How to overcome personal weakness and achieve personal success

When I think of overcoming obstacles and achieving spiritual success, my mind immediately turns to the powerful armory of assistance the gospel of Jesus Christ offers. We as members of the Church of Jesus Christ have every reason to desire and expect success when we have access to the following:

Sincere, honest prayer. This is the most direct way of communicating our goals, desires, needs and our thanks to our Heavenly Father and of enlisting His aid in achieving righteous desires.- Scripture study. This is another tool in overcoming obstacles. As I search and ponder the scriptures in efforts to overcome my own obstacles, I am blessed with counsel and examples, and I conclude my study encouraged and taught.

Church programs. These programs are a constant source of information and encouragement toward spiritual success. Several years ago, a neighboring ward Relief Society started a summer enrichment program centered around goal-setting and the Pursuit of Excellence. This Relief Society continues each year to invite all the sisters in our area to attend its four Tuesday nights of excellent speakers and workshops. The workshops and speakers have helped me to put into practice the words of the prophets, to improve the quality of my scripture study and to increase my feelings of self-worth.

Support and fellowship. Sometimes disguised as opportunities for service, support and fellowship have always been available through Church membership. Often, when I've felt at an impasse with personal problems, I have found answers through a telephone call from someone asking for my help. A little while outside my own problems has often brought fresh perspective, as well as a knowledge that I was not alone. - Lanniece Lewis, Little Rock, Ark.

Additional Information

How to checklist:

1 Seek help through prayer, scriptures, fellowship.

2 Know atonement is for help with weakness, as well as sin.

3 Set goals; serve, which gives fresh perspective.

4 Develop positive attitude; don't give up.

`I pressed on'

When we stretch our limits and boundaries, we will inevitably encounter opposition and difficulty. The winner in life is the one who has the courage to overcome these barriers and grow from them. As a young man, I was left without any family before completing my education. It would have been easy to quit school and feel sorry for myself. Being reared in a family where success was not only encouraged but also expected (my father and grandfather were both successful military pilots), I pressed on. I completed my education thanks to an athletic scholarship, became a fighter pilot in the Air Force and achieved the goals I had set for my military and civilian careers.

After joining the Church at age 28, I found myself with a new set of goals: to receive my endowment, marry in the temple and become the best husband and father. Three years later, I have only achieved the first of those goals. However, I know that with dedication, a willingness to make the sacrifices that may be necessary and never compromising my values, I will be able to achieve spiritual success. - Bob Brewer, West Valley City, Utah

Possible through God

I was born with severe spinal problems. I went through 20 surgeries before my 18th birthday. The only true way I've been able to overcome weaknesses -whether they be physical or emotional - is through Heavenly Father. Although I've only been a member of the Church for a short time, I know deep within my heart that through Jesus Christ, we can overcome any weakness. If we have a great love for the scriptures, we can really find answers to everything through reading the words of God. I have achieved personal success through my love for God and the gospel. If I can do it, I truly believe that anyone can. Remember, all things are possible through God. - Olivia Nolan, Scappoose, Ore.

Calm soul

Throughout my life I've been taught that we could go to our Heavenly Father about our weaknesses and He would help us become strong. I finally gained a testimony of this principle.

I was petrified of getting behind the wheel of a car. Approaching my mid-20s, I felt ridiculous calling other people for a ride, and embarrassed to tell anyone new about my fear. But Heavenly Father was always there and strengthened me through many prayers and practice. He took the fear away so that I could get behind the wheel with a calm soul.

A year has gone by and no trace of the fear exists. I now have a greater capacity to serve others which fills me with joy.

No matter what your weaknesses may be, remember the promise our Father gave to us: He's always there, listening and ready to help weak things become strong. - Name withheld, Washington

Seek His will

The atonement of Jesus Christ takes care of more than sins. It can help us overcome personal weakness - anything that is not like God.

We are commanded to seek the will of the Lord in all things. If we don't seek and do His will, then we are doing our own will, not His. We can ask for strength to do hard things and we can ask for the blessing we need even if we don't know what that blessing is.

The greatest thing we could be is a man or woman of Christ. We really don't "achieve" this. We must allow the blessings of the atonement to work in us. - Susan Southworth, Salt Lake City, Utah

Attitude is everything

As missionaries, we have the opportunity to devote all of our time and energy to the Lord. With such attention to the Lord's work, one can easily become exhausted.

We have found that following a guideline set forth by the apostles, General Authorities and the prophet and adhering to their words, we are blessed. When we put trust in the Lord He will compensate for our weaknesses. A scripture that strengthens us is found in D&C 88:63: "Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." When we come to the end of our rope and feel so exhausted that we can't go on, a prayer can give us the extra help to continue on. Always remember attitude is everything. - District 58C, Missionary Training Center, Provo, Utah

Measure of success

Success may be something different for everyone. The process of overcoming weakness creates success. When a member of our family made some decisions that nearly devastated us, it created an awareness of our own weakness as parents and as individuals. We found that over a period of time, with lots of prayer, counseling and continuing upon our chosen course of striving to obey commandments, eventually the hurt and the frustration were replaced with hope and a spirit of forgiveness that made us whole again. The experience made us stronger, more loving and more able to serve others, thus endowing us with a measure of success as we are more productive servants. - Susan McBride Gilgen, Madison, Wis.


July 16 "How to help children learn the steps of repentance."

July 23 "How to make your money work for you."

July 30 "How to be a hard worker, yet find time to rest body, mind."

Aug. 6 "How to heal after a broken dating relationship."

Aug. 13 "How to have harmonious relationships at home, work, Church."

Aug. 20 "How to avoid being over-protective of your children."

Had any good experiences or practical success in any of the above subjects? Share them with our readers in about 100-150 words. Write the "How-to" editor, Church News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110, or send fax to (801) 237-2121. Please include a name and phone number. Contributions may be edited or excerpted and will not be returned. Due to limited space, some contributions may not be used; those used should not be regarded as official Church doctrine or policy. Material must be received at least 12 days before publication date.

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