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  • It’s Back: By popular demand we are bringing back my Moving Beyond 5 Day Challenge. It’s free and it starts June 17th. Click here to learn more.
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Growing Up and Becoming Healthy

By Leslie Vernick
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Jesus asked a man who had been paralyzed for a very long time, “Do you want to be healed?” (Read John 5 for the story).

Sounds like a crazy question. Who wouldn’t want to be whole and healthy? But Jesus knew that healing this man would not fix his entire life. It would only fix his legs. Healing would bring this man new challenges and life changes that he had never faced before. He would also need to mature.

For example, he would no longer be able to beg for his support. He would now need to find some sort of work. He would now have to make new relationships where he wasn’t the needy dependent one. How would that impact him? Would he get married? Have children? Contribute to society and learn to give back to others less fortunate than he was?

Being willing for God to heal us is something most of us want, but we expect things to be easy, which they often are not. For example, we want God to heal our marriage, heal our hurts, or take away our bitterness, but then what? And often God’s healing also requires us doing some work of our own such as losing weight, eating healthier, saving money, learning to manage conflict in a healthy way, or figuring out how to speak up for ourselves without attacking or blaming someone else for our own problems.

We can want to be more mature, or healthier as a person, but if we don’t learn how to do these things and practice doing them, we will not achieve the things we want to do. Proverbs tells us to apply what God is showing us to our daily life (Proverbs 23:12).

This is where self-control and self-discipline come in. Without these skills, life becomes a mess. This happens with our physical bodies and our inner life, as well as our relationships with others. For example, when we fail to control our eating, we gain weight or get sick. If we recklessly wound others with a tongue that is out of control we hurt others and ruin relationships.

Exhibiting self-control over my body means I choose (my will) to do physical exercise because it is consistent with wanting to be healthy and in reasonably good shape (my thoughts/beliefs/desires).

Rarely do I feel like it (temporary feelings). I want to be healthy (my thoughts, feelings and will are involved with this desire), but, I always feel like eating junk food, especially chocolate (bodily cravings due to ingrained bad habits).

I chose (my will, exercising self-control) not to give in to my temporary emotional states or fleshly appetites (most of the time), because they are inconsistent with the person I want to be and become. The benefit is that as I get healthier and stronger physically, I feel better and like myself more. The Bible warns us that the consequences of an undisciplined life is self-hatred (Proverbs 15:32).

Learning to deny ourselves what we want isn’t meant to make us more miserable. It is always a means to gain something better. No one gets it to have it all. Therefore, we often must be willing to give up something we like for something we want. This is one of the marks of a mature person.

For example, I choose to give up eating everything I want in order to stay at a reasonable weight. I must let go of my tendency toward self-pity in order to take responsibility for my life and get mentally and emotionally stronger. To have a happy marriage, I need to give up my selfish ways. Jesus tells us that when we are willing to give up our lives for him, we end up finding our life (Matthew 10:39).

The miracle that occurs is as I deny myself these small things, I gain so much more. I gain more health, more love, more virtue, more purpose to my life, more depth of character, more self-respect, more self-control and discipline and greater self-esteem. Not a bad trade.

Understand this crucial truth. You and I are always in the process of becoming. We are either becoming better or worse, healthier or not, more godly or more sinful, more willing or more willful. We get to choose which direction we will walk in.

God gives us the path to greater growth, mental, emotional, and relational health. Do you allow His words to be the final say in your life? Are you willing to allow God’s word, his truth, to heal and transform your heart – which are your thoughts, your emotions, desires, and your will?

If you’d like more help with Growing Up and Moving Beyond Unhealthy Habits, sign up for my free five day Moving Beyond Challenge which starts June 17th. You can click here to be part of the free challenge.

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How to Act Right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong

by Leslie Vernick

Experience the Blessings of an Imperfect Marriage. We all–at one time or another–have the opportunity to act right when our spouse acts wrong. There are no perfect marriages or perfect spouses. We know that having a good marriage requires effort and hard work. Yet we often don’t know how to continue to love when we are angry, hurt, scared, or just plain irritated. Nor are we sure what that kind of love is supposed to look like. Should we be patient? Forgive and forget? Do something else entirely?Acting right when your spouse acts wrong will not necessarily guarantee a more satisfying marital relationship, nor will it automatically make your spouse change his or her ways–although both could occur. It will, however, help you see how God is stretching you in the midst of your marital difficulties, teach you to respond wisely when wronged, and lead you into a deeper relationship with Christ as you yield your will to his plan for your life and learn to be more like him.

Two winners will be selected in our next newsletter (giveaway only available to US residents).

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

The winners of "Bless Your Socks Off: Unleashing the Power of ENCOURAGEMENT" by Sandra Aldrich are Kathy B. and Juanita P.


I've Emotional Detached, But How Are My Kids Going to See Me?

By Leslie Vernick

Question: I was a youth pastor’s wife and after 20 years felt like I finally came up for air when someone put your book Emotionally Destructive Marriage in my hand. I feel as if the truth God brought to my life through it saved me from insanity. I couldn’t believe that someone finally understood the games and manipulation and verbal cruelty that was going on, yet was masked with such outward charisma and shrouded with such false selflessness that I lived in a hidden world that the male church leaders would only direct me on how to be respectful and forgive 70×7.

After I went to the pastor’s wife who saw through to what was happening, my husband lost his job which I was ready for and was part of what was a bold step for me in standing up for what was going on and praying that these natural consequences may be a wake-up call (The ammonia under the nose).

It was difficult and I felt so disloyal to my husband, but my integrity and sanity needed to find a place. However, in the meeting with my husband and two other male pastors, they informed me that this job loss was obviously 50 percent my fault as marriage problems are both sides.

I was devastated. My husband loved finally being told it was half my fault after several counselors had held him accountable for behavior that was destroying us. We are at a stage now where after three counselors that have come down on him for his behavior and tried to help, he found a Christian male counselor that has said he is none of the things that he has been told (narcissistic, etc) and feeds him what he wants to hear.

He pays to go see him every other week for two years which has completely broken the tiny bit left of our marriage. He is hard and unkind and has a new vocabulary to defend his actions. So, I have found support through godly friendship of other couples and women. And it wasn’t until I read the February question about “emotional separation” that I could understand what I was doing, but that my husband was saying things that left me feeling guilty and confused about my actions.

As well-meaning people in the church try to get involved that have no idea what is going on, I have just been unsure how to do this right. As my kids watch our marriage, do I talk to them about what is going on? They know things are strained, but they would be devastated to hear of any type of “separation” and yet…my biggest pain is the knowledge that they probably see me as civil and nice but unresponsive and unaffectionate and unconnected. I don’t know how to navigate living in the same house, sleeping in the same room, but being completely emotionally detached in the right way.

I have come to a place of peace. I have had years (decades) to have far gone past the place of needing or expecting any type of love from him. I am truly peacefully separated from him in that way, but for the kid’s sake, I really want to keep this together.

How do I do this without coming across dismissive and patronizing which is what he says? Is it wrong that I don’t ask him about things going on in his life and I don’t share anything about mine? I just don’t want to be connected with him at all. Talking to him almost always invites some sort of passive-aggressive, unexplainable to most, negative words.

I really could use an entire book on how to live my life if I am choosing that I think it truly is best for the kids if I can “stay well.” But I want to “stay well” separated from him emotionally(By the way, he isn’t striving to be connected with me at all either, so I am not resisting anything).

He just will use the “you are my wife!” line to make me question what God would expect of or want from me in this situation. I grew up in a wonderful Christian family and would not have ever thought there were marriages like this possible even in the secular world much less the Christian world.

So all my knowledge and my experience and relationship with the Lord has provided stability, but I yearn to help other women in this kind of pain to find understanding, compassion, clarity, and the tools needed to not just survive as I have been doing but to THRIVE.

But first I must figure out ME.

Thank you, Leslie! I wish I had the funds to learn directly underneath you for my sake, my girl’s sake, and the sake of other women. Your message is a lifesaver to me.

Answer: First, your church leaders were wrong. Your husband lost his job because of his sinful behaviors and his own unrepentant heart.

Here is What People are Saying About Leslie's Moving Beyond People Pleasing Online Course

I have realized that my husband had the God spot in my life. This has helped me to see that I am not sinning in making my own worship choices, despite what he tells me. This has taken a huge burden off my heart.

I am no longer feeling like I have to make everything okay, especially after none of his tirades. I now get that his unhappiness resides in him and it is not my job to fix it.

My confidence is small but growing. I love the reinforcement that I am doing what is right. Without Leslie and my course sisters, it's all too easy to go back to believing the lies I am told every day. So thankful for this course

LESLIE WELCOMES YOUR QUESTIONS

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.

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