Leslie Vernick
September 15th 2015                                                                                
What's New?
  • Leslie is speaking October 9th & 10th at the Providence Presbyterian Church in York, PA. CLICK here for more information.
  • Our Moving Beyond People Pleasing Class is starting October 19th. Click here for some information.

The Intentional Life

By Leslie Vernick

Recently I was moved by the psalmists resolve to live an intentional life in Psalm 101.


He doesn’t talk about what he feels like doing or not doing, he says what he will or won’t do. Here is what he determines he WILL do.


I will sing of your love and justice, Lord.

I will praise you with songs.

I will be careful to live a blameless life –

            when will you come to help me?

I will lead a life of integrity

            in my own home.

I will refuse to look at

            anything vile and vulgar.

I hate all who deal crookedly;

            I will have nothing to do with them.

I will reject perverse ideas

            and stay away from every evil.

I will not tolerate people who slander their neighbors.

I will not endure conceit and pride.

I will search for faithful people

            to be my companions.

Only those who are above reproach

            will be allowed to serve me.

I will not allow deceivers to serve in my house,

            and liars will not stay in my presence.

My daily task will be to ferret out the wicked

            and free the city of the Lord from their grip.


In another place the psalmist prays, “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.” Psalm 90:12.


Paul instructs us to “be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15. 


How about you? Are you living in sync with your Creator and his purpose for you? Is your will aligned with His so that you are living purposefully? Or are your decisions based solely on what you feel?  


The intentional life does not make decisions by “feeling like it” or “not feeling like it”. The intentional person orders his or her time, energy, and affections on what is important, what matters in the long run; not what is attractive at the moment. 


Living intentionally starts by being aware that you have choices to make each and every day. Those choices have consequences and those consequences affect everything. They impact your mood, your health, your relationships, your career and your future. 


As Moses decided, Choose Life, that you and your children may live. Deuteronomy 30:19).

When Do I Put Consequences
In Place?
Question: I’ve read some of your books; I wholeheartedly believe that I deserve to be treated better than I am.  This crazy cycle isn’t ok and it must stop one way or another. I’m on board with that much.

My trouble is that I need some help thinking creatively about what natural consequences might be. It’s easy when it’s a little kid.  Example:  “You know the rules, until you can respect the furniture and sit on it properly (rather than jumping) you may not use it. Here… sit on the floor to have your lunch and maybe tomorrow you can use the furniture again properly.”

What do you do with a husband and that crazy cycle? I can go toe to toe when I have to, but really what I want to do is run far, far away. In these times, I want nothing but out of this relationship.

I desire to be treated properly, but don’t know another reaction other than fight it out (which gets so old) or flee. Those are my two stand-by’s. However, I don’t like it (actually it angers me) that I don’t know any other reaction. What actions could I take instead? Can you give some practical examples of how to dance differently?

Answer: First of all let me commend you that you even want to dance differently and you’re not happy with your own “reactions”. Let’s take the metaphor of the dance. If you were dancing with someone and they repeatedly stepped on your toes, what would a “natural” consequence be? Especially after you kindly asked them to be more careful, or to stop dancing that way? If they would not change their behavior, then you would have to dance differently yourself if you wanted your toes to stop hurting.

That would mean you would let go of his hands, step back, stop trying to dance close and romantic and dance separately. If he pulls you back into the embrace of a slow dance then you stop dancing and say, “I won’t close dance with you because you’re stepping on my toes. That hurts me and I’ve asked you to stop and you haven’t. Until you learn to dance with me without stepping on my toes, I am not able to slow dance with you.

Now it’s his turn to make a choice. Either he will stop dancing altogether with you, dance separately, or learn how to dance without stepping on your toes. Meanwhile, he may scream and blame you that you’re being too sensitive, unreasonable, controlling, un-submissive, mean spirited, and sinful because you won’t dance with him like he wants.

This is where women in destructive marriages tend to get fuzzy headed and manipulated. We do want to dance with our spouse and we long to dance closely. We also believe that is God’s will and what we promised each other when we got married. Therefore, we feel guilty pulling away or putting boundaries down. We look inside and begin to question ourselves. Were we too sensitive or selfish? Is it controlling to ask someone to change his behavior if it’s hurting us? Should I just submit?

Once fuzziness sets in, most women, either out of fear or guilt will go back to trying harder to make this painful marital dance work, only to have her toes get stomped on again. Pain often brings clarity and once again you feel at your wits end again. Now you may start to explode or implode–out of total frustration and anger. Then sooner or later, out of guilt or shame, fear or desire, you get lured back to the same old dance where your toes keep getting stepped on and nothing changes.

But you already know that. You asked for some practical ways to implement consequences when your husband is abusive toward you. You don’t mention specifically what is happening so I can’t speak of specific strategies but here are some general principles about consequences.

It’s important that we understand that we are not to punish our spouse (as a parent might punish a child). That is not our role and it is inappropriate. Consequences are designed to wake us up and help us to see more clearly. The pain of our sin is meant to teach us not to repeat the same things over and over again. The scriptures are clear, what a man sows he reaps (Galatians 6:7).
When a man sows a pattern of discord, deceit, abuse, enmity, and strife in a marital relationship, there is a natural consequence. He doesn’t reap the benefits of a good marriage relationship.

When he doesn’t experience that painful consequence, it enables him to stay deceived into thinking that what he’s done is no big deal. He believes he can act destructively and sinfully and not suffer any consequences. That is not the truth and so painful consequences have a way of helping a person see that he must change his sinful ways if he doesn’t like or want the PAIN of the consequences such as a broken marriage.

I think this is where many Christian women have been misadvised by well meaning people-helpers. They have put up with terrible treatment and still been counseled to provide the relational closeness of a healthy, loving marriage. That enables the husband to deceive himself into thinking that it “is her problem” and “she makes me act this way.” The lie says it doesn’t matter how I behave or treat her, she’s my wife for life, God hates divorce, and therefore I’m entitled to the perks of a good marriage no matter how I behave or treat her. That is not biblical wisdom, nor healthy reality.

You asked, so below are some natural consequences for an abusive relationship.

1. Call the police and press charges if he is physically abusive. The longer you make excuses or put up with it, the more aggressive he will become ..
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The Intentional Life


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Take a look at the upcoming events to watch for from Leslie
Identity Crisis By Joy Anisa
When Do I Put Consequences In Place?
For more information on Leslie's coaching program, please click below:


Coaching Programs

how to live right when our life goes wrong
Identity Crisis
Joy Anisa

Life does not always turn out the way you had planned. Sometimes it wobbles and grows unstable. Sometimes it splinters. It may slowly crumble. And sometimes it is entirely demolished.


When life shatters around you, the ruins can block out the light. The clouds of smoke and devastation suffocate you. And hope is nowhere to be found. Identify Crisis offers an invitation to hope from the God who loves deeply, heals wounds, and offers you his joy.


“Joy I just downloaded Identity Crisis and am almost finished with it! I can't pull myself away! It is full of so much information that I have been needing to help me get over hurdles that have been blocking my path to healing some very old wounds and new damage that I have done to myself. Having information that not only helps me navigate through my mess it also helps me figure out how to apply God's grace to my mess bringing me peace! Thank you Joy!”


– Lesley


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


Winners of Conversations With The Most High by Jennifer Kennedy Dean are  Kathy D. and Angela S.


Sept. 22-26, 2015

AACC World Conference

Nashville, TN


Oct 9-10th, 2015

Providence Presbyterian Church

Conference For Abused Women

CLICK HERE for registration details



“”We were blessed by the truths that she presented so clearly. Throughout the weekend and since that time, our staff has received numerous comments on how helpful, practical, powerful, and timely Leslie's messages were to them. Leslie was able to share deep truths of God's Word regarding how to live a life that pleases God in the midst of difficult circumstances and relationships in a way that people could understand and relate to.”

– Carla Smith



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