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Entries in Becky Harling (9)

Tuesday
Jun182019

3 Suggestions for the Next Time You Feel Lonely

Becky Harling shares transformational messages, encouraging her audience to think biblically—and she does so with both depth and humor. In this Biblical Thinking UPGRADE, she offers three things to try if you're feeling lonely.

"What if your loneliness wasn’t something to dread but a vehicle for God to use?" Becky said. "What if instead of running from loneliness or hiding from it, you embraced it and ran to God?"

I (Dawn) seldom feel lonely, but when I have, it was tough. I think Becky's suggestions here are realistic and helpful.

Becky continues . . .

In our lives, we bristle against loneliness. We avoid it at all costs.

Yet many of us are experiencing soul weariness because we run from loneliness.

I remember a few years ago, during a heavy season of travel and ministry, I collapsed on my hotel bed and had a rather bizarre thought: “I’m lonely”.

After thinking about that, I almost giggled out loud reflecting, “How on earth can I feel lonely when I’ve been with people non-stop?” That’s when it hit me!

“I’m lonely for God!”

I had been pushing hard, and I needed time to sink into God’s presence and simply be at home with Him. He is my heart’s true home, and I needed the soul refreshment that comes only from enjoying His presence.

The Psalmists who wrote Psalm 84 understood. They penned,“My soul yearns, even faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God” (Psalm 84:2).

In our fast-paced, over-caffeinated, non-stop culture, we need refreshment and renewal.

In order for that to happen, we must embrace our loneliness and recognize it as a divine signal inviting us to our heart’s true home—God. There in His presence we can relax, re-group, rest and simply be loved.

All of this may sound ethereal to you.

How do you experience God’s presence when there’s so much pressure from our society to perform and accomplish? It’s not as difficult as you think.

Here are 3 simple suggestions to get you started.

1. Read a Psalm.

The Psalms are a great place to find connection. These poetic masterpieces help you connect with God.

In addition, the authentic words and feelings of the various Psalmists will help you feel connected to their emotions.

As you hear them crying out—

you’ll find yourself whispering, “Me too!”

The Psalms offer empathy to the feelings we experience in our journey with God and help us connect with Him at a deeper level.

2. Recognize the Ache in Your Soul Is Your Call Back to God.

The ache you feel deep in the innermost parts of your soul has been placed there by God Himself. It is a hunger that only He Himself can fill. Nothing else will completely satisfy.

In our culture, we don’t like to feel pain, so we run from pain, hide from pain or numb our pain. The truth is, pain can be a fabulous signal alerting us that something is wrong.

When you feel the pangs of loneliness, rather than turning on Netflix or vegging out in front of an Amazon movie, consider whether you’ve had adequate time soaking in God’s presence.

Set aside some extra time to relax unhurried in His presence. In your time, read a few verses, listen to some worship music, journal your prayers, and ask the Holy Spirit to give you a deeper awareness of God’s presence.

3. Re-connect with Heart Friends.

Not only were our souls created with a hunger for God, they were also created with a thirst for friends.

In Psalm 95, the Psalmist invites others to join him in worship, writing, “Come let us sing for joy to the Lord” (Psalm 95:1).

When my soul is bone weary, I know I need extra time alone in God’s presence; but then I also need my heart-connection friends.

  • With these friends we can have a conversation about what God’s teaching us and how we’ve experienced Him in the mundane of everyday life.
  • We can share prayer requests and encourage each other in the journey.
  • With these heart friends, I experience the presence of God in our fellowship, and I walk away refreshed and uplifted. 

Friend, the next time you feel lonely, read a Psalm out loud, recognize your soul is aching for God, and re-connect with heart friends who understand your spiritual journey.

Don’t run from loneliness or hide from it. Instead, embrace it and then celebrate that loneliness can lead you back to your heart’s true home—God.

Think about the last time you felt lonely. How could these three suggestions have helped you get back on track?

Becky Harling is authentic. Passionate. Funny. She brings a life-transformational message to every audience. Becky has a Biblical Literature degree and is a Certified Speaker, Leadership Coach and Trainer with the John Maxwell Team. She is represented by Outreach Speakers. Her experience as a pastor’s wife, women’s ministry director, breast cancer and childhood sexual abuse survival all bring depth and realism to her message. Becky wrote eight books. Her latest, Who Do You Say that I Am?—an 8-week Bible study/video series—looks at the “I Am” statements of Jesus. Listen Well, Lead Better, written with her husband Steve, releases in February 2020. 

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Engin Akyurt at Pixabay.

Tuesday
Jan012019

Life-changing Thinking: Focused, Fearless & Free

What I love about Becky Harling is her desire to help people move beyond their obstacles toward hope, and this is a perfect goal for the new year. Becky offers some life-changing thinking in this New Year's UPGRADE.

“A few weeks ago I was listening to one of my coaching clients, and she mentioned three words in our conversation,” Becky says. 

“I knew immediately that those were three words that God has for me as I enter 2019. My guess is they might be for you as well.” 

I (Dawn) know how important a “word for the year” can be. To have three words is a bonus!

Becky continues . . .

My three words are “focused,” “fearless” and “free.”

As I’ve been thinking about those three words, I’ve had a few thoughts about how those words invite life-changing thinking!

1. FOCUSED

Focus is crucial. It’s so easy to get sidetracked or distracted from what really matters.

The wise writer of Hebrews wrote, 

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing out eyes on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:1-2). 

As we enter 2019, may I challenge you? Fix your eyes on Jesus.

In the Greek, the phrase “fix our eyes” means to give undivided attention. It signifies looking away from anything that distracts you from your walk with Christ.

  • If you fix your eyes on people, they’ll disappoint you.
  • If you fix your eyes on your circumstances, you’ll be discouraged.
  • If you fix your eyes on the world events, you’ll be depressed.

Fix your eyes on Jesus and stay focused on what He’s called you to do.

One of the ways Steve and I have tried to keep our focus on Jesus has been to keep a gratitude journal. At dinner each night, we list the top three blessings of the day and give thanks together as a couple for all the goodness of the Lord. Gratitude is just one simple way to keep your focus on Christ.

2. FEARLESS

I believe God is calling His children to rise up and live boldly.

Paul wrote in his letter to Timothy,

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7). 

What does it look like for you to live boldly for Christ in 2019?

  • Maybe it means taking a risk and going on a mission trip.
  • Maybe it means increasing your giving.
  • Maybe it means boldly sharing your faith with your neighbor. I dare you. 

Ask God what it looks like to live boldly for Him.

3. FREE

So many of us live in bondage to what other people think of us. But Christ has called us to freedom.

He has accomplished our freedom through the cross. 

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1). 

May I ask you a personal question?

How much brain space do you give to worrying about what others might think of you?

Here’s the thing—God calls us to nurture our relationships, but He never calls us to worry about what others are thinking. I believe when we truly internalize God’s love we are free to love others rather than be enslaved to them.

As you stand on the brink of 2019, why not consider what it might look like for you to live focused, fearless and free this year?

What action steps can you take right now to initiate this life-changing thinking that leads to life-changing behaviors?

Becky Harling. Authentic. Passionate. Funny. Insightful. Becky is a frequent speaker at conferences, retreats, and other venues. She is the author of Who Do You Say I Am?, Rewriting Your Emotional Script, Freedom from Performing, The 30 Day Praise Challenge and The 30 Day Praise Challenge for Parents. Becky is married to Steve Harling and has four adult kids and five grandkids. Visit her website and blog!

Graphic adapted, courtesy of StockSnap at Pixabay.

Tuesday
Nov132018

Tough Choices to Live a Life of Integrity

Becky Harling is funny, insightful, and intensely passionate that women learn how to live in emotional and spiritual freedom. In this Character UPGRADE, she writes about the choice to live in integrity.

"We’ve all experienced the crushing disappointment of Christian leaders that we’ve admired who have failed morally," Becky says. "What exactly is a life of integrity and how do we insure that we live a life of integrity and finish well?"

I (Dawn) am heartbroken to know of Christian friends in places of leadership who chose sin over a life of integrity; but Becky's words of warning and encouragement aren't just for leaders—they are for all of us.

Becky continues . . . 

Steve’s parents came and visited us this past summer. Now near 90, their lives have been marked by steadfast integrity. As a result, the generations after them have been blessed.

As I’ve was thinking about how God has used their integrity, I read Psalm 101.

In this delightful, short Psalm, David gives us very specific choices we can make to live a life of integrity.

Now I have to warn you, some of these choices are TOUGH!

Honestly, they go against the grain of our human sinful nature; and at times, they’re downright inconvenient.

But, the payoff is the legacy of integrity that’s left for those who are following behind. I know that’s what I want to leave behind. What about you?

If you want to leave a legacy of integrity to those coming up behind you here are three choices from Psalm 101 that you can make now!

1. Praise God for His love and goodness continually.

“I will sing of your love and justice; to you, Lord, I will sing praise” (Psalm 101:1).

The Hebrew word for praise that’s used here speaks to a celebration, praising God with song. Every day should be a celebration of God’s amazing love and goodness, but often that’s not the case, because we focus our thoughts on what we don’t have or what we wish we had.

What if you began every day by thanking God and praising Him for His love and goodness in your life? My guess is that you would live a more positive life, and you’d definitely be on your way to a life of integrity.

When we focus on God’s love rather than on all the things that go wrong in life, we’re more likely to make positive decisions. We’re not as grumpy and cranky.  

The next time you’re tempted to complain or gripe about something, shift your focus to God’s faithful love. Watch how your spirit grows more joyful almost instantly.

I’ll never forget when my friend, Jill’s, dad was admitted to assisted living. Often during that season of life, folks become cranky and resentful. But not Jill’s dad!

When Jill called Ed to ask how he was doing, he responded exuberantly, “Jill! This place is awesome! It’s like a cruise ship. I love it!”

Every time, we went to visit Ed, we left encouraged. Even during the last months of his life while he was enduring pain, Ed talked about the goodness of God and nurtured a thankful spirit.

I don’t know about you, but that’s the way I want to be, and that means I have to nurture a thankful heart now!

2. Be careful what you set your sights on. 

“I will not look with approval on anything that is vile” (Psalm 101:3).

Immoral choices don’t just happen. They usually start with lustful thoughts that have been nurtured.

We need to be careful and exercise a heart of discernment about what we gaze on and fill our minds with.  Sometimes even the news is so graphic and argumentative that we need to shut it off.

When you’re watching T.V. or a movie, ask yourself,

“Is this helping me follow Jesus more closely, or is it creating anxiety, worry, fear or lust in me?”

3. Walk away from gossip and dissention. 

"Whoever slanders their neighbor in secret, I will put to silence; whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, I will not tolerate” (Psalm 101:5).

It’s so easy—you’re having coffee with friends, and one friend starts to “share” how frustrated they are with a different acquaintance.

They need to process. So you listen, and soon you’re drawn in to something more deadly than just processing a frustration.

Here’s the thing: we’re called to not have any part in slander.

So, what do you do? You could say something positive and walk away. You could change the topic. Or you could say, “I’m not comfortable cutting that person down. I don’t have all the facts, and I don’t want to be guilty of gossip.”

Friend, these are sometimes hard choices. It may seem that they’re not very big choices, and what do they really matter?

But they DO matter.

By making choices after God’s own heart, one choice after another, you’ll be building a life of integrity. 

Which of the three tough choices do you struggle with most? What can you do to upgrade your level of integrity?

Becky Harling. Authentic. Passionate. Funny. Insightful. Becky is a frequent speaker at conferences, retreats, and other venues. She is the author of Who Do You Say I Am?, Rewriting Your Emotional Script, Freedom from Performing, The 30 Day Praise Challenge and The 30 Day Praise Challenge for Parents. Becky is married to Steve Harling and has four adult kids and five grandkids. Visit her website and blog.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of qimono at Pixabay.

Thursday
Apr192018

What's Up with Sheep?

Becky Harling is funny and insightful, and always shares fresh insights for timeless truths. In this Spiritual Life UPGRADE, she writes about sheep and their shepherd. But don't miss this fresh take on a common Christian theme.

"Throughout the scriptures, we are compared to sheep," Becky said. "Have you ever wondered why? I mean, what’s up with sheep? Right?"

I (Dawn) used to think, "Oh, how sweet. God describes His children as adorable little lambs." But there is much more to that picture, as Becky describes here.

Becky continues . . .

I did a little research and discovered some random facts about them that help me understand why God used sheep to describe us so often in scripture.

1. Did you know that sheep are fearful and easily panicked?

Who knew? Can you relate?

In our humanness, most of us are fearful. In fact, that is the number one concern I hear from women and men as I travel the world.

If panicked, we do stupid things, and you know what? So do sheep.

An entire bunch of sheep is easily prodded into a stampede. They have a mob mentality.

But here’s the thing, when sheep know the shepherd’s voice, His voice calms their fears and settles their panic.

This is why Jesus said, “I am the Good shepherd” (John 10:11). He also said His sheep "follow Him because they know His voice” (John 10:4).

Friend, if you want to calm your fears, get to know His voice.

2. Did you know that sheep get jealous easily and push for dominance?

Sound familiar? Maybe this hits too close to home, but it’s so easy for us to become envious of others, isn’t it?

This is the cry behind “That’s not fair!”

Our human tendency is to want life to be fair. If our friend has a beautiful home, we want one too. If our co-worker gets a raise, we want an increase as well.

Here’s the thing: according to the parable of the vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16), our Christian walk was never meant to be “fair.” If it was fair, we would all deserve hell, right? Praise God that isn’t the case!!

One of the most convicting stories of Scripture is when Jesus sits on the beach with His disciples after His resurrection. After He re-commissions Peter, He tells Peter how he will die.

Peter looks at his friend John and wonders if his death will be easier—he blurts out to Jesus, “What about him?”

Jesus replies, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?” (John 21:15-22).

Ouch! I love this story because it reminds me that I must never sink to comparing my life to another.

In Jesus’ kingdom, life may not seem fair, but it is good.

Our quest for fairness will rob us of the abundant life Jesus promised His sheep (John 10:10b).

3. Did you know that sheep are creatures of habits and they are resistant to change?

Many of us are creatures of habit as well. When God calls us to shift our thinking or embrace change, we panic or pout.

As our Good Shepherd, Jesus knows if we are going to live life to the fullest we must keep being transformed.

The truth is we can’t be transformed without change.

Friend, understanding our similarities to sheep can help us focus on Jesus as our Good Shepherd.

He’s the One who laid down His life for us (1 John 3:16).  

Which of these random facts about sheep best describes you today? How can you better relate to or trust in your Shepherd?

Becky Harling. Authentic. Passionate. Funny. Insightful. Becky is a frequent speaker at conferences, retreats, and other venues. She is the author of Who Do You Say That I Am?, Rewriting Your Emotional Script, Freedom from Performing, The 30 Day Praise Challenge and The 30 Day Praise Challenge for Parents. Becky is married to Steve Harling and has four adult kids and five grandkids. Visit her website and blog!

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Pixabay.

Thursday
Aug102017

How Well Do YOU Listen?

Becky Harling is one of the most practical women I know, often tackling topics women need to hear like "performance" and dealing with our emotional scripts. In this Relationship UPGRADE, she asks us to honestly evaluate our listening skills.  

 

"I remember well when I asked my teenage daughter, 'Honey, do you think I listen well?' Honestly," Becky says, "I was expecting rave reviews, but what I received was something entirely different"

I (Dawn) think Becky was so brave to ask her teenager for input. But what I admire most is her desire to act on that input!

Becky continues . . .

Mental note to self: Don’t ask your kids what they think unless you’re prepared for the answer!

There was a long pause, and then Bethany said,

“Well… sometimes you listen well… but, you seem distracted a lot, you interrupt me a lot and you dive in with your own story and you give me way too much advice!

"Mom, I just want to feel heard!”

Wow!

That night in bed, I had a lot to consider and I remember wrestling in prayer.

But finally, after several sleepless hours, I prayed,

“Lord, I want my daughter to feel heard and loved. Help me to change. Show me how to work on my listening skills so that those I loved feel heard.”

Author David Augsburger wrote, “Being heard is so close to being loved that they are almost indistinguishable.”

God created us for relationship with Him and with others. And that means we need to value our relationships by listening attentively.

Relational wisdom from Proverbs teaches us, “Let the wise listen and add to their learning” (Proverbs 1:5).

Jesus Himself warned, “Consider carefully how you listen’” (Luke8:18).

Most of us are busy and stressed out, so how do we consider carefully how we listen and take steps to improve our listening skills?

It’s not as hard as you might think. It will take practice, but there are a few steps you can take right away.

Today. 

If you take these simple steps you’ll improve your listening skills immediately and those who are dear to you will feel more loved right away!

Simple Steps:

1. Silence Your Inner Fixer.

Have you noticed how tempting it is to try to fix other people’s problems? I’ll give you a secret. People don’t want you to fix their problems. They want you to listen. They want to feel heard and validated that their situation is difficult and challenging.

So next time, you’re tempted, ask a question instead. Which brings me to my second simple step.

2. Learn how to ask questions.

Any great conversationalist knows how to ask great questions. Jesus Himself was the Master question asker“Who do you say I Am?” “What do you want me to do for you?”—and it’s a pretty easy skill to learn.

Before you meet a friend for coffee, think of three questions you’ll ask so that they’re already in your head. Do the same whenever you attend a meeting where you’ll meet someone new.

Think through a few great questions and even write them on an index card. Then look at the card right before you go into your meeting so the questions will be fresh in your mind. Watch and wait for the opportunity to ask a question.

Hey, if you need help in the question-asking department, I’ve got good news for you! I’ve got a great free gift called, How to Get the Conversation Started up on my website. It’s loaded with great questions you can use in any situation!

3. Let Go of Distractions.

Don’t buy into the myth of multi-tasking. It will hurt your relationships.

When you’re with someone, discipline yourself to be fully present to the conversation.

Turn off or silence your cell phone. Shut down your computer and turn off the T.V. and simply listen to the other person. Seek to understand their heart and what’s behind the words they are speaking. 

The one way it’s valuable to multi-task is to pray for wisdom as the other person is talking. Pray that the Holy Spirit will set a guard over your mouth and help you to speak only what’s helpful.

4. Ask.

Finally, ASK.

Dare to ask at least two people you love, “How well do you think I listen?”

However they reply, don’t push back. Simply receive and then take it to the Lord and ask Him to change you!

Which of these simple steps might UPGRADE your listening skills today? Choose one, and "practice" on your family and friends. Who knows ... the Lord might open new doors to better relationships.

Becky Harling. Authentic. Passionate. Funny. Insightful. Becky is a frequent speaker at conferences, retreats, and other venues. She is the author of Rewriting Your Emotional Script, Freedom from Performing, The 30 Day Praise Challenge and The 30 Day Praise Challenge for Parents. Becky is married to Steve Harling and has four adult kids and five grandkids. Visit her website and blog!

Graphic adapted, courtesty of StockSnap at Pixabay.