Becky Keife is out to live a life committed to a unique kind of courage: the courage of revolutionary kindness.
She’s been doing that through serving as the Community Manager for Dayspring’s (in)courage, and through her brand new book The Simple Difference. But it’s also a principle she is committed to living out behind-the-scenes in her daily life as a mom, and as someone who lives with clinical anxiety. On this episode of Trevor Talks, Becky shares about her childhood in a broken home and how that shook her belief in her worth, and about the God who has generously restored that belief. If you’ve been wondering how you can make a difference in the world today, right where you are, this conversation is for you.
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Becky Keife 0:00
Over the years part of God's healing in my life and the people who have been most impactful are friends and mentors who have come alongside me and showed me instead that you that yes, there is value in the things that I do. But that's not where my that's not where my identity lies, I value in who I am.
Trevor Tyson 0:22
Thank you for tuning in to Trevor talks podcast, where we talk to real people about real topics and real stories. Today's guest is an author, speaker and the community manager for day springs encourage her new book maps out the simple yet impactful message of how every small kindness makes a big impact. Today's guest is none other than Miss Becky Keefe, Becky, we made it we finally did this.
Becky Keife 0:47
We are here. I'm so happy. I'm like,
Trevor Tyson 0:51
as you know, not everyone else knows. But I'm super vulnerable. Like we push this thing back 15 minutes. And it's just been one of those days. And it's like, it's so encouraging to know that we get to talk for a good little bit about kindness and the power behind it. And just being intentional with our kindness, because for some reason, our generation is lacking the let's slow down and embrace every relationship and connection that we make, whether it's a person at a drive thru someone working at a gas station, or just people that we meet on an everyday basis. It's almost like our not our parents in particular, but just this generation has parents are forgetting to tell their kids like, Hey, slow down, show people you love them and treat them like humans.
Becky Keife 1:37
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. It's, there's, I don't think any of us want to be that way. But there's been, you know, a cultural acceptability, I feel like to just live kind of eyes down life to the grind, you know, in our phone, and we forget just that very basic step of looking up and seeing the people in front of us.
Trevor Tyson 2:00
Yeah, and it's like, you compare a microwave to a crock pot, you put it in a crock pot, it's probably going to taste better, it's going to do a whole lot more for you than just sign it in the microwave. We live in a microwave generation, everyone's like, gotta update my Instagram feed, gotta get the new iPhone, every single year people are updating or upgrading their vacuums now, which is very interesting to me, I gotta get the Wi Fi enabled one that's like, what is that really doing for you. But I am just super pumped to talk about kindness. And I'd love to start out with your journey. And the journey to writing this book, you've taken one of the most simplest messages you can have, and really brought it to life in a forefront and making it a priority. And I respect that so much. And I love the message. So what's your story with how you came up with this project? And what weighed it on your heart?
Becky Keife 2:52
Yeah, so I would say like the the genesis of the book is called the simple difference. And it's kind of twofold. One came from a place of just kind of wrestling with that, that kind of question. I think we all ask at some point, like, can I really make a difference? Like, I'm just one person, I'm a working mom in Southern California, I have three crazy kids a job that I love. everyday stresses, like, I don't have a lot, I don't have a ginormous, Instagram following. I don't have you know, tons of extra money in my bank account, like the needs in the world are so big. How can one person can one person really make a difference? And I was especially wrestling with this several years ago when my kids were younger. And I was just like, in the thick of it in motherhood. And I felt like I mean, I can't even like get out of the house without like, spit up on my shirt. Like, how am I going to be a world changer? So that was part of it, this kind of wrestling and then as an answer to that there was a particular moment several years ago that I will never forget. It was a summer day and I was taking my kids to the library. And we got there eight minutes early, which like no big deal, right? Well, if any parents are listening, I have three spirited children. They are not cut from like the sit still and be quiet kind of cloth. And so those eight minutes turned I mean they're just they weren't being bad at all. They're just highly active, highly curious. So there was like trips to the drinking fountain in the bathroom and oh, what is this cupboard do and a million questions and as those minutes ticked by more people came into this like waiting area, waiting for the library to open and I just felt like people were watching us. And again, we weren't my kids weren't being bad, but I just felt like All eyes on us. And so when the clock struck 10 And those doors finally opened. This woman caught my eye of course I had to tell my kids you know, inside voices, please don't Run. And I seemed fine on the outside. But I was like dripping sweat down my back, like just this kind of anxious mess because it just is a hard thing for me. And this woman caught my eye. And I could tell that she had been watching us. And she goes, it's gonna be a long summer. And I'm like, yeah, it is. And then Trevor, she said something I'll never forget, she said, but you're doing a really great job. I'm glad that you're here. And I was bracing myself for a stranger's criticism. And instead, when I was met with that simple word of encouragement, someone who just she could have been, she could have chosen to scroll Instagram, she could have, you know, been judging me in her mind and my three kids, but instead, she chose to see me and to offer that simple encouragement. And it changed my day, it changed the way I walked in that library with my head a little higher. And I thought about that comment for days, weeks, actually, even years now. And it made me kind of it was the answer to that grappling of can one person make a difference? Yeah, yeah, they can by just showing up right, where you are seeing the people in front of you. And extending the kindness of a simple word of encouragement, a helping hand, just being present. And, and it made me want to be that kind of person to
Trevor Tyson 6:27
have that. And it feels like she wasn't even just saying that at random, she was being very intentional with it. And you map that out a lot in the book. And just being intentional with being kind super simple, something that we're going to talk about a lot in this episode, for sure. But what is it? What's the difference between just popping off on the fly and being like, Oh, I'm gonna be kind of this person, but actually motivating yourself to go out of your way and be kind of each and every single person you come in contact with. And even on the bad days, like everybody has a sucky day here. And now again. So how do you just train yourself to do that? Have you mastered that yet? Is it still something you're working on? And how can we do that as well?
Becky Keife 7:11
Absolutely. Something I'm still working on. I like to say like, I'm no kindness poster child, like this stuff does not always come easily to me. But I think one of the key differences, you know, we, we've heard for years about random acts of kindness. Great do that. Like, I hope that you are the person ahead of me in Starbucks, who feels compelled to like, pay for the bill behind you. Like those kinds of things, like, you know, paint, your kindness rocks, like, those kinds of things are, are beautiful and important. And yeah, I think one of the distinctions between a random act of kindness and an intentional act of kindness is we do random things when we feel like it. When I have five extra bucks in my pocket, when things are going well. And I'm like, Oh, I have so much joy in my life, like I want to share with others. Intentional kindness is exactly what you're talking about. Regardless of how I feel, whether it's a good day or a bad day, whether I'm keenly aware of the lack in my own life, or I happen to feel like I have an abundance of time or money or energy, intentional kindness is putting on that daily posture. And for me, it sounds like this Lord, as I go on my way, have your way with me. It's that same like right now, wherever I am, I'm going to be present in the moment. And treat each person like their image bearer of God, that they have intrinsic value, that they are worthy of dignity and respect, and just love and care. Regardless if I know them, regardless, if we have the same political views like just to show up and just give that care of being present. Does that make sense?
Trevor Tyson 8:50
It does make sense. And making that simple difference in someone's day can save a life, you know, suicide rates are at an all time high. And this is directly going to help better like lower those rates, I truly believe and mental health depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation. During the pandemic, it really just amplified all that the numbers went up and up and up to the point where I believe it was Don't quote me on this, but in a state I believe it was California, like they had higher suicide rates, and they did people passing from the virus. So that yeah, how was it being kind during the pandemic, even when you're all masked up everyone's double spraying hand sanitizer everywhere, shooting Lysol out of their cars, whatever they were doing, right? How was it? Just everyone was so nervous, and it's almost like we're training our kids to be afraid of our neighbors. So while everyone's so afraid and avoiding everyone in your personal life, how did you find ways to be kind and go above and beyond?
Becky Keife 9:54
Yeah, well, what's interesting is, is that I was actually writing the book This book, during the pandemic, like in those early stages of quarantine, which was of course, like not the plan, but, you know, 2020 didn't go how it was planned. And what, what came out of that was a chapter I wasn't expecting to write. But it's called hardest at home. Hardest at home, please tell me I'm not the only one who finds that it's actually sometimes easier to be kind to strangers or dear friends or co workers than the people that we live with. So one of the ways you know, to answer your question, Trevor, that I felt challenged, and like I really had to put into practice is the people that I love the most, are they getting the best of me? Am I looking for ways to be the blessing in their life, to put down my own preferences and agenda and irritation and love? Well, the people that God has entrusted to my care, so certainly I talk a lot about that. But then, you know, in terms of like being out in the world, and this like highly charged, highly sensitive society that we now live in, I think it's when people are frazzled and frustrated and angry, all the more kindness can be super disarming simple things like let it like you see someone who is frazzled, and you know, the grocery store, or Costco and you can tell, you can tell, I can tell when they are evaluating the lines, which line is shorter, you know, or which line can I have the most facing, because I do this too. And to say, like, Hey, you may have like five items, like, go ahead and go in front of me, or you or you're waiting for that parking spot, and another car pulls up after you what would happen if you if you wave them on, you go ahead, you take that spot, and you drive the extra mile. Those two things are so simple. Most of us have that kind of experience in our week, you know, in any given week. And yeah, I know of specific encounters people have told me or they've done this, sometimes the person doesn't even acknowledge you. No problem. But other times, a friend recently told me, you know, that person roll down their window and was like, thank you so much, just the fact that you smiled, and let me go first, like I'm having the worst day. And that really meant a lot to me.
Trevor Tyson 12:20
That's so deep. And again, like it's so simple, yet so effective. You can change someone's day, you can save their life, with just being kind and it intrigues me that you went out of your way just to write the simple difference to showcase these stories and things that have helped you better yourself in that way. But it also intrigued me to know, where did the whole journey for Becky start, like from childhood up? Like, what is your story? How did you get crafted into the woman you are today? Were there things that your parents implemented? Were there hardships traumas that you experience? What's the story behind Becky Keefe?
Becky Keife 12:56
Yeah, well, well, that's a deep question. You know, someone else asked me this recently, like, because, you know, I talk a lot about how every word counts. And you know, that that kindness of encouragement, that kindness of saying simple things, whether it's to a stranger or dear friend, like, you matter, God delights in you, I'm grateful for your friendship. You know, thanks for showing up, you're doing a great job. And I was asked, you know, why is it so? It seems so easy and effortless for you to say those things, you know, did you experience a lot of that as a child like, what what, you know, what did your parents do and, and I definitely, I had a loving family. You know, I definitely felt loved and cared for and like, my parents were proud of me. But also part of my story is that my parents divorced when I was nine or 10 years old. And a product of that was it like, turned on the light switch, I think of my natural wiring as an achiever. And I've always been since I was a kid, you know, on the fast track to like wanting to strive do more, and really that the core message for me and that was that I have value based upon what I do. And over the years, part of God's healing in my life and the people who have been most impactful are friends and mentors who have come alongside me and showed me instead that you that yes, there is value in the things that I do. But that's not where my that's not where my identity lies, I have value in who I am, who I am as someone created in God's image who I am as a daughter of God as a follower of Christ. And I want to share that with others. I want others to know that if the if if the biggest thing you do today is getting out of bed, because you are depressed, if the best thing you do today, I know I struggle with clinical anxiety and some days, like, the brave strong thing was making eggs and playing a card game with my kids. Like that was more than enough that I could do. And for someone to say like just you being here, just you showing up your voice, your story, your very presence matters. And so that is so much the heartbeat of the simple difference in what I see in the life of Christ is that he didn't find value in people based upon what they did, but just who they are. And I, I long for us to get back to that core value as as as people as neighbors. Yeah.
Trevor Tyson 15:44
Just going back to the basics. I love that. And thank you for being vulnerable on your story. I know that could be something to be kind of anxious, like you hear that question. You're like, Oh, I didn't prep for that at all. And that's one thing that I like to highlight. Like, the whole thing behind Trevor talks is like, I want people to come here and hear from people just like them that have gone through the same experiences. So whether they grew up in a rat infested home or like, you know, just some, there's a lot of people that have been through the wringer. And, and it's not always going to be the same. So for me, what I relate so much with your story is like, I always felt like I had to prove myself always felt like I had to overachieve. And I can never really hit that mark, because I'm not perfect at all. And I am from a very tiny town. And it's like, you can't do this, you can't do that, like you're gonna work at a warehouse or something. And that was never on the table. For me, I'm not mechanically inclined, like these are pretty useless. Unless I'm typing something. That's just how I've been wired. And for you to be able to go through like a divorce like that, that obviously implemented trauma. And, like having clinical anxiety, I struggle with panic disorder, and a lot of our listeners struggle with their mental health as well. So for someone that's going through something like you did as a child with going through your parents divorce and struggling with anxiety, what would your message to them be today? Like, keep going like, what's the encouragement from Becky Keefe?
Becky Keife 17:18
Yeah. God sees you. Your struggle is not unknown to him, and that you are loved, and valuable and significant. Right where you are today. And also, your story isn't finished. The struggles that feel unending today, probably will always be this way. I know, I have walked through many pits, and then I've, you know, crawled out onto those, you know, and those peaks of recovery. And for most of us who struggle with mental illness, it's always going to be part of our story. Actually, just just earlier this week, I posted on Instagram, I was like, I feel like an inside out tornado. And that was my description for feeling like eerily calm on the outside and how I respond to my kids. But on the inside, I was having an anxiety flare, and I felt like that swirling chaos which way is up. And so even as a Christian author, and speaker, and you know, we're just real people, you're just a real person. And that is enough. And that is good. And the other thing I want to say to you and to all of us is that even when you're struggling, you still have something to offer. You can still be a simple difference maker. Because guess what? I feel like one of like the the gifts of, of the struggles of my past. One of the gifts of even mental illness is it grows in us a capacity for compassion. When you are struggling when you are longing for encouragement, be the encourager you wish you had maybe it's just you know, simple words, you can leave all you the energy you have is to text a friend. I'm struggling. And I'm also thinking of you. How are you doing? Like that could be the powerful lifeline of connection that someone else needs. And you don't have to be whole you don't have to feel great you don't have to be you can be in the pit and still reach out. What you have right now is enough to make a difference.
Trevor Tyson 19:35
Sheesh, well Becky, thank you so much for being here today. That is the perfect way to just leave people on a cliffhanger and hopefully they'll go get the book and check everything out at the encourage movement which I'm I'm just deeply grateful for this conversation like it's one of those that we just hopped right in and yeah, it's like no room for Aaron here, but like, your your message and your story is so impactful. And we're going to link everything in the description below for the simple difference, which is available everywhere now. And if you're listening to this, and maybe you're like, my mom needs this, my sister needs this. My cousin needs this. Go ahead and pick it up for him. The holidays are coming up, Black Friday is coming up all that good stuff. Get ahead of that. And Becky, just thank you so much, again for being here.
Becky Keife 20:27
Thank you, I'm really grateful to mean our stories. Our stories matter. And so I'm grateful for the work that you do and having real talk and yeah, the world doesn't need more shiny Instagram filters. Like what we need is to know that there's real people. Anxiety is real. I like to say anxiety is real, but someone's God. Cynicism is real, but let's make kindness more real. And so yeah, it's a pleasure to hang out with you today.
Trevor Tyson 20:57
And this episode has been brought to you by a new early Saturday as usual. And be sure to go check out the whosoever is movement and everything they're doing over there. We love those guys. We'll talk to you next week.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Becky Keife is a beloved speaker and is the Community Manager for DaySpring’s (in)courage, a widely followed online community where authentic women link arms to build community, celebrate diversity, and live courageously for Jesus.
Becky’s debut book, No Better Mom for the Job: Parenting with Confidence (Even When You Don’t Feel Cut Out for It) reflects her passion for empowering moms to find their confidence in God and encouraging women in the thick of it.
She is also the author of the new releases, The Simple Difference: How Every Small Kindness Makes a Big Impact and it's companion Bible Study, Couragoues Kindness: Live the Simple Difference Right Where You Are. (October 2021)
Becky has been featured on The Hallmark Channel's Home & Family show, The Crystal Paine Show podcast, HomeLife Magazine, and many more media outlets.
Keife has a Bachelor’s in Creative Writing and Master’s in English. With a decade of experience as a professional editor, she enjoys championing writers and equipping them to use their voice for God’s glory.
Becky is a huge fan of Voxer, Instagram, Sunday naps, and imperfect people leaning on Jesus. She and her husband live near Los Angeles, where they enjoy hiking shady trails with their three spirited sons.