A follow-up interview. Christian radio host Marnie Swedberg talks with me on the topic of finding and fulfilling your mission.
- Two things that will always try to stop you from finding and fulfilling your mission (and what to do about them).
- How to adapt to change and unexpected obstacles.
- One simple truth you can depend on to always bolster your courage.
- How even mistakes and bad decisions can lead to the fulfillment of your mission.
- One trick that always turns ‘impossible’ into ‘possible.’
- How to get clear answers from God.
So if you want to know what to do when your life’s mission (or current objective) seems impossible, click the player above to listen!
To learn more about show host Marnie Swedberg, Click Here
ANNOUNCER: Welcome to the Rare Faith Podcast, where the solution to every problem is only an idea away, where the same activity with just a little more awareness always yields better results. Award-winning best-selling author Leslie Householder brings some of her best information to this inspiring series of life-changing episodes that you won’t want to miss. Show notes for this episode can be found at ARareKindofFaith.com
MARNIE: Hi everybody! This is Marnie and I’m so excited to have you with us this afternoon for an encore appearance here on “Marnie’s Friends” from Leslie Householder. She was here with us a couple of years ago and has been one of our favorite programs, and she’s just an awesome person as well as quite an interesting perspective she’s got going.
She’s a three-time best-selling author, she’s an award-winning author. She has deep insights and she likes to serve them sunny-side up. She’s here to help us understand our “mission impossible” and that it’s really not impossible even when it feels impossible.
She’s here to encourage us with courage and insight to fulfill our life’s missions and during this one-hour program, you are going to learn two things that will always try to stop you from finding and fulfilling your mission and what to do about them, how to adapt to change and unexpected obstacles, one simple truth you can depend on to always bolster your courage, how even mistakes and bad decisions can lead to the fulfillment of your mission, one trick that always turns impossible into possible and how to get clear answers from God. I’m sitting on the edge of my seat and I want to welcome you, Leslie Householder.
LESLIE: Thank you, Marnie. It’s so good to be back!
MARNIE: Ah well, I just love everything you’ve done and you have a mentorship program at your site that you help people to understand goals and how to set them, how to be successful in achieving them, and I really learned so much from you and your husband and I’m so grateful for the ministry that you have and the service that you offer to all of us.
As you come here today Leslie, coming back talking to us about “mission impossible” and that no, it’s not impossible! When you chose this topic, you know, we’ve kind of tossed around some different ideas, why did you want to choose this one?
LESLIE: I think it’s because my message over the years has evolved based on what I have personally experienced and gone through, and the challenges that I’ve faced and the answers that I’ve come to and I’ve decided that it all boils down to this.
I mean, we’re here for a reason and my first message came from, you know, financial pain and learning how to apply faith to overcome that obstacle, and so my message began about how to prosper, how to prosper according to God’s Laws, how to do that. And I’ve seen money come and I’ve seen money go, and in the long run, I’ve come to realize myself that the money focus is so trivial in comparison.
LESLIE: To what our true purpose really is and so yeah, the message is still there, it’s still true, it still works but it’s got a reason to use it. It’s not the focus and I think the focus really should be on figuring out who we are, why we’re here, and what we’re here to do and make sure we get it done.
MARNIE: I love that!
LESLIE: No matter what the obstacles might be.
MARNIE: I love that and you guys, if you missed it, we talked about this, how money is not the main thing even though money’s important. Money’s definitely a tool, it’s not the main thing and we aren’t going to talk about money today with Leslie but she’s got a lot to teach you about that too, and over at her site JackrabbitFactor.com you can get started with that.
But Leslie, let’s go ahead and dive into what we’re talking about today which is “mission impossible”, how to get courage and insight to fulfill our life’s missions, and you wanted to start us off with two things that will always try to stop us from finding and fulfilling our mission and what we can do about them, so go ahead.
LESLIE: Yeah, I want to talk about that first because I think that if we are conscious that that’s part of the opposition we will face, you know, life is about opposition and there’s got to be both sides to our experience so that we can appreciate the one and, and seek for the other. And I wanted to make sure that our listeners recognize the distractions that might be keeping them from identifying and fulfilling their mission right now.
I know for me as I was thinking about some of the distractions that I’ve faced and for years, I remember feeling like I had something that I was supposed to do but I floundered because I thought, why do I have this feeling without direction on what’s that’s supposed to be? I remember watching a movie years ago called “Rudy”.
LESLIE: And it was about this kid who wanted to go to play football for Notre Dame and that was his life’s passion, and what he went through to accomplish that, and his tenacity and his drive and his focus, all of that. I remember finishing that movie just being so inspired and then suddenly terribly depressed.
LESLIE: What, what do I have…
LESLIE: That I want that bad?
LESLIE: What could I chase that would mean that much to me? And I couldn’t figure anything out that I wanted that bad and so I wanted that feeling of victory but I didn’t know what I was going for besides eternal life, and all that.
MARNIE: Right, right.
LESLIE: What in the here and now can I focus on accomplishing? And so it was probably seven years later that I looked back and I realized that that question in that moment after watching that movie, was what I believed was a seed planted by God to get my gears turning, to get my mind thinking, and seeking and searching because He’s promised us that if we seek, we shall find. And sometimes we have to wait for those right questions to be planted before we’ll wonder and start looking.
And so looking back, I realized that I was in the middle of some pain in my life. At the time, it was a lot of financial pain that was preparing me for my purpose and mission, which would be next on my life’s agenda. And I say that because our mission will evolve and it will change, and it will develop into different things throughout our life. It might be “what is my mission today?” And it might be “what is my life’s purpose that I will be? What’s my legacy that I will leave?” It’s all of that and everything in between.
One of the distractions, actually I’ll give you a list. Some of the distractions that I faced were maybe peer pressures or temptations or media. The distractions that we can get sucked into on the media. Technology can be a distraction; too much electronics, Facebook. Maybe it’s the pimple on your forehead, that’s a distraction! Things that just keep us from really focusing on what matters.
And I’d like to just make a point, and you can believe me or not on this but I feel very strongly that this is true, and that is that you’re already on that path to discovering and fulfilling the purpose, and we need to just trust that God’s Spirit is driving us and guiding us to it.
I remember listening to a speaker at a youth conference when I was about 12 and I was so inspired by what the speaker had to share with me. It was at a church camp and I was so empowered by it and so enlightened and so, I felt my soul expand by what I had heard about who I was and what my potential was.
All of a sudden, a pimple didn’t matter anymore, you know and I thought that’s what I want to do when I grow up. I want to be somebody who inspires people that way. Well, I was 12. I didn’t know what my message would be. I just knew I wanted people to feel that way when they heard me speak. You know, I thought what, what a great cause but that was when I was 12. I had no idea what I would have to go through first.
LESLIE: Before I had a message.
MARNIE: Right, right.
LESLIE: That carried meaning, personal meaning. So you know, that’s the distractions, I think. What, can you think of some distractions that maybe you’ve faced, Marnie?
MARNIE: Oh yeah, absolutely! I think that the distractions for me, the top ones that I have constantly, the distractions are the time management to, to be able to know what to say yes to, what to say no to. And you know, so that there is time enough to, well for me, time enough to be still with Jesus so I can hear what He wants me to do. And that’s just a, that’s just a constant daily. It’s not, it’s not a battle really as much as it is just an awareness that that’s always sitting there threatening the stability of the camp.
Another one for me is disillusionment and I think you kind of touched on that a little bit because when we’re on our way to where we’re going, if we have a pretty clear idea of where we think we’re supposed to be going on the mission or vision that God’s put inside of us, what happens is just like David in the Bible, or Daniel or Joseph or Abraham or any of those guys, it doesn’t look ‘right’ on the way. It doesn’t look like what it’s going to be in the end. In fact, usually it looks kind of the opposite of what you think it should look like on the way!
MARNIE: And so I deal with, I, I really have to be constantly and I like that verse in the Bible that says “take every thought captive” and so I just capture those thoughts of disillusionment with God and I just give them back to Him and I say “this is Your problem, it’s not my problem. I can’t get me from here to there. All I can do is take the next step, so let me look down at my feet again. Where’s the light shining? That’s what I’m going to do next.” So I think for me, those are the big two.
LESLIE: Yeah, you know and you made a point that reminded me of a comment somebody made, actually I read it in a book called You2 that said on the way to a goal, things get messy in the middle.
MARNIE: They do.
LESLIE: And it says, when you are performing a life-saving surgery, it would appear that there’s been a murder in the room.
MARNIE: Ha, ha, ha! That’s a great analogy!
LESLIE: But if you focus on where you’re going and why and everything, it has a purpose. You can, you can look past that and not be overwhelmed by the appearances of disaster in the middle. Some other distractions that I’ve had are just distracting thoughts that throw me off course. Things like “is there any hope for my future?”
LESLIE: Or, or “I’m just not good enough” or “who am I to do something meaningful or great”, right? Those are distractions that can take us away. Honestly, everybody at some time in his or her life is going to feel inferior. We all get to experience that but we just need to recognize that that’s just a distraction to keep us from fulfilling and discovering. And you know, you can’t steer a parked car so if we just keep rolling and trust God to steer us, we’ll get there.
MARNIE: Mmm, I love that. What’s the second one?
LESLIE: So the second thing that keeps us from discovering, finding, fulfilling our mission (short term, long term, all of them) is lack of resources sometimes get in the way. You know, we have these big visions of what we need to get done and we get blocked because we don’t have this or that that we think we need. And that’s going to bring me into item number two on our list on how to adapt to change and unexpected obstacles because that’s an unexpected obstacle, a lot of times, the sense of lack of resources.
And if I may, I’d like to tell you a story about when I was, I think I was in junior high, and there was a play at school called “The Actor’s Nightmare” and I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of that or seen it. It was an interesting play, it was a one-person play for the most part. There were some side people but this one person comes out onto stage and he doesn’t know who he is in this play and he’s got to figure it out based on what the other actors around him are doing.
Literally, it’s a nightmare for an actor is to be on stage, be in the spotlight and can’t remember who you’re supposed to be, right? And so it’s actually very entertaining because mid, you know he’d, he’d be in the middle of a scene, he’d finally figured out that he’s Othello or somebody and he knows the lines so he launches into his soliloquy. And, and pretty soon, the scene changes on him and the people change and they’re talking to him a whole different conversation, and he’s got to hurry up and figure out who he is now because it just switched on him.
It’s a nightmare but this is kind of how it is for us. We have a picture in our mind of where we’re trying to go, what we’re trying to accomplish if we have a sense of what God would have us do next and yet, we get thrown curveballs. Something shows up in our life that we didn’t expect, that doesn’t fit the script of how we thought this should go. And here’s what I’ve learned and this is, this is a really important thing to remember and that is to stay relaxed.
It’s such a simple, simple tip but let me tell you why staying relaxed is so important in adapting to change and unexpected obstacles. You’ve heard of people who learned how to swim because they were thrown into the water and just expected to figure it out, right? But what happens generally to that person who is first thrown into the water and doesn’t know how to swim? What image comes to mind for you, Marnie?
MARNIE: Um, going down, gulping in a lot of water. Probably in the end drowning if somebody doesn’t save them.
LESLIE: Are they relaxed?
MARNIE: No, not at all relaxed! Terrified, ha, ha, ha!
LESLIE: And they’re panicking and they’re thrashing, and the more they thrash and panic, the more they sink, right? And so when you’re learning how to swim, there’s two things they teach you to do first. Number one is relax, and put your chin up. You know, if you’re laying on your back and they’re holding you, helping you float on your back and our instinct is to sit up because we want to keep our head up above water and they say no, it’s counterintuitive. You have to relax and you have to keep your head back. Keep your chin up and if you can remember that, it works in life too.
When you feel like you’re drowning, when you feel like you’re in a panic, you’ve got to relax number one and you keep your chin up figuratively speaking because it is that faith, it’s that peace, it’s that hope that allows the Lord to support us and carry us through those hard times. It’s when we panic that we become our own worst enemy and so just remembering to stay relaxed, and it also puts us in a better place to be at peace and inspired to what to do next. Like you said having that time with Jesus, right?
MARNIE: I did. I love the analogy and even, you know, the, the other picture is my couple of kids are lifeguards. And you know, they would in, in their training they’d have to go out and try to save somebody who was terrified and panicking and of course, that person nearly drowns both of them. And the person who’s the lifeguard has to really disable the person who is drowning in order to drag them back to shore without drowning both of them.
And that’s kind of the picture of what happens to us when we refuse to relax and let God help us is that we really not only now do we have the fear and tension and anxiety of feeling like we’re drowning but also now we have to be disabled for a little bit so He can bring us back to shore. And you know, it’s, it’s that same picture of planting a seed and pulling it out, and then having to replant it again and that ‘start over’ feeling that, that I’m now back a ways than I was before.
And we didn’t have to go there if we could have just stayed in faith and you know, instead of in fear, in faith and I say, I say there’s, there’s two ways to fear. You can just fear the thing that you can see right now, the thing that’s looming over you. Or else, you can fear the great God who’s taking care of you and have faith in Him, and that’s where I want to live in that kind of fear, where I fear God and have faith in Him that He’s got it for me.
LESLIE: Our listeners, some of them are probably wondering “okay, so I’m supposed to be at peace when things look disastrous, how but really how do you do that?” And I just wanted to make sure that at least this one tip was put in there because it can really be useful, and that is just pick your favorite peaceful music that calms your soul.
And there were many times where my husband and I would just go turn off the lights, close our eyes and listen and breathe, and listen and breathe because it was all we could do to let that, let that fear flow out of us. It was, it was a conscious exercise that we had to do intentionally. It just doesn’t go away by not wanting it. You really have to replace it and so I just want to make sure that was put in there.
MARNIE: Yeah, I want to, I want to just make a, make a point there though. You guys heard in her voice right there that there were times that you just almost couldn’t breathe, right? And if you ever look at somebody like Leslie and you think “oh, she just has such a perfect life and look at that, you know, three best-selling books and a product.” These things don’t just come. I always say people earn their, earn their positions in the world and it’s like God, God put it in you to be that before He even created you, Leslie but at the same time, you’re the one that has with Him walked it out and it hasn’t been just all roses.
There, when people get to know you better, you are very vulnerable with some of the stories that you share. I love that you are vulnerable and that you say it’s not easy and sometimes you can’t get yourself to just calm down, and sometimes you have to take it to the next level. And honestly, I think about thoughts like a merry-go-round and how when you first get on the merry-go-round, it’s easy to get off and that’s how it is with thoughts too. When the thought first comes, it’s easy to get off but when it starts getting going really fast, it’s pretty scary to try to jump off.
LESLIE: Yeah, yeah.
MARNIE: And the mind just holds on to that thought just like you would hold on to a really speeding merry-go-round and it will not let go, and then you have to take it a step further. And I love the music suggestion because that, that taps into the other side of the brain that’s going to allow your spirit to relax even if your brain can’t, even if your mind is still worrying and it’s going to bring some calm there. I love that tip! Okay, so let’s go on to the simple truth that you can depend on to always bolster your courage.
LESLIE: Alright, well, this actually goes along with the second distraction and that is the lack of resources. And this is one simple truth that I’ve discovered that I do rely on when I need courage and to kind of prep this, I want to remind you if you’ve seen it, or maybe you haven’t, is the movie “Apollo 13”.
There’s a really great scene in that movie, this is a true story of some astronauts who had a mission to go to the moon and part way there, their ship broke down and the mission changed from going to the moon to getting them home safely when they were running out of their oxygen and, and they had to use the gravity of the moon to slingshot them back and come in at the right angle when they had no power and it was very, very mission impossible-ish, if you know what I mean.
And one scene there was when they realized that the air in the ship was becoming toxic because the air scrubbers were not working. And so what the command center on the ground did is they brought into one room all of the miscellaneous paraphernalia and supplies that the ship had up there like the same stuff, dumped it out onto the table and said “alright guys, this is what we have to work with because this is all they have to work with. We need to figure out how to turn, you know, make this square peg fit into the round hole and work it backwards so that it’ll scrub the air.”
And they had to abandon their mission and they had this new mission to get home and they had to fix the air scrubbers and basically, they ended up saving lives with a piece of cardboard and a plastic bag. And so the one simple truth you can depend on and this is, and I bring that story in because it illustrates a principle and that is this: whatever you are called upon to conquer, whatever you are facing, whatever you will face, no matter what it is, you already have all that you need to accomplish it, to fix it, to solve it. You already have everything you need right now to get you one step closer.
And there have been times where I wasn’t sure about that. There have been times where I thought I was at the end of all I could do and there literally was nothing left to do but just panic! But over the years, I have come to learn that you are never at the end of all you can do. You may need to have a little tantrum just to be human and feel all the emotions that we get to feel but on the other side of that, know that the solution exists and it’s only an idea away and that idea is only as far away as being inspired by God.
And there’s things that we can do to prepare ourselves to recognize that solution, that answer. You know, MacGyver was the same way. No matter what he faced, he had always used what he already had to solve the problems and so will we.
MARNIE: I love that. I always say “in this moment, I have everything I need” and I just and sometimes, you just have to say that over again… “in this moment, I have everything I need.” You know, and you don’t have everything you’re going to need five years from now, obviously and I like another thing that I like to do in that situation is just the “what if?” question. What if I hold out for another, you know, five minutes, hour, day, week, month, year? What if I hold out? But what if I didn’t and I just barely missed where I was supposed to be at the right time at the right place, you know?
And I, I think again, I just can relate to all those guys in the Bible, all of those guys who had to just wait. And you know, David, David as a young man, he was anointed king with oil and he knew. It wasn’t just a vision for him. He knew that he was God’s man and yet, he had to run for his life for years and that had to be really, really, hugely terrifying, confusing, just awful! And yet somehow, he stayed true to his faith, he stayed true to his God and his calling in life that whole time. He’s such a great example for us. So I love that and it’s only one idea away. I love that and isn’t the Holy Spirit just our source of great ideas.
LESLIE: Another truth I like to hang on to when I am feeling discouraged is recognizing that sometimes my biggest challenges, sometimes your biggest challenges, will always become the seeds for your biggest inspiration. And so if you’re feeling like you’re missing something, you don’t have what you need, you can’t accomplish something because you lack, that’s when we can thank our Heavenly Father because it’s going to wake something up inside of us when we accept it anyway. Accept the mission anyway and recognize that somehow these unexpected hidden resources are going to be pulled out of us. I think about a picture that was circulating around the Internet many years ago about a dog that was missing his front arms. Did you ever see that one, Marnie?
MARNIE: I don’t think so.
LESLIE: A number of pictures, I actually do a PowerPoint presentation with it but he’s missing his arms and I don’t, I don’t know if it was because of a surgery or because he was born without them. I don’t know the story but one day, he was laying out in the backyard because he’d just lay around because he only had back legs. A pig on the farm came and stole his food. Okay, so not only is he handicapped; he’s missing limbs. Now he’s being robbed, right?
Well, something welled up inside of him and he jumped up and ran after the pig. He was so mad and so now he walks like a human. Is that because he’s so blessed or because he had it the worst? He was blessed to discover what was possible because of his handicap and because of what went wrong. It was, so many times it’s the things that go wrong in our life that get us mad enough or get us awake enough to do things that we didn’t know we could do.
And when we see that pattern over and over in our life that God brings out parts of us that we didn’t know existed through our trials and hardships, as we trust Him and as we rely on Him and as we accept with grace, those challenges. Oh, and I am telling you this as much as teaching myself. I mean, I still struggle with that. I still get mad at setbacks. I still get frustrated and impatient, and angry and are you kidding me?? I thought I’d learned this lesson already! You know, I still go through that but I do know the truth of it and when I’m in a good mood, I can remember that better.
MARNIE: When we’ve had sleep and we’re in a good mood. That’s great! This is Marnie. We’re visiting today with Leslie Householder. Her website is JackrabbitFactor.com and there’s a free resource over there for you you’re going to love. We’re going to come right back and talk about how even mistakes and bad decisions can lead to the fulfillment of your mission. Do you guys still have your mentorship program going over there, your training program?
LESLIE: You know, we do although a lot of what I’ve done, I’ve moved to online. I haven’t been out teaching. I haven’t even been doing radio interviews or anything for about two years because I got super, super busy and I could see that my family life was suffering and I decided to take a sabbatical. We still have a lot of resources online, I still respond to people on the forum and do this kind of thing but it’s not as intense and my family thanks me for it.
MARNIE: Yeah, I’m sure. Yeah, that is always, we have to keep analyzing, assessing and evaluating what’s, what’s working, what isn’t working, what can we do to change that. That’s awesome! Right now, I’d like you to share with us why you believe (and I agree with you) but why do you believe that even mistakes and bad decisions can lead to the fulfillment of our missions?
LESLIE: Let me tell you how I came to that conclusion. I think back on my life and I remember when I was in sixth grade, there was a test that our class was going to take to determine whether or not we would move into pre-algebra in seventh grade or skip to algebra. And I was an overachiever and I thought well, an overachiever would skip things and so that just sounds like something I would like to do.
Well, I wasn’t really strong in math but my best friend was and her mother was a math teacher, and I remember taking that test and knowing that I had to get at least 70% on the test in order to skip pre-algebra. I don’t know what I was thinking, how I thought that that would be fun, you know? I just wanted to be ahead, I just wanted to be smart and ahead.
So I took the test and I was tempted to cheat on my friend’s test and did, and then we both ended up with 69%. Shocker, right? We both got 69% but my teacher knew me well enough to know that I was going to rise to whatever challenge I put myself to, and so she let me skip the class and I don’t know if she knew that I had cheated. I am NOT proud that I cheated but from that point forward, I realized that math became my nemesis.
It was the one class that I hated the most. I could never pull an A because I was always a year behind, trying to fill in gaps that I’d missed before. I didn’t get the foundation I needed and so by the time I was a senior, I was so in this hate relationship with math that I wanted to be done with it forever. And I had heard that if I took the AP math test, the calculus test, my senior year and got at least a three out of five (it was scored on a scale of one to five) and if you get a three, you could test out of college math and you would never have to take math again.
And I’m like, you know what, I do not want to see any more math after this year. I’ll just knuckle down and get it over with, then I can be free. And so I was a senior and it was eighth period class. There were very few seniors willing to stay that long during the day because so many of them had already earned enough credits to leave but there were five of us in that class because it was so small.
And I just, all year long, I struggled and struggled, and struggled trying to figure it out and figure it out, and I prayed “just please let me get a three, let me get a three!” And so I took the test and it wasn’t until mid-summer after our senior year was over that we got the results back. Well, one day the letter comes in the mail and I’m just praying “I want to be done with math, please let it be a three!” And I opened it up and it was a five!
LESLIE: And my knees buckled, I fell to the floor and I cried like a baby! I could not believe that I had achieved a perfect score because my belief in myself and math was so poor, so low but it’s that feeling of victory that I had conquered something. I had slayed a dragon and that feeling of victory I had no words for it and the next thought I had was “I can’t give this up!” So I became a math major.
MARNIE: No way! Oh, how funny! Ha ha!
LESLIE: I did because I thought, I didn’t know that my biggest weakness spawned from a bad choice would lead me into my mission what it was at that point, which was going to be teach math because I had an appreciation for kids who struggled with math like nobody else.
MARNIE: Right, right.
LESLIE: And I thought how valuable is that to have a teacher who comes at it from a place of pain instead of the teacher who says “well, duh??!!” right?
MARNIE: Right, exactly yeah.
LESLIE: And so that became my passion and my mission is to help other students feel those lights come on like they came on for me. So look at how it started. It was a mistake that I made but it helped me relate to people who struggled the way I struggled and then fast forward 20 years, I teach these principles because of the pain and the mistakes that I made in these areas, and the victory that I felt.
And if I had had it going pretty good if things, you know, if I was seeking financial answers because life was a little uncomfortable then when I received those answers, I would have been “great, now I can move on!” But when you’re so deprived of the solution for so long and you struggle for so, you struggle so hard to find those answers, when you find them this passion wells up inside of you and you feel duty-bound to share what you learned. It becomes your message, it becomes what you’re all about. If the pain is great then your message is powerful, and if the pain is just a little inconvenient, good.
MARNIE: Not so much passion there.
LESLIE: Yeah, right, right. So that’s why I think our bad decisions and mistakes can really lead to who we’re meant to be.
MARNIE: Yeah, I think even broadening it out as I’m thinking back what you’re saying is so true. When I was in school, I just really struggled and I was, I started school when I was four years old in kindergarten and I think I really was probably a year behind the whole time and just really could never quite, you know, get any traction. I never really learned how to read in school. I learned how to sound words out but I never got like on a roll where I could actually read something until I was out from under this pressure of school.
And then within a year after graduating, I could read for pleasure which was just amazing to me but that learning struggle, that pain of not being able to comprehend, of studying and studying, and studying and not being able to get good grades, that changed me and it changed how I learned things now because of that struggle.
So it’s been an awesome journey for me and what, what it did is because of the way that I have to learn even to this day, the way that I have to learn, is a little different for other people and it allows me to train learning in a different way than other people have learned before, which is what I’m doing all the time.
So I agree with you, and, and is it painful in the process? Oh my goodness, excruciating and very confusing! I think almost always very confusing but if you’ll just hang in there and believe, once again, that in this moment you have everything you need and that, you know, God is going to lead you where He’s taking you so just hold His hand and follow on.
LESLIE: And I tell people when you’re looking for what your next mission is to fulfill (because I’ve met so many people who feel like there’s something missing that they’re supposed to be figuring something out but they don’t know what it is) when you’re looking for that next mission, don’t just look at what you’re good at, look at what you’re struggling with. Because when you try mentoring people on what you’ve learned but also coach yourself as though you were mentoring somebody.
I mean, you know, I had discovered these principles that help you with financial prosperity but then we had some BIG setbacks, worse setbacks than what where we’d come from and at that time, I started blogging and I wasn’t quite ready to be so transparent that I would say “okay, this is what I’m going through right now.” I would say “there was a time when…” you can go look at my blog and see. But I would say when I was struggling with this, this feeling and this thought, and these challenges and here’s what I learned and I would kind of coach myself through my own writing. I would, because I knew what was true and I knew what had worked before but I was feeling overcome by the opposition and the darkness and this, this confusion.
So I would write to myself as though I was teaching someone else, and I look back and some of my most profound messages and my most profound epiphanies came in those darkest, hardest moments and by writing it out, I was able to help others who were in the middle of it as well and we came through it together. But to look for what you’re struggling with and, and consider that, that may become your message.
MARNIE: Yeah, absolutely. As you were talking, I was thinking about that verse, I think it’s in Psalms that says “God’s Word is a light to my path and a lamp to my feet” and how that light and that lamp, it’s not like it’s a sun. It’s really just enough for a couple of steps. You know, He isn’t promising that we’ll be able to see the whole big picture out there even though oftentimes He will put a big picture vision type into your heart like He did with Joseph where he saw, you know, later on, when you’re done, your brothers are actually going to bow down to you.
Well, how that ever came about was so bizarre compared to anything he could have imagined. He would have never imagined how it could have worked out the way it did but God was leading him one step at a time in his faithfulness in each of those steps is what made the difference for him and what actually gave him hope to get through those things.
I want us to move on to the trick that always turns impossible into possible and I’m curious about what you’re going to say here. I have an idea but I’m curious what you’re going to say.
LESLIE: Alright well, to bring this one in and I’m going to ask you some questions.
LESLIE: Did you ever take geometry? Do you remember anything about geometry?
MARNIE: I did not. I, I’m one of those people who you would be helping in school with math.
Almost didn’t graduate because I didn’t finish my algebra on time in my senior year.
LESLIE: Oh no! It’s okay, it’s okay, and I’ll share with you kind of how it went as I was teaching a youth class on this topic. I’d asked them if they’d had, some of them were in geometry at the time, and so I’d say “okay, we’re going to take a little test” and I’d say “what are these?” And I would draw two lines next to each other that didn’t touch and I’d say “what are these?” And they’d say “parallel lines” and I’d say “okay”.
I’d draw a line, on a different question, I’d say “how many points are on the line?” And you think, like on a computer, if you were to draw a line and zoom in, you’d see these little pixels connecting it, right? Dot to dot to dot, right next to each other. Well, in geometry, there’s an infinite number of points on the line because between every two points, you can put another point and so it’s just these abstract concepts. It’s kind of fascinating but here’s what really kind of messed with my brain.
When I got to college and started taking some of this college math, they introduced me to a geometry that was kind of mind-bending. All those years, I had been taught that parallel lines don’t meet. That’s the definition of parallel lines, they just don’t meet and in this class they kind of changed all the rules. They said “we’re going to give you a new set of rules and we want to see what kind of conclusions you’ve come to with these new sets of rules”.
So, for example instead of a line having infinite number of points on it (which was always the rule) we’re going to say “every line in the whole universe has exactly two points; no more no less.” And right there, I’m like “what?? That doesn’t make any sense at all!” You know and I’m freaking out, and then they said “and parallel lines? We’re going to change the rules. Now parallel lines meet.” I’m like “what?? That’s impossible that doesn’t work!”
And they said, “well, you know what, reality, real life is a little more like that than you think. If you were to stand on a train track and look to the horizon, those train tracks, you know the one side and the other you know, they never touch but if you look to the horizon, what does it appear that they’re doing?
MARNIE: Yip, coming together.
LESLIE: It appears that they’re coming together. So that’s, that’s the real world. It looks like parallel lines actually do meet but we know they don’t. So anyway, I’m kind of going off and I don’t want to get too deep on to that but what I realized is that when things appear impossible in your life, this little trick, this trick that always turns impossible into possible is by looking to the horizon.
In other words, looking into the future and seeing it done. Imagine it conquered, picture it accomplished. Pretend like it will if you can’t believe it. Just imagine what would it be like if it did? And start entertaining those thoughts and creating those visions, and letting God put into your mind images of how it will look when it’s done and how it will feel when you’ve conquered.
We spend so much time worrying. We spend so much time imagining the disaster at the end of the road that will happen if something doesn’t change. We do that all day long but how many of us stop and imagine what will it be like if it actually works out?
LESLIE: And I found that by looking to the horizon, parallel lines meet. The impossible becomes possible and when we do that, when we, when we think outside of possibilities by just imagining the completion of it, when we can’t see how it’s going to work out, when we can’t see how our mission will be fulfilled, we look into the future, see it done, imagine it conquered. See the victory on the screen of your mind. Feel the gratitude towards God that you expect to feel when it’s complete, and that changes your spirit.
And it will open your mind, and it will prepare it to receive the inspired genius solutions that you’ve been waiting for. But it’s when we hold images of failure and when if we hold images of the obstacles that are in our way, and the panic and the fear, and all of those things that He’s commanded us to avoid, that we remain closed off. The answer is only an idea away and it’s as close to you in the room as a radio station that’s broadcasting something, whether or not you’ve turned on the radio.
And so just believing that there is a solution, I don’t know what it is but I believe God can help me find it. He knows the solution so let’s imagine what things are going to look like, how things are going to feel when it’s done, and that changes your spirit and opens your heart to the answers that He has for you. It’s such a simple concept and there will be people listening to this who will say “yeah, yeah, yeah, I get that” but they won’t do it.
MARNIE: Right, right.
LESLIE: You know, so I challenge you to do it.
MARNIE: Yeah, I love how Hebrews and basically if you were to just define it biblically, it’d be the word faith where you just truly believe, and I love how Hebrews in the Amplified Bible it starts with “now faith is the assurance and then it’s in parentheses (the confirmation or the title deed) of the things that we hope for being the proof of the things of what we do not see, the conviction of their reality.
So but I love, I love the analogy that the Amplified Bible uses there of the title deed because when you buy a house and you’re actually at the closing office and you’ve, you’ve done everything. You’ve put all the money down and everything, and you get this piece of paper and that means that you own the house. Now, are you in the house? Are you enjoying the house? No, for all you know it could have burned down while you were sitting there. Now you owned a burned down house!
MARNIE: But the reality is that you own that house as soon as you get that piece of paper that says you do, you own it. It’s yours now and if you don’t believe it, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s yours but it does change how you’re going to experience it because you won’t go home. You’ll go somewhere else and you won’t go to it now but you won’t believe it’s your house.
So I love how the Amplified Bible does that, the title deed and that’s what you’re talking about here when you think it’s impossible, it is faith that, that makes it possible. I love that! I always say look up more than you look around and that’s what you’re saying. Look to the horizon and even with your swimming analogy earlier in the hour, Leslie, with the chin back, I thought and where are you looking when you’re laying on your back and your chin’s up and your head’s back, where are you looking? You’re looking right towards God, you know. It’s just so beautiful to know all these analogies always point to Him.
LESLIE: Yeah, and you know in Genesis 3:20, Adam called his wife Eve because she is the mother of all living. She hadn’t had a single child yet.
MARNIE: Right, right.
LESLIE: And God, and you’ll notice that God always speaks in present tense for things that He’s going to do. He gave Gideon the Midianites. They are in your hands, I have given them you, I have given you the victory and they hadn’t even gone to battle yet and so as we practice the language of God, it’s the language of faith. It’s to see it done as though it’s already happened.
It’s to speak it as though it’s true. It’s called telling the truth in advance because some people get tripped up, saying “I can’t say that because it’s a lie.” Well, we’re lying to ourselves all the time when we say “I can’t do that.” That’s a lie but we accept it. So we need to speak it as though it’s true, and believe and allow that belief to work in us. Even just a little bit of faith will grow and be sufficient.
MARNIE: I love that, and I love that we are created in the image of God. Therefore if He models speaking by faith, speaking truth in advance and then we can also do that, that’s what we get to do too. Leslie, the last hurrah here is how to get clear answers from God and I can hear everybody going “I want to know that one!”
LESLIE: Let me start out by sharing with you something that we do at a class that I created called “Genius Bootcamp” and the purpose of that class is to help people get clearer answers from God because ‘genius’ to me means inspired guidance from God Himself through His spirit. And so people come to that class with various degrees and experience with receiving answers and their confidence levels, and everybody’s all over the map with that but there’s just some really simple tips that can help you go from where you are to getting just a little more clear.
And to introduce the idea, what I do with my class is I will give them a riddle that is very vague. It’s one of those whodunit mysteries like somebody has been found dead with this odd object next to them, what happened? And as a class, they have to figure out what happened and it can take an hour but the rule of the game is that they have to ask yes and no questions, and I can only answer yes and no questions.
And so they’ll ask “well, was it this?” “Was it that?” “Was it this?” “Was it that?” And they’ll go through and, and over time, they’ll kind of come to conclusions and by the time they get the answer, it is so detailed, it’s ridiculous. I won’t share it here because I know some of the listeners may end up at a boot camp!
LESLIE: It’s so detailed that you look back and you think how in the world did we ever figure that out from just yes and no questions? And it’s kind of a revelation to them to realize how much can be determined and how much can be discerned from just a yes-and-no game. And so what I then say, and I’ll ask you this now Marnie “if I were to go in prayer and ask Heavenly Father, what should I do today versus Heavenly Father, should I call George?” What’s the difference between those two kinds of questions?
MARNIE: Right. One is you’re looking for a skywriter.
MARNIE: And the other one is you’re just looking for peace or a kind of an unsettled feeling.
LESLIE: Yeah, a yes and no, it’s a binary, right? What should I do today? Or what are we going to do about our financial problems? Or what do I do about my wayward son? Or what do I do, you know and we’re asking for a discourse but I believe that God has given us the capacity to study things out in our own mind and to come to conclusions that make sense to us. We weigh out the pros and cons. He doesn’t want us to be slothful. He wants us to use the brain that He gave us to do our best and then when we’ve come to our conclusion, to ask Him if it’s right and that’s a yes and no question.
And, and, and as you pointed out, it’s the difference between a peaceful feeling or maybe confusion or an unsettled feeling and I want to make this one distinction. I’ve seen this be misunderstood by a lot of people, including myself, and that is when I ask a question, a yes or no question in prayer and I get a feeling of fear, sometimes I’ve interpreted that to mean that “oh, it’s a bad idea” but what I have learned is that God is never the author of fear.
He’s the author of peace and joy, or lack of peace and joy, which in my mind a lot of times will, will manifest itself as confusion or scattered thoughts. It’s not fear, it’s just this unsettled feeling like you described. It’s where I go to form the sentence in my mind, or verbally, where I’ll say “I have decided to do *this*, is this right?” And I can’t even keep the sentence together. It’s, I have decided to… hey, I wonder what’s for dinner? Oh wait, wait, wait, um I have decided, oh my goodness, what’s that? You know, where I can’t hold the thought together.
MARNIE: Oh, that’s funny!
LESLIE: You know what I’m talking about? When I can’t hold the sentence together long enough to ask the question and see if I get a peaceful assurance, then I think “huh, maybe this is a stupor of thought. Maybe this is the confusion that is the absence of peace? Let me try asking it another way…” and I will play 20 questions with the Lord.
And I found that the answers are so much more clear when I’m looking for just a yes or no, a peace or confusion, and through this process, the detail that you can get surrounding what He wants for you and what He has in store for you can be so detailed, it’s mind-blowing.
And it’s taking the time to commune with Him and to ask clear questions. It’s like picking up the phone. Imagine if we picked up the phone and talked to our friend the way we pray to God. Number one, would they get a word in edgewise? Number two, would you hear them if they tried, you know?
MARNIE: Right, right.
LESLIE: Anyway, it’s just something to think about.
MARNIE: Love that, love that, Leslie. We are at the end of our hour here, wondering if you have a concluding thought or message for us just like in a minute or so.
LESLIE: Yeah, absolutely. One of my favorite little short stories was by Richard Bach. He tells of a village of creatures along the bottom of a great crystal river and I’m just going to read this little section from his book. He says the current of the river swept silently over them all, all the creatures – old and young, rich and poor, good and evil.
The current going its own way, knowing only its own crystal self and each creature in its own manner clung tightly to the twigs and the rocks of the river bottom, for clinging was their way of life and resisting the current what each had learned from birth. But one creature said at last, “I am tired of clinging. Though I cannot see it with my eyes, I trust that the current knows where it’s going. I shall let go and let it take me where it will. Clinging, I shall die of boredom.”
The other creatures laughed and said “fool! Let go and that current you worship will throw you tumbled and smashed against the rocks, and you will die quicker than boredom!” But the one heeded them not and taking a breath, he let go and at once, was tumbled and smashed by the current across the rocks.
Yet in time as the creature refused to cling again, the current lifted him free from the bottom and he was bruised and hurt no more, and the creatures downstream to whom he was a stranger cried “see, a miracle! A creature like ourselves, yet he flies.”
And I just want to close with that message that there is a great spiritual flow that God has issued throughout the Earth to lead us and bring us back to Him, and to accomplish all of the work that He has for us to do.
We are His hands and as we let go and trust, there may be hardships but as we refuse to fear, refuse to cling no more, people will look at us, people will look at you and say “wow, look at how you fly, look how you soar, look how you live!” And you become an example to others and give them permission to let go and trust as well and that’s what, that’s what He needs. That’s what He needs from His followers and His people, and that’s what I’d like to leave.
MARNIE: Beautiful! Thank you so much, Leslie. Thank you for your life, thank you for this hour. So grateful for everything you’ve shared with us, and just for who you are and that you’re willing to share it. Thanks!
LESLIE: Thank you, Marnie for having me.
MARNIE: And everybody you can learn more about Leslie Householder over at her website JackrabbitFactor.com and if you have not read that best-selling book, you need to read that book. JackrabbitFactor.com free stuff over there for you, as well as you can learn more about her and her life. She’s a mom of several and an amazing person. So grateful to have her here. If you haven’t been over to Marnie.com lately, visit at Marnie.com lots of great resources for you there. Have a great day now and we’ll see you next time!
ANNOUNCER: This concludes today’s episode of the Rare Faith Podcast. You’ve been listening to Leslie Householder, author of The Jackrabbit Factor, Portal To Genius and Hidden Treasures: Heaven’s Astonishing Help With Your Money Matters. All three books can be downloaded free at ARareKindofFaith.com. So tell your friends and join Leslie again next time as she goes even deeper into the principles that will help you change your life.