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You have choices. Make good ones.

By Leslie Vernick

We are all facing uncertain and scary days ahead. The world as we know it is changing. And perhaps for too long you believed that your family's world would stop turning if you didn't keep a thousand balls in the air at the same time.

You feel like it's all on your shoulders. Keep your kids safe and healthy. Keep yourself healthy. Do what you can to help others.

You so do much. But when you have all of what's happening today smack dab in the middle of a destructive marriage, juggling all those balls doesn’t seem very fair. It feels like too much. It's not fair. It's easy to slide into “why me” mentality.

Maybe your husband is extremely passive. Maybe he’s left. And you’re forced to bring in a paycheck, take care of the house and kids, keep the checkbook balanced and the bills paid. And now this virus!!!!

It’s pretty easy to start feeling resentful. That all of your choices have been taken away and this life you’re living has somehow been “forced” on you.

The truth is…you don’t get to choose your husband’s behavior. But you do get to choose yours. See, you don’t HAVE to take care of your kids. Plenty of people give them up to social services. You don’t HAVE to pay your bills. Many people don’t. You don’t even have to work. You can go on government assistance.

What you need to see is that, despite your husband’s hurtful decisions, you ARE making good choices in your own life…even though they may be hard choices. Don’t allow yourself to miss the blessing of knowing that. You don’t have to feel like a resentful martyr or a helpless victim. Be proud of the good choices you’re making.

Sometimes making any choice seems too hard. So you don’t. But remember this: to do nothing is still a choice. You may not have a choice on what happens to you on the outside. But you have choices about what happens to you inside. You can grow bitter or you can grow stronger. When you continually tell yourself you don’t have a choice in what you’re doing or how you’re feeling, you’ve actually made a choice to be passive. To be a victim.

So, in the confusion of difficult feelings and circumstances, where do good decisions come from?

Take a moment, grab a piece of paper and a pen and do this exercise:

  1. Draw a big circle. Inside that circle, describe the person you are or the person you want to be. For example, you might want to be a godly woman or a good mother. What are the attributes of a godly woman and a good mother? Patient, prayerful, wise, slow to anger, etc.
  2. Next to the Big Circle of your identity, draw two smaller circles. Label one “thoughts” and the other “feelings.” Think about the thoughts you’ve been having lately. Write some of them down. They may be true or not true. Thoughts are like that. Sometimes they’re downright crazy. Then, think about your feelings. Write a few down. They may be really strong feelings like giving up. Like dying. Like starting a relationship with another man. Whatever they are, write them down.

Now, every time you’re faced with making a decision – big or small – I want you to have a mental image of this piece of paper. Be aware of your thoughts and feelings, whether they are good or bad. But make decisions based on your “Big Circle.” If you make decisions based on thoughts and/or feelings, you’re almost guaranteed to experience regret. Because the decision will be going against the person you want to be.

For example, having an extramarital affair, regularly overeating, raging at others. These are things that happen when a person is making choices based on their thoughts and feelings instead of their “Big Circle,” the person they are or want to be.

This week, consciously practice making decisions out of your Big Circle. Ask yourself, when you’re making a choice… where is it coming from? When you’re responding to your kids, is it out of your feelings and thoughts or is it out of your identity, your Big Circle… the “I want to be a good parent” part of you? When you’re responding to your husband, is it out of your thoughts and feelings or is it out of the, “I want to be wise,” part of your big circle?

When you’re aware, it helps you to make good choices.


How to Find Selfless Joy in a Me-First World

by Leslie Vernick

Do You Need Greater Self-Esteem–Or Something Else Entirely?

Western culture increasingly emphasizes the importance of self-love and self-esteem. Many of us believe we must “find” ourselves–and feel good about what we see–before we can experience significant spiritual growth. Focusing so much on ourselves, however, distracts us from pursuing the only source of true fulfillment.

Do we, as God’s people, really need to love ourselves more? Or is there a wiser, biblical path that can lead us to joy that is not self-centered and fleeting, but God-focused and lasting?

Challenging the current fascination with self esteem, Leslie Vernick answers these questions and others that trip up Christians today. Offering surprising insights and practical helps that can make a real difference in your life, she shows how you can experience greater personal, relational, and spiritual growth while humbly adoring and glorifying your God.

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 winners of “Lord, I Just Want To Be Happy” by Leslie Vernick are Jean E. and Denise M.


Upcoming Events

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

March 26th and 27th 2020
Dallas, TX

Center for Christian Counseling
July 24th and 25th 2020
Madison, WI

GT Church
August 16th and 17th 2020
West Lawn, PA

New Hope Church
November 6th and 7th 2020
East Lansing, MI

The Village Church
December 3rd, 2020
Flowermound, TX

Build Your CORE

Question: I’m struggling in a friendship and was hoping you might be able to give me some advice.

I have a friend (with whom I used to be so close) who is overwhelmed with taking care of two kids. I want to show her grace and give without expecting anything in return. However, I am hurt that she was too busy to spend any time with me while I was isolated and struggling with PPD (Post-Partum Depression). At the time she didn’t have kids and had more free time. She considers me one of her “closest friends” and invites me to her house, parties, etc… but can’t seem to respond to text messages or show up for me when I need her. At one point she informed me that she was “busy for the next two months” when I tried to get together. I’m not sure whether I should talk to her about this because I doubt she’ll change and honestly, I’m just over this friendship. Do you have any thoughts?

Answer: First, I’m a little confused. You opened your question saying, “I want to show her grace and give without expecting anything in return.” And closed with, “Honestly I’m just over this friendship.” An important part of your own growth is gaining greater self-awareness so that you can do your own work here, even if the friendship changes or ends.

Let me try to help you understand a bit of what I hear you saying. Your true self, or your Big Circle self as I call it, wants to be forgiving and gracious. You want to be a person who can give to your friend without any expectations in return. But other parts of you, specifically your thoughts and feelings are screaming, “This is not fair. We don’t have a close friendship if it isn’t mutual and she doesn’t care about my needs or feelings.”

How do you typically handle those different parts of you? For example, do you feel guilty for feeling angry and resentful towards your friend? Or do you feel justified feeling your feelings, but then give up on the person you said you wanted to be; a gracious person who gives without any expectations in return?

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

I completed one year in the Conquer program and found both peace and community here. In the summer of 2016 Leslie’s book, The Emotionally Destructive Marriage, providentially appeared in my online feed. The book changed my life. Not only did it validate my experience, but it provided scriptural support of what I knew God was speaking to my heart. Joining the Conquer group was a way for me to immerse myself in a supportive community of women who understand the patterns of a destructive marriage. Within our safe and private Facebook group, we shared inspiring scriptures, educational resources, and our lives. I loved the fact that I was safe to expose my heart and request prayer from women who were walking in my footsteps.

During my membership year, I also focused on my own recovery and I prayed for guidance from God. I highly recommend Conquer. I am better educated and I have gained a sense of validation. I needed to know I was not crazy, and not alone. ABOVE ALL- I'm so thankful for each one of my Conquer Sisters. For their transparency, kindness, willingness to read, to listen and to share. I will continue to pray for Leslie, my Conquer sisters, and this ministry.

~ Stacey


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