Do the Challenges Ever Stop?

Positive Thinking Tip: When you are down to nothing, God is up to something.

It’s thrilling to discover the principles, and it’s especially exciting when you see them work for the first time.

From there, you feel empowered and encouraged to think bigger and test the principles on more significant tasks. But when you face a setback, you might be left wondering, “What just happened here? I thought that if I just live the principles perfectly, the rest of my life would be easy!”

I have an answer for this, and I hope it doesn’t burst anyone’s bubble too much, but we were placed on this earth to grow.

All life is compelled to grow and expand. That is one of the definitions that helps us determine whether something is alive: does it grow?

In order for us to grow, we must have challenges that stretch us beyond our present limits. We must work our mental muscles and exercise our mind, body, and spirit in order to have the joy and experience the success that only comes through growth and expansion. There are few joys that exceed the feeling of facing a difficult challenge, and overcoming it.

The truth is, that if we ever found ourselves without challenges, we would become unhappy and restless.

Remember when you were a child, and your mother tried to teach you how to tie your shoe?

Did it work the first time you tried it? Probably not. And it was probably very frustrating, and likely evoked some tears.

In that moment, there had never been so great a challenge in your life. You wanted to throw in the towel, give up, and if it didn’t make you cry, it probably made you growl in frustration. However, in time, it became old hat for you and you could do it without even thinking.

Sixth Grade

Then when you were in sixth grade, your teacher probably assigned you a book report that would take several weeks and had to fill up about 4 pages. You had never done an assignment that big before, and it was overwhelming. In time, and after being required to do a number of similar assignments, it was no big deal. What took several weeks could be completed in a day, because you had experience.

Fast forward to college.

Remember those projects that ultimately determined your final grade? Remember the countless hours on the computer? Remember closing off your social life in order to meet that deadline? It was overwhelming, and the stress was unbelievable. You had never been required to work so hard on something so important! If you were like me, you shed many tears and begged your professor more than once for mercy.

Then for some of you, you started in the work force and had job pressures and bills to pay. Sometimes it was too much to bear. You thought you had it pretty tough until…

You got married and added a spouse to the picture.

Now there were work pressures, bills to pay, and a spouse to please. Who knew that being responsible to one other person could stir things up that much?

Pretty soon, you got into the routine of things, and even though things are tough, you have no idea what tough means until…

You start having children.

Are there words to describe how complicated things became when kids entered the picture??

Now wait a minute. Think back to the time when you were learning to tie your shoe. Oh, if only life were that easy now!!!

But remember, at the time, when you were six and you had to figure out how to pull the string just enough to make a loop and not enough to make a knot, it was as though the world was falling apart and it was nearly more than you could cope with.

One day, today’s challenges will look like child’s play as you learn to conquer them.

All that I do through my books and programs is to provide the tools you need to learn how to succeed in overcoming the challenges you face today. Will challenges in general go away? No.

But you’ll be prepared to handle bigger challenges, and you’ll grow in faith, hopefully learning to rely more perfectly on God in all you do.

It seems that life will only get more challenging.

WAIT!

I didn’t say life has to get worse, or even harder, but it will constantly deliver more and more ADVANCED challenges.

As we learn the laws and adopt them into our habits, we become successful at overcoming them more and more gracefully. Every challenge could easily seem overwhelming, but only relative to what we’ve conquered in the past.

Challenges are important because they help us build confidence.

Imagine a child who never gained confidence in learning something simple. What if they were required to hold office as president of a large organization? Each challenge is intended to lead us along to receive all that God would have us receive. Each is an opportunity to overcome and gain increased confidence in the partnership we are developing between ourselves and God.

You can get good at handling finances and attracting wealth. Learning to achieve prosperity is a skill that can be improved. Just as you got good at tying a shoe, this is one skill that can become a strength.

Don’t get discouraged if new challenges show up. It doesn’t mean you are failing. It means you have grown to a point where God believes you can handle something else. It is an indication of His increased faith in you.

I heard somewhere, “When you are down to nothing, God is up to something”. There is joy to be had in the struggle. As we learn to find peace in each whirlwind of trouble around us, that is success. Then, the prosperity you want begins to flow naturally.

Seek peace and prosperity comes, seek prosperity and peace flees.

Let me help you find peace, by learning the laws and principles that are dependable and sure. Click here to join me in the Mindset Mastery course – as you allow me to walk you through each lesson and corresponding challenge, your life will never be the same.

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When Things Look Bleak

I was in a slump. On the verge of some pretty exciting things, but attacked by new thoughts of concern.

I had set some lofty goals, and as the target date was approaching, things appeared to be bleak, like the feeling in this photo above. It took all my energy to continually push aside doubtful thoughts that the changes I wanted to realize were still possible for me.

For days I was plagued with questions:

  • “What if it doesn’t work out?”
  • “What if I miss my goals?”
  • “What will I do if the resources I need don’t come through?”

Each time an anxious thought came into my head, I rejected it. But just rejecting it wasn’t enough to leave me with burning faith, either.

I was losing sight of my objectives, and felt weak in my ability to apply the principles of prosperity I teach.

“Oh, give yourself a break, Leslie, you’re just pregnant.” I’m acutely aware of my emotional state when hormones are all wacked out, and I learned to trust in God’s mercy in spite of myself. I believe He can bless me even when I’m not perfect (thank heavens) and I’ve learned that because I choose that way of thinking over the more typical, “I’m not worthy of His blessings” mentality, He is then able to send the blessings, by law.

Still, even though I have in the past been able to believe in my goals in spite of myself, that week was especially tough. Hope was fading, and I struggled not to give up.

So I turned to two of my closest friends for support, and to help me fix my thinking. I knew that it was my thinking that needed fixing, even more than the circumstances around me (the lack of evidence that I would succeed). It was my thinking that needed fixing, and my success depended on it.

Marnie’s advice – “Dig into gratitude for what you have and what you know is coming. Also, depression isn’t such a bad thing because it makes you willing to change, helps you see contrast. Also, the whole [law of] rhythm thing: something great’s around the corner. Refocus spiritually. Doctrine and Covenants 6:33-37 really helped me get through [a similar slump]”

(The reference she was talking about reads: “Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail… Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.”)

My husband’s comment: “God hasn’t brought us this far to fail now….”

That comment struck me like a ton of bricks. It made me think back to all of the miracles He has performed for us, and it would be absurd to think that He would bring us this far, only for us to give up on our dreams and fail to accomplish the worthy things we’ve set out to do.

Suddenly, the struggle seemed like a waste of time and energy. No longer did I feel like I was IN the struggle; I felt like I had just set it aside as something I chose to have nothing to do with.

I found a quiet place and took Marnie’s advice to think on all the things I have to be grateful for. And you know what? It wasn’t just a nice exercise, it was literally an action step that helped me get back on track. Because I have a growing understanding of the laws of success, I knew that to take a half hour or an hour to allow myself to feel gratitude to God for all He has done, even to the point of tears, was to put myself in harmony with Him again, and prepare myself to receive the blessings He wants to send me.

Positive Thinking Tip: Reflect with gratitude on your current blessings and previous victories.

No matter how far we come in learning these principles, we will be challenged our entire life to continue exercising those “muscles.” They can atrophy if we let them. Once again, I became excited about my dreams.

It’s true: we can make of our life anything we want it to be!

Above all, the only things that really needs fixing when things look bleak are our thoughts.

0795_Leslie-author-FB-sq-rotated-flippedGet your thinking right, and everything else falls into place.

Download a free copy of The Jackrabbit Factor or Hidden Treasures: Heaven’s Astonishing Help With Your Money Matters, and I’ll help you make the transformation, one step at a time.

If you’re ready to put what you’ve been learning to the test, join me in the Mindset Mastery course and participate in two powerful experiments using these principles. Discover for yourself the power of your thoughts as I coach you step-by-step through how to use them with intention to make significant changes in your life. The first experiment in phase one is a practice run so you get a feel for how it works. The second experiment is phase two, where you apply what you learned in the first phase to something more difficult, important, or meaningful. With this practice, you’ll gain the confidence you need to apply the principles to any life change you desire.

Learn more and get started now at www.ProspertheFamily.com

See you on the inside!

Leslie

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Finding Relief from Heavy Burdens

A Special Message of Faith

In December of 2012 I was asked to speak during my congregation’s sacrament meeting. This is one thing that is common throughout my church worldwide: that members are given opportunities to teach each other about the gospel, and how they are learning to apply it in their lives.

Here’s the message I shared:

When we realized back in 2006 that we had purchased too much real estate at the wrong time, sometimes all we could do to calm the raging storm was to turn off the lights, close our eyes, and let “Peace Like a River” CD soothe our troubled and fearful hearts.

We tried to focus on the Savior, and let Him assure us that in the eternal scheme of things, everything was going to turn out okay if we fixed our faith upon Him.

He showed us that no matter how heavy the burden, he had the power to do for us what He had done for Alma’s people as described in Mosiah chapter 24 when he told them:

“I will … ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that … you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.”

The Bible tells us to have faith in Jesus Christ, and to love one another. But until recently, I never really recognized an important connection between these two directives, and how it relates to the lift of our burdens.

At the time, I considered the peace I ultimately discovered to be a tremendous personal victory. We were still in a mess, but He taught us peace in spite of it. That all of that could be happening and that we could find peace anyway was a miracle to me.

As our difficulty stretched on, I felt that I could relate in a small way to the man who had been a part of the fateful Martin Handcart company who said, “‘I… pulled my handcart when I was so weak and weary … that I could hardly put one foot ahead of the other. I have looked ahead and … said, I can go only that far and there I must give up…’ ” He continued: ” ‘I have gone on to that sand and when I reached it, the cart began pushing me. I have looked back many times to see who was pushing my cart, but my eyes saw no one. I knew then that the angels of God were there… The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay, and I am thankful that I was privileged to come in the Martin Handcart Company.'”

As hard as it was for us over those last few years, I wouldn’t give up the testimony we gained through it – that God lives and is mindful of us and gives us strength.

However, while it’s true, that when things appear to be falling apart, a return to the Savior (pondering his life’s example, repenting of our mistakes, finding gratitude, and imagining his steady and unconditional friendship) always brings peace, sometimes it can be really hard to set aside personal challenges enough to be able to think about helping someone else.

But what I’ve been learning is that our needs are cared for when we focus on others.

This is probably a more complete and true exercise of faith in Christ. Not just believing that He is real and finding peace in our challenges, but taking it one step further… do we really believe that our needs will be met if we forget ourselves? Do we really trust that the Lord will carry us through our problems if we lose ourselves in the service of others?

I remember back several years when my husband and I were trying to be anxiously engaged in a good cause, but our investment problems were screaming so loudly that it seemed nearly impossible to carry on.

We had come to the end of all of our visible resources – our savings were entirely depleted, our credit was completely exhausted, and with only $200 in the bank and no paycheck in sight (with another $15,000 in bills due in the coming 2 weeks), the moment we had tried so hard to avoid was finally upon us.

It was our anniversary weekend, and so with no other solution in sight, we decided to at least enjoy a dinner together and try to rekindle our hope in the future, and our faith in Christ. During our conversation, it dawned on us that even though we were at rock bottom, we were still alive, still breathing, and still able to help others.

We asked ourselves, if we were homeless, could we still teach? Could we still help others? Would we? Of course we could, and would. So that’s when our conversation shifted. Instead of focusing on our immediate needs, we projected our minds forward and imagined where we saw ourselves in 10 years. Did we think we’d be back on our feet by then? Would we have figured things out and put our lives back together by then? That seemed easy enough to believe. So then our focus shifted, and we brainstormed on the things we could do right away to serve others better, and made those plans.

By the end of dinner, we felt hope again. We felt the Spirit confirm to us that although we were in a pretty ugly mess of our own, we were on the right track.

So we paid the bill and just as my husband was opening my car door, the waiter came running out to the parking lot after us with a voided receipt yelling,

“Since it’s your anniversary, the meal’s on us!”

In that moment, we experienced a little bit of what the Lord had taught his apostles. He had tried to assure them that as long as they would feed his sheep, their true needs would be met. We’ve heard it so many times: “Consider the lilies of the field…” “…trust the Lord with all thine heart” “…fear not…” but how it is possible?

To explain, let me share it the way Elder Jeffrey R. Holland described it:

After Christ was no longer with his apostles, in effect, Peter said: “Brethren, it has been a glorious three years. …But [it] is over. He has finished His work, and He has risen from the tomb. He has worked out His salvation and ours. So … ‘What do we do now?’ I don’t know more to tell you than to return to your former life, rejoicing. I intend to ‘go a fishing.’”

But, … the fishing wasn’t very good. Their first night back on the lake, they caught nothing—not a single fish. With the first rays of dawn, they disappointedly turned toward the shore, where they saw in the distance a figure who called out to them,

“Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find,” —and with those simple words, recognition begins to flood over them. Just three years earlier these very men had been fishing on this very sea. On that occasion too they had “toiled all the night, and [had] taken nothing,”…. But a fellow Galilean on the shore had called out to them to let down their nets, and they drew “a great multitude of fishes,” enough that their nets broke, the catch filling two boats so heavily they had begun to sink.

Now it was happening again. [They] eagerly lowered their net, and “they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.”

After a joyful reunion… Looking at their battered little boats, … and a stunning pile of 153 fish, Jesus said … three times, “Peter, do you love me more than you love all this?” Peter said, “Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.”

To which Jesus responded …perhaps saying something like: “Then Peter, why are you here? Why are we back on this same shore, by these same nets, having this same conversation? Wasn’t it obvious then and isn’t it obvious now that if I want fish, I can get fish?

“What I need, Peter, are disciples—and I need them forever. I need someone to feed my sheep and save my lambs. I need someone to preach my gospel and defend my faith. I need someone who loves me, truly, truly loves me, and loves what our Father in Heaven has commissioned me to do.

“Ours is not a feeble message. … It is the work of Almighty God, and it is to change the world. So, Peter, for the second and presumably the last time, I am asking you to leave all this and to go teach and testify, labor and serve loyally…”

“If ye love me, keep my commandments,” Jesus said. So we have neighbors to bless, children to protect, the poor to lift up, and the truth to defend. We have wrongs to make right, truths to share, and good to do. In short, we have a life of devoted discipleship to give in demonstrating our love of the Lord. We can’t quit and we can’t go back…

To those who have not yet joined with us in this great final cause of Christ, we say, “Please come.” To those who were once with us but have retreated, preferring to pick and choose a few cultural hors d’oeuvres from the smorgasbord of the Restoration [of the gospel of Jesus Christ] and leave the rest of the feast, I say that I fear you face a lot of long nights and empty nets. The call is to come back, to stay true, to love God, and to lend a hand.” – Elder Jeffrey Holland

Now, on Christmas we were blessed to spend some time on the phone with our missionary son Jacob, and I asked him: What can we do for you? What can we do to help you?

He replied, emotionally, “I just want you guys to love each other. I want you to do your best to get along with each other. It’s so true that you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. I just want you guys to also stay in touch with me, keep writing letters, keep emailing me, keep me posted with what’s going on in your lives, the good and the bad…”

Our Father in Heaven – during our separation from Him – wants us to love each other, and stay in touch with Him through prayer. He wants us to go to him with the good and the bad, and let Him be a central part of our life.

And when we have burdens too heavy and worries too consuming to think outside of ourselves, I testify that we can put our trust in the Lord, hand him our burdens, …and as we focus on helping someone else, everything will work out just as it should.

I have a special journal dedicated to this – for when I have a concern or a need that seems to be more than I can handle, I’ll write “What I needed” on the left side, and then on the right side I write “How He helped”. After all, He has asked us to acknowledge his hand in all things – and this is one way I’m trying to do it.

(The following section is an excerpt from a letter I wrote to a friend, giving more details on this new journal tool.)

I felt the Lord inspired me to do something I hadn’t done before, when things were terribly overwhelming to me. The Spirit nagged me for 2 days until I did it… and that is this:

I got a notebook or journal that was specifically to be for one purpose. On the left side of the page, I wrote: “What I needed”, and I listed the things I needed to turn over to the Lord. I imagined angels being given permission to get to work on those items for me, because I was physically, mentally, emotionally unable to handle them myself at that time.  On the right side of the page I wrote: “How He helped” because I thoroughly expected Him to handle some of those things for me, and I wanted to document His hand in the process.

Within 20 minutes, I got a phone call that answered one of the pleas listed on the left.  Over time, it seems that all of them have been either checked off or making good progress. To me, it’s working better than a vision board ever did, because it’s more of a system for the purpose of fulfilling my life’s mission, and for handling the distractions that slow me down as well.

Once I put something on the “what I needed” side, I let it go and I get busy on something that I CAN make progress with, knowing that the other items are being handled.

And now, verily I say unto you, and what I say unto one I say unto all, be of good cheer, little children; for I am in your midst, and I have not forsaken you; (D&C 61:36)

Related: Do the Problems Go Away?

(Back now, to my talk at church…)

I know that God lives, that Jesus Christ is with us, He’s mindful of our heartaches, and ready to help. He is merciful. He loves us. He loves you. He knows what you’re going through; it’s not pointless.

May we exercise our faith in Christ not just by believing He is real, but also by trusting him – literally – to handle our burdens that feel too big, while we look instead for opportunities to feed his sheep.

This is my prayer for all of us.

Originally published on December 18, 2013

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When life is falling apart

Michelle posted the following question:

Hi, so my husband and I have been trying to live these principles for about a year now. We have seen it work in our lives, even before we read your books. We are saving money to buy your more advanced course. We are changing our thoughts and our language, which has not been easy for me, as I have lived with anxiety for the last 17 years. We are seeing a shift in our mental dialogue. We have some very lofty goals that we are excited to manifest.

The question I have has to do with changing the dialogue when you are in a job that you hate, doesn’t make enough money, and there is no space for promotion or increase of monetary value. My husband works about 60 hours per week and makes about 2000 every two weeks.

We have 8 children and our house is falling apart. My husband can do all the work to fix the plumbing problems, but he has no time. We can’t, at this moment afford to pay someone else to do it for us. We are both stressed out about it. He is very positive about it, but there are times where he can’t see a way to fix the problem. We have a very small set of skills between us. I have been stay at home mom for 17 years and we just had a new baby in December of this past year. My husband had to have back surgery a couple of years ago. He had a great job, but had to leave due to inability to do the work, because of his back, so now we make much less.

We tried to start our own business and don’t all our capital to do it, only to realize my husband has a difficult time doing jobs where people have expectations. He is amazing at everything, but he gets major anxiety. So, we are where we are at this point. I hope you don’t mind me messaging you, but we really want things to change. I know part of the change is being grateful for where we are.

Can you give me some insight? I am taking your Mindset Fundamentals course and that is helping a lot … but I am still stuck with this. It’s like I can see how we will be fine financially when I know we are going to get chunks of money, like tax return coming, but like you said in, I think lesson 8 of your course, it is so frustrating to get those bigger chunks because you want to make sure it goes to the right things, but when it runs out there is no flow, so you’re more stressed out.

We have ideas on creating flow, but are unable to see how to get there at this moment. I know it will come, but I know I need to trust I have enough now and be grateful for what we have. Any advice or inspiration would be so helpful. I know you probably don’t help this way, but if you do see this and you feel compelled to offer words of wisdom I would appreciate.

Life seems to be falling apart more the last couple of weeks that we have been investing in living this way than it has before. It just feels chaotic and overwhelming. Thank you for all that you have written and put together. We are extremely passionate about these principles and can see the truth of them in reading the scriptures and we know that Heavenly Father has led us to read your books to help us fulfill the plan for which he has placed us here. We are grateful for the future that has been created in us. I just need help to be grateful for where we are now.

Here is my response:

Hi Michelle, the good news is it doesn’t matter how chaotic or impossible things seem to be. God has a way of sustaining us and giving us what we need in the moment we need it as we choose to take a deep breath and trust him. It’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever do – it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. And the only way to figure out how to do that is by trying and trying until you succeed.

You can’t do what I’m talking about unless life IS a chaotic mess… it’s the only path to discovering it’s true. Dare to believe that he’ll give you what you need today. As you get to the end of the day, look back and take notice of the things that went well. Are you still breathing? Are you fed? Do you have a roof over your head still? Look at that – he provided.

I would encourage you to listen to the podcasts if you aren’t already. There’s one that I’m trying to get published but it’s been held up in production called “Keep Calm and Watch What Happens”. Until that gets posted, try doing what the title suggest. When you feel the stress build, choose to be calm with the intention to see what being calm causes… keep repeating that to yourself “keep calm, and watch what happens…”

I dare you to test it. Let go of the need for things to be your way in your time. Practice being calm and let the Lord provide in HIS time, in His way. I promise you will see better results as you do that, than if you continue to fuss and fret that it isn’t already the way you think it should be.

Michelle replied:

That is exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you for your response. I had been telling myself, “Good thing, bad thing, who knows.” But I need to remember to be calm and watch. I will look forward to that podcast. I have been absorbing so much and it is bringing life into our lives. Thank you!

For more on this topic, visit www.prosperthefamily.com

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