For those who desire to maintain traditional roles

I stumbled onto an old message while looking for something else, and it’s prompted me to bring together in one place a few different conversations I’ve had on this topic. It’s not organized in any particular way, and my newsletter is already long overdue, so I’m going to just share it “as is” for now, and (maybe) clean it up later. It’s my blog, so I can do what I want, right?

If maintaining traditional roles in a marriage is not important to you, then check out some of my other articles listed at the right.

Otherwise, here we go…

Dear Leslie,

I am in need of some ideas in regards to the Law of Attraction and am hoping you will address this in a blog so it will be easy to find. I have read the forums and haven’t come across anything like this from the wife’s point of view. Two years ago, my husband and I started learning about the law of attraction. It was exciting and empowering and life changing. We have read and listened to much and changed much about our thinking and feeling. Yet, we continue to be stuck in the abundance of poverty including making things much worse than ever. Now, I know this is not an unusual comment for you to hear so bear with me for a couple of paragraphs.

My husband has been in sales and marketing for 23 years. He is good at it but has lost a fair number of jobs along the way. Since we started learning all this, it seemed that things would change but they haven’t. Just last week I had an ‘ah-hah’ moment during a discussion. For many years he would say in the midst of a good job, “I don’t like working for someone else.” Oh, my goodness, there it was. No matter how much we were changing, his overriding feeling was that he didn’t want to work for someone else and guess what? He now wasn’t! So the law was still in effect in spite of our learnings and changings.

So my big question, shared by several of my friends in similar situations, is, can one person’s thoughts or goals override another?  If one person is truly getting it, and yet the other doesn’t believe strong enough, how can things shift? I see many women start to get this and shift things majorly, yet they end up being the breadwinner of the family. This is not our intention or our goal, especially with children at home. So what I would like you to address if you can is what kinds of affirmations should the wife be making, what kinds of thoughts and feeling should we be generating? If a husband’s pattern is self-defeating or self-sabotaging, what’s a wife to be, do or think to make this work? Help!

I appreciate all you are doing and especially your take on it since we share the same religious values.

Sincerely,

Danielle T.

So I found that letter (which had been sent via snail-mail) as I was cleaning out some files, and I’m embarrassed to say that I’m not sure if I ever responded. But I no longer have this person’s contact information, so in case she reads my blog, I’m going to respond to it now.

The short answer is yes, one person’s faith, intention, or goal can override another person’s thinking (or lack thereof). Here’s how:

Your faith can be enough to cause something to happen, even if your spouse is full of doubt, depending on if YOU think it is enough. If YOU believe his or her doubt will have no effect, then YES your faith can be sufficient. See how it always comes back to how YOU think?

Chew on that for a minute.

But, before you take that to the bank, I need to add a disclaimer:

Especially in a marriage, it’s important that we do not bulldoze our way to our dreams in spite of our partner. We need to be really careful about how we apply the principles, because it does not serve us to keep one law “well”, if doing so violates another. All of the laws can be kept in harmony, if we apply them in wisdom and order.

Your relationships matter. Your partner’s feelings matter. Your commitment to each other matters. Be patient and choose a pace that works for the both of you, even if it means sacrificing some of your wants. This is my advice to married couples who want to stay married.

As Thomas S. Monson advised:

“Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved.” 

__________

Stay at Home Moms

Here’s another question I received, in a similar vein:

Hi Leslie! I am really struggling with what seems to be two conflicting ideas. I come to you as one who knows about both.

Here is my struggle that often brings me to tears. As a Latter Day Saint woman I am struggling with the conflict of following the council of our prophets and apostles to be a stay at home Mom while wanting to follow my dreams and become a motivational speaker for teens and women. I feel I cannot have both according to the council, why? Because speaking would pull me out of the home. I have studied our leaders words and they are very explicit on mothers staying home to raise their children unless circumstances arise where the mother has to work. I too am passionate about mothers staying home with their children. I believe it is of the utmost importance. The reason this is a conflict for me is because as much as I love being a mother and staying at home with my children, I don’t get much fulfillment – which breaks my heart. I wish just being a mom was fulfillment enough for me! I wish I could love staying at home all the time. Day in and day out I often feel depleted, forgotten, and alone. I feel like I am becoming more and more numb. I have forgotten how to laugh, how to have fun, how to smile because I feel I am not “allowed” to follow my dreams because if I did, it would take me out of the home.

What I really want is to make a meaningful contribution in the world. I want something I’m passionate about, something that drives me forward, something I love to read, study, and learn about. Something that brings me excitement, makes me want to get out of bed, gives me a reason to get cloths on, do my hair, exercise, etc.

So the conflict in me often eats me alive. I cry because I want to follow a dream and a passion but feel I can’t and I cry because I feel I am bad or wrong because being a mother doesn’t feel like enough. I feel I am drowning in the monotony of every day life. And the conflict is, I want BOTH! I want to be a stay at home Mom AND I want to follow my dreams and start becoming a motivational speaker. But how can I do both? I know the brethren talk about seasons. Yes, I could wait till my kids are all grown but to me that feels like it would take another 10-20 years of drowning before I could actually surface. And who knows if I would ever surface after that much repression. Do I do both? Do I set boundaries where I am not out of the home very often? What is your insight on being a Latter Day Saint stay at home Mom and following your dreams and goals??

Thanks so much!!

Heather

Hi Heather – I have so much to say on this topic! I’ve kept your message flagged for a time when I could give it the attention it deserves but things are crazy right now with my 5th grader needing help with her speech for student council elections, my 15 and 18 y/o sons’ double eagle court of honor, helping my college son find a car to replace the one that just gave up the ghost, and helping my daughter get ready for her mission in a few more weeks. Case in point, I guess… I’ve needed to make a conscious decision to set business aside for a while and just handle what’s right in front of me. I’ll be back in full swing again soon 😉

In the meantime, look at it like shifting your weight from one leg to the other. Back and forth. You can’t walk without the swing. There is no such thing as balance, as Sharon Lechter describes it. If you’re perfectly balanced over your two feet, you can’t move at all!

Anyway, if and when you come to any conclusions of your own I would love to hear what you’ve deduced. This may be a great topic for another blog post… 🙂

Thanks for your understanding!

Leslie

Related: How to Establish a Shared Vision That Will Lift Your Family (Ensign magazine, March 2018)

Hey Leslie! I totally understand! And I am sure you have much wisdom on this topic. I am excited to hear what you have to say.

I love the analogy of balance. That is so simple and profound. That helps a lot. Thank you!

I talked to a friend about this subject as well and she is an lds mom who owns her own business and is a top youth speaker and even singer. She won the lds Pearl Awards several years back. You may know her from her music – her name is Jessie Clark Funk. Anyway, as I was talking to her she said something that helped me a lot. She said, we often think we have to do all these things, follow all these steps, listen to all the experts right now to “make it” in whatever it is our dream is. But we often forget that there is no set timeline. The timeline is what is perfect for you and your family and savoring the seasons you are in while preparing for the next. We can do all we can now, but we don’t have to bust our butt thinking we have to do everything right now. I don’t know what it looks like to follow my dream while still enjoying the season I am in, especially with a new 4 week old, but I am determined to have “joy in any circumstance” and to me that is loving being a mother as well as following my dreams.

Thanks for your willingness to answer my questions and help me in this. I appreciate your perspective very much!

Thanks again! Heather

Heather, did you ever read my super long post about when I felt conflicted with goal achievement and marriage? The details aren’t exactly like yours, but the principle and feeling is very similar I think… I’m realizing I probably won’t ever get around to writing my whole collection of thoughts on this, but much of it has already been written so maybe the following can help. I realize it might not give you the answers you need, but it might spur some new thoughts that can bring you there, if this conflict is still a concern:
https://ararekindoffaith.com/the-hardest-thing-ive-ever-tried-to-write

Hope this message finds you well! Leslie

Oh my word Leslie! Thank you for sharing that blog post with me. I finally read it and you put words to the huge ah ha’s I have had this year! It makes me want to giggle and gasp because it is now a second witness to what I have been experiencing and what I am coming to understand is true!A few years ago I got deeply into the self help realm reading books, going to a bazillion Kirk Duncan events, attending all sorts of classes and in the process wanted to start a business with a friend all in the name of, “dreaming big” “living my purpose” “serving others” “following my dreams” etc. I was deceived into believing that I am powerful enough to make anything work and to create my life however I want it. While that might be true, just as in your post – it doesn’t mean I should. Well, during that time of lots of self help stuff, I became more and more confused, my vision and clarity got darker and darker. I couldn’t understand why. Especially when I would even wake up at 5am (I am so not a morning person) and study my scriptures and exercise and go to the temple weekly. I realized it was all to gain the things I wanted in my life rather than a desire to come closer to God. So needless to say, my spiritual practices were anything but spiritual. I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t feel light, peace, or even a fraction of the Spirit from my spiritual practices. After about a year of going through all of this I paused. I looked at my life and realized it was not better off with me going after my goals and dreams. I was more miserable, more depressed, I felt I had lost the spirit for quite some time, I couldn’t feel gods light or peace. I was lost and in the dark. I felt that I was literally a reflection of the scripture “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” 

I had lost myself in the pursuit of finding myself through growing my skills and talents and going after my dreams. I had never felt so lost. Ever! I couldn’t understand why. I was doing all the things the prosperity experts told me, why was my life so dark? Why were my relationships with my loved ones more distant? Why wasn’t things happening for me? Well, I realized that I quite honestly didn’t care what God wanted me to do because I was too excited about the life I was going to create. So, he let me alone and let me trod down a tough path until I was desperate enough to truly let go of what I wanted and then turn my heart to him. 

I, like you, stopped listening and attending anything that had to do with prosperity training. I let go of everything and didn’t even want to look at it or touch it. I had to find out the truth and I needed so badly the Lords light and peace back into my life. So I left everything alone for almost another year. It wasn’t until early this year that I started to pick things back up with a totally different mindset. One with more caution and much more aware for gods plan for me. In fact, your stuff is the only stuff I trust enough to pick back up. So I did. And I see prosperity principles in an entirely new light in a way I could never see them before. 

Anyway, I too felt that I had to be a martyr and give up on me and that my dreams just weren’t important. I cried about that a lot. But as I said before, I also cried a lot because I wanted to want to be ok with just being home and being a stay at home mom. But I just couldn’t, so that’s why I reached out to you for help. 

In the weeks of pondering and searching for answers I realized that as members of the church who have made temple covenants, I think we are a bit different from the rest of the world in that we covenant to serve and follow God. Thus it hit me, “my life is not mine, it is the Lord’s. I have made that covenant” so in a way I am not free to just say what I want my life to be like. I have an obligation to be a tool in his hands so therefore what I want ISN’T as important as I wanted it to be. But that is the beauty of it all, giving up what we want to serve God is really one of the highest form of joy. I never experienced that until I completely let go of what I wanted and let him direct me. He directed me to do something I was terrified of and literally fought him a year on, and that was having another baby. As you know, I gave in again to what he wanted (you saw my giant belly). The minute, no! the second I gave in I felt immediate peace!! And now, here my baby is, 2 1/2 months and I am so full of joy I can’t even express. God knew what I needed and wanted more than I did! In fact that statement has gone through my head any time I started to want to achieve a goal, “God knows what you want more than you know what you want.” It’s so true!

So, in regards to wanting so much to fulfill my dreams AND be a stay at home mom I realized I can do both. How? By changing my mindset. You see, with all the trainings I went to I was taught to think big, constantly think about it, envision it, make a vision board, etc. Basically, put all your focus into this thing till you have created it. So it caused me to believe that I can’t achieve something unless I am constantly working on it and thinking about it. Not true! A good friend who is also a successful business owner said to me, now may not be your season to totally jump into your dream but in the meantime, hold on to it and start digging in. Read about the topic, study it, but most of all have fun with it. Enjoy it! 

The next profound thing she said is, YOU HAVE TIME! You don’t have to accomplish it by any certain time, if it brings you fulfillment just by thinking about it, that is enough because eventually you will be called to do something and when the time is right it will be shown to you and then you can take off! 

That advice has literally changed my life! The realization that I have time!!! That just because it’s not up on my vision board or I’m not networking or whatever, doesn’t mean I’m not working on my dream. In fact two things you guys said at the bootcamp that has made a huge impact on this very thing is “Dreaming big doesn’t have to be big to the worlds standards, it can be big because even a small change is a big deal!” That has impacted me so much! That I don’t have to dream about 1 million dollars, I can take the small baby steps toward my dream and that could be as small as just smiling a real smile when you see strangers. And then the other thing that was said at bootcamp was, “you don’t have to know your dream or life purpose to start working on it.” That was so profound to me. 

So as I let go, and I move forward. I am a happy camper. I trust in God’s plan and timing and I also know that God will grant my dream if it is wisdom in him and if I am obedient.  But if not, then I know God will create something even better than I could imagine. 

So, what I am saying is yes! I have received my answer to that dilemma. And I am continuing to receive answers.. But seriously, that blog post is almost identical to the journey I went on! So crazy! And perfect for the answers and clarity I have been seeking. Thank you so much for sharing!!

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Dealing with fear in relationships

An anonymous letter from one of our Mindset Mastery participants:

I married someone who has a lot of struggles inside.  He is a good man, but as soon as we were married, he showed a temper I had no idea he had.  He never hurt me physically, but I was constantly worried about his reactions to everything, and when ANYTHING else in my life felt out of my control, I panicked, knowing I couldn’t keep peace with him, be a capable mom, and take care of whatever else was suddenly going on, and what his reaction would be.

His struggles are his, but for a while, he was more than willing to try to make them everyone’s, and I let him.  After nearly ten years of marriage, I put my foot down (trembling the whole time) and said things had to change, or we were through.  I couldn’t stand doing that, but his constant unreasonable outbursts were the way we gauged everything in our lives, and it wasn’t healthy for the children to be raised in that environment, or for me to live in fear of it.  He backed off considerably, much to my relief, but I realized, as the years passed, that he was who he was–even if he kept his outbursts limited and only in front of me–and his struggles were what they were, because in his heart, he hadn’t let go of whatever he struggled with emotionally, and he didn’t see it, either.  I knew that even if I walked away from this relationship, I’d still have to know how to handle my actions around someone like that since the chances of never encountering an angry or insecure person again were pretty small.  

I began praying more than ever, but my prayers changed.  I wanted to know how to help and support my husband, how to be the mom that empowered her children, and to be so secure and peaceful inside myself, that no one could shake my faith or my confidence.  I had been raised to worry about what everyone thought, and to “make them happy.”  I hadn’t bought into that (I thought), but when I got married, that original programming came out like a hidden monster.  It was not like me to be so rattled, but I’m grateful it happened, because it showed me the monster, and it showed me that I had a choice as to what to do about it.  

At this time (which was at about 15 years), several things showed up for me, and the Jackrabbit Factor was one of them.  I started to dream about things I never knew could even be done, and realized I was not a victim, but had subconsciously been telling myself I was one.  All of the resentment, frustration, and defeat because of my fear to push too far surfaced in a glaring light.  I had a health condition that pushed me to the edge mentally, emotionally and physically.  Prayers turned into meditation as well, and petitions for an occasional Priesthood blessing.

At the beginning of the Mindset Mastery Program I knew I had to grow more than I had, because I felt that while I had “learned much,” I was not progressing past a certain point.  I felt I had done a lot of work, but there was still some fear that wouldn’t let me get past the “wall”–something I now refer to as “The Terror Barrier.”  I felt my Father in Heaven was more than happy to let me choose what to do, but I had to decide to do it.  I kept forgetting that He was on my side–I just had to believe it and be on His.  There was a line I was afraid to cross, and I always held back.

My goal was to be myself, to cross that line and not be so “trained” by fear that I would always quit right before that place of freedom was reached.  I was tired of living in a land of “what-ifs” and “when-you’re-in-a-corner-give-up-or-you-won’t-get-out.”  I wanted to be firm about standing up to my husband when needed, but coming from a place of love, and forgiving him, and loving him while being steadfast and immovable.  I wanted my choices to be about what was right, and not worry if he was desperate to be the one who was right.  He could do what he wanted, but I wasn’t going to hold back when things got intense, anymore.

I thought of all of my scriptural heroes, who had so much opposition, but so much faith that no one could make them do or say anything that they didn’t feel was reconciled with God and His will.  I wanted to be like that.  I realized many times, that the only thing keeping me from breaking out of the prison I had made for myself in my subconscious was the fear that my kids would suffer emotionally if I really ever told my husband my true opinions or feelings at times when it could bring a negative reaction from him.

I also realized that I was setting the example for my children, of being afraid, and of not standing up to someone when it was the right thing, even if the conversations that were intense happened in private with my husband.  Also, I wanted to show my kids that being angry back was not the answer.

This all got wrapped up in my goal in the Mindset Mastery Program. After I set the goal to let go of fear and trust God, one of the things that happened to help me push through the Terror Barrier was a blessing I received, telling me to not be afraid of the reactions of my husband, and to move forward, without fear, because God would take the fear away if I asked. I could easily fall back into fear if I wanted, but I made a choice, and got it out of my head and into my heart. I decided that whatever happened, it would be okay, and I haven’t looked back, even though it’s sometimes tempting to do so!  I just tell myself–I am creating a great life moment by moment with God, and I am so grateful for everything!  I’m grateful even for the challenges, because even though I don’t understand everything, I know God loves His children, and good will come of everything, somehow. 

I have a choice, and I choose to believe.

We have been married now over twenty years this week, and my oldest is getting ready to be married. She has chosen wisely, and I’m so grateful for that! More work will always need to be done, because new goals will always need to be set, but for the first time in a very long time, I no longer make every choice based on the reaction–or possible reaction–of others.  It is so freeing and healing to no longer be Pavlov’s dog.  The learning that has happened as a result of this relationship may not have happened if things had been easier, so I’m grateful for that, too.  Like I said before–I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m excited about it now, instead of being defeated and resigned to something I have to fear.  What does that mean, exactly?  I guess we’ll see–one choice at a time as I draw closer to Christ.

My response:

Thank you for taking the time to share such a tender, difficult story. You’ve done an amazing job at using the principles to transition to a better place. There are a lot of women (and men, I’m sure) who live under the same kind of fear every day.  Thank you for allowing me to share it (anonymously). I also want to commend you for your stedfast intentions to make the changes with love and consideration for your husband, rather than out of animosity or defense.  I’m sure it’s not always easy even still (even the most ideal situations have their rough spots), but I’m especially grateful because your story paints a beautiful picture of what’s possible, which I’m sure will help others create a more healthy vision for themselves.

Congratulations on your good, hard work. I hope you will continue to stay in touch and keep me updated on your victories, as I’m sure this is only the beginning. 🙂

Her last reply shows what an amazing person she really is, and it paints a vivid picture of the kind of person we might all aspire to be:

I’m glad if it can help people… I was walking on eggshells for so long, and even the money I was given was limited and scrutinized and criticized.  If I didn’t stop talking to whomever I was talking to on the phone, or stop doing what I was doing and do what he wanted, he would get upset and I would worry about the kids.  If I left a room without turning the light out right away, I got reprimanded.  

I know now that my financial–and physical, spiritual, intellectual, mental, and emotional–state are something I can create with my Father in Heaven, and I have a choice. Not everyone knows that. I don’t know what good may come of all of this, but I do know good will come of it–and much already has–and I’m grateful for all the experiences. Whenever I feel that resentment is wanting to work its way back into my heart, I do something to serve my husband. He doesn’t usually notice, and if he does, he doesn’t seem to appreciate it, but that’s not why I do it. I do it because it’s who I am, whether it seems he “deserves” it or not. Plus, it helps bring gratitude and love into my heart, and I want to be that person. What we send out comes back, too, as you well know. But whether I get anything for it or not, it helps me to be better, it changes how I feel, and it shows love where I could show frustration or anger. God knows what I do, and that’s truly enough for me. He is my Father, and I am His child, and I love doing things that help me to feel I’m doing my best to be like Him. I love my husband–I can honestly say that. Those that seem to “deserve” love the least, usually need it the most. So, maybe, some of the good that will come from all of this is to share it with others–I can definitely see that.  I have every belief that that is true. God was on my side all along, I just wouldn’t see it; I didn’t know how. Maybe this will help others who feel the same way. I do want to come from a place of love, and if there’s ever a time when I can tell I won’t, I wait. If what I have to say is needed, the time will come when I feel right in addressing it, and from that place where the Spirit dwells, instead of contention.

Thank you for your words, Leslie.  After reading your books and hearing your podcasts and reading your blog, I’ve come to see your words as those of an old friend–I hope you don’t mind; they do bring me joy and comfort… Thank you for being you.

This dear woman is a Mindset Mastery Program participant. Learn more about the Mindset Mastery program here.

The 12-week Mindset Mastery Program is not to be confused with the 8-week Mindset Fundamentals Ecourse. The Fundamentals Ecourse is a powerful exploration of the principles that govern success, and takes an introductory approach for effective goal setting. By contrast, the Mastery Program is more focused on the *implementation* of the principles and the *achievement* of your goals. It is full of interesting assignments that take you step-by-step through two experimental goals, challenging your thought processes, helping you experience success, and setting up a pattern in your thinking that you will be able to utilize over and over for effectiveness with all of your future goals. I hope you’ll join me in one of these programs, to help you take your understanding and success to the next level in ALL the different areas of your life.

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My Unsolicited Marriage Advice

A friend wrote me about someone’s failing marriage. She said, “..they knew they were supposed to get married [but it was] before they had an opportunity to fall in love.” And now they are divorcing because they are so wrong for each other.

Well, here’s what I have to say about that:

They married before they had an opportunity to fall in love?

Did they forget that love is not something that happens to them, but something they’re supposed to DO? As if love is a noun, and not a verb.

Marriage is a commitment to learn how to love – it’s a lifelong pursuit, even in the best of marriages! The marriage covenant is what binds us together during those times when we don’t feel loving – it’s the glue that keeps us together until we come to ourselves and try loving each other again—else what is the promise for??

It’s the bond that holds the family unit together during the rough patches when only one of the partners feels like doing his/her part. This is what marriage is – a contract that society is leaving behind.

Sounds like they are expecting a fairy tale to me. All the fairy tale lovers who wake up one day and wonder where the magic went… what they wouldn’t give to have had a sure answer from God about what was right (like these two did).

Even if they had felt the “fall in love” feeling in the beginning, nobody can expect that “fall in love” feeling to last forever. And if they knew it was right before God even without that “feeling”, then what a gift they received. Thereafter, it was simply their opportunity to create the feeling.

To think it needs to be there from the beginning and forever after, let me tell you: that’s truly a fairy tale. This doesn’t mean you can’t feel more and more deeply in love as you go – you should! But you create that fairy tale love by paying a price: by working through challenges, sacrificing for one another, and sharing your life together.

Here’s where too many people get it wrong:

The price for that kind of fairy tale love cannot be paid without challenges to work though, sacrifices to make, and sharing a life while working and sacrificing. So, the sooner you can look at the challenges as a gift, and tenaciously do your best to respond well to them, your love will grow.

No matter what twitter-pated lovebirds feel before having an opportunity to prove their love through hardships, what they feel up front can NEVER compare to the feeling that comes as a reward for letting challenges bring them together instead of apart.

But it takes charity, as described by the apostle Paul in the Bible. If they both had a confirmation that they should marry each other – what a revelation! What knowledge! What a mystery revealed!

But now this:

“…though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

In other words, the revelation of who to marry is worthless if they do not continue on in charity toward each other. But if they do, what love can be built!

Here is the best marriage advice ever given:

“…Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-7)

Show me a person who lives by this creed, and in time, you will find a person who experiences something more grand, more rewarding, and more everlasting than any fairy-tale love. Yes, even if only ONE of the partners lives by it. Jesus Christ showed this kind of love to the vilest of sinners, never once receiving it to the same degree in return. He is the bridegroom, and showed us by the way he treated the church how we must treat our spouse.

And this kind of love is what changes people.

With this Christ-like love, hearts soften, wounds heal, inadequacies are filled, and injustices are eventually compensated. Yes, it’s a lofty ideal, but it’s worth the life-long effort to achieve it.

The adversary has developed tools that twist reality (movies, books, porn, etc) to confuse us about what we should expect out of marriage. I hope your friend is smart enough to know the difference between reality and fiction. Some people just don’t get it, but I really hope he does.

Love is a choice. It’s something you DO. It’s not something that happens TO YOU …at least not the kind that lasts.

(There is at least one exception to this: the love that Christ has for YOU. That love is freely given, and yours without condition. It is something that can happen TO you, as you allow it. Seek Him. And as you feel it from Him, you’ll more easily have it to give to your spouse and others.)

If only people could take the thousands of dollars normally spent on the wedding, and instead save it to celebrate the marriage after they’ve made it 25-50 years. Oh, what a worthy and deserved celebration that would be!

Rant over.

PS. I understand there are life-threatening circumstances and other situations that warrant divorce. But I also believe it happens too often with situations that do not.

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So… my husband lost his job

It’s been a very interesting New Year! As we said goodbye to 2016, there was a feeling in the air that change was coming.

So when my husband noticed an interesting position posted at (I’ll call it “Company B”, a vendor for his current employer), I told him: “You should look into it…”

Husband: “I was thinking about it…”

Me: “I’m wondering why you’re still standing there.”

Chuckling, he disappeared into his office. He messaged his friend (the man he knew from Company B), and based on their relationship, he fully expected an eager, enthusiastic response. But two weeks went by and there was no reply at all.

Oh well, we both thought. I guess it wasn’t meant to be.

Then on January 13th my husband came home early, at about 10:00 am. A forced smile held back a flood of emotions as he sat down and broke the news to me that he had just been let go.

I was surprised, but not really. We had been feeling change coming, but didn’t know this is what the change would be. Remembering the Law of Polarity, I said, “Okay. This is good!”

He took a deep breath and said, “I choose to believe this is going to turn into something amazing.”

I agreed.

Let me pause to provide a little bit of back story for context. Here’s the sum up:

  • 1991-1997 – Really hard financial struggles.
  • 2000 – Big breakthrough, tripled our income in 3 months, started teaching seminars on what we learned. I tell the story in this video.
  • 2004 – Moved to our dream home pictured here.
  • 2005 – Released my books The Jackrabbit Factor and Hidden Treasures: Heaven’s Astonishing Help with Your Money Matters, international best-sellers (free downloads, by the way).
  • 2006 – Husband quit job to help me run the books/seminar business full time.
  • 2007 – Invested too much money in real estate at the TOP of the market.
  • 2008 – The real estate market tanked and we worked overtime trying to hold it all together.
  • 2009 – New breakthroughs – had our biggest month to that point: $43,000. Published the sequel, Portal to Genius to describe all I had learned since releasing The Jackrabbit Factor.
  • 2011 – Husband returned to the 9-5 workforce to heal our strained relationship and begin working a longer-term plan with a stronger foundation. I stepped back from doing the business full time to recover, heal, and focus m0re on the family (instead of speaking as much as I used to).
  • 2012 – Sold our dream home and started working the new plan.
  • 2015 – Finally dared to begin dreaming again.

So, for the last couple years we’ve just been plugging away at the long-term plan and have been feeling pretty great.

I tell you all THAT to tell you THIS:

2012 was probably one of the hardest years we’d ever had. Our finances were in the biggest mess they’d ever been in, and when the market plummeted, we couldn’t sell our investments, people who owed us money couldn’t pay, and because the ripple effect was devastating, we also became those people.

I watched my husband’s self esteem shrink to pretty much nothing and I was not able to encourage him. I myself was just as depleted, and instead of being his greatest support, I was openly critical. I was exhausted, embarrassed, disappointed, and angry that my business had gone from a hobby I loved (because of how it helped people), to something I hated (because it was now needed for paying gigantic real estate bills).

So I’ve seen him broken and depressed. I’ve seen him completely paralyzed and unable to think of solutions. I’ve seen him beat himself up because he knew better, but still couldn’t shake the darkness.

To illustrate where we were at and what we were feeling at the time, let me paint a picture. I wanted to approach our problems with the belief that anything was possible (I was still teaching it, after all), and that we could just apply the principles and turn things around. But I wanted him to solve it, because I was exhausted. However, while I knew he could apply Rare Faith to solve it, I struggled to believe that he would. I was too tired, and he was stuck in despair.

After years of running the business 12-16 hours/day while trying to homeschool 7 kids, I ran out of steam altogether. My husband was doing all he could to help build and support the systems that delivered our product, but didn’t have direct control over creating the paycheck like I did as the marketer. I berated him for letting me shoulder the burden of the bills, and he wondered why I kept jumping in all the time instead of trusting him t0 figure something out.

Ironically, I had encouraged him to quit his job five years earlier to help me with the business. But now I wanted nothing to do with it, and I wanted him to solve the problem—even though he no longer had his best source of income for solving it. Still, he kept telling me to slow down and let him handle it. I don’t know why it was so hard to let go.

(Actually, I do know why, but that’s a long story. Read The Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Tried to Write for more about that).

Regardless, it was time.

So the next big bill came along, and I let him own it, no matter the outcome. I wasn’t even tempted to step in. But he couldn’t think of a single thing he could do to generate the money. I was too fatigued to implement any of my ideas, and all he could think of was to ask our Bishop for help. I thought, If this is the only thing he can think of, and if I’m really committed to letting him solve this, I need to support him in however he chooses to solve it.

Yes, this meant me showing up at the Bishop’s storehouse for a food order. We had plenty of long term food storage, but needed help with the weekly fresh foods.

Yes, this also meant running into people who knew my books and probably wondered why the Jackrabbit Factor lady needed welfare. I remember standing outside thinking, If I’m too proud to go in there and accept some help while we put our life back together and re-establish how we want our relationship to work, then I’m in a worse condition than I thought. 

Trusting the experience would be good for my soul, I took a deep breath and walked through those doors.

After a couple visits, consciously swallowing my pride each time, I told my husband, “I think you should take a turn.” I knew his pride was already shot full of holes, but facing humiliation head on can sometimes really shift things, as I discovered. After all:

  • Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  • Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
  • Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

So yes. I told him, “I think you should take a turn.”

My sweet husband answered, “That’s the least I can do.”

In time, he swallowed his pride even more and took a 9-5 job at 2/3 his previous salary so we could rebuild with a little bit of stability and give me a break.

A paper sack on the path: something to be grateful for, even if it wasn’t the ultimate goal.

Fast forward to just a few weeks ago, when he lost that job of five years.

We very quickly learned how far we’ve come. It surprised us, how natural it felt to think optimistically, in spite of the blow. It shocked us that we were able to feel increasingly excited about all the possibilities—all the things we could do with our future.

His options were now completely wide open!

He allowed himself to feel relief that he didn’t have to be at that job anymore, and we looked for evidence that the Lord was not only aware, but probably orchestrating things to bring us to even greater opportunities and blessings.

Thus, we began talking about all the reasons this “setback” was good:

  1. With all the experience he had gained over the last 5-6 years, he was now more marketable than he had ever been before.
  2. He had been unhappy and thinking about leaving anyway, but didn’t feel like quitting was the responsible thing to do. In some ways, it makes it easier when they just decide for you that you’re done.
  3. Because they let him go, he received severance, which would not have been available to him if he had left on his own.
  4. We had been hoping for a chance to finish the online school we had been revamping, so that the online version of the Mindset Mastery™ program could finally re-open for students. We thought, maybe this will give us the opportunity to finish it! And, by offering a more affordable format to our readers, the potential revenue could be more than 4 times what he was making at the job.
  5. We’ve already been through MUCH WORSE, so we knew we were going to be okay, no matter how this was going to play out.
  6. We’ve been independent business owners before, and while we didn’t really want to depend on our business to pay the bills again, we knew it could if we needed it to. (The advantage and power of having previously taken action to build multiple streams of income).
  7. Our relationship has never been stronger, and we’ve never been so trusting of the principles at the same time (instead of one of us being up while the other is down, or vice versa). Not an easy thing to do! But now we know it’s possible. So facing this together was proving to be a deeply rewarding experience instead of the opposite, as we had experienced before.
  8. We had been listening to Dave Ramsey and trying to follow his advice for the last few years, so we had a decent emergency fund in place—not fully funded, but better than nothing. I have to say, it is SO TRUE—the promise that if ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.

The promise was never, “If ye are prepared, ye shall not suffer.” It was that “if ye are prepared, ye shall not FEAR.”

Because truly, fear is the real enemy. When you do not fear, you qualify for blessings that cannot be given if fear is present:

“Behold and lo, mine eyes are upon you, and the heavens and the earth are in mine hands, and the riches of eternity are mine to give. Ye endeavored to believe that ye should receive the blessing which was offered unto you; but behold, verily I say unto you there were fears in your hearts, and verily this is the reason that ye did not receive.” (Doctrine and Covenants 67:2-3)

Needless to say, it only took a few minutes and we were feeling pretty excited and grateful for the blessing of his unexpected termination. Not without a little bit of apprehension, of course, but every time the worry crept in, we consciously kicked it out and focused on all of the happy possibilities.

Within 30 minutes of his termination, and just as we were talking about the possibilities, he received a reply from Company B’s representative: “Yes! I would love to talk to you about the position – how about breakfast on Tuesday at 8 am?”

Isn’t that interesting.

We were reminded about our experience at the restaurant in 2009 when we were at the end of our money, had no credit, and needed to find $15,000 in just a couple weeks. We had decided to forget about our immediate problems long enough to allow ourselves to get excited about what we’d be doing in ten years, after we had figured it all out. That’s when the waiter announced the meal was on the house, and that’s the month we ended up making $43,000.

We’ve learned that as long as we focus on where we’re going, and the happy outcome we expect to enjoy as though it’s already been accomplished, things just work out.

I dare you to test it.

Together, we’ve been testing it regularly now for about five years. As we raise our large family with all the unexpected expenses and needs that come with that, we’ve often wondered where the needed resources would come from. But as we strive to keep an optimistic, faithful approach, our needs have been met unfailingly, and without compromising our values.

It continues to prove itself to be a true and DEPENDABLE principle.

This job loss experience (okay I’m going to say it: he was fired!), is proving to be no different.

However, even though we were choosing optimism, we still didn’t know if the new job was going to work out, or if it would be the right next step for him to take. But the one thing we knew for sure: things always go better when we are optimistic.

Especially when we choose optimism and let go of our concern about how things will turn out. It’s a type of surrendering.

Related: How to Surrender (and why you’d want to)

By evening when it was time to tell the children, we had worked ourselves up into such a feeling of excitement that we told them it was time for a celebration! We announced that we needed to celebrate because Dad was just let go!

As he explained what had happened, he paused and said, “Wait…this happened on Friday the 13th… Seriously??” Everyone was like, WHOA… but then he added, “I thought nothing good was supposed to happen on that day!”

🙂

Originally, they were shocked, but after rehearsing to them all the reasons we believed this was happening because the Lord needed Dad more somewhere else, they understood.

We told them, “We have no idea how this is going to play out, but we trust that He is leading us. We just wanted you to understand why we might be saying no to some things, or eating food storage for a while until we get it all figured out.”

They were humbled, and supportive.

So anyway, instead of lamenting his loss (been there, done that, far too often, and for far too long…) we spent most of the day imagining the possibilities.

The next morning (Saturday), he had an idea come to him like a flash of intelligence, accompanied by a flood of details. (The Portal to Genius is real! You should really come experience it at Genius Bootcamp!) He immediately went to the computer and posted the following on a neighborhood Facebook group:

Yesterday my employment was terminated unexpectedly, so I’m now freed up to help you out. (Yay!)

I’m not looking for pity – I want to teach my seven children the value of work. I’m not too good for ANY honest work.

I have a little savings, so I’m ok for a little while, and I thought it would be fun to try an experiment.

So, here’s the deal: I will bring my own tools, and you supply the materials. I do work for you, you pay me whatever you feel it was worth – no questions asked.

Yep, simple as that. I have faith in God and in the humanity of people, and want to show my four boys that they aren’t too good for any honest work, and that as they rely on God and go to work with the resources they have available to them, their needs will be met.

I believe in Win-Win. If you don’t win, neither will I!

Need something fixed or created? I can help!

  • Home repair
  • Sprinkler repair
  • Furniture repair
  • Welding
  • Metal Signs (cut on a CNC machine)

I LOVE to build, repair, and create things. I’ve rehabbed homes over the years (outside of my normal computer software job), and I’m good at it. I can do just about anything, but if what you need isn’t something I am good at, I’ll let you know.

Disclaimer: I am not a contractor and I don’t have a license. I don’t have a business entity for this, and I’m not bonded nor insured, so I can’t do the jobs that require such. Also, if I get more requests than I can handle, I’ll choose the projects that seem like the best fit for my skills.

(My wife doesn’t know I’m doing this – hope I won’t be sleeping in the doghouse for it, haha)

Let’s have some fun and see where this goes!

PM me with your needs and I’ll let you know if it’s something I could do a good job with. I’m available to start today!

Immediately requests began to come in. He was out working that very day, and every day thereafter while he waited to see what might come of the job opportunity with Company B. One of our teenage sons even went with him as an apprentice (never let a good opportunity be wasted, right?)

He laid carpet, built cabinetry, fixed sprinklers, hung shelves, and performed a myriad of miscellaneous handyman tasks. Gratefully, he brought home some pretty good money, which put us ahead.

Quite a contrast from the last time life needed him to get creative.

My husband felt happy and free, and was having more FUN than he’d had in a long time. Yes, the concern would creep in sometimes, but we just kept replacing it with action, and optimism.

More than once he told me that he felt like he wasn’t just finding his feet; he had been pushed out of the nest, and was finding his WINGS.

Can I just say? We LOVE the feeling that the Lord is actively involved in our life, and we LOVE the opportunity to show our kids a better way to respond to setbacks than what they saw last time.

What a wonderful opportunity it has been, to discover for sure that we ARE different than who we were, even just 5 years ago. There’s no way we could have known this about ourselves without the opportunity to face something “awful” like this.

So the Tuesday interview went well. As did the Thursday follow-up. He was offered a position on Friday, but felt like he should negotiate a better package. Calming our nerves all weekend, by the next Tuesday they had come to an agreeable offer. It provides a higher salary than his last job, a wider array of potential opportunities in the future, the opportunity to work from home 3 days a week, and a little bit of travel.

A few other interesting things that convince us there was a divine plan behind it:

  • The man whose position he’s filling resigned the same morning my husband was fired.
  • Because he found another job so quickly, the severance pay helps us very quickly achieve one of our goals that we thought would take much longer.
  • Through a conversation because of his job loss with another former employee, my husband learned about a job opportunity that was exactly what my daughter has been looking for. She was hired and started that job two days ago.
  • And a whole lot more that I’m not going to take the time or space to explain here.

I’m just here to say that as scary as change can be, there’s no question that the Lord is mindful of ALL of us, and orchestrates things for our good when we do our best to stay faithful. Believe in good things! Optimism opens doors to opportunities that may otherwise remain hidden.

So if you’re feeling worried or stuck now, just imagine what you’ll be doing (and especially how you’ll be feeling) after you’ve finally solved the problem. Live THERE for a while, refuse to worry, have Rare Faith, and watch your world shift to a better place.

In gratitude,

Leslie

PS. If you struggle to have faith in the middle of a crisis, read Hidden Treasures: Heavens Astonishing Help with Your Money Matters – (it’s FREE!)

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