The Connected Mom

Don't miss this part 2 where Becky gets to the heart of why moms compare and what we can do instead (hint, hint....the answer is found in John 15).

Show Notes

On our last episode we started a conversation about comparison. As mom, our tendency to compare erodes our connection with God, our fellow moms, and our kids, which is exactly the opposite of what we hope to do on this podcast.

Becky shares life-giving truths from Scripture--it's less about being an *achiever* and more about being an *abider.*

Authentic, passionate, funny and Biblical all describe, Becky Harling. A best-selling author, Becky is a popular speaker at conferences, retreats and other events. She is a best-selling author and has written eleven books including, How To Listen So Your Kids Will Talk and the author of Psalms for the Anxious Heart. Becky is a certified coach with the John Maxwell Team and offers parent coaching.
Becky and her husband, Steve have traveled and ministered in over 60 countries around the world. She is the parent of four grown married kids and Mimi to 14 grandchildren! You can connect with Becky at,
Facebook, Twitter @beckyharling, or Instagram @BeckyHarling

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Creators & Guests

Becky Harling
Author of How to Listen So Your Kids Will talk and several others. Podcast host of The Connected Mom. A dynamic speaker who is passionate about Jesus.

What is The Connected Mom?

Form a deeper connection with God, more empathic connection with other Moms, and more intentional connection with your child.

Welcome to the Connected Mom podcast, where we have conversations about connecting more deeply with God, more empathically with other moms, and more intentionally with your child. I'm Becky Harling, your host, and I have with me today my amazing cohost, Sarah Wildman. Welcome, Sarah.

Thanks, Becky. It's so good to be here. Well, we were just chatting that on our last episode we started a conversation about comparing comparison, right. And how our tendency to compare, especially as moms erodes our connection with God, our fellow moms, and our kids, which is exactly the opposite of what we hope to do on this podcast. So we wanted to, um, kind of follow up more and tell us more about that. Becky, what kind of came on your heart after we finished recording the last.

So the morning after we recorded that podcast, I was sitting it was about 05:00 in the morning and I was sitting with my Bible open and I was reading through John 15, which again, it's just one of my favorite passages, right? And I realized, okay, we have to do a second, we have to do a part two to the whole comparing, um, problem, because so much of the answer about our angsty and comparing is found in John 15 where Jesus says that he is the vine and we are the branches, and his instructions to us are to stay connected to Him.

M, so good.


As soon as you said John 15, I thought, oh, that's perfect. It's one of my favorites, too. Um, in fact, I've taught my kids there's a kid song, I am the vine, you are the branches, and there's fun motion, so I'll try not to do those. But that whole idea, right, of staying connected, it actually goes with the theme of our podcast. So I'm excited to kind, um, of dig through some of the things that you've discovered in that passage.

Yeah, and you know, we were talking because, uh, Sarah and I like to have fun on this podcast. We were joking quite a bit on, uh, the last one. And I mean, that is a part of who we are. So there will be jokes on this podcast. However, I don't want you to walk away, you the listeners, thinking that comparing and feeling inadequate is just a big joke because we don't really feel that way. Usually our sense of inadequacy really stems from some type of wound. And so we always want to invite Jesus into that wound to heal that sense of inadequacy. I know. For me, Sarah, I was thinking back on why do I sometimes feel inadequate? Where did that come from? And one pivotal memory I have of my childhood was I can remember in the fifth grade, we had to do a huge revolutionary report. I mean, I'm talking about you were supposed to work on it all year long. And I felt this sense of being overwhelmed the entire year as I worked on it.

Oh, man.

And I got it done. It was 110 pages. I'll never forget this handwritten. And I left out the Battle of Kingston and one other battle. And I remember I got a B on it and I was so upset, uh, because I hadn't gotten an A. And it's such a little thing. But it points to a problem that I think shows us why we compare ourselves with others. You know, it really comes down to this whole idea of achievement. And I think there's a difference between achievers and abiders. You and I have both talked about how we're pretty solid threes on the enneagram. We sure need you people who are nine and who are seven and we need a few eights in our life. But, you know, the bottom line is that the whole Christian walk is not to be this accomplishment. Right. Because Jesus accomplished everything on the cross, so he did it all for us. And so what he calls us to is to let go of the need of achieve, achieve, achieve, and instead embrace abide, abide, abide. Because when we're abiding in Him, he does the work through us. Like, have you ever studied the Fruit of the Spirit and then thought, oh, I got to work harder to produce this fruit?

We're doing that in our kids ministry right now at church. And I keep going. It's not try harder. Like it's fruit of the Spirit. Right. As an achievement, I'm like, oh no, when I get to the patients one, I've got a lot more work. How do I develop them on my own so that I look more like Jesus versus how do we tap into who Jesus is, right? Totally different.

I think it's so intriguing to me because as Jesus is teaching this passage that we call John 15, he's on his way to the cross. So this is one of the last messages he's going to give his disciples. And he knows that after he dies and resurrects from the dead, he's going to ask his disciples to change the whole world and they're going to feel inadequate. And I, uh, think they could easily look at each other and think, well, why don't I preach like that guy? Or why don't I do this like this guy? And instead, Jesus chooses some of us who are completely inadequate so that he can best glorify himself through us.

Mhm, that's right. Well, and I think as an achiever, it's almost an attempt to gain my value right, from what I do. And the abiding you are soaking up who Christ is through being connected to Him. It's nothing on our own that we then earn a value. We are valuable because we're his, which is a subtle swap, but really important.

It really is. And I think this comes out with our kids a lot, whether we like it or not. Because even those that are not a three on the Enneagram perhaps they want their children to succeed. And so they may push their children in one direction or another, or they may push them scholastically or musically or in sports, as we talked about last time. But, uh, achievers, prioritize, accomplishing, whereas Abidors prioritize the relationship. And I think that's huge. And I think it's huge for Mamas because rather than prioritizing homework, sometimes maybe what your child needs more than anything is for you to pull them close and listen to what's happened in school. Maybe what your child needs more than you pushing them towards some high level travel sports team is to have a snack with you and to really share their heart about some things they're facing in their school. You know, achievers feel a lot of angst about the fact that they are maybe not accomplishing as much. I mean, I hear this a lot from young Mamas, right? It's like, Becky, I lost my brain when I gave birth and now I just kind of walk around in a fog with a cup of coffee in my hand. And that's okay because this isn't the time maybe for you to be out there changing the world. Instead, as an Abire, you can rest in the fact that you are deeply, deeply loved. When you got the bathrobe going on, when you got the sick kid puking, perhaps throughout the night, you've got a cup of coffee in your hand and you are deeply, deeply loved. You don't have to be out there accomplishing and achieving. And for me, that's comforting.

Yeah, that totally is. And I think usually that cup of coffee is cold, becky, yes.

Probably just think destroys a good cup of coffee. But it is a thing.

But it is an opportunity. I mean, because as you said, you're not out there changing the world. And we know this as moms, like, I know I'm changing the world from my home, but that is the most valuable work in that season. And it's okay, right, that it looks different than when you were a career person or when the kids are older and you're able to serve more and embracing that season and seeing what God has for you in that, it's a really good reminder.

Yeah. And then really achievers, uh, wrestle with insecurity. The whole reason we get drawn or pulled into comparing it comes down to that insecurity, right. You're asking this fundamental question, am I enough? And God says you absolutely are. And you're asking it for your child. You're saying, God, is this child enough? He may be failing in school, he may be causing all kinds of Ruckets on the playground. He may be deciding that he's going to be a professional YouTuber rather than going to the college that you've chosen for him. I mean, that's a real thing right now, right? M. And the thing is, your child is deeply loved by God, whether he's achieving and becoming a superstar or whether he is just floating along, making life happen. It doesn't change God's love for your child. And so you can let go of that insecurity and then finally achievers kind of to summarize this whole section, achievers compare. Whereas Abidors celebrate. They celebrate the presence of Christ, they celebrate the uniqueness of each child. They celebrate the gifts God has given them. And that's where their focus is. Rather than looking at what they don't have, they look at what they do have and they celebrate it.

Right. So true. I think of some of my friends with special, uh, needs kiddos, right. And how easy, I mean, that comparison is just presents itself on the playground, right? This little guy, he's just not able to maybe engage socially like the rest of the kids, right. Um, but then we always know there are such special gifts and learnings that we have from special needs kiddos. But I feel like that's, um, a huge lesson for special needs moms right out there that are just like, hey, the comparison, it's always going to be hard, right. So what's the choice? Like you said, to celebrate, to celebrate what God has given them and really, uh, treasure those special times with them. That's really good.

And I think of moms with special needs as, uh, kids that's very near and dear to my heart. I mean, we have a grandson who has significant special needs and we pray for him all the time. And we do pray for healing for certain parts of his special needs. And yet I think, what if God wants to glorify himself through the weaknesses that are there, right? And so it's a beautiful thing. And he is one of our most empathic grandkids. And so I celebrate that. I think that's a beautiful thing. He, uh, really rises to the top of the pack there. And so it's fun to celebrate that.

That's right.

So I think we have, um, what I want to give our listeners today, Sarah, is three tangible suggestions from John 15 to stop comparing. Because you and I can say stop comparing. Stop comparing. Right. And somebody will say, okay, I'm going to stop comparing today. And then all of a sudden tomorrow they find themselves comparing. Right.

What's our action? Right? We can try to stop, but our brain is going to keep moving. Yeah. So what do we do instead, Becky?

What do we do? So I think the first suggestion I have is to find your own unique design and your child's own unique design. You know, I created this tool about ten years ago called the Design Profile, and it just starts, it takes that word design and puts out a word for each letter.

Like for the acronym.

Yeah, that's the word I'm looking for.

I know. It's like I found the acronym.

Yay. Way to go, Sarah. And so the D stands for dreams. And I think it's good for mamas to stop at different points in their year, like around New Year's is a great time to do this, but also in the summer. What are your dreams as a mother? I mean, you can't, um, build your whole life around your kids, right? Because someday they're going to grow up and you need to have a life. Right? M. So think about what are the dreams God has put in your heart and then your experience. You have unique experiences that nobody else has. They haven't lived your story. So figure out your unique experiences and how God might want to use those in your neighborhood, in your kids schools, in your church. And then right on the heels of that is s find your strengths. All of us have strengths and all of us have weaknesses. And, you know, a lot of times women especially, it seems to me, and mamas, will focus more on their weaknesses. But there's actually brain chemistry that happens when you focus on your strengths, you know? So what are your strengths as a mom? What are your strengths if you work outside the home? What are your strengths that you exercise in the church? Because that's part of your unique design. And then I influence. We all have influence beyond just our kids. Like Sarah, I think about you and you have influence at Heights Church. You have huge influence there. And what does it look like for you to use that influence in a way that's unique to you? Talk to us about that a little bit.

Oh man. Yeah, well, I think what's neat about what you've just shared, the dreams, experiences, strengths and influences, it's looking at what's already there. It's not comparing well, uh, if I compare myself to Cindy over here, then I'm not but it's like, no, just how God's gifted me. Right. What is um like, for instance, I have been part of our mother's group and that was a little hard for me because as an achiever, I was like, I'm a working mom, I don't need those mom ministries. We're always still here. That's right. But the Lord just kind of it's an open door and I walked through it and there were such gifts, um, in that, and it just finished in that year because, um, I thought, well, at the very least, I am married to a pastor, he's a pastor of our church and they need to see that there's other moms just trying their best, right. Trying to figure out what are my dreams and experience. And I was able to share a few times on stage. It was a little bit, um, not even planned, but some of those life experiences where I'd seen the Lord guide me through things and I had more empathy for folks that have been through, say, cancer, and those are such hard parts of my journey. But to be able to share those with women and also kind of, um, take away any of that fake facade. Of all the pastors wise, they're perfect, right? They've got it all together. No, um, in fact, I think that was more my role than anything, was just to be like, I'm right there with you. But also, I'm trusting that God has given us dreams, experiences, strengths to, um, love on people in our circles. So I really like that you brought that up. It's a very important influence.

Yeah, I love the whole idea of influence because I know moms whether you're working or whether you have chosen a stay at home path during this season. I know young moms who are serving on their worship team at their church, and they have extraordinary influence because of that. I know moms who spend hours volunteering at their kids school, and they have enormous influence. And I know moms who deliver like, cookies and baked goods and meals to people who are suffering, and they have extraordinary influence. So all of us have an influence. So find where I mean, and this is more about taking the time to reflect on where you have influence. And then there's gifts. You know, I think, uh, a, uh, pivotal question for every believer, whether they're moms or they're not moms, is what are my spiritual gifts? What do I mean by spiritual gifts? The lists of spiritual gifts are found in one corinthians one two, in Ephesians four, and in Romans twelve. And God gives us these gifts as, um, when we become believers, we are given the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit gifts us with certain abilities to benefit the entire body of Christ. And so when you like, maybe you have the gift of teaching, and when you're teaching in the body of Christ, everybody benefits. Maybe you have a gift of generosity. And as you're giving, other people are benefiting from your gift. Maybe you have the gift of encouragement. And so when people are discouraged, you're the one that writes little notes to your friends, or you just have the right word at the right time that's going to encourage them. Um, maybe after they've been up all night with a crying infant, use those gifts. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal those gifts to you, and then to magnify himself through you through those gifts. And then the end, which is the final one, is consider the needs that are around you and how those needs pull at your heart. I know, um, I have a daughter and she and her husband are missionaries to the foster care system. And they're passionate about adopted kiddos and kiddos in foster care. That's a need that tugs at their heart. I know another young mom who is passionate about the homeless problem, which is growing. And so she carries snacks in her card and gift cards in her car. And when she sees a homeless person, she'll give them a snack or give them a gift card. She'll pray. She's teaching her kids how to pray for the homeless. And so what are the needs? So that's the end, um, for design. And then the second practical suggestion that I have for you and this is maybe going to sound a little ethereal, but I really mean it in a practical sense. Cultivate a continual sense of God's presence in your life. Stay connected throughout your day. What does this look like when it's all blowing up in that hour right before dinner, you know, when the kids are melting down and you've maybe got a toddler on the floor throwing a massive fit, and somebody else doesn't want to do their homework, and so they're upset or angry. I mean, when it's all falling apart, how do you cultivate the presence of God in your life? Here's how it works for me. At one level, I might be helping with homework. At one level, I might be talking on the phone. At another level, the lower level, I'm carrying on a conversation with Jesus, like, Jesus, would you give me wisdom for how to calm this little one who's on the floor throwing a massive stick? Would you give me wisdom about how to encourage my team that maybe can't stand algebra two? Would you show me how to encourage them? Would you give me wisdom, perhaps even as my husband comes home from work, to be able to have the capacity to switch gears and listen to him, and so learn to live life on two levels so that you can cultivate a continual sense of God's presence.

I m was just thinking, Becky, this struck me just a few years ago, and I grew up with this passage. It was almost too familiar, right? But no branch can bear fruit by itself. I love that part of, uh, John 15 because I think in Christian circles, it was like, okay, make sure you have your quiet time. Make sure you have some time of prayer. And then it was an unspoken thing. And as an achiever, I took it this way. It wasn't anyone telling me this, but it was like, okay, so you, like, beef up, and then you go do the things, and then you come back, right, to get filled up again. And that was just as an achievement. Like, okay, but then this metaphor doesn't work, right? Like, we have to be connected the whole time. Like, you're saying that lower level is always going we're always connected to the Lord. It's not, um, okay, I'm going to let go for a few minutes, go do my thing with some power, and come back and get plugged in. And maybe I'm the only one that thought of it that way.

I thought of it as a kid growing up. Like, God had a chart, kind of. And you got a gold star if you remember to read your Bible, if you remember to pray. You got another gold star. If you were patient or kind. You got a gold star. And then I began realizing, no, it's not meant to be like that. We're supposed to be living life in continual friendship with Jesus.

I love that. Yes. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. There's no fruit without being plugged in. Right.

Being part of right. Exactly. And then the final suggestion I have is, girls, we have got to redefine the word success because it's gotten really wonky, especially here in the west. If you're measuring your success as a mom by whether or not your child gets into Harvard, Yale, and Duke University, you might be in for a rough ride. If you're measuring your success by if your child gets a full ride to some college, a district one school, because of his soccer playing abilities, you might be vastly disappointed. If you're measuring your success by whether or not your child makes wise choices in their teen years, you are missing it. Success as a mom means you are staying connected to the vine. You are living life connected to the vine, and you're going to remain faithful there because all through this passage, jesus says it over and over again. In some translations, he says remain. In other translations, it says abide. But it's basically like, stay connected to me. So success for you as a mom is being faithful, remaining connected to Christ, and living out of the overflow of that. That is huge.

Becky, I don't know if I've asked a question with this perspective before, but obviously your kids are now parents. But without listing names or anything, what are some of the successful things that you see in your kids? What, uh, are some of the traits.

I am extremely blessed in that my kids, my adult kids and their spouses are all walking with Jesus, and I don't take credit for that. I prayed for that all their lives. And I tried to really work on my connection with them, and I could tell when the connection was going awry that I needed to stay connected. But as I watched my kids parent their kids, one of the families has a prayer wall, and each person in the family has a little, like, mini bulletin board. And they'll ask their kids, okay, who are you praying for? And the kids pin a card up there of people they're praying for. And I love that. And then one of my, uh, kids is really good at teaching her kids, uh, to memorize scripture. She doesn't do it in a harsh way. She usually comes up with a song for it. The other night, I saw she was sending out a video on our Harlem family chat, and it was of her little two year old daughter quoting psalm, um, four, where it says, I will lay down and sleep because in peace you alone make me dwell in safety. And it's so dear, you know? And so they're cultivating scripture in their kids'hearts, and then another family has their kids all serving. Like, no, we don't just go to church because we want to receive, receive, receive. We go to church to serve as well. And so it's been really fun for me to see these patterns that my kids are developing with their own kids. And I could go on and on about that, but we are almost out of time.

Well, I love that, but, uh, nowhere in that did you say, like, I'm so proud of them for going to Harvard bird or something. I love that. Those are the success. Right. Uh, as a mom and grandma. And that's really important for people in my life stage, where it's like, it's not about all that world achievement stuff. It's truly that connection with us and the Lord. Wow, what a gift that you get to enjoy that and see it bear fruit and their families.

Yeah. In fact, last night, Steve and I, um, took a hike together. We like to hike in the evening. And, you know, I have the blessing of living in Colorado, so it's always lovely to be able to hike. And we were reflecting on, um, just how good life is, and Steve was just saying, we are so blessed. It's incredible. And I realize that some may be walking through sorrow and suffering right now, and so I want to reach out to you, because we have had those seasons. I remember very well the season of cancer that I went through and the suffering that came with that. And I remember a season where the girls all lost babies, and that was a deep sorrow and suffering. But the thing is, as you remain in Christ, your propensity to compare and to feel jealous, because maybe your neighbor's life is going perfectly and yours is not right now, um, it's going to diminish, because at the end of the day, what you want more than anything is that deep relationship with Jesus, because even when Jesus strips it all away, he gives himself. And in the end, he is enough. And you are enough, because he is enough. In fact, I think I want to end with this. Sarah, God has appointed you and anointed you to be the mom of your child. I want you to if you're listening, I want you to write down those two words god has appointed you. John 1516 says that Jesus said, I appointed you. You have a divine appointment, and it's to be the mama to your kids, whether they're infants or adults. That's part of your divine appointment. And then one, John 120 tells us that God has anointed us for the task because he has given us the holy Spirit. And when we are so inadequate, the holy Spirit is more than able. And so as we press into Him, he pours out his anointing on us, and we're able to do the thing that is really hard. So remember that. Remember those two words as we close, you are appointed and you are anointed. Sarah, would you close us out with prayer?

I'd love to. Thank you, Becky. Heavenly Father, thank you so much for this time. Thank you that you truly do provide the strength and the power to walk this road as mom. Thank you for these reminders that Becky has shared, especially that You've appointed us. You've appointed us for our families and to be the moms of our kids, Lord. And you've anointed us. You've empowered us. You've given us all that we need in you to be that mom. Help us to, uh, take a moment to just let that seep in. Help us to truly tap into that, Lord, because we know that, um, staying grounded in you, staying connected to you, the vine, helps us just push away all of those comparison thoughts and lies, really, Lord, that are not of you. Help us to, um, be grounded in Your truth. I thank you for all the moms listening and ask that you would remind them of that today. It's in Jesus name we pray. Amen.

Amen. So, hey, Mamas out there, if you get a chance this week, would you open your Bible to John 15? Maybe just leave it out on the counter. And every now and then, as you're walking past it, read a verse to remind yourself of these truths. You are appointed and you are anointed. And as your remaining price, you can let go of, um, the need to compare. So you've been listening to the Connected Mom podcast. We hope you'll join us next week for another episode as we have real life conversations about connecting more deeply with God, more empathic with your fellow moms, and more intentionally with your child. Thanks for joining us today.