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June 4, 2013

Do You Have a Grasshopper Mind or Can Do Mind?

 

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Our mindset is crucial. How we look at a situation determines not only our emotional reaction to it, but also what action steps we will take. Remember the Biblical story where the twelve spies set out to look at the Promised Land and reported back to Moses what they found? (See Numbers 13)

All twelve spies spoke of a wonderful country, flowing with milk and honey, filled with every kind of fruit. Yet ten of the spies were also filled with fear. They saw the opportunity, but they got weighed down by the obstacles. They said, “The cities are fortified and very large, and besides there are giants there and next to them we look like grasshoppers. We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.”

On the other hand, Joshua and Caleb, two of the twelve, saw the same opportunities and the same obstacles but instead they felt great faith. They said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.”    

We know how the story ended. Fear and a negative mindset grew among the people and they began to grumble and complain against Moses and Aaron. They wanted to return to the captivity of Egypt and convinced the rest of the Israelites that their perspective was the right one. 

Joshua and Caleb tried to help the people “see” that God was with them and for them and would help them overcome any obstacles, yet the people preferred to cling to their fears rather than embrace faith. 

How about you?  Do you get caught in fear instead of pressing on to faith? Do you only have eyes for the obstacles instead of focusing on the opportunities God has put before you? If you’re like me, the answer is yes at least some of the time. 

Here are a few things I have found helpful in moving my mindset from fear to faith:

  1. Change the channel.  When I’m watching a scary movie on television, it does me no good to think I shouldn’t be feeling afraid or that it’s just a movie. The quickest way to change my scared feelings is to change the channel, stop watching something scary and turn to something more positive or pleasant. What we allow our minds to meditate on does affect our emotions. Paul, no stranger to obstacles or trials, coached us to think about the things that are beautiful, good and right (Philippians 4:8).

  1. Practice Gratitude.  For those of us more negatively oriented, it’s always easiest to see what’s wrong rather than look for what’s right with life. Make a habit of giving thanks, or better yet, look for what we can be grateful for. This practice increases our ability to “see” with spiritual eyes and see what God might be up to, even in the toughest situations (1 Thessalonians 4:18).

  1. Cultivate a CAN DO mindset. When I get gripped with fear and I’m facing opportunities that feel beyond my abilities, my talents or my resources, I remind myself that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

When Jesus said that he has come to give us an abundant life (John 10:10), he didn’t mean a safe and comfortable life, but a meaningful one. If you want to conquer the giants in your own Promised Land journey, change the channel by renewing your mind with God’s truth (Romans 12:2), practice giving thanks in all things (Colossians 3:15-17), say goodbye to grasshopper mind and commit to developing a CAN DO mindset.

P.S. I want to warmly welcome ALL new subscribers who have joined our community since last month! You are going to love the resources you find to help you grow. I'm thrilled to have you here!

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Leslie Answers Your Questions


How Do I Forgive Myself?

Today’s question is an important one because it has to do with you, not your abuser. A recent blog on how to forgive others (http://bit.ly/19C9BC3) spurred one reader to ask the question, “How do you forgive yourself?”  She asked:

Question:  The hardest person to forgive is myself. I once heard that this attitude or inability to forgive myself was an insult to God because if He forgives me, who am I to not forgive myself? Am I greater than God that I should withhold forgiveness towards my own self?

This perspective helped me for a while, but once I committed another sin or mistake, I went back to not being able to forgive myself. This is so hard. My problem becomes greater when I fail to succeed in a romantic relationship. I think about what I did wrong over and over again and how I could have changed it or made it better. How do I stop this? I’ve been unforgiving towards myself for the past 6 months and it is eating me alive. I’d really like to be free and forgiven by myself just like God forgives me and wants me to be free of guilt.

Answer:  Your question is an important one because inevitably as human beings we all sin, make mistakes and fail at things. The writer of James says it well when he writes, “We all stumble in many ways.” (James 3:2). When we aren’t able move beyond our failures, mistakes and even sins, we can get stuck in a spiral of debilitating regret, depression and even self-hatred.

The person who told you that your inability to forgive yourself insults God brings up an excellent point. If the God of the Universe was willing to come to earth, become human and sacrifice himself to forgive our sins, who are we not to forgive–either others or our own self? Yet that theological truth can be difficult if not impossible to put into practice when we’re in the middle of ruminating over our stupidity, mistakes, missed opportunities or sin.

Most of the time shame, guilt and self-hatred arise because we have failed to live up to our own idealized image of ourselves. Do you ever hear yourself saying things like, “I should have known better” or “Why did I do such a stupid thing?” or “I can’t believe I did that?” or “What’s wrong with me?”

These kinds of statements are evidence that you have an expectation of yourself to always do it right, to always say it right, to always know ahead of time what the right answer should be or what solution will best solve a problem. When you fail (as you inevitably will), you feel disappointed in yourself. You tell yourself that somehow you should be better than you are. And, in your particular case, when you’re involved romantically and this happens, you make it the sole reason the relationship failed.

You rehearse over and over again what you could have or should have or ought to have done, said or not said, so that the relationship wouldn’t have failed. But guess what! Every single person messes up in relationships. We all say or do the wrong thing at times. We all are imperfect, flawed, sinful human beings and yet many of us have decent relationships with other flawed, fallible, imperfect, sinful human beings. So mistakes, failures and even sins aren’t the reason your relationships are not lasting or succeeding. If that were true, no one would be capable of having any long term or loving relationships.

The problem is that you want control over how the relationship goes and you believe a dangerous lie. The lie is:  if only you could be MORE perfect, then the relationship will succeed. If only you were more perfect, then the other person would love you, or never hurt or leave you. That’s not true. Look at Jesus. He was perfect and people disappointed him. They didn’t always love him very well--even his own disciples abandoned him. His family thought he was crazy. He was spit upon, beaten, mocked, and nailed to the cross. Being perfect does not guarantee loyalty, love or lovability.

The reason you can’t forgive yourself is because you want to be like God--you want to be perfect and in control of things and you can never get there, even if you try really, really hard. There is only one God, and he’s not you.

Therefore, the way out of this bondage when you mess up is not self-forgiveness but rather self-acceptance. You must accept who you are. You are both saint and sinner, beautiful and broken, strong and weak, naughty and nice. Humility is the path that will give you the freedom you seek because, when you are humble, you can emotionally accept you are a creature--a fallible, imperfect and sinful creature. Once you do that, you will not be so shocked, or shamed, or disappointed by your darker, weaker, sinful side.

It’s not your mistakes and failures that are causing your greatest emotional pain. It’s your unrealistic expectations of yourself and your lack of acceptance when you make mistakes, you are weak, you do sin and you fail, which causes your emotional spiral downward into self-hatred and despair. In a backwards way, your pride has been wounded. You are disappointed that you aren’t better than you are, but the truth is, you’re not. In embracing that truth, you are set free.

The solution you’re seeking is not to forgive each mistake or failure, but to accept that you will make mistakes, sin and fail. Once you accept this truth, the self-hatred for doing so no longer has any power over you. Instead, that same energy can now be used to humbly ask for forgiveness from others where necessary. It can be used to learn from your sins or failures so you don’t continually repeat them, which, if left uncorrected,
will harm your relationships.

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IN THIS ISSUE

ARTICLE

Do You Have a Grasshopper Mind or Can Do Mind?

 

COACHING
Coaching Spots Available

 

WHAT'S NEW

Leslie's New Book Available A Month Early! / Help Needed!

 

BOOK GIVE AWAY

The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness Book by Suzanne Eller. Plus see the winner of the previous give away!

 

LESLIE ANSWERS YOUR QUESTIONS

How Do I Forgive Myself?

COACHING INFORMATION

For more information on Leslie's coaching program, please click below.

Leslie Vernick Coaching Programs

WHAT'S NEW

LESLIE'S NEW BOOK AVAILABLE A MONTH EARLY!

Friendships of Women

I have great news! My new book, The Emotionally Destructive Marriage: How to Find Your Voice and Reclaim Your Hope is going to be available a month early on September 17th instead of October 17th. I’m so excited about what this book will offer not only to women in destructive marriages, but also to people-helpers who try to help. Those in ministry often mean well but don’t always know how to handle these kinds of situations in ways that don’t cause more harm.

I will be offering a steep discount for those of you who read this blog and my newsletter. I need you to spread the word to others through your tweets, Facebook posts and word of mouth. Be sure to watch your August and September newsletters for details on how to order. You can also pre-order the book on Amazon.com now (http://amzn.to/10LMEJl). I will also be doing a free webinar on the topic early in September, so stay tuned for details. 


HELP NEEDED!

With a special project.

Are any of you experts in Pinterest and willing to put together some boards for me? I do not have time to learn this tool but would love to get some picture boards together for my new book and related topics

BOOK GIVE AWAY

HERE ARE THE DETAILS FOR THIS WEEK'S BOOK GIVEAWAY:

Friendships of Women

The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness

Book by Suzanne Eller

 

The word “forgive” is not, as many people think, one dimensional. It doesn’t just mean “let go and let God”—a challenge for anyone who has experienced traumatizing abuse, injustice, neglect or abandonment. In The Unburdened Heart, Suzanne Eller explores with readers the multiple facets of forgiveness found in the Scriptures, focusing in particular on the idea of “leaving one place to go to another.” Believers can, with the help of God’s Spirit, leave pain to find wholeness, leave regret to find purpose and leave the past to live fully in the present. The Unburdened Heart uses the power of story along with biblical teaching to lead readers into healing and a forgiving lifestyle.

Just email your name to assistant@leslievernick.com by midnight Friday, June 7th for a chance to win one of two copies!

Congratulations to Heidi L. of Chattanooga, TN and Lilah S. of Cherry Hill, NJ winners of the The Friendships of Women Book by Dee Brestin.

UPCOMING EVENTS

June

Jun 14  Heart Song’s Pastors Conference, Arlington, VA

Jun 29  Excellent Living presents... The Winsome Woman, The Smith Center, McLean, VA

August

Aug 10  CareNet Women's Ministry Share Fair, Schuylkill Country Club, Schuylkill County, PA

September

Sep 11-14  AACC Conference, Nashville, TN

October

Oct 4-5  The Bible Chapel Women's Retreat, McMurray, PA

Oct 22  AACC Webinar on “Counseling Strategies That Work for the Emotionally Destructive Marriage” 6 to 8pm

November

Nov 23  Domestic Violence Conference, First Baptist Church of Glenarden, Glenarden, MD (Open to the Public)

Nov 29-Dec 1  Singles Conference at America’s Keswick, Whiting, NJ

December

Dec 1  Singles Conference at America’s Keswick, Whiting, NJ

Invite Leslie to speak at one of your events.
Call us at 1-877-837-7931
leslie@leslievernick.com or
visit www.leslievernick.com

 

HERE'S WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT LESLIE...

"From the very beginning of my invitation to you and then all the way through the process of developing our retreat, you had a warm and flexible spirit that was aimed to serve the lord and our women. You delivered exactly what you said you would and it was so helpful to our women. They not only walked away with a new love to honor and serve God with their lives, but also with some new practical tools of application to be the ‘best version of themselves’."

— Glenda Harr
First Covenant Church

LESLIE WELCOMES YOUR QUESTIONS

Leslie wants to help you grow in your personal and relational effectiveness. Send your questions about dealing with difficult people, stress, or relationship issues to:

Leslie@LeslieVernick.com

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.