Most of us live in the tension between suffocating pressures and the fear of change. We want to live differently, but we’re running-on-empty, unsure of whether we’re able to move into a new way of life.
In this “short for summer” episode, the Grit ‘n’ Grace intern team shares great insights as Cheri and Amy unpack the struggles and solutions they’ve found while creating change in their own lives. Ready to live above life’s inevitable pressures? This one’s for you!
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- Amy & Cheri’s newly released book — Exhale: Lose Who You’re NOT. Love Who You ARE. Live Your ONE Life Well.
- Want a taste-test? Download the Forward, Introduction, and Chapter 1 of Exhale right here!
- Episode #154 Digging Deeper Download — coming soon!
- When you feel your internal pressure rising, what kinds of thoughts are running thru your head?
- What’s one practical way you lower/release that pressure?
- What’s your #1 obstacle to change?
- What’s one practical way you surmount/dismantle that obstacle?
Tenneil Register has a heart full of words and a barn full of junk. She wears many hats, but the most special are those of mama, stepmama, and wife of a very handsome cowboy. We call our family R7. Seven of us blended by grace and settled on 7 acres in the middle of nowhere, Iowa. We are passionate about second chances. The journey and complexities of blended family living has transformed the way we live and love. You can find us hosting barn parties, teaching classes or traveling the country at markets & events sharing the message and hope of Found. Reclaimed. Loved. You can connect with her at TenneilRegister.com
Lori Young passion for speaking and writing along with her life experiences have combined forces in a powerful message for women who hide the most valuable parts of themselves to make everyone else happy. Lori comes by this truth honestly, for years, she played the part of the good girl and kept her true gifts and talents hidden to avoid disapproval, criticism and conﬂict. Through the diﬃcult experience of divorce, heartbreak and broken relationships, Lori has emerged with a passion to break down what she’s learned and provide tools to help other women re-emerge to live authentically. It was during the most painful and challenging event in her life that she came to understand the full measure of Jesus’ love for her and she’s been following his lead ever since. She blogs about her adventures in faith, divorce, dating and motherhood at asoftplacetolandblog.com. You can find her on Facebook at Lori Young Speaker talking about Authenticity Over Approval.
Mara Scott knows she has a call to write and is actively pursuing that by reviving her blog. She wants every woman to know they really do matter and hold a purpose in God’s Kingdom. Daydream. Take the next step. Trust the Father. Mara is a northern gal by birth but now resides south of Atlanta, GA. Married for 14 years with two amazing kiddos. Most days you’ll find her balancing a full time job, drinking coffee with almond milk creamer and enjoying a piece of dark chocolate. You can find her @ maragrace.com or Pinterest.com/maragrace1
Tonya Kubo is a social media consultant and neurodiversity advocate who loves living life at 90 mph. She helps communicators leverage the power of social media to build community around the messages of their hearts. Find out more at www.tonyakubo.com.
Kendra Burrows is a psych instructor, speaker, and writer. After years of trying to tame the negative thoughts that swirled her brain, she discovered she didn’t have to try harder. Now she loves to apply the science of how God made us to help women zap their mind mosquitoes, by applying psychological principles to everyday life in Biblically sound ways. She lives in Oregon where she loves to garden with her husband, travel with her teenage son, and visit their grown children — all while trying to avoid the real mosquitoes that often mistake her for a tasty snack. www.kendraburrows.com https://www.facebook.com/KendraSBurrows/
Transcript — scroll to read here (or download above)
Grit ‘n’ Grace: Good Girls Breaking Bad Rules
Episode #154: How to Overcome the Fear of Change
Amy Carroll: Is that what our opening is, is reading those texts?
Cheri Gregory: Well, do you think we should or not? I just threw it in there as an idea.
Amy Carroll: I think … I mean, it was so funny but I was like, “Will our husbands like it? Maybe not.”
Cheri Gregory: Yeah. [inaudible 00:00:13] …
Amy Carroll: [inaudible 00:00:13].
Cheri Gregory: We’ll just … It’s probably one of those things where you had to be there.
Amy Carroll: Yeah.
Cheri Gregory: So, yeah.
Amy Carroll: Yeah.
Cheri Gregory: No. We’ll just … We’ll skip the awkwardness of trying to make it funny and then cutting it anyways.
Amy Carroll: Okay.
Cheri Gregory: So, in case anyone is listening guys, we had this really funny exchange of texts that would not translate to the podcast. So, we are saving you from the awkwardness of not laughing at us.
Amy Carroll: It might make our husbands mad at us too. So, maybe not.
Cheri Gregory: Well, this is Cheri Gregory.
Amy Carroll: And I’m Amy Carroll.
Cheri Gregory: And you are listening to Grit ‘n’ Grace, good girls breaking bad rules, the podcast that equips you to lose who you’re not, love who you are and live your one life well.
So, Amy, we’ve decided that all of our summer episodes are going to be less than 20 minutes long. Do you think we can actually pull it off?
Amy Carroll: I don’t know. I mean, the warning we should go in with is that we have actually not recorded for a while. So, I’m like, “There’s my friend Cheri, I have so many things to say to her.” So, yeah. There are a lot of words that it might require a lot of editing Cheri. I’m sorry.
Cheri Gregory: Not a problem.
Amy Carroll: But yeah. We’re going to keep them short for summer. Short for summer. There we go.
Cheri Gregory: Oh, I like that. That’s a sticky statement. Yeah, I will be editing this down to 19 minutes and 59 seconds. So, there we go.
Well, you know, even though Exhale just released on June 4, 2019 we actually wrote most of the content back in 2018. So, we thought it’d be fun to kind of revisit the topics from the perspective of about a years’ distance and besides, we notice that Brené Brown did something like this with one of her books. She kind of podcasted her way through it. So, this basically makes us just like Brené Brown. Don’t you think?
Amy Carroll: Just like Brené. Absolutely. Just like Brené. That’s my new motto.
Cheri Gregory: Just like Brené. Absolutely. Well, we wrote Exhale for a very specific type of woman. So, talk about that kind of woman.
Amy Carroll: Well, so, full disclosure. We talk about this a little bit in the book. That woman is actually Cheri and I.
Cheri Gregory: Exactly.
Amy Carroll: It’s woman who are exhausted from the attempt to be everything to everybody. All the things to all the people all the time and Cheri and I have … You know, we’ve lived this way. So, we knew how to describe it perfectly and it’s funny because the introduction is actually a compilation that Cheri wrote based on a survey that she gave me. So, what you’re actually seeing there is a loose facsimile of who I am and I think I’m probably not the only one. Are you in the same boat Cheri?
Cheri Gregory: Oh my goodness. Yes. That whole picture of having pressure. You know, you describe it as the elephant on the chest at 2:37 AM.
Amy Carroll: Yeah.
Cheri Gregory: For some people it’s not the middle of the night. Some people, they do sleep well but it’s just that sense of anxiety and for some of us it’s above the radar, for some of us it’s just under the radar, but it’s that sense of internal pressure. So, we asked our interns a couple of questions and we’re going to hear from some of them in this episode. We asked, “When you feel your internal pressure rising, what kinds of thoughts are running through your head?” Then, “What’s one practical way that you lower or release that pressure?” Here’s what [Tanielle Register 00:03:34] of Reclaimed Seven had to say.
Tanielle R: When that internal pressure starts to rise up inside of me, my mind starts racing with thoughts like, “This is it. This is the one that I’m not going to be able to pull off. This is the one where it’s all going to blow up and fall apart and then people are going to know that I didn’t have it all together.” My mind starts doing worst case scenario of what it’s going to look like when everything falls apart and starts to feel like when everything falls apart, that I am going to fall apart.
When I get in that situation a really important strategy for me is to be physically busy. Go for a walk, do a 10 minute tidy, go for a bike ride, but physically do something to release that internal pressure so that my mind can settle back down into less selfish thoughts and more trusting thoughts of what God can do for me and that the worst case scenario of it falling apart just means that it fell apart. It doesn’t mean that I fall apart.
Cheri Gregory: Here’s what Laurie Young of Authenticity Over Approval had to say.
Laurie Young: I’ve recently taken a giant leap of faith to start my own business. So, when I start to feel the pressure in my chest I’m usually thinking about how scary and unknown if I’m good enough or have what it takes to succeed. So, when I’m feeling the pressure I drop what I’m doing and I go for a walk. So, I’ll pick one phrase, I have grit and determination, I have grit and determination and I repeat it in my head over and over and over again while I’m walking paying attention to the rhythm of my feet. The reason that I do this, one, is just to get out of the environment that’s feeling scary or maybe suffocating. It gets me outside and it gets the rhythm of my breathing back to normal and it resets the way that I’m thinking.
Amy Carroll: So, it’s been really interesting because I’ve been wrestling with this again recently. So, last week, even as the book was releasing we had the opportunity to record the audio book.
Cheri Gregory: Woo hoo.
Amy Carroll: So exciting, and really so fun but the oddest thing happened because my anxiety and just insecurities really amped up again.
Cheri Gregory: Aww.
Amy Carroll: I still don’t really know what that was all about. Cheri got some very angsty emails and things from me, but I had that same reaction that Tanielle talked about where you have this kind of spiraling downward roll and then you have to say, “Hey, I gotta find a way to stop this.” But the remarkable this was, is that the year leading into the release of Exhale, can we just say it was total chaos in my life? Cheri, would you think that’s fair?
Cheri Gregory: You can say that. Yes, totally.
Amy Carroll: I think that’s fair.
Cheri Gregory: Your favorite thing.
Amy Carroll: Yeah. My favorite thing. The girl that hates to juggle plates had so many plates to juggle. So, the year that we were writing Exhale I decided to do a major renovation on my home and then our son, our youngest son announced that he was going to get married two weeks after his graduation and two weeks before the launch of Exhale. So, [inaudible 00:07:23] …
Cheri Gregory: Perfect timing.
Amy Carroll: To say that there were a few things going on during this process would be a major understatement of the situation. But Cheri, can I tell you something?
Cheri Gregory: I’m all ears.
Amy Carroll: This feels so amazing to be able to say this and I am bragging on the power of God here. I want to make this so clear. This is so beyond me. But when I think back on the last year, I cannot think of a major meltdown that I’ve had.
Cheri Gregory: Wow.
Amy Carroll: Now, listen. I’ve had my moments …
Cheri Gregory: Sure, sure.
Amy Carroll: Don’t get me wrong. But in the past, with this kind of schedule and these kinds of emotions tied to many of these things and the kinds of demands that were on me and, you know, merging two families. We would have been talking about multiple major meltdowns. MMM’s. It just didn’t happen and what I realized [inaudible 00:08:23]I thought a couple things were happening, that as I was writing, God was working the lessons into my heart and there’s also this accountability that comes with writing things down because people start going [inaudible 00:08:37] didn’t you say … Just the other day Barry said to me, “I don’t think that’s your plate of trash.” Which is a concept [inaudible 00:08:45] …
Cheri Gregory: Go Barry.
Amy Carroll: I’m like, “Oh, stop it. Don’t use my own words [inaudible 00:08:51].”
Cheri Gregory: I love it when that happens to you.
Amy Carroll: I know, right? So, I can just testify to the power of God in me, but also, Cheri, this feels so good. I can testify to the power of lessons that are rooted in scripture that are in Exhale. It is life-changing.
Cheri Gregory: I love it. I love it. Well, what I noticed about what both Tanielle and Laurie had to say is both of them interestingly enough were focused on doing something physical and I thought that was just so wise. It’s so easy for me to just stay sitting in my chair, which means I’m stuck in my head.
Amy Carroll: You know, I think about my major strategy this year as hard things happen and they did. I think I’ve learned it from you Cheri, and it’s really trying to look beyond the circumstances happening to options. We’ve talked to Kathi Lipp about this a lot. Like before, I would only see one option and it would be meltdown and failure. But now …
Cheri Gregory: I am familiar with that option. I am intimately familiar with that option.
Amy Carroll: But now it’s like I’m starting to learn the pause that you talk a lot about, and in the pause I think, okay, so, Tanielle talked about the what ifs I think, and she … So, I’ve gotten to this thing and I’ve read this other places too, what if … Okay, let’s take that to its natural end. What if the worst thing does happen? What are the options? There are always multiple options about how we can respond and deal with the problem and solve the problem.
Cheri Gregory: Absolutely.
Amy Carroll: We asked our interns, “What’s your number one obstacle to change and what’s one practical way you surmount or dismantle that obstacle?” Here’s what Maura Grace of mauragrace.com had to say.
Maura Grace: I think the number one obstacle to making changes is probably fear. It could be different fear, fear of unknown, fear of rejection. It really comes down to people pleasing I think. The way that I find that I can overcome this is just by stepping out, just doing the next right thing that’s right in front of me. That’s really what God’s been speaking to me about. I just really feel like I just try to do the one thing. What is the next thing he said to do? Maybe the whole thing doesn’t make sense, but I just do the next thing and somehow all the little things add up to the big thing.
Amy Carroll: And Tonya Kubo of tonyakubo.com said …
Tonya Kubo: My biggest struggle with change is negotiating between who I am and who I think I should be. I’ve had a lifelong battle with compulsive eating, which only stays under control when I embrace who I am. At 40 you’d think I could have one bite of pie. I should be mature enough to moderate what I eat, right? Except that I can’t. I’ve had to accept that God created me as an abstainer. He didn’t create me to be a moderator. And what works best for me is not eating any pie, because one bite of pie is just never enough. That’s a fact for me and it’s one I actually don’t feel badly about, so long as I don’t fight it. That’s the key to change for me. To stop fighting how I was created, and instead, to embrace it and make the most of it.
Cheri Gregory: My struggle with change comes from how much I love feeling competent and change means that I’m doing something new and well, I know from experience when I’m new at something I’m terrible at it. Like I am the worst. You know, I am not naturally good at anything from scratch. But I saw a quote from Adam Grant this morning that said, “Changing habits is hard. Sometimes you can’t progress unless you’re willing to regress. One step back, two steps forward.” I was like, “No, no, no, no. That sounds like the game I hated the most as a child and as a mom.” Like oh my goodness. It was chutes and ladders where you make progress and you’re like, “Yes. I am one step from victory in the promise land” and then woosh, you go sliding all the way back to where you started. Like I think that’s a reforming perfectionist and people pleaser’s worst nightmare, is sliding all the way back down.
Amy Carroll: You know, that is an interesting picture because I was part of a mentoring program where I befriended and worked with a woman who is a recovering addict. A couple years after we had worked together she relapsed and that was really hard and painful for me, but I talked to a friend who has been an addiction counselor and he said, “Amy, relapse is not the worst thing.” He said, you know, “For a recovering addict, progress is longer times between relapse.” If we apply that to our reforming perfectionism, right, and the chutes and ladders, we aren’t starting back at the beginning, just like my friend didn’t start back at the beginning. She had to pick herself back up but she wasn’t back at the beginning again.
Cheri Gregory: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Amy Carroll: She didn’t undo all the progress she had made and I think that’s one of the fears we have about trying something new and changing, is what if we start all the way back at the beginning again? But that’s not the way it works.
Cheri Gregory: There was a great email from Jon Acuff and he was talking about his daughter becoming a student driver. He and his wife were teaching her to drive. They got these magnets that they put on their car, they’re yellow magnets with big black letters that say student driver. It causes people to treat her better on the road and it makes it easier for her to learn because people aren’t, you know, like running up against her back bumper honking at her. They understand what’s going on and so what he wrote in this email is he said, “What if we could all put a magnet on our lives?” Student writer, student runner, student business owner, student parent. The kinder we are to ourselves during a goal, the longer we’ll stick at it and the more successful we’ll be. Then he says, “If you’re a parent and you’re teaching your kid to drive, grab this magnet.” If you’re anyone else with a goal, make up your own magnet and stick it somewhere you’ll see it every day. We’re all students.
Amy Carroll: Wow.
Cheri Gregory: That just … You know, I’m just rubbing that in this morning because I’m so used to being the teacher and you know me, I love being the expert but first and foremost we’re all students, which is actually really good news because our instructor is a master teacher and he has infinite patience and grace for each one of us.
Amy Carroll: That is beautiful and it goes right with our scripture today, which is one that I ran across that I think is so wonderful and surprising and fits in today so well. It’s Acts 433. It says, “With great power the Apostles continue to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and God’s grade was so powerfully at work in them all.” I just thought, “They were new church builders.” They were student church builders.
Cheri Gregory: Yeah.
Amy Carroll: But the power of God in them and the grace of God was so powerfully at work in them all. So, thank goodness for the powerful grace of God that’s at work in us as we change.
Cheri Gregory: So, what’s the bad rule that we’re breaking this week?
Amy Carroll: Suffocating pressure is just part of life. You know, I think I accepted that for a long time, that feeling that sense of suffocation combined with the question that I wasn’t sure that any of it was making any difference, I just kind of accepted it as part of life and it doesn’t have to be part of life.
Cheri Gregory: So, what’s the truth? What’s the fact we can focus on instead?
Amy Carroll: Jesus creates empowered change.
Cheri Gregory: I love it. And you gave such a beautiful illustration of that and, you know, once the files are sent off for the audio book of Exhale, I hope to be able to report a victory. I’m hesitant to say that this is one of the first projects that Daniel and I have done together that didn’t result in a meltdown and I wanted to say it today but I’m just going to wait. I’m going to wait til it’s all done. So, tune in next week everybody, to see if …
Amy Carroll: It’s a secret.
Cheri Gregory: Yeah. Yeah, nobody tell anybody. But we’re close. We’re like really, really close to the end and wow. I mean, either no meltdowns or longer periods between. That works for me. So, what’s the grit for you in all of this?
Amy Carroll: The grit for me is believing that change is possible because for so long I lived kind of stuck. I was mired day on in that suffocating way of life. How about you, grace?
Cheri Gregory: You know, for me the grace is that reminder that I’m not the teacher. I’m the student. That Jesus is my teacher. He’s my instructor, he’s the expert and when I start feeling that pressure and when I start feeling the despair over whether I’ll ever change, I can trust my teacher because it’s not me. I’m the student, he’s the teacher. He’s the one who leads and he’s the one who is responsible for the outcome. My job is obedience. His job is results.
Amy Carroll: So good.
Cheri Gregory: We hope you’ve enjoyed episode 154 of Grit ‘n’ Grace, good girls breaking bad rules.
Amy Carroll: Make sure to go to our website gritngracegirls.com/episode154, where you’ll find the transcript, this week’s digging deeper download, and a link to a free forward introduction and chapter one of Exhale.
Cheri Gregory: For today, grow your grit, embrace God’s grace and when you run across a bad rule, you know what to do. Go right on ahead and …
Amy & Cheri: Break it.
Kendra Burrows: One of the things that I found, I think the Holy Spirit gave this to me one day. I was so overwhelmed and I kept saying to myself, “I’m so overwhelmed. I’m so overwhelmed.” All of a sudden he brought to mind that song by Big Daddy Weave called Overwhelmed and the words talk about, “I’m overwhelmed by you.” It’s based off one of the psalms. So, I just automatically started singing it louder and louder until I was overwhelmed by this song. It settled down some of the thoughts in my head. So, now one of the places I go whenever I can’t settle things down in other ways, is to sing. I’ll go to my car, close the windows, turn up the music and sing as loud as I can. It does something physical that settles down your heart rate. It’s pretty amazing.
Cheri Gregory: That was Kendra Burrows of kendraburrows.com with another practical idea for handling pressure and making the choice to change.
Take-Away for Today:
Jesus creates empowered change.