CHALLENGES / TRIALS

A Whole Lot

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"... no matter how difficult the tribulation, We control a whole lot of what we think, say and do"

Roll up Your Sleeves

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"...there is an important lesson behind Annie's example"

-Chris Stevenson

Sacred Struggles

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"Why do we have to struggle so much? It just seems so unfair." 

-Us sometimes

Pity Party v. Positive Programming

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Remember our family slogan, “Hey, quick, get a bucket. That glass is filling up with water and is going to spill over.” That is the Stevenson perspective on whether a glass is half full or half empty with water.

Pity Party v. Positive Programming

by Chris Stevenson

Pity Party vs. Positive Programming


Every once in a while we hear of people bemoaning the fact that life is not fair and that things just never go their way. They self-analyze themselves as losers and victims of their circumstances.  For your information, that is not the Stevenson way. It is absolutely against the rules to think that way.


Remember our family slogan, “Hey, quick, get a bucket. That glass is filling up with water and is going to spill over.” That is the Stevenson perspective on whether a glass is half full or half empty with water.


One of the greatest passages of scripture that can assist us in having the correct attitude about life is found in the Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 4:15-35. Some call this scripture, “Nephi’s Psalm.” It is a magnificent example of someone who has had some pretty rough and challenging times (confronting Laban, tempests at sea, lack of food, threats on his life, etc.), but, fully recognizes the great blessings of the Lord in the lives of him, his family and his people. As he reflects on these wonderful blessings, his attitude of low self-esteem and discouragement changes to one of rock-solid confidence and gratitude for the gospel – especially his total faith and appreciation for the Savior.


As I studied and ponder Nephi’s words, it dawned on me that one of the secrets of having this positive, gospel-centered attitude was remembering, recognizing and giving thanks for the abundant blessings of the Lord. Remembering the goodness of the Lord in our lives is key to having a positive attitude.

Here are some of the blessings Nephi recounted:


  • “My God hath been my support”
  • He has led me and preserved me through the wilderness and on the sea
  • He has filled me with his love
  • Confounded my enemies
  • He has heard my prayers and given me knowledge by visions (“even too great for man”)
  • Angels have come down and ministered to me
  • He has visited me in so much mercy
  • God is the rock of my salvation
  • God gives liberally to them that ask


In this passage, we have two verses that are pity party verses and twenty verses that are nothing but praise, gratitude and positive thinking around the great blessings Nephi has received. 


We all know what difficult times Nephi has experienced. No one can say that he and his family did not have tremendous trials and tribulation in their lives. (When we feel a little down, it might be good to think about the tests in mortality that Nephi had.) Yet, Nephi had the right perspective. Instead of focusing on the difficulties he experienced in life, he was laser-focused on the goodness of the Lord.


May I recommend to all of us, that when we feel a little down and that life is not all that fair, we rip a page out of Nephi’s playbook and focus on our many blessings and the goodness of the Lord in our lives and the lives of those around us. Daily recognition and pondering of our blessings (positive programming) is some of the greatest medicine for discouragement.

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