God and the Principles of Success

Today’s Q/A is about God and the principles. Rebecca asks: “Why do you tell people it’s ok if they don’t believe in God?”

Rebecca was concerned that, in my newsletter titled “Oh, the Controversy,” I minimized God’s role in our success. That newsletter pointed to several articles, namely:

Let’s read her complete question, in her words:

Dear Leslie,

I’ve read you books and listen to you for several years now. It has been enjoyable and [I appreciate] how you teach so much in many ways. I started working in the temple about 7 months ago and since that time have become very concerned with many self-help teachings.

Many seem to teach philosophies of men mingled with scripture. In searching and contemplating, many ideas and teachings that I have believed do fall in that category.

I believe that the 7 laws are true laws. Where I am concerned is that in teaching those principles, in many ways, there is a denial of God.

I know that you believe in God and in his church. I know the laws work whether you believe in God or whether you do not. But in telling other that they can come form God or from Nature or out of the universe or what ever, I believe we are telling people it is not important to believe in God.

He is the most important truth! He is where all truth comes from.

In this world where so many that are denying there is a God, I for one feel called upon more and more each day to stand up and testify that He lives and that his Son is Jesus Christ.

You know form reading the Book of Mormon that if this country denies the God of the country Jesus Christ we as a people will be removed form this land. Our country is already fallen so far. If we do not turn back to God soon, Great destruction awaits us.

I have stopped listening to many of the self-help industry because of this, but have continued to listen to you. I felt you were testifying more of God than most. That is why this article about the Controversy is troubling to me. To me it said: it ok if you do not believe in God. It is ok to give God credit to something or someone else. But it is not ok. There is a God and we need to stand up for Him.

When someone obtains somethings with the law of attraction it is still God’s law. Even if they do not believe in God they are still using God’s law. I have seen so many turning from God and I believe it is because we are denying that the laws come from him.

The hard part is I know you believe all this. What I do not understand is why you are telling people it ok to believe there is no God. As President Russell M. Nelson has said the most important work we can do is to bring people unto Christ. What good is successful in life if there is no eternal life?

Rebecca

A. Here is my reply:

Hi Rebecca,

Thank you for taking the time to write. I agree with you about the importance of believing in God, can you point me to the phrase or paragraph that troubled you? I’d like to review it and make sure it still speaks truth (some of my articles were written over ten years ago and are sent out by autoresponders). The newsletter you replied to has several articles, and I’m having trouble finding the specific piece you’re talking about.

One thing to note, though, is that unfortunately, the principles DO work, whether or not a person believes in God. That is the truth, unfortunately. Like gravity, it applies AND has its effect on ALL people—believers and unbelievers alike. Saints and sinners alike. We may not like that fact, but it is the truth. This is why some people leave God when they discover them—but I would question whether they were truly converted in the first place, if their ability to obtain material possessions with or without Him is what caused them to believe or disbelieve.

God’s laws are in place, and they do play out for the sinner and the saint, no matter if we believe in Him. That doesn’t mean that we should abandon God, it just means we must be careful how we use them, because there WILL be eternal consequences for how we use the power (just as there are eternal consequences for how we use the power of procreation).

The principles can be used for worthy goals but they can also be used for stupid goals (I’ve had my fair share of those). They can be employed to build the kingdom of God, and they can also be employed to fight the kingdom of God.

This is why Jacob 2:19 says: “And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good—to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted.”

My work is to educate on the principles, in the context of “having first obtained a hope in Christ”—but I don’t always have control over who reads my work. It would be convenient if my readers were only those who were solidly grounded in the gospel of Jesus Christ, but I have readers from all over the world who, for some, have never even been taught about Christ. If they find my work and follow me long enough, they’ll learn about my beliefs. I have them posted prominently on my blog in the upper menu.

Keep in mind that I have written over 500 articles, and:

  • Some are written for members who are afraid to learn about the principles.
  • Some are written for Christians who are afraid to learn from a Mormon (a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).
  • Some are written for atheists who struggle to believe in unseen help. (I’m not going to shun them if they haven’t gained a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If I can minister to them, and show them how to provide for their families, I believe the Lord would want me to.)
  • Some are written for non-Christians who don’t understand the role of Jesus Christ in overcoming life’s challenges.

Just as missionaries need to be conscious and respectful of the culture of those they teach, if they want to build the relationships that bring people to Christ, I try to do the same with my readers. Sometimes the Spirit prompts me to hold back, and sometimes it instructs me to speak boldly. Again, with over 500 articles, you’ll see the gamut.

I don’t think I’ve ever said it’s okay not to believe in God, but if I have, I would like to fix that. What I think I have said is that the principles work whether or not you believe in God, and that is still true.

Anyway, if you decide that you should stop listening to or reading my work, I hope you’ll read this one last thing. It’s the most important thing I think I have ever written on the topic, and I hope it’s what I will be remembered for:

https://rarefaith.org/the-hardest-thing-ive-ever-tried-to-write/

It’s long, but it really shares my heart regarding the personal development world, and where it sits with my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Warmly,

Leslie

“But I say unto you, Love [all]…, bless [all]…, do good to [all]…, and pray for [all]…; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:44-44)

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Should we sell our home?

Today’s Question is about Real Estate:

“Should we sell our home?”

One of my readers sent me the following:

“We have enough equity in our house that if we sold it, we’d be almost completely out of debt. We’ve got 2 kids in college and 2 at home still, which makes downsizing a little tricky at this point. We’d probably have to rent an apartment for a year to save up for another down payment on a different home. Or buy a condo, and those can be difficult to sell.

We want the kids to have a place to stay when they come home for the summer, and if we were in a 3 bedroom apt or condo that wouldn’t be ideal. And yet, I REALLY want financial freedom. I REALLY want this burden GONE FOREVER.

My business has been struggling for years, and is actually the reason why we’re in this situation—I invested in marketing and trainings that didn’t convert, and got scammed by a business partner. Lots of adventures!

But I hear you loud and clear about being reactionary at this point. Any money the business brings in goes right to debt. I haven’t paid myself in close to a year. That sucks all the fun out of business! 🙂

Anyway, the question is: do we sell the home in the spring and rent for a while? What would you do?

..Thank you so much, Leslie! You’re one of the last people out there I actually trust. – A. C.

Here’s my reply:

That’s a tough question. I’d probably be tempted too, but we spent 6 years renting after the recession and I never realized how much of my mental energy was spent wondering, “Where are we going to be next year? Will the rent go up? Are we going to pay the higher rent or are we going to move again? What about the kids’ schoolwhat if we have to move too far? How are we going to save for a down payment fast enough to keep up with rising home prices?”

It was on my mind constantly. We ultimately bought another home and the difference it made in my ability to THINK, create, and serve again was HUGE.

That being said, who knows if the home prices are going to tank again in the near future, and getting the equity now might be super beneficial? It would be amazing to pay off the debts faster, and buy a home when they’re cheaper. Indeed, it could go really well in that regard, but it’s a BIG gamble. If you stay where you are and can get in front of things any other way, don’t take it for granted that you already have a home of your own. It’s a huge-er deal than you know.

I strongly recommend that you do a search in Dave Ramsey’s archives for “should I sell my home to pay off debt” and see what advice he offers in different scenarios. Additionally, here’s one article on the topic. Find the principle that applies to your situation from which to make your decision, then you can be at peace no matter which way the market goes.

She responded:

Thank you! I adore you! I appreciate your honesty so much. And when I get quiet in my mind, I realize that some of this feeling is impatience, which is NOT a principle of abundance! I’ll do a search on Dave Ramsey—that’s a great idea. Thank you again! 

To learn more about developing the right mindset for achieving your goals, visit www.ProspertheFamily.com

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Avoiding Debt-Payoff Self-Sabotage

Today’s Question comes from Allyson. She wanted to know:

“How do I visualize paying off debt, without creating a subconscious desire for MORE debt to pay off?”

In her words:

I’ve been listening to your Science of Getting Rich Program over the last couple of weeks and have a question for you.

This next year my husband and I want to create financial freedom, which to us looks like a zero balance on all the credit cards and everything paid off. What we’re bumping up against is we keep visualizing the victory with paying off credit cards, and we don’t want to train our mind into seeking more debt for that thrill of paying it off.

But financial freedom feels so esoteric to us that I am having a hard time pinning down an emotion associated with financial freedom. I’ve thought about what I want life to look like when there are no more debts, and it’s just that everything is normal, I feel secure and I sleep well every night, we are able to invest, and we’re able to pay a lot in tithing and fast offerings and so forth… but it doesn’t carry the emotional thrill that having zero debt has.

Can you help me reframe this, please? I KNOW we can create financial freedom this year. I want to make sure we’re not future sabotaging by the emotion we’re connecting to the visualization, or that we’re visualizing the wrong thing.

Thank you so much! – A.C.

Here’s my Answer:

One of the best pieces of advice I got on this was to spend energy picturing and planning the details of life “after”, and get excited about the feelings associated with normal life. But sometimes nothing else sounds quite as exciting, so I do get that it’s important to be emotionally invested in getting out of debt. I don’t know if this is necessarily the best way, but I’ll tell you how we finally did it. And I’m sorry, it’s kind of rambling without editing, so I hope it’s helpful:

We listened a lot to Dave Ramsey (which was painful at first, but eventually allowed us to get REALLY excited about being out of debt, WITH the new mindset that also kept us from sabotaging ourselves when the goal was achieved. It’s good medicine. Best of both worlds, in my opinion.

We first made a commitment to stop using credit to tide us over if we came up short in any given month. This commitment was before we tried to pay anything off, I think. It meant that we had to use “rare faith” a LOT. Every month, for a while in fact, until we started noticing that miracle after miracle, the principles were proving to be dependable, as long as we kept to the commitment and expected another miracle. …I had never realized what a shift in mentality that required for us, because we were coming from an “investing” mindset – using other people’s money to invest for high returns. (Which, we did really well at for a while, until we got caught in the recession and people couldn’t pay money that they owed us, and the dominoes began to really fall.)

We also had to get serious about budgeting. How on earth would we do that when our income was unpredictable?? We decided we’d just do our best. So it meant looking back over the year and coming up with average monthly dollar amounts for all the predictable expenses. We were barely making it with our business income, and when we came up short, I’d just run a promotion or something, so how do I budget when I’m so used to being reactionary to our needs? We got those monthly figures, and then decided on a monthly amount that the business had to make – so it meant setting up an automatic transfer from business to personal every two weeks.

This freaked me out at first because I thought, “Well, what if the business doesn’t make that much?” and “What if I don’t feel motivated to make more than the bi-monthly draw?” And the first month, it was patchy. I had to scramble to make enough before the transfer hit, which was new because I wasn’t scrambling to pay a bill, I was scrambling to pay myself.

Something about that helped with another mindset shift I needed – because I was scrambling to pay MYSELF instead of scrambling to pay a bill (even though the result was the same). I scrambled again to make enough in time for the second draw. And I didn’t really earn more than the bare minimum.

But after that first month, something felt different. I started working for the joy of it again, knowing that the draw would automatically cover my bills, and I found myself wondering how much more I could make, just for fun. Our financial planner told me to “Let the business account build up”, so no matter how much I generated, I was still only allowed to spend the fixed monthly budgeted amount. That was a new concept to me. (Because previously I was always just reacting to our needs.) So that’s what the budget did for me – it stopped me from thinking so much about bills, and helped me get back to just creating.

The next month I did really well, but still only received the fixed draw into my personal account. The business account started to grow and grow. THAT did a lot for my psyche. Out of the budgeted amount, certain amounts went to paying off bills, and as things started going better, I got a real charge out of paying off debts early. We started to get a bigger charge out of saving, too. This was a new experience for us. I made more rules for myself – like if I generated a certain amount of revenue by the end of the year, I’d give myself a bonus. Otherwise the money stayed in the business account, which was nice because then I had reserves I could use for investing more in my business – product, hired help, etc. It also made it so that the tax bill at the end of the year wasn’t a giant blow to our pocketbook – there was money saved and enough to cover the tax bill and to spare.

Anyway, we felt like step one had to be learning how to live with the new system of paying myself, and within these budgeting restrictions (something that ran counter to the “abundance mindset” – but again, it felt like necessary short-term medicine for our long-term wealth plan).

So the short answer is this. If you want to be really excited about paying off debt, you CAN. But keep it paired with a constant reminder of the principles that build a wise and solid foundation. Follow Dave’s Baby Steps. I used to think he was only about budgeting for people on limited incomes. But he’s more about wealth building – it’s just that too many people skip the steps that build a solid foundation, so that’s why he hammers that part so much. Too often I see people get caught up in the excitement about paying off debt without the education (and pants-kicking) that keeps them wise afterwards, and they get sucked back into the same problems over and over again. Pulling rabbits out of the hat to keep fixing debt problems does work, but it becomes exhausting.

So if your vision is a normal, peaceful, joyful abundant life, then submit yourself to Dave’s podcast (if you aren’t already listening to him). Like I said, it can be painful in the short term, but it’s really made all the difference for us in the longer term. It keeps us in check, and has really added to my ability to live the normal peaceful life I always wanted.

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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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If something is a struggle, is it right?

Lisa writes:

Hi Leslie, I am sure you are totally busy, but I am just really bummed out right now. I am currently attending the University of Phoenix online to get my psychology degree. I am taking a philosophy class which I thought I would love, turns out the instructor is very picky so I am not enjoying or doing well in this class.

I read once that if something is a struggle, then it is not the right thing to be doing. If I am meant to be doing something than it should be inspired and easy flowing. I want to be a life coach and thought that with a degree in psychology, it might make things better.

I am worried too because I am getting financial aid and if I fail this class I may have to end up paying for the class or pay loans back or something which will put me further in the hole. I am just sitting here wondering what I am doing and really very upset. I didn’t know who to turn to or even what to do right now, So I guess I just needed to vent. I am scared, lets just say that. I am at work right now, if I wasn’t I would be crying. – Lisa C.

My response:

Hi Lisa!

First of all, take a deep, deep breath.

Second of all, let me add my perspective on the comment, “if something is a struggle, then it is not the right thing to be doing.” I think there is some truth to that, but it’s been twisted.

I gave birth to a few kids, and every one of those labors was a TREMENDOUS struggle. That doesn’t mean in the least that it wasn’t the right thing to do. The truth is that ANYthing worth having is worth struggling for. The key is to keep your “WHY” vivid and alive. When you lose sight of why you’re putting yourself through something tough, then the pain is only magnified. When you remember the people whose lives you’ll change forever, the passion and the dream of that expectation is anesthesia that dulls the pain.

I can’t tell you how many times my husband and I thought, “We can do anything, as long as it gets us closer to our goal, and as long as we know it’s temporary.” We always said that about the un-fun things we had to do along the way.

Furthermore, if you give up now just because it isn’t fun anymore, then how will you ever be qualified to coach someone else through their struggles?

If I were you, I’d do what I could to remember the Law of Polarity and the Law of Rhythm, especially now. As horrible as this is, is how wonderful the reward will be on the other side. If it’s only a little bit bad, then the reward will only be a little bit good. If things are bad today, you can expect an upturn in your mood soon enough. Look forward to it, expect it. Be grateful for the pain today, because it is only through that pain that there could possibly be meaning in the victory.

As for the “flow” concept, yes, things can go smoothly and you can have that peace of mind being in the flow. But it is an internal thing. Life will always deliver challenges. ALWAYS. Life mastery means finding peace of mind and assurance that everything is going to be okay no matter what. When you live in that kind of a state of being, then the resources you need begin to flow your way more naturally. But remember, you’ve got to achieve that mindset before it flows, and that mindset can only be achieved in the middle of hardship. (Anyone can find peace of mind when life is going smoothly; the best rewards come from finding it when life is NOT going smoothly. That’s what separates the winners from the crowd.)

So, in reality, your hardship right now is a tremendous gift to you – you’re being given the opportunity to prove your mental toughness and demonstrate right thinking in spite of it. Pass the test and you leap to a new level of life success. Without the hardship, you would have no opportunity to prove yourself, and no corresponding reward would be waiting.

Anyway, I know this probably isn’t what you wanted to hear, but I hope you find it helpful.

Hang in there – a better day is coming if you respond to this the right way. Think, “How would a champion handle this? How would a highly successful success coach handle this?” You’ve got it inside of you to conquer this – be kind to yourself. Do your best and let God handle the rest. Whatever the outcome is, chalk it up to your experience that adds to the value you’ll have to offer your future clients.

Warmest regards, 🙂

Leslie

Lisa’s reply:

Thank you so so much Leslie! It means so much to me that you took time out to write me back! I love every bit of your reply. It all makes perfect sense! Again thank you so much! Just what I needed.

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