Meet Bethany Theulen.
Bethany is one of the most inspiring people I know, because of the hardships she’s faced and her determination and grit for succeeding in spite of them. I’ve already written about her a few times, in fact, even before she became an Honors Graduate from the Mindset Mastery program. Maybe you remember these?
So, maybe you can imagine my joy now to be making the announcement:
Congratulations Bethany on becoming a Mindset Mastery HONORS Graduate!!
As always, whenever someone applies for graduation from the course, I have some questions:
Q. Did you face a Terror Barrier during the course?
The biggest terror barrier was the belief that I am enough. That I was worth doing this work and being supported emotionally by those that were supporting me.
For me, this was the difference between life and death. I have fought the ever-present demons inside of me for decades. The ones that tell me I am nobody, and that everyone would be better off without me around. I actually spent about a month in a constant state of panic/anxiety as I was actively, consciously implementing tools to retrain my subconscious.
I actually thought I was making serious progress when I was startled awake in the early morning hours one night with an overwhelming impression to get up and discard my prescription pain medication. I use far below what I am prescribed and am very conscious of my use of my medication because I am fully aware of the effects of opioid addiction, having been married to an addict.
I discarded the thought, only to have it reiterated, even more strongly. I did not understand the meaning behind this, but I felt, without question, that I was to follow the Spirit on this. I saved just a couple of pills to cut and use to wean, and destroyed all the remainder of my prescription. I returned to bed with an overwhelming peaceful feeling, although I was still confused.
My entire world fell apart two days later. I don’t need to go into details here, but I have never felt so betrayed by my Heavenly Father as I did that week. After all the work I had done to become close to Him and be obedient and do ALL THE THINGS, I was completely let down that week (or so I thought at the time).
However, I chose to keep moving forward, although the level of my anger towards God was unlike anything I had ever experienced. I also felt that He was completely OK with my anger.
I understood why the Spirit woke me up and asked me over and over to discard my meds. What I went through that week was enough to have sent me over the edge. I am certain that I would have taken my prayers of never waking up to a whole other level had I had access to that medication.
I am forever indebted to my Savior and His foresight. As I drudged through that week, I honestly felt that I could no longer go on. The extreme anxiety felt as though my entire body was going to shatter into a million pieces.
But I kept at my Mindset Mastery homework. And then all of a sudden, it was gone. I was completely different.
The only way I can adequately describe it is to relate it to someone who was miraculously healed of a physical ailment. The self-hatred. The feelings of inadequacy. The constant doubting of myself, and never feeling I was enough. They were just gone.
I can look back and see that my perseverance, even when I was barely functioning from what I now realize was the terror barrier, propelled me through that barrier and into a level of peace I never knew existed.
I know that I still have so much to learn, and I am still having to watch my thoughts daily. But one thing has stayed with me:
I. Am. Enough.
And with that knowledge, I can face any terror barrier that I go up against again.
Q. What was your Phase 1 experiment? (Did you accomplish the inconsequential goal?)
I did. I accomplished the inconsequential goal from my first time doing Guided Mindset Mastery late, and well after the course had ended. Because of the significant trials I was going through at the time, and the emotional turmoil I was in, I consider the level of the goal a 10, because I was at a breaking point. I was ready to give up, and truly wanted to just go back to before I learned the laws of thought.
So, when I decided to just do it, and then broke through and accomplished it, I was so proud of myself, and it was my own little door opening up again.
Q. Describe your experience with the “Inconsequential goal”:
I did it twice. Here’s the first experiment:
December 10, 2020 – what I posted on Facebook:
Ok, I am FINALLY ready to write about my midterm experience. I went through the guided Mindset Mastery program over the summer and manifested mountainous miracles in the process. (Like a home across the country with no verifiable income, no employment, and a credit rating in the low 400’s).
You know what I couldn’t do? Get past the midterm. I froze. This was also during said move, and I really fell apart once we arrived in Iowa (from Arizona, for those who don’t know me).
The midterm lesson came around the time of our final packing and preparing to leave. My husband is a convert, and that has allowed me to do family history and temple work in ways I’ve never experienced, since I come from pioneer heritage. I had a 3 x 5 card box where I had organized all of my husband’s family’s names and the work we had done so far.
We have been able to do temple work for Deron’s grandfathers, who have passed away. Doing temple work for family members that are so close, not some 200-300 year old name that is difficult to pronounce, but for members that I hear stories of; for a man that my own mother-in-law (who is one of my best-friend) speaks of and makes me wish I had been around before he passed; the sacred feelings and kinship I have felt for these people is hard to describe.
As we have done the work for Theulen family members, I have personally felt their gratitude … But I had lost that box of their records. Yes, I could reprint the names and begin a new box, but there is something about THOSE PAPERS. The little red check marks symbolizing the gift we have been able to give them because we choose to keep going forward.
I was absolutely positive I would find that little box during our packing. But I didn’t. The midterm assignment came up, and I decided to make finding that box my inconsequential goal. (Clearly not the best idea, as I am obviously emotionally invested in the box.)
The move progressed and then my emotional . I’m talking months of off and on “spiraling”. Darkness so consuming I kept hoping and even praying to just not wake up. (Let’s all be thankful that God doesn’t immediately answer some of our intentional thoughts!)
Thankfully there are friends and mentors found in this community that chose to not give up on me (ya’ll know who you are!) As I have been clawing my way out of the dark, I decided that if I want to keep moving forward and feel success, I would need to find a less-emotionally-charged inconsequential goal, although I continued to long to find that little box!
One thing I ABSOLUTELY knew I had been packed was my makeup bag. THREE MONTHS of unpacking and I. Could. Not. Find. My. Makeup!! I bribed my teenager with a brand new pallet (if you have a teen girl you’ll know how strong a bribe this was!) if she could find that bag! I gave the girl carte blanche to open any box she could find that hadn’t been unpacked, and even she was unsuccessful.
One morning while driving my daughter to school I said “maybe I need to use Rare Faith to just find that bag!” Her complete faith in me was evident when she replied “yes! And when you find it, can I still choose a pallet, because I tried really hard!!”
I dropped her off, went home, dropped to my knees, and offered an incredibly intentional prayer of gratitude. I imagined the bag, the brushes and beauty that bag of tricks held inside, along with the joy I would feel when I proudly held that bag up for my daughter when I found it. Then I stood up and started opening the few remaining boxes in my bedroom. You know, the ones where I ABSOLUTELY KNEW that bag was NOT!
It took 3 boxes. Three boxes, and there was that little bag, like a beacon of light shining down from above. I immediately dropped to my knees again, and thanked my Father in Heaven for restoring a tiny shred of hope again with my finding of the bag.
That was a few weeks ago. I had long since let the hope of finding my box of family temple names go, although I still thought about the box daily. I was out of places to look anyway.
Last weekend my sister flew my 4-year-old and I home to Arizona. Returning was incredibly hard for a multitude of reasons. Walking into her home, where we had lived together for 5 1/2 years, was bittersweet. I knew she had been collecting things around the house that we had left as she encountered them.
I walked into her newly-made guest room (previously my two teen daughters’ room) and I stopped dead in my tracks. My heart skipped a beat, and I couldn’t believe what I saw. There, laying on top of a pile of random items we had inadvertently left behind, WAS MY BOX!
I literally shouted at her “WHEN AND WHERE DID YOU FIND THIS?!” She was pretty confused by my outburst, and told me she had no idea what it was and almost just tossed it with the DI pile, but at the last second decided to put it in that random pile, Just. In. Case.
There is so much I could write about this: surrendering; letting go; unseen help; baby steps. However, I will just leave it with this:
A second inconsequential goal experiment:
…I would also like to share one that happened during my second time doing Guided Mindset Mastery. I discussed it in our weekly class, but have not publicly written about it yet.
Here it is:
I took my daughter to her driver’s permit test. It was the second test as she had failed the first time a few days before. Because we are in a small town, the test is done in the local city hall, down at the town square. I realized I had left the folder with her birth certificate and social security card down in the car, and I had to run back to the car to grab it.
The day was cold and super windy. My almost-5-year old tagged along behind me, although I really had wanted her to stay with my older daughter in city hall. I ran back up and when my daughter’s name was called, I opened my folder, only to find that the envelope with the social security card was empty.
I panicked, because I know it had been in the folder the few days prior when my daughter had taken the test the first time. I was able to sign an affidavit stating I was using her valid SSN, but I was sick thinking of the consequences of what could happen long-term if someone had found her card. I quickly re-traced my steps back out to my car, hoping to find the little card fallen between the seats in the car or something.
No luck. I was completely ill inside.
My daughter passed her test, we took the obligatory photos with her new temporary driver’s permit in hand, and then I buckled my little into her car seat. I was mumbling under my breath and did another cursory look under the seats when my little asked me if I was looking for something. I angrily told her yes.
She asked me if it was a paper from when we had come out to the car to get the folder. I jerked my head up and said “yes!” She flippantly said it flew off in the wind. She’s known to tell stories like this, so I asked for a description of what she was talking about, and she told me she saw a small piece of paper fly off in the wind when we came out to the car, but I was busy on the phone, so she didn’t bother me. I was like “seriously!???”
So, I quickly unbuckled Rylee, my little, and my older daughter Kaitlin got out of the car. We decided to scour the downtown square on foot. I immediately thought how pointless it was, considering we are talking about a tiny piece of paper that could be anywhere after spending over an hour floating around in that crazy Midwest wind.
Then I stopped myself and decided to use the principles. I closed my eyes and used ever sense I could to imagine the feeling of that paper being found, right down to imagining running my fingers along the perforated edges.
Then we all started looking. After a few minutes I was cold and it felt pointless, so I began imaging that the card went down a storm drain, because that would be better than falling into the wrong hands. EXCEPT, I would always worry without a definitive answer, so I consciously pushed aside those thoughts and kept imaging us finding it.
Truthfully, I wasn’t all that surprised when my little shouted “here it is mommy!” and proudly held up that elusive little piece of paper. I will never forget that moment, nor the incredulous look my teenager had at seeing the principles work like that. Truly, that tiny piece of paper should have never been seen again, yet it still sits tucked safely away with our other vital records in their designated folders.
Q. What was your goal or intention for the Phase 2 experiment?
The bite-sized piece of my Phase 2 goal was to get at least a single client as I started my own bookkeeping business. I ended up signing a contract with a client prior to even forming my LLC. It was a miraculous experience for me. Here’s how I described it in our Facebook group:
I have so many things I want to share here, but for tonight, I’m narrowing it down to just one! LOL.
For about a year now I have been wanting to start my own home-based (virtual) bookkeeping business. I graduated with my accounting degree in December of 2019, and wanted to do bookkeeping as a side business, just to supplement my income when I had a full-time job, and because I love the bookkeeping and taxes part of accounting.
I won’t go into all the details, but a full-time accounting position, which I felt I needed in order to learn all the real-life application skills to venture out on my own, has eluded me. After a series of opportunities that were guaranteed to have hired me (I was told this by more than one organization), but were “missed” by a mere few hours of when I was led to the positions, I had to ask myself if perhaps God knew something more than I did.
And the truth was, a full-time, work-for-someone-else-outside-the-home job doesn’t line up with my life vision. 🤔🤔 However, I still have a need to support my family.
The last few weeks I’ve felt inspired to reach out to some people in particular about my idea. The first one loved the direction I would head in with my business ideas. I was ecstatic, but truly have no idea how to even get started.
I was led to an online group that offers everything from self-paced, free instruction to build an at-home bookkeeping business, to inexpensive tutorials, to a full-fledged academy option with coaching options for an entire year.
From this I felt a bit more confidence, and had some resources show up that made starting with some of the lower-priced self-help options accessible to me. My confidence grew a little more, although there is still a huge terror barrier staring me in the face.
And then, a shut-out-the-world scroll through Facebook….and my oldest friend from childhood posts that the non-profit she is Vice President of is in need of a bookkeeper. That she just can’t continue the extra load, and to reach out to her if anyone knows of someone.
Seriously, it was like a parting of the heavens. I could feel the Spirit screaming at me to message my friend. The other voices were there also. “You aren’t ready for this. Who do you think you are? You haven’t even passed your online certification yet….”
The list goes on. I told them all to shut up.
And I texted my friend.
I was contracted within a couple of hours. The next day I signed a 1-year contract and non-disclosure agreement. I met with my friend and the newly-hired controller via Zoom.
And I was offered contractor pay, which is almost double the current starting rate for an entry-level accountant.
My bite-sized piece of my short-term goal for GMM was to achieve at least 1 client to begin my bookkeeping gig.
I. AM. SO. EXCITED!
Once my lessons are completed again, I can officially submit my application for graduation!! Wahoo!!!
This journey has been the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. To change my own mind from who I was to who I am and continue becoming, has been life-altering.
I have lots of goals in life, but one thing I know for certain:
I will spend every day until I take my last breath sharing this knowledge with anyone who wants to learn a different way of life than just stuckness.
Q. How effective were you at being able to think truth in spite of appearances in assignment/lesson 18?
This has become much easier for me after the dozens of experiences I have had over the last year that “shouldn’t” have happened to or for me. I have been a part of so many experiences now that others find hard to believe, that thinking truth in spite of appearances has become much easier. The part I still struggle with are my own thoughts. Simply getting out of my own way.
Q. What would you tell someone who is facing their fear right now?
To not give up. We are blessed with challenges that provide us opportunities for growth, and fear is a natural part of it. Busting through the fear/terror barrier is the most exhilarating experience.
Well done, Bethany, and congratulations! Thank you for being such a powerful example of tenacity and commitment to true principles.
Bethany is training now to become a Rare Faith Program Facilitator. To learn more about the facilitator program, visit https://rarefaith.org/facilitator-program-track/.
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