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Pursuing Happiness in Godly Ways

Air Date 02/29/2016

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Author Leslie Vernick describes how we can practice gratitude in order to experience a greater degree of happiness in our lives, the way God intended.

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Episode Transcript


John Fuller: On today's "Focus on the Family" we're going to take a serious look at, believe it or not, "happiness." I'm John Fuller. Our host is Focus president and author, Jim Daly and I think the following will illustrate what a lot of people think happiness is all about.


Man: (Belly laughing)

Man's Friend: You know Dave, life is not a bowl a cherries.

Man: (More Belly laughing)

Man's Friend: Things are not that funny. We have to be serious in this world.

Man: Serious! (More laughter)

Man's Friend: You can't always go through life laughing and joking endlessly. Sometimes you gotta make some effort. You know, you've

Man: What?

Man's Friend: gotta take things more seriously.

Man: Huh?

Man's Friend: Life's not a big joke. Life's not a picnic.

Man: Really?

Man's Friend: These are troubled times friend.

Man: (Belly laughing again)

End of Excerpt


Jim Daly: (Laughing) I mean, that is contagious.

John: Oh, man.

Jim: But I think it reveals some of the confusion about happiness in our culture today. You know, so often I'm really trying to think about what I say and when I'm publicly speaking, I'll avoid happiness, because I think a lot of Christians don't understand it or they overindulge in it and they don't understand what true joy is. I like the word "joy" so much better.

But it's important for us to discuss this topic. Research says that only 1 in 3 Americans report being very happy and it's declining, they say and that's an amazing statistic. And it points out that we may be resting too much in our surroundings to derive our joy and our happiness and we're gonna talk about that today, because it' s important that we play that joy and that happiness in the right place.

John: Hm. Well, and I think you're right, Jim, we have expectations about how life is gonna go and then something happens and bam! Our emotions change and we get caught and we obviously need a balanced approach. I think the Scripture is very clear that there are seasons for joy and happiness and other seasons where you weep. It's not such a good time in life.

Jim: No, that's right, John and we also need to understand that biblical concept of joy, like I talked about, where we can experience a deeper sense of happiness, not a superficial kind of happiness and we're gonna talk to a guest that's been on "Focus on the Family" before and you have loved her and that is Leslie Vernick. Leslie, let me welcome you back to the program.

Leslie Vernick: Thank you so much. This is such an important topic.

Jim: It's fun. We're taping out in your neck of the woods near Philadelphia.

Leslie: We are.

Jim: And it's great to be out here.

Leslie: It's wonderful. Thanks for—

Jim: It's a good day.

Leslie: --having me.

Jim: Now you've written this book, Lord, I Just Want to Be Happy. You've heard John and I kinda open it up and (Chuckling) we heard that contagious laughing fellow a moment ago. Is it about being happy and is there a distinction between happiness and joy?

Leslie: You know, I used to think it was God's will for us to be holy, not necessarily happy, but I don't believe that anymore. I think that God certainly calls us to be holy, but I believe that if we're truly getting holier, we're working on holiness, then we're becoming whole as a person and as we're becoming whole, we will feel happier because the fruit of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control. These are emotions and when we have these emotions, we feel good. They're not theological concepts and so, God wants us to have more than joy. He wants us to have hope and love and peace and those emotions lead to happiness. But as a counselor and coach, I've repeatedly asked myself two question and that's, what makes people happy or joyful? And why, as believers, living in a land of abundance with so much opportunity and blessings in our country, in our lives, at our fingertips, are we so miserable?

Jim: Yeah, it's …

Leslie: Depressed, stressed out, overwhelmed, how much—

Jim: Oh, yeah.

Leslie: --so much of the time.

Jim: That's a great question and you know, it's interesting when you talk about the fruit of the Spirit. I remember talking to a Christian who said, "Well, I don't have much patience. I've got a good dose of this, but not much of that" and I remember walkin' away from that conversation thinking, this isn't a menu. It's not something you order from. Give me, you know, four ounces of this and two ounces of that. It's all about the Holy Spirit being present in all of those attributes and that you're growing in those ways.

Leslie: And learning what are our obstacles that get in the way of experiencing those, so that we can be more mindful of Satan's ploys, as well as some of our own internal bad habits.

Jim: It's so true. You talk about the "should-be trap." I mean, I think I understand what that means, but explain what that means.

Leslie: Okay, so one of the things that I have found working with people over the years that lead to a lot of unhappiness is, these lies that we believe and the unrealistic expectations of how life should be…

Jim: What's an example of that?

Leslie: Like life should be easy and fair.

Jim: Okay.

Leslie: Okay? So, if people believe that lie, that it should be easy, why am I having to go through this? This is so unfair. This isn't true. This isn't right. This isn't fair to me—like life should be fair, like life is easy--and Jesus tells us life isn't easy. In this world you will have tribulation. And so, He tells us life isn't easy, but when we expect life should be easy, then we become disappointed; we become frustrated. We become angry because we're believing a lie.

Another "should" would be, that I—this is a huge one for people to be unhappy—is the lie that I should be better than I am. I should be better than I am and so, when we come up against our limitations that we're not better than we are, we get flooded with shame. We get flooded with self-hatred like, "Ah! I can't believe I did that. What's wrong with me because I should be better than that."

Jim: Now let me challenge that a little bit. I understand the depth of that but it also can be the motivation to become better in a certain area. I mean, you want to be realistic with that, correct? I mean, you might need to be on diet. You might need to do other things. You don't want to, I don't think, you want to say that if you're feeling uncomfortable of a certain aspect of your life that you want to shrug it off and not doing anything about that.

Leslie: Right, no, I'm not saying that in the book. So, what I'll say is, that certainly when you become aware of your weaknesses, you can work on them, but you will never get to a place where you don't have any, right (Laughing)? Because—

Jim: Yeah, some other ones—

Leslie: --as soon as you've—

Jim: --will pop up—

Leslie: --hit the block—

Jim: --Whack-A-Mole.

Leslie: --10 more will come up, right? (Laughter) And so, if you keep thinking that "I should be better than I am, like I should have no weaknesses; I should have no failures; I should have no mistakes," you are gonna be an unhappy person, because the truth is, you will have them and we—

Jim: Yeah.

Leslie: --do have them.

Jim: You know, Leslie, I wrote in Finding Home, the first book that I did kind of about my life is, that I was trying to express that I learned as a child in really difficult circumstances not to have high expectations on those around me. I think it has served me pretty well in terms of being realistic with the frailty of humanity, my own frailties. Some people that reviewed the book were critical of that aspect of it though, because I think what they were trying to say is, Mr. Daly is trying to set the bar too low," but is that a coping mechanism? Or is that a healthy thing to say, okay, my expectations are gonna be realistic when it comes to my interactions with my spouse, with my children who may disappoint me? Where's a healthy place to put the bar?

Leslie: You know, I think you're right, that there is this kind of, "We're gonna be winners and we're gonna, you know, set the bar really high." And then we do get really disappointed when we can't live up to our own unrealistic idealistic expectations of our self, or others and even God. Sometimes we have these expectations of God that He's gonna do that we say He's gonna do, that we're God and we're gonna tell Him what to do and that never works.

And so, I think it's not unreasonable to have expectations of, you know, a mother to love you or a husband to love you or your kids to obey you. Those are reasonable expectations, but sometimes when you're in a situation, you understand or you must come to understand that sometimes those expectations may be unrealistic.

Like I've told my story about my mother before in previous broadcasts. It's not unrealistic to expect your mother to love you, but in my situation, it was unreasonable, unrealistic for me to expect her to do it, even though it was reasonable. It was unrealistic and so, if I'm gonna be healthy, if I'm gonna learn to be a healthy person, healthy people live in truth. Healthy people live in reality and so, that's where you have to come to terms with what is, not what you wish it was.

Jim: And you can say to yourself, "Okay, that relationship isn't gonna be what I hoped for."

Leslie: Right.

Jim: I recognize it; I see the truth of it and now I need to move forward—

Leslie: And—

Jim: --and do what I need to do.

Leslie: --right and that's the piece that becomes crippling for people, because I'm bitter. I'm resentful. I'm angry. I'm depressed that I got gypped out of something that I should have had.

Jim: Now why that emotion, especially within the Christian faith? Why would we, that know the Lord, have a reaction of bitterness because that's part of who Jesus is?

Leslie: Because another lie that we believe and it's pervasive in our culture, is "I deserve more."

Jim: Oh, man. (Laughing) Okay—

Leslie: I deserve more—

Jim: --now you're hurtin' me.

Leslie: --yeah. So, I deserve more than this. I don't deserve this kind of mother. I don't deserve this kind of husband. I deserve more than this. I've worked hard. I'm a good person. I remember and I don't mean to minimize people's pain because when they're hurt and disappointed, it's real for them, but when we have this mind-set instead of being grateful for what we have and we have this mind-set that I deserve more, you're never gonna be happy because more is never enough.

Jim: Leslie, let me ask you specifically on parenting, because we can set the bar really high for our kids and I think again, we in the Christian community do an adequate job of that. We expect every one of our kids to go to college. We expect every one of them to become a doctor or a lawyer and I …

John: To obey us the first time we said something.

Jim: Obey 'em the first time, yeah, that whole thing. So, our bar is pretty high. That can begin to create stress in the parenting-child relationship. Talk about that application a bit, how we have appropriate and healthy expectations, but not expectations that begin to crush or humiliate our children.

Leslie: You know, I think that we can have appropriate expectations, but our children are limited, finite, human beings that aren't always gonna do what we want and so, we all have desires and we all have dreams and we all have hopes for our children or for our marriage or for our spouse or for ourselves. But when those things begin to morph into expectations and demands, then I think we've crossed the line. Like I want my child to be honest. I want them to be a good steward of their time. I want all those good things. I want them to obey me, but when they become demands, then I am trying to control them and when I'm trying to control them, that usually backfires, because then that creates tension in the family. And it doesn't mean that I shouldn't discipline them and parent them in all those kind of ways.

Leslie: But I think we get really confused in that somehow we've got to make our kids or make our spouse or make our world serve us. And when we have that mind-set, we're gonna be miserable, because we have absolutely no power to do that.

Jim: I really appreciate that because I think you're right on the money and I want to kinda tap a little more in this direction of the parenting side because I think so many parents are struggling with this and especially on behavioral issues. I mean, those are things you want your Christian children to behave appropriately. Someone once said to me, you know, God's the God of teenagers. We're all teenagers (Laughing), 'cause we're so often not doing the things that God wants us to do. I mean …

Leslie: You know, I have two kids and they weren't angels and I had to come to place in my life, especially being a public figure, a Christian counselor, you know. I remember this Christian school calling once and saying something about one of my children and you're the Christian counselor, like I should know better and to have these—

Jim: They really said that?

Leslie: --fine kids.

Jim: --to you?

Leslie: Yeah, I mean, they said it, like, "Wow, I thought your children wouldn't be capable of doing what they did." And I'm like, "Ah!" I'm this bad mom and you know, there's this pressure on us as Christian parents to raise these perfect kids and when, so a lot of our identity and our worth and our values is tied up on how our kids behave, and so, it becomes more about me than them.

And something that God did that freed me is two things. One is, I was listening to a woman's story and she said, "I have three kids. I said to all three of them, 'You may not have a cookie before dinner.' One kid said, 'Okay.' The second kid stole the cookie. The third kid stuck their tongue out at me and said, 'I hate you.'" "Now I didn't cause either one of those reactions. All I said was, "You can't have the cookie." Our little kids are sinners, too and they have their own choices to make and we can't control their hearts. We can shepherd their hearts, but we can't control their hearts. And so, one of the things I had to learn as a parent is, that I can be a really good mom, but I still might have a kid who doesn't obey.

Jim: And that's so hard to accept.

Leslie: It is, but it's so crucial if you're—

Jim: Yeah.

Leslie: --gonna learn to be happier as a person, because if your well-being is tied up in the behavior of another person you can be sunk.

Jim: Hm. You know, you talk about happiness or unhappiness being an internal versus an external thing. Let's talk about those two—the internal issue of unhappiness and the external. What are internal drivers to unhappiness?

Leslie: I think there's three. The first is wrong thinking, that we're not thinking properly, like these lies that I should be better than I am.

Jim: How do we correct that?

Leslie: Okay, so we have to first recognize it. So, we can't change something that we won't see, so we have to understand when God says that we're transformed by the renewing of our mind and that we're to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, we have to begin to start telling or start listening to the stories that we're telling ourselves, because we tell ourselves stories.

Leslie: I'll give you an example because my kids have dubbed me with a disease that I have and it's called "worst-case scenario disease." (Laughter) So—

Jim: That's every mom's disease I think.

Leslie: --so, I tell myself—

Jim: That's okay.

Leslie: --these stories like, when my daughter started to drive, well, I'll go back to the beginning; my pregnancy. I ruined my whole pregnancy, because I first told myself a story that I might have a miscarriage, so I was miserable my first three months, Then when I …

Jim: Worried. You just worried.

Leslie: Yes, but it made me miserable. Then I didn't have a miscarriage, so then I thought I might have, you know, a premature birth. And then I didn't have a premature birth, but I thought there might be a problem in the birth. And then when I had a healthy little boy, I told myself, maybe he's gonna die of sudden infant death syndrome. I mean, I was a wreck, because I was telling myself stories about what might happen that absolutely never happened.

Jim: Huh.

Leslie: And so, part of our growth as a person emotionally, mentally and spiritually is recognizing that we get caught in our own story. And if I could say one thing to your listeners today, is that everything that we tell ourselves or everything that we think and even everything that we feel (Whispering) may not be true. May not be true. And when we get locked into "everything I think is true," I don't know about you, but I have a lot of crazy thoughts throughout the day that are totally not true and I would never even want to say them on the air, but I can recognize they're not true. And so, when we get locked into the storyline of whatever happened or whatever I'm thinking is true, we can make ourselves really miserable.

Jim: Well, and to add to that, what I liked about renewing your mind, that's where a regular time in the Word helps. That's why Bible reading is so important.

Leslie: Well …

Jim: You know, give yourself some time to understand the Word of God.

Leslie: We spent, you know, if you sleep eight hours, you know, you subtract that, we're spending 17 hours listening to the world tell us how to think, through the media, through the …

Jim: Think of that!

Leslie: Yeah, we're listening to 17 hours of how to think, which is typically me-first; you deserve that; you're worth it; go for it; you're No. 1. I mean, just listen to the commercials—

Jim: Right.

Leslie: --and you hear that constantly and you think spending 15 minutes trying to reorient that kind of mind-set is enough? It's probably not and so, if we don't spent any time in God's Word, it's like not eating. How do you get healthy if you don't eat? And so, we need to renew our mind with the truth, because God says, we're so prone to forgetting.

John: Well, that's just one of the three key points that we're bringing out today and we'll get to the next two here in just a moment. This is "Focus on the Family" with Jim Daly. I'm John Fuller and our guest is Leslie Vernick and we're talking about her book, "Lord, I Just Want to Be Happy" And there is a real strong endorsement about this book by Dr. Larry Crabb, someone else that's been on the broadcast before and we're gonna encourage you to get a copy of the book and maybe the audio from our conversation for your review and perhaps just to work through with a family member or friend. Now you can do that when you call 800, the letter A and the word "FAMILY; or at

Jim: Leslie, we talked about these internal versus external. You mentioned one of the internal drivers of unhappiness. What are the other two?

Leslie: The other one is our negative emotions. You know, the Bible tells us, like Jesus said for example, "Let not your heart be troubled." You know, so many people feel like a victimized, like a bad mood, I can't do anything about it. I don't know how to get rid of it or bitterness—

Jim: Well, again—

Leslie: --resent …

Jim: --the culture is creating that—

Leslie: Right.

Jim: --"victimhood."

Leslie: Victimhood or moodiness or you know, I'm grumpy or I'm complaining or whatever it is in our emotions that is getting stirred up—impatience, frustration, anger. We all have it.

But sometimes we feel like helpless victims to our emotion, like somehow we have no control over having them or getting rid of them. But the Bible says, remove—I love this word—"vexation" from your hearts in Ecclesiastes. So, it's you have a part to play in ridding yourself of toxic emotions. The Bible says in Ephesians, "Don't let the root of bitterness build up in you." And so, the thing that we've lacked in the church is how. So, how do we let go of negative emotions? Because if we're supposed to, which God says we are, we're not exactly sure how to. And so, in this book I teach people specific skills on how to actually get rid of negative emotions, so that they don't hang onto them any longer than necessary. You may need them for a moment. You may need your anger to right a wrong, but you can use your temper, but don't let your temper control you.

Jim: Leslie, that's two of the three, but we're gonna be short on time, so let's move to the external drivers. What's an example of an external driver of unhappiness?

Leslie: I think probably there's a couple, but the one that I think I see the most is people who tell me over and over again is, "Leslie, I am stressed and overwhelmed because I am just so busy. I can't even enjoy my life. I can't stop and smell the roses. I can't stop and think. I have no time to myself." And so, we are so busy doing, we have forgotten how to "be."

Jim: Why do we like being busy doing? What does that do for us, that gratification? We seem to complain about it a lot and we enjoy complaining about it. (Laughter) I mean, why is it driving us to do these things that really rob us of time with our spouses, time with our family, time that would be better spent living life?

Leslie: I think there's a number of reasons. I think there's an ego boost to us when we're really busy, because we sort of tell ourselves that we must be very important people, like we must—

Jim: 'Cause we're so busy.

Leslie: --be , and we must be doing really important stuff and I think that that's a lie, but we can give ourselves that delusion. It's sort of like when you spin the blades of a fan fast enough, it gives you this picture that it's solid and when you slow it down, you realize, it's like full of holes. And in the same way, you keep your life really, really busy so that when you slow it down, you realize it's not as full or meaningful or as important as you thought it was and we don't want to face that.

Jim: Why are we uneasy with a slower pace?

Leslie: I think because we're uncomfortable with what we might think about or what we might discover that our whole sense of self has been wrapped up in doing and not being. I was in Iowa speaking this year and I don't know if you've ever been to Iowa, but there ain't much to do in Iowa. I mean, it was like nothing to do, and I said, "What do you do around here?" And you know what they said, which is so precious? They said, "We get together with our neighbors."

Jim: We live.

Leslie: "And we just talk, play games." I'm thinkin', I can't remember the last time I got together with my neighbors and just talked.

Jim: Yeah, that's amazing.

Leslie: You know, and so, it's a different quality of life and so, I think that busyness and we're so on that hamster wheel, building our little worlds and empires and whatever, that we're afraid that if we try to get off, the whole world that we've built for ourselves, is gonna collapse and we don't know what's left of ourselves and our world.

Jim: That's so true. Leslie, in your book, Lord, I Just Want to Be Happy, you talk about the pleasure exercise. So, what is the "pleasure exercise?" (Laughing) It sounds a little intriguing.

Leslie: Actually, it's more of a savoring, so I wanted to give you an experience of slowing down. So, I brought you some little chocolates and I (Laughter) think it might take too long to eat the whole thing, but what I want you to do is break off a piece of it and I want you to put it in your mouth and not chew it.

John: And you're talkin' to him, right?

Leslie: Yeah, both of you.

Jim: Yeah, no, you got (Laughter) one there, too (Laughter).

Leslie: So …

Jim: You know, for—

John: I don't like when—

Jim: --the listener …

John: --guests do this to us!

Leslie: So , I would like to do this, too, 'cause it looks really good, but then I won't be able to talk. So, what I want you to do is, I want you to close your eyes and I want you …

Jim: My mouth's already watering—

Leslie: Just—

Jim: --so, this isn't good.

Leslie: --no, but don't put the whole thing in, 'cause it'll take too long—

John: I'm gonna just take a piece.

Jim: Okay.

Leslie: A bigger piece, yeah, take a bite and just leave it on your tongue. And so, now I want you to close your eyes.

John: Can't chew it?

Leslie: Nope, can't chew it, so I want you to close your eyes and I just want you to experience this little peanut butter cup in all of its beauty, just let it melt in your mouth. Savor the chocolate on your tongue, smell the peanut butter coming up through your nose.

Jim: This is hard to do.

Leslie: You're not supposed to talk. Feel the smoothness of the chocolate and just savor this little tiny piece. And while you're doing that and finishing your moment, I just want to explain the point of it, because so many of us rush through life that we don't savor anything. And we can eat a whole bag of peanut butter cups and we don't enjoy them as much as we might enjoy just that moment of savoring. And one of the things that makes us happy is that God has put many moments in our life to savor. We're just too busy to notice them. We're too busy to notice them.

Jim: Uh-hm.

Leslie: One time I was rushing through my kitchen. I looked out my window and I live on a hill where the sun sets, so I saw the sun setting. It was this gigantic fireball going down over the hill. And so, I sat down on my deck and I said, "Okay, God, wow! This is really beautiful." And you know what He said to me? "I do this near every night." (Chuckling) "You just don't notice, because you're too busy."

Jim: It's hard to do.

Leslie: It is hard to do, but that's part of what brings joy to our souls. Slow down and savor life. Savor a child's giggle. Savor the smell of the rose. Savor your dinner. Slow down.

John: I think, Leslie, you made a really dramatic point, at least for Jim and me and I know you had to have more (Laughter).

Jim: Well, you had to finish—

John: You really savored it.

Jim: --you had to finish the cup!

John: So, I get a look from my wife every now and then because my routines in the morning include a slower-paced breakfast.

Leslie: Uh-hm.

John: I wake up early. I work out. I sit at the table and I'm pretty predictable about how much time I take and she resents it to some degree because she's a busy mom who over the years is fortunate to even eat breakfast. So, we have a lot of moms who are saying, "Oh, I'm so glad you can savor your little peanut butter cup, Jim and John." And they're thinking, "I can maybe do that in 10 years." How does a mom or a dad who's so busy, get to that point, Leslie? How can they possibly slow it down and savor anything?

Leslie: You have to be intentional because it's not gonna happen in this culture, especially if you're a busy person. And so, you're gonna have to decide, like you're intentional about breakfast. You know, I … one of the ways I savor sometimes is when I do the dishes. So, it's something I'm doing, but I'm slowing down. So, I'm not a swish-swish, tryin' to get it done as fast as I can to get on to the next thing, but I'll just slow down and I'll feel the dish and I'll feel the suds and I'll smell them and I'll put hand cream on when I'm done and I'll wipe my counters, but I'm in the moment. I'm just savoring making my house pretty. There's something about that, that feels good to me, that makes me feel good when I'm making beauty in my house.

Right? And I think we can savor lots of things, even while a woman's going about her day, if she just slows down and do it a little slower with more intentional focus, instead of thinking about all the next things she needs to do. Riding in the car, I never turn on the radio. Sorry. (Laughter) I just realized…

Jim: Don't do that!

John: Except Focus on the Family!

Leslie: … Except for "Focus on the Family." When I'm riding in the car, because I need quiet. I hear people talking to me all day long and so I just need to savor that quiet time.

Jim: Leslie, you're using the word "savor." It's also in your book to talk about gratitude and I think that's a good place to end. Talk about the need to develop an attitude of gratitude.

Leslie: When I was counseling, I used to find it really hard to ask my clients to give thanks in all things, especially those who had been sexually abused or had gone through a horrible divorce. I mean, I just didn't even talk about it.

But I met a woman once who told me this. She said, "You know, my only son was killed in a motorcycle accident recently. He was 24-years-old, my only child and I have learned that I can't give thanks for all things, but I can give thanks in all things. I'm so thankful that he didn't suffer. I'm so thankful that I had him for 24 years. I'm so thankful that he'll be in heaven and I'll see him someday. I'm so thankful that he died doing something he loved. I'm so thankful I have so many Christian friends who are helping me through this."

And it really helped me to be aware that this woman felt pain. She certainly did, but she felt it a whole lot differently than she would have had she not added gratitude to all of that. You know, it's like God says that we're to give a sacrifice of thanksgiving, that sometimes it is hard. Bet yet, you know, secular psychologists are now saying that gratitude is an anecdote to negative emotions. It's a neutralizer of envy, bitterness, anger, greed, hostility and impatience. And so, the Bible right, that if we learn to not have a me-first, why didn't I get that entitled mind-set, and we say, "I'm learning to be thankful in all things," we feel better.

Jim: Yeah and you have to be intentional in doing it. It doesn't just happen spontaneously.

Leslie: Or naturally.

Jim: You've got to decide to give thanks in all things—

Leslie: And teach--

Jim: --even in tough things.

Leslie: --our children how to do that.

Jim: Yeah, well, that's a good reminder. Leslie Vernick, author of the book, Lord, I Just Want to Be Happy, Leslie, it's been so good to have you here again. Thanks for bein' with us.

Leslie: Thank you so much for havin' me.

John: And I guess we should say, thank you for the chocolate, as well.

Jim: Yeah. (Laughter)


John: Well, get a copy of Leslie's book, Lord, I Just Want to Be Happy and the audio from this program and other resources to help you in your spiritual journey, at or call us and we can tell you more. And in fact, if you're dealing with a difficult challenge in life and you need to talk with someone, we have Christian counselors here and our number is 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY.

And if you can make a generous contribution to our work to help us spread the Gospel, to encourage people in their spiritual journey, to help moms and dads and husbands a wives, we would deeply appreciate that. We just can't reach millions worldwide every day without your partnership. And if you can give a generous donation of any amount today, we'll send a complimentary copy of Leslie's book as our way of saying thank you.

Our program was provided by Focus on the Family and on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening. I'm John Fuller, inviting you back next time, when we'll once again, help your family thrive.

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Leslie Vernick

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Leslie Vernick is a popular speaker, an author, a licensed clinical social worker and a life coach with a private counseling practice in Pennsylvania. She has over 25 years of experience helping individuals, couples and families heal, rebuild and grow their relationships. Leslie is the author of six books, including Lord, I Just Want to be Happy and The Emotionally Destructive Relationship. She and her husband, Howard, have two grown children. Learn more about Leslie by visiting her website,