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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Feeling guilty – Moms and Money

Question from Wendy:

Leslie,

I have a question that I hope you can help me with. In reading lesson 13 or 14 [of Mindset Mastery] I found part of the answer in your “temporary imbalance”. This is a good analogy and seems to answer the question about juggling the needs of your children while trying to run a successful business.

[But] I am struggling with some baggage that I can’t seem to figure out what to do with.

The baggage is this– sometimes I let my children be my excuse why I can’t succeed – it seems to be like the “money is evil” thing for me. But it is “mom’s who make money aren’t as righteous as mom’s who stay home full time and take care of their children.” Logically, I have several problems with this. One being that I have an Aunt who has all her children grown and she is now trying to get into her married son’s business and insist they have a grand baby for her?? Ok, so that is too weird, certainly, but I can see that it is because she dedicated her whole life to her children, and had nothing once that they all left. Surely our ultimate goal as parents is to put our selves out of a job, but it seems that there is a very fine balance between being to involved outside the home, and not having a life outside of your children…

I am currently working full time as an RN while my husband is in school full time. This has been really hard on our family and although I love the work I do, it always pulls me away from my children. I went from being a full time stay home homeschooling mom, to full time work almost over night after my husband came home from work complaining of stroke-like symptoms. This, after multiple “smaller warnings” from his body that he was not doing well. Anyway, in the car with 5 of my children wondering what I will do if my husband dies (not a happy drive home), I decided that I would have to get my RN license back and start working again. We have chosen to only have one person working at a time, always trying to have a stay home parent. This has been good for my husband’s health issues and given him the needed time to go back to school and go into a field that I hope will bring him fulfillment and joy, as well as provide well for our family.

So I guess I am hoping you have some ways that (as an LDS woman who is striving to make money) you have overcome this conflict. I guess I assume you have had to deal with it as I have in relief society and in homeschool groups. Not that what they think is really important to me, except it is what my “programming” is already saying.

Any help you have and ideas that will help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Wendy

Here’s my Answer:

Hi Wendy,

I wish I had time to spill all my guts about this one… it’s been a wrenching journey of my own to come to a conclusion I feel good about, and I am pretty sure it’s going to be part of what comes out in the Jackrabbit Factor sequel [update: which it did – read it free at PortaltoGenius.com], but let me just say this:

I’m convinced that Beverly Cleaver did our society a disservice. Since when in ALL of history, since God created the world, has woman EVER been able to sit at home and dust the shelves and read to her kids all day? She has always worked the fields, and done all kinds of manual labor just to keep the home running. What have all of our conveniences done for us? Should they have justified our right to watch tv with the kids and fold laundry while we’re entertained? Or should it have freed us up to make a more meaningful contribution, not just to our families, but to humanity at large? For what other purpose was the Relief Society organized? To make crafts for our home so that it can be the beautiful place where we teach our children that it’s wrong for mother to work?

Don’t get me wrong – I think it’s always better if the mother can be the one who is home. But as the prophets have said, sometimes there has to be individual adaptations, and you can be grateful that you have a marketable skill that can help in your situation with an ailing husband. Either way, kids need a nurturing parent, and they need to SEE how we make our contributions to the family and to others. It sets an example of industry.

And (as you’ll see more completely in your Mindset Mastery lessons), what matters more that what you do is how you feel about what you’re doing, and how you talk about it with the kids. Things really changed when I stopped apologizing to them for being so busy, and instead rallied their help for the cause, because “this is what our family does.”

I also strongly believe that when women’s traditional labors were turned over to automatic machinery, that should have freed us up to follow and act upon the sparks in our hearts that God gave us to make a difference in society… to bring RELIEF to our SOCIETY, in whatever form or fashion we feel driven.

Yes, it’s easier to work outside the home sometimes. There are less distractions, and a great feeling of being appreciated. I’ve been there. It can lure a person into a permanent set up, which has in some cases lead to the disintegration of the family. You have to follow the Spirit and do the right thing for your family, no matter what anyone else may say or think. If you’re doing what the Spirit directs, you don’t have to worry about the outcome.

It’s not the easy thing to combine motherhood with the work we do. But it’s possible, and during those temporary seasons of imbalance, the children’s dormant abilities will begin to sprout.

For example, my kids have learned that sometimes if they want dinner, they have to step up to the plate and make it happen. When they are motivated by a need, it’s no longer an assigned chore, it’s a contribution to the family, and they feel the psychic reward that comes from stepping into leadership of their own choice. If they choose to go hungry instead, then they get what they choose. I know this sounds harsh, but it’s life… and where better to learn it than in the home? Even my 5 year old has learned that she can be responsible for feeding herself a sandwich or cereal if something hasn’t been made FOR her.

What about the family meals around the table? We do those as often as we reasonably can, because we feel those are important. Like I said, I’m talking about temporary seasons of imbalance – not permanent ones.

Well, this is already more than I planned to say, but hopefully it’s helpful. Believe me when I say I’ve felt guilty for working as much as I do, but I have to wonder, why on earth would God give me the ideas I get if he didn’t want me to do something with them? Every time I deny them, I feel the Spirit leave. Every time I honor them, and develop them, even at the expense of getting the laundry done or whatever, I feel the Spirit supporting and guiding me. I’ve had to come to the conclusion that it’s the adversary who wants me to shrink and NOT do all I know I can do.

Even my patriarchal blessing says: “Have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in your work as well, and you shall accomplish the purposes you have in mind.” When I got the blessing, that part really bothered me, because I didn’t want to have any work to do. I just wanted to be Mom. I had no idea that I had a work to do, but now I know it’s true, and I cannot let anyone else’s opinion of how I spend my time get in the way of it.

The scripture that has given me the most peace about it is this one from Proverbs 31:

10 ¶ Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
14 She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
15 She ariseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

To me, this means that the picture-perfect wife at home doing light domestic chores and coddling the kids cannot compare to a woman who is THIS busy. Thank heavens… because I wouldn’t want anyone to come take a picture of ME while I do what I do all day long! When you’re as busy as I am with seven children and an international business that we run out of our home, there isn’t time to keep my hair in highlights, or my fingernails in acrylic. I’m lucky if I get a shower sometimes. And I LOVE my life – wouldn’t have it any other way. There is so much joy in being industrious.

I’m not one who runs a perfect better-homes-and-garden household and struggles with the feeling of: “I don’t know who I am anymore”! Furthermore, when the kids are gone, I will not be left wondering, “So, now what do I do??”

Again, I love my life and I know I’m doing the right thing. I haven’t always been so sure, but I’ve scrutinized each step along the way, hoping I was making the right choice, and have been glad I did. I don’t question it so much anymore. I’m sure there is a “right” path for you, too. It may be different than what you think, so just stay open minded and ask for direction and peace of mind about it as you go.

Sincerely,

Leslie

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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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