Creating Calm In The Center Of Crazy: Making Room For Your Soul In An Overcrowded Life, by Nicole Johnson
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by BookLook/Zondervan. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
There were a lot of ways that I could relate to the author of this book. Although the author has been married two more times and has two more children than has been the case in my life, there are definitely a lot of similarities that I can see. The author comes from a broken home, is an intensely creative person who has read quite a few noteworthy books  and whose life in many ways resembles my own in the author’s tendency to overcommit and to struggle with setting boundaries in one’s activities. There is a great deal in this book, in other words, that I can apply to myself and a great deal that I can relate to. The author and I are in many ways kindred souls and the author has a great deal to offer in terms of her knowledge of the results of her difficulties in finding rest and peace in the course of her life.
This book is well-organized, as one might imagine from someone who has too much to deal with in life. After a short preface the book is divided into three parts with three chapters each and then a conclusion at the end that shows different possibilities of how people can deal with the craziness that is inherent in life in a fallen world. The first part of the book looks at the author’s journey out of crazy, the second part examines how she created calm on the inside through a great deal of effort, including giving herself space and doing necessary work on understanding herself and her background, and the third part of the book looks at how to bring the calm to the outside through setting boundaries in activities and developing a sense of calm. The author, throughout, tries to dampen expectations in the reader that she is an expert and she is pretty honest about admitting her own struggles. As a reader, I found her overexposure of the behavior of her children to be a bit troubling, and it reminds me that as a writer myself that it may be necessary to take special steps of being careful about protecting the privacy of the feelings and actions of any children I may have in the future.
There is a great deal of practical benefit in this book, but the book also has some quirks that are interesting to note. The author appears to be aiming this book largely at women, although thankfully, unlike many other books, the author does not go out of her way to alienate male readers. Additionally, the author comments at some length about the day that everything fell apart in her life, where she had a crisis involving a longtime friend who appears to have become a frenemy, and the author’s confessional tone about her own feelings of rejection and the way she was able to use her own understanding of her feelings to show compassion to her children. Ultimately, that is perhaps the most poignant takeaway from this book, the understanding that when we better understand the craziness inside of us that we can leverage that understanding into a greater compassion for other people. Those readers who are able to empathize with the author and her struggles will likely find a great deal of comfort and encouragement and perhaps even a great deal of insight here.
 Some of the people and books she cites have been the subject of various blog posts: