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‘What God Taught Me on Survivor’: Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s New Book ‘Point of View’

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No doubt, being on Survivor changed me. One biblical truth that was impressed so firmly on my heart as a result of my time in the outback is John 15:5 and this is why.


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Elisabeth Hasselbeck

Without clocks or watches, the sun was our guide for time. Every third day or so we seemed to face a challenge in which our team and the other would compete. Each time we met, we found out which member from the tribe that lost the previous challenge had been voted off. Every time we faced off, the remaining tribe members looked fainter, weaker and much more visibly exhausted than before.

At the close of each challenge, the victorious tribe claimed the prize, which was often a bit of food and occasionally some supplies we needed. At that point, the team prizes were essential for survival, and we appreci­ated them because they motivated us and kept our spirits up. We did our best, and when the number of members in each tribe got down to four, we merged.

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This is where things got a little sticky, as our tribe had bonded as a unit, and the other team seemed to have a plan to wipe out our members. The only way to guarantee survival was to win the personal challenges and maintain a majority over the other tribe. The intensity and strategy ramped up. I never won an individual challenge. Not once. That was frustrating and disheartening, but I now thank God for that time of fac­ing discouragement, as I know He was growing me closer to Him. So I rested on Him and Him alone—fully. He would not waste my pain, hunger or frustration.

What God Taught Me on Survivor': Elisabeth Hasselbeck's New Book 'Point of View'

To this day, hearing the notes of the Survivor music makes my heart skip a beat. Once my season on the game was complete, I wish I understood why, at the time, I wanted to run away from this period in my life that would be so pivotal.

Part of me wanted to lock away the whole experience. Quite frankly, life changed course so rapidly and so enormously after the show that I did not have time to look back and reflect on the fact that it did certainly not define me, but it sure did refine me.

I watched our season when it first aired in 2001. Then it was seven­teen years before I wanted to watch it again. Finally, for my fortieth birth­day, I was ready to see what I had done in the outback. Tim and I found the DVDs and watched the show with the kids. They were old enough to understand it—and I was finally ready to relive it.

No doubt, being on Survivor changed me. One biblical truth that was impressed so firmly on my heart as a result of my time in the outback is John 15:5, when Jesus says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

The outback revealed to me God’s wonderful creations in a way I had never seen—the kangaroo, the wallaby, the open sky, the sounds of night. I started my Australian adventure as a young girl desperate to see what I was made of without the availability of anything that would comfort me. It was a chapter in my life that I tucked into my heart as a time of growing deeply in my faith. God made clear to me that I did not need to be away from anyone who cared about me to know what I was made of because He had specifically placed in my life all those I missed back home—the ones who were on my mind with every beat of my heart while in Austra­lia—to love me and for me to love.

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I may have gone into that adventure to find out who I was without all the comforts of those I love around me, but by the time I left, I realized whose I am and how He had blessed and would continue to bless me with the most incredible hearts since then. God showed me that I did not ever want to be away from Tim again, that my family was my support and that He was my portion. He showed me that even in the middle of a des­ert, in the rough places, He is there, He has gone before me, and He will never let me go. I learned that grit and grace do not have to be mutually exclusive. God opened my eyes to see clearly that I am made by Him, that apart from Him I can do nothing, that He is my comforter, and that He is never away from me. “I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him’ ” (Lamentations 3:24, emphasis added).

Elisabeth Hasselbeck is an Emmy Award-winning talk show host, former broadcaster and New York Times best-selling author of The G-Free Diet and Deliciously G-Free. Elisabeth is married to former NFL quarterback and current ESPN NFL analyst Tim Hasselbeck, and they live with their three children in Nashville, Tennessee.


Excerpted from Point of View: A Fresh look at Work, Faith, and Freedom. Copyright © 2019 by Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Used by permission of WaterBrook, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.