(Prefer to read rather than listen? Download the transcript right here!)
For women who struggle with perfectionism and people-pleasing, the finish line always seems maddeningly elusive. How does it change things to walk with Jesus? Suzie Eller talks with Cheri & Amy about a shift toward rest that our lives can take when we accept Jesus’ call to “Come with Me.”
(This page contains affiliate links. Your clicks and purchases help support Grit 'n' Grace at no extra charge to you.)
- Suzie’s book, Come With Me: Discovering the Beauty of Following Where He Leads
- Suzie’s book, Come With Me Devotional: A Yearlong Adventure in Following Jesus
Today’s Guest — Suzie Eller
Suzie Eller is a P31 author and member of the Proverbs 31 Ministries International Initiative team. She has been featured on hundreds of radio and television programs, including Focus on the Family, KLOVE, Moody, DayStar, Aspiring Women and others.
Transcript — scroll to read here (or download above)
Grit ‘n’ Grace: Good Girls Breaking Bad Rules
Episode #05: Embracing Each Step of Our Race (Instead of Agonizing Over the Finish Line)
That is water to my soul Suzie Eller. It’s not about the finish line. It’s about the race.
Hey, this is Cheri Gregory, and you’re listening to Episode #05 of Grit ‘n’ Grace: Good
Girls Breaking Bad Rules.
This week, my de-LIGHT-full co-host, Amy Carroll, and I are talking with Suzie Eller about
her new book Come With Me: Discovering the Beauty of Following Where He Leads.
As we get started, Suzie is sharing how she came up with the idea for this book in the
You know, it was never meant to be a book. About two and a half years ago, I was
waking up in the middle of the night. I think that sometimes that’s where the Lord
knows he can find me. Around 2:00 in the morning I would wake up and I was just
wrestling with him, because I wanted more. I didn’t want more stuff because we’re
drowning in stuff. And I didn’t want more favor because we have so much favor. I
actually wanted more of Him and less of a whole lot of other things. But I didn’t know
what that looked like. One night as I was laying there wrestling, I took a sticky note out
and I wrote the word deeper. I felt Him calling me to a deeper place in Him, even after
thirty-five plus five years of walking with Him. To go deeper meant that the next day I
got up and I just, I stepped into the book of Luke. I thought I’m just going to sit here as if
I’ve never heard this. I’m going to watch him and I’m going to listen to him and watch
how he interacts with people.
That two weeks turned into almost two years. It challenged my faith, it brought rest to
my faith. It simplified my faith because I began to ask myself, “If I lived as the thirteenth
disciple, as if I’d never heard these words before and I begin to live them, how would
that change my faith?”
And it changed everything.
These twelve disciples, one of the things that I loved about your book was remembering
all over again that they were flawed, they were so flawed. Yet, how does God … I loved
that you talked about even how God used their flaws. It wasn’t even just that he used
their strengths but how is it that God uses our flaws and our imperfections to meet the
needs of the world around us?
One of the things I really wanted to do as I settled in for what I thought was two weeks
and went well over two years. I just wanted to see these men — who had no idea what
the end of the story was — I wanted to see what that looked like as they walked with
Jesus. What I realized, and this delighted me, is that most of them remained true to the
characteristics that they had.
What I mean by that is like, for example: John. I love the fact that he called himself the
beloved disciple and we never hear Jesus saying that. Ever.
We just hear John calling himself that. He grew into it. There’s a verse, where Peter and
John are running to the tomb after the resurrection. John puts in there, not only that it
was the beloved disciple and Peter running towards the tomb but the beloved disciple
got there first.
He had to make sure that that was there. That that somehow was recorded in history:
“I beat Peter to the tomb.” This shows such the humanity that John when he, the only
disciple of the eleven that didn’t (sans Judas Iscariot) he was the only one who wasn’t
martyred for his faith. At the end of time, he began to talk about, 1st John when he was
an old man about the beauty and the knowledge of knowing who Jesus was and
knowing who you are.
I thought to myself, “Still John. Still John, who was impulsive. Still John, who wanted to
be first, but still John who saw himself as a beloved disciple to the point where he
became a beloved disciple and in the believed in so firmly that it carried him through
the loss of the brother, it carried him through prosecution, carried him through isolation
and he could still stand and say, “I am John, the beloved disciple of Jesus Christ.”
It just strikes me too as I hear you talk about that: the epistles of John are some of my
favorites. They make me feel so loved. In knowing how deeply Jesus loved him, he was
able to share with us how deeply we are loved too, that’s beautiful.
Absolutely a deeply flawed man, but a deeply used man of God. What I realized is that
God uses our strengths, and I’m thankful for that. But he just as effectively uses our
That’s so amazing. Since you walked with these guys for two years as the thirteenth
disciple, Cheri and I started this [podcast] to talk to perfectionists and people pleasers
and highly sensitive people. It’s kind of like the people that we are. Do you think any of
these guys fell into those categories at all?
You know what’s really funny Amy? The Lord announced the choices of these twelve
men. You would think that since they were chosen for some of the most important
leadership roles in the church that there would be just tomes written about them, but
more than half of them kind of faded into obscurity as far as their name being in the
light. There are some like James the son of Alpheus that we know little about him,
except that he was short. That’s what we, except for he walked with Jesus. In
Revelations we know he’s there and that he literally was part of changing the world but
his name wasn’t in the lights. Some other ones that were … like Matthew. Matthew was
chosen to write the book of Matthew, was chosen to record events. He had something
within him that was a giftedness from the Lord that was used when he was a tax
collector that now was fully used in this leadership role in the church, recording events.
He was one who was educated and used. Then we look at one of my favorites, Peter. I
don’t know if “People-Pleaser” is the right word for him but I know that he longed to
please Jesus. Sometimes that was amazing and sometimes it got him into trouble.
He did say some things that were kind of unexpected and Jesus had to set him straight
sometimes. It was probably the Sunday school answer that he was trying to give.
It was the guy waving his hand in class trying to get attention, “Lord, see me? See me,
here I am!” Which I love that impulsiveness about him.
Then we look at James. This was, he was a pretty intense guy. He and John, both. They
wanted to be first. I don’t know if they were hypersensitive but they certainly, they
wanted to always know that there was a place somewhere for them. The Lord taught
them all in spite of those things that could have been looked as weaknesses but in many
ways were used as the greatest strengths with him.
I wanted to turn back to Peter again because he’s one of my favorites. I love his high
emotions. One of the things that I got the pleasure of doing recently was to going to
India with you. I got to hear you speak and talk about this phrase that Jesus said in the
midst of the gospels: “one more time.” How does that phrase help people that are trying
to overcome creating their own perfection? “One more time.”
You know what I really loved about this is? It doesn’t say in that verse where Peter had
fished all night … it doesn’t say that he caught “a few fish” or “a few less than his quota.”
It states very clearly, he had fished all night “and there was nothing, absolutely nothing”
to show for it. When Jesus said, “I want you to push out into the deep. I want you to cast
out your nets one more time.” Everything within Peter, the logical, his experience,
everything looked at Jesus as if to say, “You know what? You are a Rabbi, you maybe the
Messiah, I’m not sure yet, but I am a fisherman. I know that if you fish all night there are
no fish to be caught. I have nothing.” I love his response to Jesus. He said, “But if you say
so.” You can hear the conflict in that. I don’t get it. I don’t think anything is going to
happen, but if you say so. Amy, can I tell you how that changed me?
This was not too long after I was doing this. Again, on the personal journey, had nothing
to do with the book. Somebody came to me and asked me to do something. I knew
instantly it was of the Lord. That doesn’t always happen. But instead of saying yes I said,
“That’s awesome. I will pray about that…” And I’m telling you there is these ouch
moments for the Holy Spirit just talks to you. I realized that even though it sounded
super spiritual, I actually was offering a delay to Jesus. It wasn’t about prayer or I
needed counsel — this was my delay.
That’s when I realized that if the Lord is the one asking, my response is going to be, “I
don’t get it, I don’t see it, I wish I had the plan from A to Z but if you say so.” I began to
whisper yes where no one wanted to take root. If I knew it was the Lord, I didn’t need to
go through counsel, I didn’t need to take ten hours to pray about it. I could just say yes
and then trust that he would show me the next step.
That is so helpful. You let Jesus interrupt your to do list?
That’s amazing. I love that.
So, for those of us who are really results-oriented. One of the quotes I pulled out of your
book: “This is often the hardest part of trusting Jesus. There is no blueprint, there is no
peek at the final product. Simon Peter could not see the end result, instead he was
asked to live moment by moment and day by day walking with Jesus.”
For those of us who are so used to having the checklist and knowing before we start
that we are going to be successful by our own standards, how do we make that kind of
shift? What do we stop doing and what do we start doing instead?
You know what I really love about this question is it’s still asking our stop and starting
point, and it’s still asking for results.
You noticed that, huh?
I did. I did!
So, I’m going to shift you back to where I had to shift to myself and that was, He asked
us to live moment by moment and day by day, walking with Jesus.
It doesn’t mean that if God wired you to be goal oriented or result oriented that there is
not still a finish line and there is not still things that task and goals. What it means is we
stop looking at the finish line and we start enjoying the race. One of the coolest aha
moments that I had was when Peter did push out and he did cast his cast his nets and
suddenly the nets are overflowing and he calls over his fishing buddies and their nets
What I really love about this is that it was never about the fish because Peter walked
away from the fish.
He left those nets hanging from the boat, filled with fish. He didn’t set up a shrine to the
fish, he didn’t start some kind of, “Here’s How You Can Catch Fish, Too” [program.] He
didn’t get cash for the fish. Because in the deep — and this is where it’s key — Jesus
didn’t say, “Push out into the shallow, or you just hang out here and I’m going to
command the fish to go into nets.” He said, “I want you to push out into the deep.”
When Peter pushed out into the deep, Jesus met him there and he was awestruck
because he rediscovered who Jesus is. He followed him from that day forward. It was
never ever ever ever about the fish. It’s never ever ever ever ever about the finish line.
It’s about the race.
I don’t know about you, but for way too many years, I believed just the opposite.
I obeyed the bad rule that goes, “What really matters in life is crossing the finish line
So while listening to Suzie, I got chills when she described out how Peter just walked
away from the fish because it wasn’t about the fish. It’s all about following Jesus. It’s not
about the finish line, it’s about the race.
We’ve got some great resources for you, from Suzie, on the web page for this episode at
CheriGregory.com. You can enter to win a copy of Suzie’s book Come With Me. You can
download a free chapter and companion study journal from Suzie. And we’d LOVE it if
you’d share this episode with your friends on Facebook. You’ll find easy one-click
buttons for sharing right there on the web page.
You’ve been listening to Grit ‘n’ Grace: Good Girls Breaking Bad Rules with Cheri
Gregory and Amy Carroll.
Next week, Amy and I will be sitting down and chit-chatting the take-aways we each had
from today’s conversation with Suzie.
For today, grow your grit … embrace God’s grace … and when you run across a bad rule,
by all means BREAK it!