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Entries in Becky Harling (8)

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.

Tuesday
Dec202016

Be the Voice, Hands & Feet of Jesus This Christmas

In this Christmas UPGRADE, Becky Harling challenges us to see Christmas differently—through the eyes of Jesus—so we might more compassionately respond to others in need.

Becky asks, "What if Jesus actually wants you to be His voice, hands and feet this Christmas?"

When I (Dawn) first met Becky, I was overwhelmed with her sincere heart. It does not take much for me to imagine her reaching out as an ambassador for Christ, and I can hear her asking God the questions she shares in this post.

Becky continues . . .

I’ve always been intrigued by the story of the feeding of the 5,000. Maybe because my husband loves bread and there were 2 loaves involved.

Or maybe it’s because I wonder when I’m entertaining, if I have enough food to feed the crowd. When Jesus took a small boy’s lunch and multiplied it to feed 5,000, it was miraculous and inspiring!   

But the thing that intrigues me most about this story is the responsibility Jesus placed on the disciples to feed the crowd. When they expressed their compassionate concern for those who were hungry, Jesus turned to them and said, “You give them something to eat” (Mark 6:37). 

It’s fascinating to me that Jesus didn’t say, “Don’t worry guys, I’ll take care of it.” Instead, He invited the disciples to be involved. 

I believe this statement spoke about the plan He would soon be unfolding; His plan to change the world through you and me!

Later, Jesus promised to leave His Spirit to dwell in us so that we might become His voice, hands and feet in the world (John 14:15-24).

This Christmas, I’m more aware than ever of the needs of people. Here in the United States it seems our homeless population is growing and I hear Jesus voice in my heart whispering, “Becky, YOU give them something to eat!”

The refuge crisis is on the rise and when I pray for the plight of refugees, I hear the whisper of the Spirit saying, “Becky, what are YOU doing to help refugees? I left my Spirit in YOU.”

As I travel the world with my husband, Steve, who is the president of Reach Beyond, a non-profit organization seeking to be the voice and hands of Jesus around the world, the needs feel overwhelming.

In my state of feeling overwhelmed it’s easy to become paralyzed. Instead, I’m learning to ask the Holy Spirit how to be His voice and hands in that moment. Whether we’re visiting a radio station that we’ve planted and the folks simply need encouragement or if we’re hiking to a dirty village where folks need a clean water system, I’m learning to whisper a prayer, “Lord, how can I be your voice and hands in this moment?” 

Often it’s just taking the next step.

  • Listening to the person who’s discouraged.
  • Praying with those who need hope.
  • Giving to a clean water project.
  • Seeking to understand the plight of the refugee.
  • Hugging the little village child.

What I’m discovering as I continue to pray that prayer is that the opportunities are endless. 

This Christmas may I challenge you? In all the joy of the holidays and celebrations, live beyond yourself. Seek to be the voice and hands of Jesus.

Here are some practical ways to do that:

1. Carry some prepackaged food, gift cards, or blankets in your car for the homeless. Or even carry written and signed Christmas cards.

Ask the Lord for wisdom. When you see a homeless person, and you feel the Spirit prompting you, give them a gift card, granola bar or blanket and a signed Christmas card! Most homeless have no address to receive Christmas cards.

2. Check out the rescue mission in your area.

Ask how you can serve. It’s easy to come up with easy answers for those who are homeless but poverty is cyclical and very difficult to escape. Ask God for a heart of compassion.

3. When you hear of or see refugees, don’t write them off.

Seek to understand and perhaps offer to take a refugee woman shopping for groceries. I personally believe that with the currant refugee crisis God is bringing the mission field to us! Don’t let fear hold you back. Ask the Lord for the courage to be His voice and hands. Most refugees have experienced more trauma than you or I can imagine.

4. Research a non-profit that aligns with your heart and give generously.

Most of us here in the States have more than enough and God loves a generous giver!

Friend, what if Jesus wants you to be His voice and hands this Christmas?

Becky Harling is an international popular speaker and the author of several books including, The 30 Day Praise Challenge. Her latest book, How to Listen so People Will Talk releases, August 2017. Becky’s husband, Steve Harling, is the president of Reach Beyond, a non-profit organization seeking to be the voice and hands of Jesus around the world. You can contact Becky for your next speaking event at www.beckyharling.com.