Leslie Vernick
January 20th, 2015                                                                                
What's New?
  • Moving Beyond People Pleasing: 2 Session Group will be starting Monday evening February 9 and 16, with an optional third session February 23.  Registration is now open!  Click here for more information.
  • Leslie Has Returned From Cuba! See all the pictures by clicking here

 
 
 
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Do You Know How To Live In The Moment

By Leslie Vernick
 
Reflecting back on 2014, I have some regrets, don’t you? I should have exercised more, worked less, enjoyed God’s creation more. My house still needs to be decluttered. I also failed to do a few things I said I would and let some people down. Moving into 2015, I tend to worry. I worry about terrorists attacking. I worry about the collapse of the economy.
 
I worry that my transition from counseling to coaching will falter.That’s why I chose for my January verse in my “Do The Word Challenge,” Jesus’ words, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34)
 
I’m not alone. I find people have a hard time living in the moment. Here are two things that I’ve found helpful.
 
Live Wholly in the Moment
 
Some of us live ahead of ourselves, wanting to be out of the moment we’re in. We’re anxious, dreading or expectantly hoping for the future moments to come. Perhaps you catch yourself saying things like, “When this happens, then I will…” or, “When this is over, then I can…”Others live looking backwards, regretting past mistakes or reliving past hurts or failures. “If only I hadn’t done this…” Or, “If that never happened, then…”  If you’re the person who lives looking backwards, second guessing yourself, regretting mistakes or nursing past hurts, it hinders you from living in the present and experiencing life now.
 
Neither can you fully participate in the moment if you’re always waiting for future moments to come, whether anxiously hoping, or anxiously dreading. You’re still anxious and not being in the moment.The only moment we are guaranteed is the present one. And, as we learn to live in that moment, we have important choices to make. Will we live in fear or in faith? Will we live for ourselves or for God?
 
Jeanne Guyon advises, “What is abandonment?
It is forgetting your past; it is leaving the future in His hands; it is devoting the present fully and completely to your Lord. Abandonment is being satisfied with the present moment, no matter what that moment contains. You are satisfied because you know that whatever that moment has, it contains—in that instant—God’s eternal plan for you.”
 
Live Holy in the Moment
 
One year my sister Patt, decided she wanted a flower garden. However, she was not interested in doing any of the work involved in flower gardening. Instead, she went to the local craft store, bought lots and lots of silk flower bushes and planted them in her soil and pots outside her home.People would drive by and admire her beautiful flowers that never seemed to wilt.
 
She got a chuckle watching the startled faces of those who walked past her home for a closer look when they discovered that the flowers they were admiring weren’t real. Sometimes in our Christian life, we want to look good to others, but don’t want to put forth the work involved in learning to live a life that pleases God. We want the admiration from our Christian brothers and sisters that we’re doing pretty well and have spiritual fruit in our lives.
 
Unfortunately, we can never let them get too close, because then they too will discover that we are fake—we have no real roots. Holiness is not a life full of good works, or even necessarily of right living. Holiness comes out of a right relationship with God. Gary Thomas writes “Holy holiness is a relational holiness—it is God’s overwhelming presence in my life, causing me to want to do what His wills as He gives me the  strength to do it, however imperfectly I may live it out.”
 
True holiness recognizes our utter dependence upon God and his grace to live a life that pleases him. What can we offer God that pleases him the most? He needs nothing from us. What pleases him is when we offer him our sins, our worry, our trust, our love, our will, and our hunger and thirst in every moment of our lives.
 
It pleases God when we acknowledge that we are incomplete without him. John Piper says, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. My challenge to you and to myself this year is to live wholly in the moment and to live holy in the moment.
 
(Some of this material is taken from my book, How to Live Right When Your Life Goes Wrong)
 
 
 
 
Implementing The Emotionally Destructive Marriage:
Is It Worth Church Discipline?
Pt. 4
By Anonymous Blogger
 
 
In this series of blog posts, I’ve been explaining my response to a recurring situation that some women face in evangelical churches, that of formal disciplinary action taken when the woman begins to implement natural consequences as explained in Leslie’s book. These last two blog posts deal with self serving ways my husband used Scripture against me and my conclusion in this church discipline issue.“The intentions of a person’s heart are deep waters, but a discerning person reveals them.” (Proverbs 20:5)
 
Since the beginning of our marriage, my husband has used this verse to justify why he doesn’t have to be emotionally transparent with me. It excuses his tendency to “not tell everything” he knows and shifts the onus to me to be discerning enough to ask the right questions to “draw out” his heart and to “really know” him. It conceals the explanation for any questionable behavior behind a thin veil of, “You don’t know me very well because you don’t ask the right questions.” However, even when I did learn how to ask direct questions in a gentle way, I observed that he doesn’t really answer them. Instead, he changes the subject, answers with a question, or redirects the focus of the conversation back to me.
 
Taken in context, this isolated comment on human nature takes on a completely different meaning. Starting in Proverbs 10, Solomon presents pithy, descriptive sayings that illustrate “the way of wisdom,” which begins with the fear of the LORD. Among these are the following:“Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire;

He breaks out against all sound judgment.
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding,
But only in expressing his opinion.” (Proverbs 18:1-2)From these verses we can reasonably conclude that just because it’s difficult to discern all of one’s motivations, this doesn’t mean that one is justified to obscure and follow his own thinking. God rightly calls this person a fool, not wise, when he isolates himself from revealing himself in a relationship and doesn’t seek to cooperate in understanding the deep waters of his own heart.
 
Throughout our marriage my husband has kept himself aloof from close relationships. We have lived in eight different cities in our twenty-six years of marriage, moving whenever his vocational desires metamorphosed. He does not maintain connections with previous friends or anyone in his family, except his parents, who reach out to him without probing into his life.
 
Naturally, this constant shifting of community and loss of close friendships has caused me great emotional pain and created a persistent sense of isolation and loneliness.Couple the proverb about a person’s intentions with 1 Corinthians 13:7, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things,” and my husband feels that he has a watertight case to assert, “You can’t know my heart, and the Bible requires you to be charitable when there is any possible way to interpret the data of the situation in a positive light.”
 
However, Paul opens the chapter by pointing out that actions done in the name of love, such as communicating fluently in different languages, understanding all the mysteries and knowledge of the universe, and possessing faith to move mountains, but devoid of genuine love are meaningless. In other words, doing whatever you please and calling that love is entirely different from actually loving another person. The first kind of “love” will be characterized by the contraindications in verses 4-6, and 8-12, and true love will look like the rest of the chapter.
 
One of our previous pastors who is biblically grounded and passionate about his relationship with God explained to a close friend of mine who is also in a difficult marriage, “Generally women who are healthy know what love looks like.” This was in the context of her observing hurtful words and behaviors from her husband. Our pastor was saying that when a woman who follows Christ’s lead does not feel loved by her husband, the problem likely lies not in some flaw in the wife’s perception, but it has to do with the husband’s skewed view of what love really is (more on this topic in another blog post).
 
Therefore, for my husband to require charitable judgment from me without demonstrating a loving life himself isn’t love at all. Rather it’s spiritual compulsion where an emotionally destructive person has license to treat me however he wants and to expect unreserved love in return.When I found that our last church was not supporting my efforts to diagnose and heal our marriage and excluding me from fully using my gifts in ministry, I asked my husband if we could look for a different home church. I was not alone in my prompting to do this, as at least seven families who had been active in the church in the past had placed their membership at other local congregations over a period of five years.
 
My husband didn’t consider my opinions about the church’s lack of application of doctrine or my need for relationship as valid. Rather, he was mostly concerned about getting a strong character reference for his next full-time position and keeping the tuition reduction from attending a church in the seminary’s denomination.
He argued that this church was good for our children, and I was the only one who had a problem with it. Couldn’t I consider the needs of my family over my own? When I asked my husband if we could spend time with another family in leadership, my husband was far too busy supporting our family for that. When I requested that a new family with children our children’s ages be added to our small group, they were invited to join one of the other pastor’s groups.
 
When I asked my husband why he didn’t consider my interests when talking to the pastor of member care about the makeup of our small group, he said, “I think you consider your spiritual desires and needs too highly.” Essentially, what I wanted or needed didn’t matter at all.From the beginning of biblically recorded time, God pronounced curses on the serpent, Eve, and Adam in Genesis 3: Satan would always be at enmity with the children of man, Eve and Adam would have extreme toil in childbearing and providing for the family, respectively, and Eve and Adam would tend to be at enmity between themselves, left to themselves.
 
Nothing changed about the state of the fallen created order until Jesus Christ provided a solution in His life, death, and resurrection. Then Paul the Apostle describes a new created order for male-female relationships in Colossians 3 and Ephesians 5. Both the husband and wife are called, not to “be nice” and “do better,” but to be transformed by their respective identities in Christ. Instead of the wife being “against” her husband from Genesis 3, she is to place herself in harmony with her husband’s authority, “as to the Lord,” or in anything that their LORD would ask of her. Equally important, the husband is required to love his wife as Christ loves her. He is no longer to “rule over her” (Gen. 3) as her god but to empty himself of himself for her, just like Paul in Philippians 2 describes that Jesus did for every believer.
 
My husband continually expects me to submit to his authority as suits him, while disregarding the commands he is required to follow and laughing derisively at me when I explain how I am experiencing a deeper identification with Christ’s character in me. I’ve found that Colossians 3:18 and Ephesians 5:24 don’t bind me to serve my husband’s preoccupation with self when he makes demands of me that Christ does not. Instead, the onus lies on me to calmly, but firmly, point out how my husband is attempting to “rule over” me instead of loving me.

 

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Do You Know How To Live In The Moment?

 

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Deceived By Shame, Desired By God by Cynthia  Humbert
 
LESLIE ANSWERS YOUR QUESTIONS
Implementing The Emotional Destructive Marriage - Part 4
 
 
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Deceived By Shame, Desired By God
By
Cynthia Humbert
 
 
Rape, incest, alcoholism, addiction, abortion. The list could go on and on with ways sin poisons our lives. And whether the sin is self-imposed or committed by someone else, it always has the potential to cause us a deep-seated sense of shame. 
 
Shame often convinces us we are irreparably damaged at our very core. The enemy wants you to believe this lie. But God says that there is nothing about you or your past that cannot be redeemed. Learn how the healing love of God can bring good out of your darkest, most shameful secrets.

"There are so many self-help books out there, but this one stands above the rest. Cynthia, a counselor, speaker, mom, and wife, takes us on a personal journey as she shares her own personal story, as well as stories of others who have found themselves caught in the trap of shame.

 

Cynthia doesn't just offer stories, but practical help through spiritual, emotional and tangible steps that take you from guilt, pain or emotional conflict to freedom. This book is a keeper as it contains a timeless message that will help all who want to start fresh and see themselves as they truly were meant to be."


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

 

 

The Winners of Deceived By Shame, Desired by God by Cynthia Humbert are

 
 
 
UPCOMING EVENTS
 

February 8, 2015
Fullerton Evangelical Free Church

Fullerton, CA

5:00 PM PST

 
March 6, 2015
First Friday Event
SouthLake, TX
 
April 17-18, 2015
Desire Biblical Counseling Conference
Clarks Summit, PA
 
 
HERE'S WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT LESLIE'S COACHING
 

"My life was a pressure cooker. I had struggles with my employment,  undiagnosed health problems, and a marriage on the rocks. I had been to counseling but I needed something more action-oriented. I needed coaching.

 

In spite of so many intertwining issues and complicated thoughts and feelings, Leslie was able to walk me through my picture in a way that helped me really look at my situation and come to grips with the truth.

 

And not just the truth about where I was in my life, and the things I needed to change, but the truth about the Lord: who I am because of Him, what He wants me to be in all of these situations, and to keep seeking Him more than anything else. This is what I was looking for, and she definitely delivered."

 

-An unhappy man with marital problems and career stress.

 

 
 
 
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