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  • FREE WEBINAR: Join me for a free webinar on Monday, December 2nd. The topic will be 3 Ways To Move Past Victim Mentality. You can register here.
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Can You Give Thanks in ALL THINGS?

By Leslie Vernick

The Bible tells us that we are to give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18) yet as a Christian counselor I have found that verse difficult to actually apply when people are struggling with difficult life situations.

For example, how do you tell someone to give thanks in all things when they have been raped, sexually abused as a child, robbed, or betrayed by a spouse?

Yet not too long ago a woman shared with me exactly how she did it. She said, “Leslie I have learned that I can’t give thanks for all things, but I have learned I can give thanks in all things.”

She went on to tell me that her only child was recently killed in motorcycle accident. She said, “I am so thankful he didn’t suffer. I’m thankful that he knew the Lord and someday I will see him again. I am so thankful that I had 24 good years with him and that I have so many good friends who are supporting me through this time of grief.”

My jaw dropped. This woman was brokenhearted yet gratitude made a difference in the way she experienced her suffering. She was not angry, she was not bitter. Yes, she was sad as she should be, but she was also experiencing joy in the midst of her sadness.

Many secular studies confirm that practice of gratitude improves our mental and emotional well-being. When we are in the habit of looking for specific things to be thankful for, it has a powerful affect on the way we “see” our life. We learn to be grateful for the good things even in the midst of the hard things instead of feeling gypped that God, life, or other people aren’t giving us all that we deserved or wanted.

Psychologist Sonja Lyuomirsky writes, “Gratitude is an antidote to negative emotions, a neutralizer of envy, avarice, hostility, worry and irritation.”

Science now confirms what God’s word says. When you struggle with negative emotions, being thankful neutralizes their toxic effect. Isn’t that amazing?

The psalmist reminds us that God is pleased even when giving thanks feels impossible. He writes, “But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me.” (Psalm 50:23).

Friend, I know it’s hard sometimes to thank God in all things. But this obedience not only pleases him, it blesses you. Take some time during this season to intentionally look for five things every day that you can be thankful for.

Discipline yourself to do it especially when you are swept up in negative emotions like anger, impatience, irritation, anxiety, or sadness. In those moments, when you open your eyes and purpose to look for the things you can be grateful for, you will find those negative emotions not nearly as powerful or controlling over you as they once were.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving friend. I am thankful for you.

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Lord, I Just Want To Be Happy

by Leslie Vernick

Counselor and author Leslie Vernick has discovered that many people pray, “Lord, I just want to be happy!” With candor, Leslie reveals that readers don’t need new circumstances but a new perspective to discover true happiness. With biblical insight, Leslie guides readers to take simple steps as they…

  • recognize and change habits that, day by day, keep them from experiencing happiness
  • make good choices and learn from mistakes without beating themselves up
  • develop the skills that enable them to let go of negative and painful emotions more quickly
  • transform difficult circumstances so they can live with gratitude, joy, and purpose

Application questions help readers work godly thinking, as well as healthy skills and habits, into their lives and hearts. They’ll discover that, even if nothing changes in their circumstances, their inner chains can be broken and they can go free…into a new path of real hope and happiness.

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 The Emotionally Destructive Marriage audio book are Barb A. and Michelle S.
.

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What Do I Do When My Counselor Overrules My Thoughts?

Question: I am in a sort of joint counseling with a Biblical counselor at the present as well as in individual counseling with a therapist. Since my husband abused me 2.5 years ago, he has not been back in the house. There have been some changes in him but the core attitudes which drive the behaviors have not changed. I continue to wait.

The counselor told me that I was exercising conditional love and Christ did not do this. I have no solid answer for him. Is he right? He also told my husband yesterday that he was to move back in whether I approved or not within one week. He said the church never condoned more than 4-6 weeks separation and that would only be for physical abuse. I asked him where in scripture did it say that? His response was that scriptures say for a husband and wife to be one. I left sad and hurt but not destroyed this time by the “church’s” beliefs toward me.

How and when does a woman be silent and win her husband without a word? At what point does doing that become a passive way to be in a relationship? This is all so confusing. Any advice?

Answer: I feel for your situation. Since I’ve heard from you before, I know you want to do the godly thing. You want to do what’s “right” in the sight of God but you’re questioning whether your counselor is giving you wise advice for your particular situation.

First, I do not know all your history or current details of your marriage as well as your counselor does. I am an outside observer and I only hear your perspective and am limited at that. But based on my years of counseling individuals and couples in similar situations I want to give you some perspective, some things to think about and maybe even some things to ask your counselor.

You indicate that although you’ve seen some behavioral change in your husband, the underlying attitudes of entitlement are still there. Can you describe or define these attitudes for your joint counselor? For example, “He expects to get all the perks of marriage without having to do the work of being honest or being caring and this is how this attitude showed up this week in our interactions.” Then describe it for him.

Here is What People are Saying About Empowered to Change.

"I Learned some valuable lessons. Knowing Core Values (who I am) is different than my fickle feelings and thoughts is huge for me. Avoiding 'what if' thinking and 'worse case scenario disease' will also be helpful to me. Difference between acknowledging and accepting is good for me to know. I acknowledged the problems 10 years ago, but have only moved closer to accepting in last year. Being responsible for my well-being is new to me. Giving up hope of change in my husband has come very slowly. Grieving currently as this is sinking in. Class helped me see a lot of things. Trusting God to work it all 'into' me. I pray it will move me forward. I need hope for me and kids."

~ Graduate of Empowered To Change

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