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Will This Year Be Any Different Than Last Year?

By Leslie Vernick

“Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating

more unintended consequences, and

failing to achieve anything useful.”

Margaret Wheatley

Turning the page on a New Year always makes me press pause and reflect on where I’ve been and where I’m going. You can spend five days and hundreds of dollars in gas driving in circles around your neighborhood or taking a road trip out West. But without a plan and a destination, you’ll drive in circles. Sadly many people live their entire lives that way. They live a busy but meaningless life.

Scottish author George McDonald listed what he called three grand essentials—three things without which no meaningful life can be lived: He said it was someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.

Do you have someone to love?

Everyone is looking for love, but we’re looking in the wrong places. Instead of loving God, our very source of life and goodness, we love lesser things, things that actually harm our relationship with God and others. For example, we love our way (James 4:1-4), we love being right, we love being first (Matthew 23). We love the world (1 John 2:15), we love money (Hebrews 13:5, Luke 16:14), we love the praise of humankind (John 12:43), we love sin (John 3:19), and we love positions of status and authority (Matthew 23:6,7; Luke 11:43).

Jesus warns us that who or what we love is crucial to our well-being because he knows that what controls our heart, controls us ( Matthew 6:21). Time, money, energy and talent tells us what’s worth living for and dying for.

God says that the only one worthy of our fullest love, greatest attention and deepest devotion is him. You do have someone to love. When you love God first and most, you will have a meaningful life.

Do you have something to do?

Often times we think that what we are supposed to do has to be big and bold in order for it to be significant. Anna was a multi-talented woman who felt like she was wandering in circles. She said, “Leslie, I just get through the chores and tasks of each day, taking care of kids, homework and household responsibilities. There’s no time for anything significant or meaningful.”

I asked her if she were to die what regrets would she have? She said, “I’d regret that I didn’t savor more moments now.” When I asked Anna what were those important things she’d savor she said “spending meaningful time with my family like riding bikes, having a picnic and enjoying a walk. But I never have enough time to do that because I’m too busy with everything else.”

Anna lost sight of the important work she is doing. She values time spent with her children but saw only the fun times as significant. “Anna,” I probed, “what is the difference between savoring the time with your kids while riding bikes and feeling hassled with the kids during homework?” She looked up with a flash of insight and said, “just my attitude! Maybe what I’m doing is important and significant all the time.” Oswald Chambers reminds us that “it is not the work we do for God that keeps us fresh; it is the work we allow God to do through us.”

Paul tells us that we are “God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). You do have important work to do. Start today to reflect Jesus in all you do and you will have a meaningful life.

Do you have something to hope for?

Everyone needs to put his or her hope in something. But just like we can love the wrong things and invest our lives in pursuits that, in the end, won’t matter, we can put our hope in things that have no real substance and that lead to disappointment and heartache.

When all is said and done, life is hard. Even while on earth we get tastes of hell. The hope that sustains us in the midst of hell on earth is the hope that God is good and he knows what he’s doing (Nahum 1:7; Psalm 119:68).

In the midst of great hardship, Paul expressed hope in the eternal reality when he said, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

The psalmist asked himself when he was especially discouraged, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Put your hope in God” (Not in what God will do Psalm 42:5). Today, you can have hope as you trust God.

This New Year, be more intentional on these three things. Someone to love, something to do and something to hope in. They will help you be more intentional as you write your part of your 2018 story.


Refresh! A Spa for Your Soul

by Lucinda Secrest McDowell

If you are desperate for new strength and eager for energy to live your impossible life, you may need a spa for your soul. refresh! – a spa for your soulis filled with creative ways to look at life through the lens of God's love and care. Jesus will cleanse your tarnished past, quench your thirst for more, and offer refreshing depth to your spiritual life. He is the One who knows you best and loves you most. You can balance the constant demands of everyday life with your soul's hunger for meaning. So if you are overwhelmed or exhausted, cling to the God who says, “I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” (Jeremiah 31:25)

Two winners will be selected in our next newsletter.

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

The winners of “Self-Esteem-Looking Up Instead of Looking Inside” Leslie Vernick are Diane H and Ritta R.

Am I Being a Bad Example?

Question: I separated from my husband after 25 years. I can remember being pregnant with my now 22 year old son feeling distraught and asking myself why I am having this man’s baby.

The emotional destruction took place throughout 22 years of the marriage. I have asked numerous times to go for counseling and actually moved out twice only to come back to empty promises of change from him.

I feel a sense of peace in every cell of my body that I have not felt in decades. My concern is am I honoring God with my decision for self-preservation, my sanity? Or am I being a poor example of Christ to others by my decision?

Answer: Your question captures the dilemma so many women who are in an emotionally abusive/destructive marriage experience once they prioritize their sanity and safety over keeping the marriage together. They fear God’s anger and his disappointment. They fear being a poor representative of Christ and feel guilty when they finally say “I can’t do this anymore.”

Here is What People are Saying About Leslie's Conquer Support Group

I love being able to be in touch with Leslie and with other women who know what I am going through. I love being able to listen to the playback during times when I can't “be there” in person for the calls. I love knowing there is help out there, and receiving the supplementary videos and articles. The thing I love the most is the specific feedback on how to respond to situations. Thanks!

~Sherilyn Wiggins


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