know how. I thought I was being a good wife, a good Christian and a good role model for my children.
Plus the way I was raised and the church’s teaching on women didn’t give me a role model for a strong, godly woman who made her own choices and stood up to a controlling husband. I did the best I knew at the time. Stop beating yourself up.You can get through this and learn to thrive again.
All of us have regrets about past decisions we’ve made. I’m sure the apostle Paul had tons. But your anger and regret towards yourself is also creating momentum for you to continue making poor choices in your present life – primarily gaining a lot of weight. Let me ask you a question. Is your over-eating a way to comfort yourself in your pain or to punish yourself for not being stronger? Either way putting on so much weight has consequences.You not only feel awful, you’re mad at yourself even.
Now you face some new choices. Are you going to move closer to your daughter? You’re afraid because seeing your ex triggers all the hurt and anger all over again, even though you’ve tried to forgive and let it go.
I wish I had the words to say that would take away your pain. I wish I could say do this or that and you would lose the weight and feel better. I’m not that powerful. But let me just give you some things to think about.
Jesus tells us in this world we will have trials or pain (John 16:33). Life is hard. That’s not going to change. We live in a fallen down broken world where things are not as they should be …
Counselor and author Leslie Vernick has discovered that many people pray, “Lord, I just want to be happy!” With candor, Leslie reveals that readers don't need new circumstances but a new perspective to discover true happiness. With biblical insight, Leslie guides readers to take simple steps as they… • recognize and change habits that, day by day, keep them from experiencing happiness • make good choices and learn from mistakes without beating themselves up • develop the skills that enable them to let go of negative and painful emotions more quickly • transform difficult circumstances so they can live with gratitude, joy, and purpose.
“Drawing from a commitment to biblical truth and from rich familiarity with spiritual masters, Leslie Vernick offers practical, helpful direction to walk the road to spiritual maturity, which sometimes includes happiness now and always centers on hope for happiness forever, in knowing God.”
Dr. Larry Crabb
If you would like to enter to win, you can click hereto provide your name and email address.
Winners of Identity Crisis by Joy Anisa are Betty M. and Christina M.
HERE'S WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT LESLIE'S COACHING.
“Coaching with Leslie Vernick helped me recognize and replace my old destructive relational habits with healthy new ways to approach my spouse.
Now I’m beginning to live and relate from my CORE, a place that keeps me focused on the LORD and is so strong to rescue me from feeling like I’m drowning in my circumstances and emotions. Now my marriage is on a renewed and better track.
I can definitely see a ?positive turn in my attitude and this, by the grace of God, has invited my spouse to begin to relate to me differently too; the LORD is at work! Leslie’s approach was both practical and spiritual. She provided scripture to bolster me along the way and her suggestions were right on target to help.”
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.