Elisabeth Hasselbeck on Her New Book Point of View: It was All God

By Nancy Flory Published on April 5, 2019

LIFE Today will host Emmy award-winning Elisabeth Hasselbeck (The View, Fox & Friends, Survivor) May 30 to discuss her newest book Point of View: A Fresh Look at Work, Faith, and FreedomThe Stream’s Nancy Flory recently sat down with Elisabeth to talk about the book and how God has done a work in her life.

What prompted you to write this book? Was there anything in particular that was a catalyst?

It was all God. I usually write about gluten! This kept coming to mind I think in a season of quiet. I really hadn’t gotten quiet in a while. It was pretty loud. Pretty loud on The View, loud and magnified at Fox News, just by profession. At the pace I was keeping, there was not a lot of space to reflect. Once I got quiet, I thought ‘Oh, good, now I have some time to do nothing. Just rest.’ What I realized was, rest is not nothing. Rest is obedience, and rest is really listening.

I love the fact that God laid this book on my heart again and again and again until I found an accountable friend and whispered it to her. She held me accountable. I think the discipline of writing brought me a morning time with God in five-hour segments that I maybe wouldn’t have permitted myself to have had I not written the book. The work of writing is different — way different than the work He did in my heart. The work He did on my heart in the process was astounding to me, beautiful. I honestly think He just allowed me to write the book to work on my heart. I don’t know what will come of the book itself in terms of book world and reach and all that. I know He asked me to write it because I had some work to do in me.

What’s the best way to shift our point of view? I think we get stuck on that.

Sure. I think even more now than ever. Listen, I’ve been in the debate forum for almost a decade now. You get really good — like the muscles you practice — you get good at what you do and what you practice. I got good at debate and good at being right about things. I had to be and I like to be, and I got better at it — I thought. And that’s good, but I think being right has a limit when it comes to relationships. Bob Goff has been a great teacher to me, just personally, and how there’s more to us than being right. I write in the book about being wrong enough to get right with people that God’s placed in your life. I believe fully that we say we’re understanding when we’re really “onderstanding.” You know, we’re standing on issues, but that really needs to come second to standing under God. He doesn’t want us divided, He wants us unified. He doesn’t want us in debates that cause hate. He doesn’t want discussions to lead to discord. He doesn’t want differences to be division. That’s not who our God is. I think He weeps at that.

I think what getting another point of view requires is literally — and in the broadcasting world — you get a POV card, a point of view card, on anyone you’re interviewing. Basically, it’s trying to line your eye up right next to the person who’s telling the story just to see what they saw. Just to get close to their eye to see what they see. I have friends that I’ve had the blessing of doing that with, to see the ‘why’ behind their ‘what.’ At least it gives you an idea of why they feel the way that they feel about certain subjects. Even the most tricky ones. If you don’t do that, then you only have your perspective. It’s important to truly have an understanding – at least take a look through the lens of what someone else is seeing.

And then also, in terms of point of view, I think it’s important to be very intentional whose lens you get behind. The world’s lens can be a little skewed sometimes. My own lens can be the same way. The goal God gave me in this book is just to get behind the lens others to get their perspective, and get behind the lens of others to get an understanding, but also to get behind the lens of God to see how He sees things as closely as possible. That’s just been a peaceful process I think, to see things how he sees them, how He wants us to see them, even ourselves.

You wrote that we need people around us who know God’s Word, pray according to that Word and speak that Word to us and over us. What happens when we haven’t surrounded ourselves with those kinds of people?

Sure. I’ll even take it a step further. We need to be the kind of people that are well-watered in the Word and seek people who are well-watered in the Word. And if you are trying to be that person I will guarantee you will find people who are. A lot of the time I’m reading [the Bible]. I used to read just to see ‘What’s in here?’ and ‘What’s God say about that?’ or like, ‘I need this to live. What does God say?’ Now I read it because I need it. I don’t even want to take a breath before I get it.

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I do think we need to be well-watered so that when we’re with someone who may need encouragement our words will [not] fall short. My human being words will always fall short. But God’s Word does not. So, if I don’t fill myself up with God’s Word in a time when someone else is leaning over, then how am I going to hold them up with my words? My words will fail. God’s Words won’t. I think there’s a duty in the way I read now, a beautiful one, where I want to be readied in the Word of God so I can be a strong, rooted plant for someone who might not feel that way. Because I have needed to lean on someone else to believe for me when I couldn’t. I pray that I can stay in the Word enough to do that for someone else.

What do you want readers to take away from this book? What would you like readers to walk away thinking?

It’s a tricky question because I didn’t write the book as a takeaway book. When I wrote gluten-free books I wrote, ‘I hope you feel encouraged as a celiac, here’s what I’d want you to know.’ God did a great work in my heart in the midst of writing it — unveiled a story. Spending time in the Word and writing things down was just the way that He kind of got into the corners of my heart. I didn’t even know I needed [that]. I’d encourage someone to do that. Write your story down, write what His story is doing in your heart.

Then I think reflectively, in terms of the years of debating, one of the most wonderful ways of looking at my time at The View was that we can, in fact — and I know this because of my friendships — hold in one hand our constitutional rights to our religious beliefs to our politics and all that. You don’t need two. You need the other hand to hold someone else. I think that we can do both of those things. I used to have both hands gripping so tight[ly] on my constitutional rights because I was so afraid if I didn’t hold them in both hands that I wouldn’t be able to maintain them. But you can. You can use one hand on that and that’s great. And then, use the other hand to hold someone else’s hand regardless of what they believe in their other hand. I think we can do that. I think it’s possible.

You mentioned that God used that time after The View to instruct you in total reliance on Him. Can you tell me a little bit about that?

Sure. I think it was a challenging time to be asked to go when I didn’t want to. He continues to do this because I’m pretty stubborn. I’m like, ‘I’ve got this now, God. Call you when I need you.’ It’s not the relationship He’s looking for. It was a time where I just had to — particularly after The View and after Fox — I [needed to] step out of my work position and step away from the stresses that came with it. Really, I mismanaged my own clocks. I was pretty tired anyway, but I thought that I was rested enough where I could handle it and then I’d check in with Him later.

I think what He taught me was what rest means and what surrender means. It doesn’t mean only the hard things you ask Him to help you with, it’s everything. It was breakfast and pancakes as well. The very thing that I [think] ‘I totally have this, this is easy,’ is a battle for [my] heart every single moment. By the measure of the world, I thought, ‘well this should be more simple, given what I was just doing.’ I needed Him just as much in waking up and getting the kids for school. Really, in every single way I needed Him. I think the catch was trying to identify where I thought I had things under control and that was my surrender location. I’m like okay, ‘You need to work on your surrender in that.’

Rest is an acronym for … 

Release Everything in Surrender To Him. I kind of fudged the acronym a little bit with the “to.”

Release everything. Everything is really the part I think I would emphasize. I totally release some things to Him, but not everything. Of course I’m surrendering everything to Him, but where’s my worry? If I’m holding worry, I’ve not given that up to God. So that’s where I know I need to pray and ask Him to work in that. Where am I gripping into maybe an overconfidence in an area where I feel like I totally have something under control? That’s likely an area I need to work on and surrender. Or [if I think] ‘Oh, I’ll get to that later.’ That relationship, that issue, that thing I’m angry about [is] something I need to surrender to God. That’s where I invite his grace. ‘What do you mean I’m not surrendering — I think I’m surrendering everything.’ You think you are, and then if you ask yourself those questions, you kind of figure out there are a few more things you need to give up. Or get over. Like I gave up on a career but I didn’t give over my whole heart to God yet, surrender everything. And there’s a big difference.

Faith in God requires trust and intentional practice. What does that mean? What does that look like?

I think we have a choice. I think God blesses us with His goodness and His grace and His mercy and His power by the Holy Spirit and His living, breathing Word. The practice of reading it works. I think being intentional — [like] writing this book. I knew that I could not write this book that God was asking me to write without being fully in the Word. I practiced reading every day in the morning for hours and hours. And I still had more to read. I still had more to learn. I still had more to grow. What I noticed is that the intentionality in going to His Word first — it’s just the habit — you have a choice and you have some decisions to make on what you fill your mind with. That’s likely going to guide your heart. It just follows a pattern. The pattern for me is wake up, read, get in Scripture, get in the Word, because even if you’ve turned the same page or read it before, the same devotional, it’s always new and fresh and nothing falls void. It works. If you do that, it fills your mind. The Bible [says] it’s your mind. Set your eyes and mind on things that are not earthly because God knows the power of the mind.

He gives us a choice. You have to be intentional with your mind because it will go the other way. For me, it’s just the practice of having a disciplined mind so that the access to my heart is limited to what God has to say about me. What God has to say about me and those that He places in my life that are in the Word — they fill me too. I think you have to do it. God covers it, but He, like a parent [expects us to practice]. Like when I say to my children, ‘I want you to be good drivers,’ they have to practice stopping at stop lights. They have to practice getting in the car, they have to practice their routine of checking their lights, putting their directionals on — they have to do that in order to do the thing. I’m going to instruct them, I’m going to give them all the information that I have to do it, and I’m not God. I’m limited. But yet, as a parent, you want them to do the right thing. You help them and instruct them, but they actually have to practice it.

I think that God does the same thing but infinitely more without limit. He just wants us to do the thing. Do the gratitude. Do the reading. Get in the Word. I think I had good examples of that. My grandmother’s a good example. She would get up and read and pray every morning. It was just what she did. [My husband’s] dad, same thing. Gets up, prays, reads, writes, prayers for years. I mean, I don’t think he’s missed a day in 40 years. It’s wild. And so, I think that the discipline of it just becomes what you do. You’ll hear some things. ‘Oh, you heard this and then you prayed.’ That’s just what I do. I hear ‘Happy Birthday,’ I pray. Because I need a lot of prayer!

Editor’s note: This interview was edited for clarity.

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