Quit Trying So Hard to Become Someone You’re Not (Guest Post)

I’m grateful to have my friend Cheri Gregory here today. Together with Kathi Lipp, she wrote the book Overwhelmed. Can you relate to the title? And isn’t the cover pretty?


Scroll down below for a chance to win this book (just by sharing and commenting!). And now onto Cheri.

“You seem especially high maintenance,” a woman at my table says, sprinkling salt on her potato.

As the speaker for the weekend retreat we’re at, I fight to keep this one critical comment from completely overwhelming me.

“Especially high maintenance”?

What does this mean? Each woman here probably has her act together. Nobody here needs to hear what I came to say.

I should just go home.

But I’ll just overwhelm Daniel with all my “especially high maintenance” needs. 

I don’t know what I should…

Fortunately, my spiraling thoughts bump into my funny bone, and I laugh.

“Yes, I’m sure I do seem especially high maintenance.”

And you have no clue how overwhelming or how exhausting it is to be “especially high maintenance.”

All. The. Time.

Stuck in the Same Old Story

Growing up, I was an easily-overwhelmed, highly-reactive child. I heard the same words, over and over:

  • “You are such an attention-seeker!”
  • “Why do you take everything so personally?”
  • “You are just too sensitive.”

I took these messages to heart, believing I was defective.

As an adult, determined to find and fix my defects, I bought and devoured the self-help shelves of Barnes & Noble. Attended church and Bible study religiously. Sat in the front row, taking copious notes, at workshops and seminars.

But no matter how hard I tried, I remained as easily-overwhelmed and highly-reactive as ever.

Ephesians 4:14 aptly describes the first four decades of my life: I felt “tossed back and forth by the waves, blown here and there by every wind,” desperately seeking self-improvement.

The Missing Piece to My Story

In my mid-40s—when I’d pretty much given up on being anything other than an epic failure at life and an utter disappointment to God—I discovered a life-changing truth:

I’m an HSP: a Highly Sensitive Person.

I wept through the self-assessment, as with every question I answered came memories of trying to hide, defend, or alter one of my many “quirks.”

It turns out that becoming easily over-stimulated, processing life deeply, and being especially emotionally responsive are all 100% normal for an HSP like me.

As I pray-cess what it means to be an HSP, God speaks comfort to my heart.

You’re not defective.

I created you this way.

You can quit trying so hard to become someone you’re not.

I’m learning to truly hear and follow the Holy Spirit’s voice, now so much clearer with far less shame clogging my sensitive soul.

Living a Brand New Story

Do you love someone who is “especially high maintenance” or suspect that the person you see in the mirror might be an HSP?
Here are two healing ah-ha’s I’ve had as God’s been restorying me thru the truth about who He made me to be:

1)      God does not demand that you spend your life “tossed back and forth by the waves,” frantically pursuing self-improvement.

2)      As you learn the truth about who God created you to be, you will find self-acceptance.

And it will be “firmly and securely anchored in hope” (Hebrews 6:19).

Instead of making New Year’s resolutions (that will only last for a week), how about creating a Personal manifesto that will carry you through the rest of your life? Sign up for great ideas and resources about how to get out from Overwhelmed and you will receive “How to Write Your Personal Manifesto” as our gift to you. Get off the overwhelming cycle of making and breaking resolutions and create a gentle plan for lasting life change.


Kathi and Cheri would like to send a copy of Overwhelmed: Quiet the Chaos & Restore Your Sanity to one of our readers!

To qualify for the drawing, you need to do TWO things:

#1. LEAVE A COMMENT below.

#2. SHARE THIS POST on social media.

That’s it! Once you do both, your name will be entered into the random drawing. Be sure to tell your friends so they can sign up too. The drawing will take place on January 11th, so don’t delay! {Contest is limited to US & Canadian readers only.}

About Overwhelmed

Feeling overwhelmed? 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?

Kathi and Cheri want to show you five surprising reasons why you become stressed, why social media solutions don’t often work, and how you can finally create a plan that works for you. As you identify your underlying hurts, uncover hope, and embrace practical healing, you’ll understand how to…

  • trade the to-do list that controls you for a calendar that allows space in your life
  • decide whose feedback to forget and whose input to invite
  • replace fear of the future with peace in the present

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

About Cheri and Kathi


Cheri Gregory spends her weekdays teaching teens and weekends speaking at women’s retreats. She’s been married to her college sweetheart, Daniel, for more than 28 years. The Gregorys and their young adult kids, Annemarie and Jonathon, live in California.

Kathi Lipp is a busy conference and retreat speaker and the bestselling author of several books, including Clutter Free, The Husband Project, and The Get Yourself Organized Project. She and her husband, Roger, live in California and are the parents of four young adults.