5 Minutes with Lisa Whelchel

You probably recognize Lisa Whelchel as the actress who portrayed Blair on the '80s hit sitcom The Facts of Life. Now she's added wife, mother, and author to her resume. Lisa's practical idea's for discipline (she has three kids – one diagnosed with ADHD) led her to write her first book, Creative Correction (Tydale). Now she and her family are spending a year traveling the U.S. in R.V. sightseeing and promoting her most recent book, The Facts of Life and Other Lessons My Father Taught Me (Multonomah). TCW caught up with Lisa on her cell phone on her way to Michigan.

Q. Where did you stay last night?

Believe it or not, we spent the night at a Wal-Mart parking lot in Illinois.

Q. That's quite a change from your days as an actress!

Yes! But while that season was wonderful, it wasn't' any better than this one. In fact, I like this one better. I'm more mature as a person and as a Christian.

Q. In what ways?

I've always been someone who knows what she wants and goes after it. That served me well in my career – but it was harming my marriage.

Q. How so?

My husband, Steve, is more comfortable having someone to tell him what to do, and I was the one doing just that. It began to create conflict between us. I wanted Steve to be a leader, but I didn't want to give up control!

So several years ago, during the holidays, I felt God call me to a 40-day fast from decision making, except when I was alone or just with the kids. I turned over every decision to Steve – from small things such as what photo we'd put on our Christmas cards, to more risky things such as money issues. That was hard! Not only did this force me to loosen my grip, but it forced Steve to step up to the plate and make more decisions.

Q. What did you learn through that fast?

I've learned to appreciate my husband's wisdom. Steve doesn't shoot from the hip, as I do. His decisions are based on an assessment of the situation. Since God stretched us both through this lesson, my life's actually gotten much easier. I no longer feel the pressure to be responsible for everything.

Q. And what have you learned about God?

That fast, as well as others I've done, have shown me God's interested in the intimate details of life – from what happens in our marriage, to discipline and weight struggles and finances. Now I pray about every little thing – and I always see God answer.Q. Are those the facts of life?

Those are the true facts of life.

This article first appeared in Today's Christian Woman magazine, November/December 2001, published by Christianity Today, Int'l., Carol Stream, Illinois.