Make sure to enter to win a great giveaway today at the end of this post!
Can I get a fist-bump for June, please? We made it! The space between Easter and summer always feels like one giant roller-coaster, careening towards a million deadlines and obligations. Basically, I’m just holding on with white knuckles until it’s time to exhale. And I think we made it.
That’s why I am excited to share with you a new resource from my friends Amy Carroll and Cheri Gregory. They’ve written a book for the woman suffocating under the pressure of being all things to all people. I learned from both Amy and Cheri when I interned with Kathi Lipp and I recently had the privilege of interviewing Amy about their book, Exhale: Lose Who You’re Not, Love Who You Are, Live Your One Life Well.
I hope our conversation will encourage you today!
Tell me a little bit about your ministry and the women you serve.
Cheri and I are co-hosts of Grit ‘n’ Grace, a podcast for reforming perfectionists and people pleasers as well as HSPs, Highly Sensitive People. We know our listeners because we are our listeners. Instead of hiding behind the façade of “expert,” we love telling our personal stories to show how goofy we are so that the spotlight shines on our true hero, Jesus.
Who is Exhale for?
Exhale is for the woman suffocating under the pressure of being all things to all people; of filling every unfilled spot at church, work, and home; of trying to do it all right, make decisions that benefit everyone else, and keep everyone happy.
What is the main message you hope readers will take away from Exhale?
It’s possible to move from running-on-empty to spent-and-content by learning to invest your life in soul-satisfying ways. And it’s possible to achieve all three longings of a Jesus-loving-woman’s heart: fulfilling the desires of your heart, loving your people well, and bringing glory to God. You don’t have to settle for just one or two on the list.
What was your inspiration for creating Exhale?
The pain of the women we were listening to—our friends, family and podcast listeners—was the true catalyst for Exhale. We kept hearing common themes like the exhaustion that comes from trying to be all things to all people, the emptiness an unexamined life with a schedule filled with others’ expectations, and the hurt of not feeling confident in her gifts. Lots of times women even told us it felt selfish to explore those gifts or use them! Because of our own experiences and wrestling, Cheri and I had found some solutions by moving through the process to lose who you’re not and love who you are so that you can live your one life well. We wanted to share those solutions with others!
How has Exhale impacted your own life and faith journey?
Can I confess that it’s not my natural impulse to exhale, relaxing into the true call of God in my life? Making lists, hovering over my people, and jumping in as “Action Amy” are my tendencies! But over the years, God has been teaching me to examine expectations (other’s and my own), set healthy boundaries, embrace my God-created quirks, and come close to Jesus so that He can send me out. Writing those lessons have been good for my soul because I’m living them all over again. Teaching God’s lessons to others is both wonderful and terrifying since people start to watch the way you live!
Can you share your favorite practical tool from Exhale?
Having a co-author is amazing, and I’m going to brag on Cheri here. There are lots and lots of practical tools in the book, but one that I’m using in my current season of life is one she developed. In chapter six, Cheri talks about how to stop being a “problem preventer,” otherwise known as a meddler. She has a chart that outlines the contrasts between helping and meddling. For example, helping is by invitation. Meddling is by invasion. (Ouch!) I’ve pulled that chart out over and over as I’m learning to parent adult sons. It has helped to avert so much conflict!
What advice would you give to women who don’t like their story?
One of my favorite passages that I studied for the book was the story in Matthew 15:21-28. The Canaanite woman was a woman who should have disliked her story because she had so many strikes against her. She was an outsider, a woman, and a mother with a demon-possessed child. But as I studied her story, it was those traits that likely made her so tenacious in her interaction with Jesus. Her hard circumstances made her a woman of faith, and her faith triumphed, gaining healing for her daughter from a delighted Jesus. God used her trials to train her, and He does the same for us. If we can view our trials as training for something good in us and for us, it changes our perspective.
What Bible verse encourages you most when you are walking through a challenging situation?
Psalm 103 gets me every time. Verse 2 says, “Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits,” and then the Psalmist lists and lists and lists the benefits God pours out on us. In hard times, I tend to start to think of God as stingy toward me, but Jesus is a feast-thrower, not a crumb-doler. He lavishly gives His benefits to us- forgiveness, redemption, renewal to name just a few—even in our hardest circumstances.
Win a free copy of Exhale!
Amy and Cheri are the real deal. I consider both of them a mentor in ministry. And because they’re awesome, they have graciously sent me a copy of Exhale to share with my community and I’d love for you to win it! To enter, just leave a reply below by answering this question:
What are you most looking forward to during the summer?
*This giveaway will be open until Saturday, June 8, 2019. The winner will be notified via email.
About the authors
Amy Carroll is a speaker, writer, and international initiatives coordinator for Proverbs 31 Ministries; the author of Breaking Up with Perfect; and a cohost for the podcast Grit ‘n’ Grace. Amy and her husband live in Holly Springs, North Carolina. Find out more at www.amycarroll.org.
Cheri Gregory is a frequent speaker and the coauthor, with Kathi Lipp, of You Don’t Have to Try So Hard and Overwhelmed. She’s also a contributor to the upcoming (in)courage devotional Bible for women. She lives with her family on the central California coast. Learn more at www.cherigregory.com.