Wondering if it's possible to move from "out of my mind" to "in control" when you've got too many projects on your plate and too much mess in your relationships? In Overwhelmed: How to Quiet the Chaos and Restore Your Sanity (www.overwhelmed.website), Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory readers will be encouraged to identify their underlying hurts, uncover hope and embrace practical healing. You can simplify and savor your life - guilt free! Clutter, tasks, and relationships may overwhelm you now, but God can help you overcome with grace.
Q: Kathi, thank you for doing this interview with us. Let's start with yourself, tell us a little about yourself.
I'm a writer in Silicon Valley with my engineering husband, and the mom and stepmom of 4 adult kids. I'm unreasonably obsessed with lattes and my puggle (pug/beagle mix) Jake.
Q: You've just got a new book out "Overwhelmed." Briefly tell us what's the book about?
My co-author Cheri Gregory and I wanted to provide very practical steps for the deeply spiritual problem of being overwhelmed. Our hope is to give women who are in a place of overwhelm a shortcut to a living a life of peace, because we believe peace is possible. In so many ways, overwhelmed feels like our default setting. I really don't believe it has to be (or that God wants it to be.)
Q: What inspired you to write this book?
I went through a time in my life where I was completely overwhelmed and had to fight my way back. My coauthor, Cheri, not only watched me go through it, she took notes. We wanted to share a bit of my story, and Cheri's process of getting out from feeling that it's all just too much, to give hope to other overwhelmed women.
Q: In the book you talked about the perfect parent myth. What is it? And why is this myth dangerous?
It's the word "perfect." It's the most overwhelming word in the English language. But when we can go from trying to be the perfect parent, to being the right parent for our child's needs, it takes the pressure off ourselves, and off our kids. We all need to recognize that as we are raising our kids, we are also growing ourselves as parents. As long as we keep hunkering down, being willing to learn and grow and let God lead us, it's amazing what he can do with a willing, humble imperfect parent.
Q: You also talked about the Sabbath. Isn't this an Old Testament teaching? What relevance does it have on us now?
I believe Sabbath is the most radical act of faith that most of us can perform on a weekly basis. Trusting God with our business, our stresses and our overwhelm can get us to a place of trusting Him with every area of our lives. When we trust God with that one day a week, it blows me away how God will give me the strength to say no to the things that I don't need in my life.
Q: You also talked about creating a calendar that allows for space. How can busy mothers do that?
Our calendar is our physical representation of our overwhelm. If there isn't blank space on the calendar, then we've already set ourselves up for a life without peace. Getting (concert with our C??) and making sure there's enough margin for the expected stresses --and unexpected chaos-- that enters into each of our lives, is one of the first lines of defense against being overwhelmed.
Q: One of the values of this new book is that you provide a reader's self-assessment for us to determine what is overwhelming them, and a personality test to examine the impact according to each specific personality. This I think is the most valuable part of the book. Tell us more about this self assessment.
Overwhelm is such a general word. Until we understand the root of the overwhelm and how it impacts us each and every day, we will stay stuck in overwhelm. But when we can clearly define it and create actionable steps to defeat it, that's where the power comes from. So, not only knowing our particular brand of overwhelm, but knowing ourselves is the first step to living a life at peace, every single day.
Q: How has the quality of your life improved after putting these lessons into use?
The ways are innumerable. I now have a community of peoplel who believe and will remind me that God has designed us for a life of peace; that overwhelm doesn't have to be our default setting. My husband and I talk actively and openly about ways to reduce overwhelm in our lives and in the lives of people we love. It's a continuous gift, one that I'm grateful for every single day.