Monday, August 27, 2012

My Interview with Lysa TerKeurst

One of the many highlights for me at ICRS in July was the chance to sit down with Lysa TerKeurst and talk about her new book, Unglued. I have had several opportunities to be with Lysa in the past and she is the real deal! I absolutely love her heart for God and her authenticity and willingness to share the realness of life with women. At the time we talked, Unglued was just a couple of weeks from its release date, August 7. It immediately landed at #8 on the NYT Bestselling List and is currently #5 (Paperback Advice & Misc.). Below is a bit about the book and then my interview with Lysa.

Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions

Lysa TerKeurst
ISBN: 978-0310332794
August 2012/192 pages/$14.99

In Lysa's New York Times bestseller, Made to Crave, Lysa addresses what goes in her mouth. Now, in this highly anticipated next book, Unglued, Lysa addresses her battle with the words that come out of her mouth.

Filled with personal examples and Biblical teaching, Unglued will equip you to:

  • Know with confidence how to resolve conflict in your important relationships.
  • Find peace in your most difficult relationships as you learn to be honest but kind when offended.
  • Identify what type of reactor you are and how to significantly improve your communication.
  • Respond with no regrets by managing your tendencies to stuff, explode or react somewhere in between.
  • Gain a deep sense of calm by responding to situations out of your control without acting out of control.

"This is one brave and bold book that's as vulnerable as it is practical. No one knows His Word, His women and His way quite like Lysa TerKeurst. And once I started reading? I couldn't stop."
— Ann Voskamp

Lysa TerKeurst has once again written a book that will resonate with women across generations, economic statuses, and cultures. From the very beginning her trademark authenticity and relatability drew me in as she gave examples of times she has become "unglued" in relationships, whether with family or friends. Lysa identifies four reaction types --
  • Exploders that Blame Others
  • Exploders that Shame Themselves
  • Stuffers that Build Barriers
  • Stuffers that Collect Retaliation Rocks
-- and provides practical and Biblically-based ways that each of these individuals can change their responses to challenging interpersonal situations. I particularly love the fresh insight to the applicable Scripture verses that she shares as well as the encouragement that "imperfect progress" is the goal of improvement, as women often tend to think they need to change from failures to perfection overnight! Along with the affordable DVD Bible Study and workbook available, I highly recommend this for women to use individually as well as in groups.


I'm really picky about the non-fiction I read and yours are one of the few I love! I so appreciate how authentic you are. I know so many women are drawn to your books and your blog because of that; you are "one of us" and we can relate to you.

I don't have enough energy to put on airs that I'm anything but messy, so it's just a lot better! If I try to put on some kind of a front about how perfect I am, people can just spend a few minutes with me and start to see the imperfections quickly so it's just better if I lower their expectations right from the beginning! But I also think that if we're going to be effective in reaching people for Jesus, then we have to show how Jesus meets us at our point of need, which means we then have to expose our point of need. For me, that's really what it's all about. I think Jesus can shine more brightly when I reveal that He works in me, through me, and I need Him desperately, because let's face it: most women aren't walking around, thinking that they have it all together. They may want to portray that. But inside, we all have these nagging insecurities; we're very well aware of our own inadequacies, so why not just talk about it and show how Jesus can meet it right there? If you can give that hope to a woman, that's such a gift--that you don't have to get cleaned up and "gussied up" before you come to Jesus. Ask for Jesus' help right in the midst of the mess and you'll find Him there.

If you look at how Jesus interacted with people when He was here in the flesh, He went to the messy places. Why would I not want to invite Jesus to go to the messy places in my life? Because that's where He shows up and shines very brightly.

Can you talk a little bit about labels? I love how you used the example of the closet: you can have a messy closet but that doesn't mean that you're a mess.

I really struggle with this in my life. If my kids get the Best Student award, I walk around thinking, "Yes! I am a good mom!" and I put that label across my heart. But the reality is, if I build my identity on the fragile choices of my children, I will choke myself to death with that. The reality is that even God, the perfect parent, has kids that mess up. So why should it surprise me that I have kids that mess up? I can't determine my worth as a mother based on what my kids do or don't do.

It's the same thing as a friend. The reality is that some friendships last a lifetime and sometimes they don't. If you get into a messy situation with a friend, it's really easy to believe certain lies, like "I'm not a good friend. I'm a whacked-out woman." It's really easy to put those labels on yourself, just like the day in my closet. I had a messy closet. That's a situation in my life but it's not an identity marker. I've really started to listen to the way I talk to myself and labels I put on myself because they can become a self-fulfilled prophecy. If I walk around feeling like a mess, then chances are, I'm going to be a mess. I have to be really careful because that's not who Jesus set me up to be. Jesus set me up to be redeemed and forgiven and to walk in grace, fully realizing what a mess I am but receiving God's forgiveness moment by moment as I ask for it, as I repent for the things that are flaws and faults of mine, and then I can walk around feeling much more whole and able and less Unglued.

If I walk around and tell myself, "I'm just a woman who's unglued and I'll always be unglued, " that just short-circuits the hope Jesus offers to all of us. Not that I should walk around thinking "I'm fantastic! I'm 'all that and a bag of chips.'" That's going to lead you into a wrong direction too. Have a very balanced, grace-filled thought of who you are and how you are and mostly, all because of Jesus.

The book talks about the four types of people and the exploders vs the stuffers. On the stuffers, how do you balance addressing issues without being one who always has to address every little thing and can't just let things go?

There are several verses that address this. We've quoted these verses a lot but maybe never thought about them in this context. Think about Psalm 119:14 May the words of my mouth AND the meditations of my heart. . . See, that verse includes the exploder -- may the words that come out of my mouth -- and the stuffer -- the thoughts that are pushed down into my heart. May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

There are two things we do with our emotions. They never sit still; they're always moving. We process them, and we express them. I want both of those--the words of my mouth (the expression) and the meditation of my heart (the processing)--to be honoring in the Lord's sight. It's really coming together and developing what I call soul integrity. Soul integrity is where you take the honesty of the exploder--that's the good thing that the exploder is bringing to the table--and the peacemaking of the stuffer--that's the good thing that the stuffer is bringing to the table--and you bring those two things together and make your honesty peacemaking and you make your peacemaking honest. When you bring those two things together, the Holy Spirit in that moment is going to be able to speak to you and say either, "Yes, that needs to be addressed," or "For heaven's sake, if that's the worst thing that happens today, it's still a great day. Let it go." You can process it in a healthy way.

Another great verse: A gentle answer turns away much wrath. Most people would just say that applies to the exploder, and it does because the exploder needs to be more gentle. But it also applies to the stuffer because the stuffer needs to give an answer; they need to bring a conversation to the table. That verse doesn't say "gentleness" or "gentle silence" turns away much wrath. No! It says a gentle answer turns away much wrath. So as a stuffer, if you're saying, "I'm fine, I'm fine, I'm fine," that's not true! You're not fine.

Proverbs 10 says, He who has hatred stored up in his heart but speaks with his mouth has lying lips. That's addressing the stuffer. If we have hatred in our heart but we're always trying to say nice things and we're not feeling it--it's not authentic--then we have lying lips. So the Bible is so clear about addressing both of those.

Think about the verse I gave earlier, A gentle answer turns away much wrath. The exploder needs to read it like this: A GENTLE answer turns away much wrath. The stuffer needs to read it like this: A gentle ANSWER turns away much wrath. It's fascinating when you study the Bible from the perspective of "I'm struggling with this and I need some answers." The verses just start to come alive in a brand-new way.

I'm really excited for people to read Unglued because I really feel that, if I can help people make imperfect progress--and that's the whole goal of the book; I'm not going to make your emotions line up in a single line and march in order and you're never going to mess up again! But if I can help you improve your ability to resolve conflict 10% better, which means I'll improve your relationships 10%--maybe for you it will be 20% or 30%. But if someone came up to you today and said, "Hey Linda, I can help your marriage, I can help your friendships, be 10% better," I think you'd take it. For some people, it's going to be a whole lot more. If I can help people in the moment of decision, in the midst of that conflict, know how to process and express in a way that's healthy and in a way that honors God, then I think we've done a good thing.

What is the best way that you recommend people "do" this book. I know it's really easy to read a book, think "that was good," and then put it on a shelf. Is there a Bible Study with it?

Yes, and it all releases at the same time. The book, the 6-week DVD curriculum, and the workbook all release in August. The workbook is fantastic! I partnered with a gal named Christine Anderson, and I think it will be my favorite Bible Study workbook ever. It's so creative and so fun!

There are three options for people if they want to do this as a Bible Study. Of course, you want to get the book, the workbook, and the DVD set. You can get it all in a bundle for under $50, which is amazing! Individually, the DVD set is $26.99, the workbook is $10.99, and the book is $14.99.

  • You can get the whole kit for less than $50 and go through it personally. That's less than you'd pay for one counseling session, and I promise you'll get way more out of this program than you would from just one counseling session! I'm a big proponent of counseling but I'm just saying, it's worth it! Fifty dollars is nothing when you're dealing with issues that really affect your life. So you can do it individually that way.
  • Or you can do it as a group, like a Sunday School class, that only lasts an hour. The workbook is set up so that if you only have an hour to meet as a group, it will direct you how to do it. Each DVD session is only 15-17 minutes, leaving plenty of time for discussion and questions, and the workbook is structured so that if you only have an hour, it will lead you through how to get through the whole curriculum using one hour for six weeks.
  • If you have two hours, like a group that meets in a home or during the week that's more flexible with the time, the workbook has enough activities to keep the discussions going for two hours

So it's really fantastic. Individual study, Sunday School curriculum, or small group: no matter how much time you have, you can get through it.

So what do you have next on the horizon? I know you aren't sitting still!

Well, I'm going to get through the release of Unglued. I'm very excited about this message. Next year I'm on tour with Women of Faith and I'll be giving this message with them. My next book I want to write, I'm pretty sure, is going to be a book on marriage. I haven't written on marriage in a long time but I'm celebrating my 20th anniversary this December and I've just learned some stuff in being in a very imperfect marriage for twenty years. I think I can speak to that woman who's well aware she's in an imperfect marriage and who wants to reintroduce fun and connectivity and a deeper sense of intimacy in her marriage. So I'm going to the topic in a very gut-honest way and I think it will really help people who are either newly married and want to get off on the right foot and those who have been married 15-20 years and feel like they've slipped into business partner mode with their spouse, reintroducing something really cool and exciting into their marriage.

I look forward to that. I know it will be real and authentic! Thank you so much for spending this time sharing with me!

Lysa TerKeurst is a New York Times bestselling author and national speaker who helps everyday women live an adventure of faith. She is the president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, author of 15 books, and encourages nearly 500,000 women worldwide through a daily online devotional. Her remarkable life story has captured audiences across America, including appearances on Oprah and Good Morning America. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and five children.


Read a sample chapter.

Lysa's live webcast last Thursday night on KLOVE drew so many folks that it crashed KLOVE'S servers! (Woohoo, Lysa!) You can view the webcast here.

Unglued website:

Lysa's website:

To purchase:

Book ($14.99)

Guide ($10.99)

DVD ($26.99)

Bundle (DVD, Participant's Guide, Book - $44.99)

Also available at Amazon:

DVD with Participant's Guide


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a PDF galley copy of Unglued from the publisher prior to my interview with Lysa TerKeurst. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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1 comment:

Nicole White said...

What a great interview! I cannot wait to start this study with the ladies at my church next month. Lysa is refreshingly honest and practical about living a real life as a Christian. I have loved her stuff and can't wait to dig into this!