Leslie Vernick
November 24th, 2015                                                                                
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Thanksgiving Is Good For The Soul

By Leslie Vernick

Thanksgiving is a time for food, family gatherings and football.


Once everyone is gathered at the table, my husband asks us to share what we're thankful for. I'm sure many of you do likewise, but from now on, don't make thanksgiving a once a year occasion.
I don't mean regularly cook a full turkey dinner but remember to be thankful more often. The Bible tells us to “Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

For a long time I couldn't grasp WHY God would command us to be thankful in everything, even the bad things in our life. As a counselor, I thought that bordered on craziness? But I have learned that when I discipline my mind and heart to give thanks, even when things seem negative to me, my attitude changes. I am not as unhappy, as critical or as complaining

We live in a world where people feel grumpy and miserable much of the time. They complain that life, God or other people don't give them the things they feel they deserve. This entitlement thinking breeds more discontent and unhappiness.
The apostle Paul said that he “learned to be content” in plenty and in poverty. He could experience joy in both circumstances. How did he do it? The gateway is gratitude. Learn to be thankful in all things for this IS the will of God. “It is good to give thanks to the Lord” (Psalm 92:2).


Gratitude pleases God. A thankful spirit also blesses others, leading to happier relationships. What would be different today if instead of complaining or commenting about what wasn’t done at home, you would purpose in your heart to look for something at home you can be thankful for. For example, thank your husband for working hard at his job, or thank your wife for making dinner tonight.
There are many things throughout our day that grab our attention. If we tend to be oriented toward noticing the more negative, we may have to work at looking for the good. Recently my pastor shared a little poem that said,


“Two men looked out prison bars.
One saw mud, the other saw stars.”

Both were present, but which one would your rather focus your attention on, mud or stars? It's not just God's word that encourages us to be thankful. Recent studies in positive psychology confirm that grateful people are happier people and being thankful for specific things, bring us joy.
Learn to look for the good, even in difficult situations. Practice gratitude every day. If you do, you will find that your spirit is on its way to learning greater joy and contentment with your life leading you to deeper happiness.

I am thankful for all of you. May you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. 

Help! I'm Being Treated Like A Child
Question: I’m confused on what constitutes emotional abuse. My husband is a well-respected man in our church and community. He doesn’t call me names or curse at me but he thinks he knows best about everything and he believes he should control absolutely everything as the head of the house. I have no say in our finances, what I can buy, how I decorate the house or even what groceries to purchase each week. He tells me what clothes I should wear and when I resist, he says that if I loved him, I’d want to please him in the way I dress.

I’ve told him I want to be free to make my own choices, but he tells me God has called him to be the head over me. When I disagree, or refuse to listen to him he tells me I am being un-submissive and disrespectful and that I must not love him.
?I feel like I’m being slowly smothered and I can’t breathe. I wanted to go to work and he said I couldn’t because I am needed at home even though our children are in school all day long. If I do not have his meals cooked the way he wants when he wants, he withdraws, sulks and won’t talk to me.

There are times when I feel so angry I blow up and say terrible things. I feel bad for getting angry and sometimes I wonder if I’m not the abusive person because of what I say when I get upset. I find myself sneaking things behind his back and I know that’s wrong. Bottom line is I want to leave him but I’m afraid God will punish me if I do. Am I being rebellious and ungrateful or is there something wrong here?

Answer: Although we may not be able to articulate exactly what’s wrong, one of the ways we know that we are in an abusive and destructive relationship is that we feel it. Our spirit is crushed and we cannot thrive in the environment that we’re in. We’re slowly shriveling up and dying inside.

From what you describe, although your husband isn’t verbally abusive, his domineering and controlling behaviors are slowly suffocating you. They keep you afraid of making choices for yourself or when you try, you have a price to pay in his criticism and withdrawal. As a result you function like a child, not a grown up woman. This is not healthy for you or for him. This is also not what God intended for marriage.

God did not give husbands freedom to demand their own way all the time and call that headship. Rather, God calls that behavior selfishness. Biblical headship, as described by Jesus, involves sacrificial servant-hood. As the head, your husband gets to initiate that kind of service toward you.

You can’t change your husband’s controlling behavior or his belief that he’s entitled to do so. However, the problem you must work on is your response. Right now you cave into his demands and allow yourself to be coerced into doing it his way, or you have a temper tantrum and say horrible things that you later regret. Either way you are not only being treated as a child, you’re responding like one. You’re functioning as a complaint child, a helpless child, or a rebellious child.
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Thanksgiving Is Good For The Soul


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