Do You Have a Meaningful Life?
As I’m turning the page on a new year and a new decade, I just wanted to share a few thoughts with you.
Do You Have a Meaningful Life?
Birthdays always bring about a time of reflection. A few questions I ask myself are: What am I doing? Where am I going? And why am I doing what I’m doing? George McDonald listed what he called “three grand essentials—three things without which no meaningful life can be lived: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.”
Do You Have Someone To Love?
Everyone I know is looking for love, but we’re looking in the wrong places. Instead of loving God, our very source of life and goodness, we love lesser things, things that actually harm our relationship with God and others. For example, we love having our way (James 4:1-4), we love being right, and we love being first (Matthew 23). We love the world (1 John 2:15), we love money (Hebrews 13:5, Luke 16:14), we love the praise of humankind (John 12:43), we love sin (John 3:19), and we love positions of status and authority (Matthew 23:6,7; Luke 11:43). God warns us about our other loves. He calls them idols. God is a jealous God. He is jealous of our love. When we love things or other people (including ourselves) more than we love him, we will forfeit our intimacy with him. He calls it spiritual adultery, and it breaks his heart (Ezekiel 6:9).
Jesus warns us that who or what we love is crucial to our well-being because he knows that what controls our heart, controls us ( Matthew 6:21). What we love orders our priorities, determines how we invest our resources of time, money, energy and talents and tells us what’s worth living for and dying for.
God says that the only one worthy of our fullest love, greatest attention and deepest devotion is him. You do have someone to love. When we love God first, we have a meaningful life.
Do you have something to do?
Often times we think that what we are supposed to do has to be big and bold in order for it to be significant. Anna was a multi-talented woman who felt like she was wandering in circles. She said, “Leslie, I have no goals. I just get through the chores and tasks of each day, taking care of kids, homework and household responsibilities. There’s no time for anything significant or meaningful.” I asked her if she were to die next week, what regrets would she have? She thought for a moment and then said, “I’d regret that I didn’t savor more moments now. I’m always wishing I could be finished with now so I could get on to more important things.” When I asked Anna what were those important things she said “spending meaningful time with my family like riding bikes, having a picnic and enjoying a walk. But I never have enough time to do that because I’m too busy doing my chores.”
Anna may need more balance and recreation in her life, but she is losing sight of the important work she is doing. She values time spent with her children but is only seeing the fun times as significant. “Anna,” I probed, “what is the difference between savoring the time with your kids while riding bikes and feeling hassled with the kids during homework?” She looked up with a flash of insight and said, “just my attitude! Maybe what I’m doing is important and significant all the time, I just didn’t see it before.” Oswald Chambers reminds us that “it is not the work we do for God that keeps us fresh; it is the work we allow God to do through us.”
Paul tells us that we are “God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). You do have important work to do. Start today to reflect Jesus in all you do and you will have a meaningful life.
Do you have something to hope for?
Everyone needs to put their hope in something, but just like we can love the wrong things and invest our lives in pursuits that in the end, won’t matter, we can put our hope in things that have no real substance and that lead to disappointment and heartache.
When all is said and done, life is hard. Even while on earth we get tastes of hell. The hope that sustains us in the midst of hell on earth is the hope that God is good and he knows what he’s doing (Nahum 1:7; Psalm 119:68). Hope that God cares about our suffering and knows every tear we cry and that none of it is wasted as he will bring good out of it (Psalm 56:8; Romans 8:28,29). And hope that someday we will be with him in heaven where there will be no more tears or suffering (John 14:2).
In the midst of great hardship, Paul expressed hope in the eternal reality when he said, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
The psalmist asked himself when he was especially discouraged, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Put your hope in God” (not in what God will do--Psalm 42:5). Today, you can have hope. Trust God.
I want a meaningful life. Don’t you?
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
|My daughter-in-law won't speak to me. What can I do?
QUESTION: My daughter-in-law was offended by something I did (I’m not even sure what it was) while she was dating my son. They have now been married for 10 years and have 3 beautiful girls, but she still will not have anything to do with me. She will bring the girls over to visit, but won’t speak to me. I have tried to speak with my son, but he defends his wife. What can I do?
Family strife and relationship turmoil is one of the leading contributors to feeling unhappy. It is so painful to have ongoing tension within one’s family with no resolution in sight. With that said, let me give you a few things to think about and to try.
First, pray about the situation, as I’m sure you have done already. Ask God specifically to soften your daughter-in-law’s heart so that she would be willing to forgive. Also pray and ask God to show you specifically your sin against her. Perhaps you didn’t think you did anything wrong at the time or you didn’t see it as a big deal, but apparently she has taken great offense to what you did and is not able to let it go.
Instead of putting your son in the middle of things, you need to talk directly to your daughter-in-law. For 10 years, she has harbored this hurt and it has turned to bitterness. Unfortunately, a lot of time has passed by. During all these years has she ever heard directly from you, “How can I make this better between us?” or “I’m sorry, will you forgive me?”
Often what is needed for someone to let go of an offense is a sincere, heart-felt apology. Your daughter-in-law may believe that you love your son and your granddaughters, but that you have not shown much care for her as a person. Whether or not that’s true isn’t the issue. Right now, you’re dealing with her feelings, not actual facts. If you argue with her, defend yourself, or dispute the past, you will continue to create more turmoil and conflict. What you want to change is how she feels about you. You will not do that by proving you’re right and she’s wrong or that she’s crazy, too sensitive or overreacting. You will have the best shot at a change in your relationship with her by demonstrating faithfulness, humility and love.
Next time she drops off the children, smile at her and say, “Thank you for allowing me to spend time with the children. I really appreciate it.” Say good things to your grandchildren about their mother. Perhaps make a meal with the grandchildren and send it home with them for their family to enjoy later. Don’t forget your daughter-in-law’s birthday, their anniversary, and other special occasions. Be sincere and continue to invite her into a dialogue and into a relationship.
God calls us to be ministers of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18) and peacemakers. He tells us, as much as it depends on us, to be at peace with everyone (Romans 12:18). That doesn’t mean we can have peace with everyone all the times, but it is our privilege and responsibility to initiate it as much and as often as we can.
Don’t lose heart and keep your own spirit free from bitterness if she doesn’t respond right away. Love is a powerful force, and if you can continue to love her without expectations or demands, hopefully she will see your remorse over hurting her in the past and be willing to forgive and reconcile.
Do You Have a Meaningful Life?
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LESLIE ANSWERS YOUR QUESTIONS
My daughter-in-law won't speak to me. What can I do?
NEW WEBSITE HAS LAUNCHED!
We are so excited to announce that our new website has launched! Please take some time to visit us and sign-up to receive a free copy of Leslie's Webinar, Does God Really Want Me to Be Happy.
On Leslie's new website, there are many valuable free resources as well as a comprehensive listing of past blog topics, newsletters, products offered, etc.
Get 50% off retail on all books, CDs, DVDs and MP3s
This week instead of offering two free books, I’ve decided to run a special sale on all my books, CD’s and DVD’s as my birthday present to you.
This is the time to stock up for bible studies and birthday or Christmas gifts as you will be getting 50% off retail for four days only. Just enter code BIRTHDAYSALE on the checkout page.
The sale ends at 11:59pm EST, August 31, which is my—ummmm, I won’t mention how old--birthday.
Congratulations to Linda N. from Denison, TX and Faith O. from Palmdale, CA who were the two winners of Defeating Depression
Leslie developed a wonderful rapport with the women, whatever their age or stage in life. She has excellent verbal skills and seasons her talks with solid scriptural truths, personal transparency, and bits of humor. Her abilities to connect with our women and present a no nonsense approach are a gift from God.
Debbie Joe Schwarz
Ada Bible 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:
Then, visit Leslie's Blog as she posts her responses to one question per week.
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I am also going to be running a contest to name my newest book. Tentatively it's titled “The Emotionally Destructive Marriage”, but I fear that title will get confused with my current book, “The Emotionally Destructive Relationship” so I'm searching and praying for a new title and subtitle.
There are no guarantees the Publisher will approve the new title, but I'd really like to rename it something strong and usually they use what I suggest.
So friends, I'm challenging you to come up with a title and/or subtitle for this book. I will be running this contest for two weeks so you have plenty of time to give it some thought, and you can enter as many times as you'd like. In September, I will put the suggested titles in the newsletter, and the one that receives the most votes will receive an autographed copy of the new book (when it comes out) AND three (3) 45 minute coaching sessions valued at over $500.