Amy and Cheri give last words on how Exhale is changing and shaping them as well as a few life and family updates. This is no ho-hum, re-hash episode, though. Listen carefully for a question that could change your family life in the same positive way it’s changed Cheri’s! And giggle along at an unexpected example of boundary-setting.



(This page contains affiliate links. Your clicks and purchases help support Grit 'n' Grace at no extra charge to you.)


Recommended Resources

  • The Camp Wandawega website (Cheri apologizes for mis-pronouncing the camp’s name repeatedly during the episode!)




Your Turn

  • In what area of your life have you felt stuck?
  • How could losing who you aren’t and loving who you are move you forward?
  • How would asking, “May I ask a candid question?” change a relationship in your life that needs improving?



Transcript — scroll to read here (or download above)


Grit ‘n’ Grace: Good Girls Breaking Bad Rules

Episode #170: How to Move Forward One Step and Question at a Time


Cheri: Amy, I had probably one of my top ten if not top five most embarrassing moments last week in Trader Joe’s.


Amy: Oh, do tell.


Cheri: So, Daniel and I were grocery shopping together, he had this great idea—and of course at this moment I bet half of our listeners are going, “Oh my goodness, you have a man who will shop with you!” It’s better than that. He said, “Let’s make it a date night and I’ll help you with all of the errands you have to do.”


Amy: What!


Cheri: “And then I’ll take you out to dinner.” And I’m like, “Oh my goodness, you’re like an angel.” I had returns to do, I had like four different stores to go to. So we’re in Trader Joe’s, and I’ve got our list, and he says, “Well what do you want me to go get?” And so I’m busy bagging up roma tomatoes and picking some little sugar plum tomatoes and I say, “Go grab some Persian cucumbers.” And so I finish bagging things up, and then I look up to find him, and I see him grabbing zucchini.


Amy: Huh.


Cheri: And my first thing is, I literally the words out of my mouth are I – I rush up and say, “No, no, no, those are zucchini not cucumbers,” and I drop my bags into the cart so that I can take the zucchini out of his hands. But as I’m doing that I’m looking at the cart and realizing there’s a bunch of stuff in there that weren’t on our list.


Amy: Hmm.


Cheri: And so now I’m mad, because he has gone off list. So this is no longer helpful; he’s choosing the wrong thing—


Amy: Okay. [Chuckles]


Cheri: — and he’s chosen other wrong things in the cart, and then he turns to face me. And it’s not Daniel.


Amy: [Gasps multiple times] [Laughs]


Cheri: I have just accosted a stranger in Trader Joe’s. I have talked to him like he’s a kindergartner—“no, no, no”—I’ve put my stuff in his basket [chuckles] and so—


Amy: I can’t breathe! I’ve gone from heart attack, “It’s not Daniel!” to now I cannot breathe. I am laughing so hard!


Cheri: [Giggling] Okay, so, no, no, it gets better here because I now have to fumble, and say, “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry.” I quickly grabbed things out of his cart, and I noticed Daniel on the other side he’s looking at me confused. He’s like, “Well what’s going on?” So I have to go up and confess that I have gone and remonstrated someone for choosing zucchini over cucumbers because I mistook it for him. And so later he said to me, “Well, you probably did it because he was, you know, a fifty-something bald guy wearing a blue shirt.” Amy, I realized at that moment I never looked at the guy’s face or body. All I saw were hands picking zucchini and my control-freak brain went, “That’s wrong! I must correct it.” [Laughs]


Amy: [Laughs]


Cheri: Like at no point did I think, “This is Daniel.” I just saw something wrong, and I went to fix it. So you know, all the conversations we have about how much better we’re doing? I think I have backslidden.


Amy: [Chuckles] Oh my gosh!


Cheri: I think it’s like Chutes and Ladders and I’ve gone back as far down as it’s possible to go. I attacked a man in Trader Joe’s for choosing zucchini without even looking for identifying features that he might be my husband.


Amy: Oh! [Groans] Oh my gosh! It’s Candyland and the ‘marshmallow swamp’ or whatever. . . [Laughs]


Cheri: [Laughs]


Amy: [Laughing] Chutes and Ladders! Well, we have come a long way, baby, but we’re still in progress. [Laughs]


Cheri: [Laughs] Well, this is Cheri Gregory.


Amy: And I’m a very amused Amy Carroll.


Cheri: And you’re 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.


Amy: Today, we’re wrapping up our summer Exhale series.


Cheri: We’re going to be talking about what we learned during the launch of Exhale and especially during our extended Seed Sender series of interviews. So Amy, start us off. What is something that you’ve learned during these months that we launched our book Exhale?


Amy: Well, it’s been a lot because really I was, I was just processing with my oldest son he’s home for a month and which is such a wonderful gift and, um, he likes to talk as much as I do—


Cheri: [Chuckles]


Amy: —whereas, his father will not sit and talk with me for hours on end, Anson will sit and talk with me talk for hours on end. So I was just talking about how the writing process that I cannot stop writing, even though I’m reluctant writer—


Cheri: [Chuckles]


Amy: —because it is the process that changes me.


Cheri: Mm.


Amy: So in writing Exhale there was this change. In launching Exhale there has been more layers of change, which is just a blessing, [chuckle] as you just said we have not arrived!


Cheri: [Laughs]


Amy: Obviously.


Cheri: Distinctly not arrived. [Chuckles]


Amy: No, no. Yes, um, I could and you know, I said that I hadn’t had a meltdown in a long time? Well, I had one the other day. So just to clarify: they’re not over! Which would be great.


Cheri: Oh good. I feel so much better.


Amy: But, but you know, that we, we have really just scratched the surface.


Cheri: Yeah.


Amy: This Seed Sender series and all our Exhale episodes, those of you haven’t bought the book might be thinking, “Well I really don’t need to buy the book. They’ve spent a lot of time on this.” But we really just scratched the surface of the book.


Cheri: Mm. Mhm.


Amy: In the book, it just continues to impact me. So um, I am less likely to freak out I would say.


Cheri: Mm.


Amy: And it was funny because Anson at dinner last night, as we were talking with his dad, too, he says, “I see growth in the seven years since I’ve lived at home.” [Laughs]


Cheri: [Laughs] Oh my, Gosh! Did he really?


Amy: He did! And I was like — today as I processed I thought, “I need to ask about that. Explore that a little further.” I thought that was interesting.


Cheri: I want to say ‘out of the mouth of babes,’ but he’s not a ‘babe’ anymore so is there like a phrase for when our adult children say these things? [Chuckles]


Amy: It is really, really true that, um, but he is still my babe. So it’s okay. [Laughs]


Cheri: [Chuckles]


Amy: But I do think one of the big changes for me is that I’m really so much grace-filled towards myself and mistakes. That I am increasingly, um, embracing the growth mindset that sets me free from “awful-lizing” any kind of mistake.


Cheri: Mm.


Amy: The other thing, although I realized I haven’t totally put her to bed, is that I think my inner critic is a little less vicious than she used to be.


Cheri: Mm.


Amy: I spent a week with Susie Eller, and you know Susie is just so wise, and Susie has made no bones about the fact of her family dysfunction as she grew up, but she does not have an inner critic! Have you ever heard of such a thing, Cheri?


Cheri: What would that be like?


Amy: That’s what I said to her!


Cheri: Holy cannoli!


Amy: And so some of the stuff that my inner critic was telling me came out of my mouth and Susie confronted me with it every time in a loving way.


Cheri: Oooh.


Amy: But it made me realize how active my inner critic is. So that’s my next thing: to squash the inner critic.


Cheri: Ohh, ho, ho.


Amy: Yes.


Cheri: Wow. Okay. So like my mind is blown. I’m going to spend the whole day trying to imagine what would it be like to not be constantly battling an inner critic.


Amy: Right?


Cheri: Although—I’m with you. I feel like I’m doing it a lot less. I feel like I’m recognizing it a lot more. I will admit that after that thing happened in Trader Joe’s, I was completely horrified and my first thought was, of course, “What a horrible human being.” And my second thought was, “Oh my goodness, this is going to be great material.” [Laughs]


Amy: [Chuckles] Hey!—that’s progress! Just to be able to laugh at ourselves about it.


Cheri: Oh, absolutely. Well, you know for me it’s been so interesting that, um, I have really found myself like literally exhaling, like doing it as a practice. Like when I feel my shoulders hunching, when I feel myself getting short of breath because anxiety is starting to build up because of something, that practice of square breathing that you taught me as a speaker coach years and years ago really has come in handy as just a life skill, and it’s become very much a part of my regular life habits to just kind of immediately use it. I think one term could be self-soothing, but it’s just become a regular part of moving into “pray-cessing” just to remind myself it’s going be okay. And I’ll even catch myself starting to say, “oh my, goodness,” and then I’ll even say to myself, “no, we don’t need to go there,” and I’ll start going in to the, um, square breathing and really focusing on that exhale, because it’s a reminder to lose who I’m not, love who I am, live my one life well. That I don’t have to have this huge reaction and then in my notes it says I’ve been doing a lot less meddling, so if we just ignore what happened at Trader Joe’s as a major outlier [giggles] . . .


Amy: [Laughs]


Cheri: Part of what that whole square breathing, exhaling, has been a reminder of is to just—and I shouldn’t say just because it’s so important—but to “pray-cess” and ask before helping, and you know, from doing life with me all these years it’s so easy for me to jump right in and help. And then ask questions later and unfortunately the word for that, at least in my life, tends to be meddling. And so, to be able to “pray-cess” and check my motives, and even check to see, Lord, are you asking me to help this person? Is this something that you’re propelling me forward or is my own neediness my own fear propelling me forward? Or is this something where I just need to stay still and exhale and be present with what I’m feeling, rather than inserting myself into this other person’s life? And so, that’s been really, really helpful.


And then another thing that I’m still in the middle of processing: I read an article, oh, a week or so ago about the need for people who like to keep their options open to start closing doors. And you know me, you know I love to have multiple projects going and then they they’re like rabbits they multiply into more open doors and more open doors and, but this article said that, people who can’t close doors and kind of streamline their lives, I’ve always read that it’s because I’m greedy, that I want more, and more, and more, and I’m unwilling to let go, but what the article said was that there is an underlying fear of loss that shutting a door, that closing an option, is a form of loss and that is a really recurring theme for me right now is recognizing I have no idea how to deal with loss. I have no idea how to handle grief in healthy ways. And so, to a certain degree, I don’t mean to minimize sin—I mean, obviously, if God is asking me to close a door, and I don’t that is sin. That is greed. That is completely unhealthy — but to some degree it’s been helpful for me to go, “Oh, I’m afraid of loss. I need to learn this as a new skill, maybe it’ll make it easier to close the doors.” And so to some degree I feel I’m starting to talk to myself more kindly: “Okay, right now you’re feeling like a control freak, because you don’t know how to grieve. Let’s work on this together. Let’s “pray-cess” this.”


Amy: Wow.


Cheri: And learn what it means to be a Christian woman who knows how to let go and move into that loss and grief process, rather than one who is clinging so tightly because of fear of loss. So that’s why I’m so excited about the new series that you came up with for 2020. We can do a little spoiler here—tell our listeners what you said to me.


Amy: [Laughs] Oh, wouldn’t it be so fun to talk about suffering.


Cheri: [Laughs]


Amy: Wasn’t it something weirdo like that?


Cheri: It was! And I was like only Amy Carroll can say that with a smile on her face!


Amy: [Laughs]


Cheri: But! What a great topic for us—reforming—perfectionists and people pleasers and highly sensitive people who struggle with suffering loss and grief. And so that’s a spoiler alert for what we’ll be doing for the first part of 2020, and boy, do we have a great line up of people to interview for that.


Amy: Oh goodness. It’s going to be so good. Well, as one of those reforming perfectionists, one of the things I haven’t, and this is why you know for me to say wouldn’t this be fun to talk about suffering and we laugh about it, but it’s really not funny. It’s just weird. And I do that because I don’t handle negative emotions well, so grieving is hard for me as well. Because you know cheerful is good. Sad is bad. That has been the dichotomy in my head.

So, and thanks a lot for talking about this whole keeping doors open things, ‘cause you might have just spoken directly into a situation I’ve been praying about. So there you go. If that was a need for anybody else, too, that would be awesome. [Laughs]


Cheri: I’m not sure whether to say you’re welcome or I’m sorry. But hey! [Laughs]


Amy: I know! It was a clarifying moment. So thanks for that great insight! So tell us what’s up with you! What’s happening in your life right now? ‘Cause I feel like we’ve been doing Exhale for a long time, but we haven’t really talked with our people—


Cheri: Yeah, we haven’t.


Amy: —about what’s happening in life!


Cheri: We’ve been, and it’s been wonderful to feature all the Seed Senders, but you and I haven’t- haven’t had a processing conversation for a while.


Amy: Right.


Cheri: And starting with um, starting with our holiday series we’re going to be going back and forth between interviews and conversations which I’m really looking forward to. You know, probably the biggest thing right now is that Anne Marie is home as well. She graduated with her master’s degree, and she’s in the process of applying for PhD programs and of doing a very active job search. And oh my goodness, I am thanking Amy Carroll daily for introducing me to candid—candid conversations.


Amy: [Chuckles]


Cheri: We, specifically me and Anne Marie, have specially adopted the phrase, “May I ask a candid question?”


Amy: Hmm.


Cheri: And we’re both to the point that we’re really comfortable using it. Anne Marie likes it because it’s caused us to have so many actually constructive conversations that we’ve got this track record where if either of us says that, if either of us says, “May I ask a candid conversation?” instead of tensing up and being like, “Oh my goodness, what have I done wrong? What shoe is about to drop?” What we now hear is, “I care so much about you that I want to engage with you about whatever this issue might be.” And it could be anything from, you know, the state of the house, to the state you know, of next steps for her future, you know anything. But I care so much about it I don’t want to avoid it. I don’t want to make assumptions. I don’t want to be a steamroller. I want to ask the hard questions, and I want to listen—we’ve done a lot of crying together, but even that has been really, really good because it’s been in the service of these-these candid questions and candid conversations.


And it really comes down to: “I love you so much, I want to move forward.” And for any of our listeners where that’s been normal for you for your entire life you’ve always had relationships like that, you know praise God for them. But that’s not the normal for us. I mean you know, I’m a whiner and I’m a runner and I’ve been an avoider of confrontation and then if I-if I avoid it for too long then there’s this big blow up, and I you know all or nothing. And so this has been really allowing us to deal with things as they come up in small bits to start conversations and continue them over time. And it’s led Anne Marie to come up with questions like, “Mom, I’d like to ask a candid question. Do you have the bandwidth for that right now? Or should we plan a time later?”


Amy: Ohhhh.


Cheri: And to realize that right this moment may not be great and that’s really helpful to me to be able to say, “oh, right now is fine,” or “how about this afternoon?” or “no, today is a terrible day, how about tomorrow?” And there’s-there’s no sense of dread, there’s no sense of rejection. It’s we’re on the same team planning this out together’. And then one of the most amazing things that’s come out of this is she has started to ask me, “Mom, how can I support you in the middle of –?” and then she’ll name whatever she knows I’m working on. And it is a beautiful thing to have one’s adult quotes “child,” daughter or son, come and say, “Mom, how can I support you?”


Amy: Wow!


Cheri: Often I say just asking me that question is all I need. Often, I don’t need anything else just knowing that they’re thinking that way. So that’s kind of where I’m at right now. How about you?


Amy: That’s well, that’s absolutely incredible, and I want to piggyback on that something that I heard the other day that you guys are doing with just different wording, but I heard something the other day that I thought would be so helpful for me because I’ve shared here that about how I’ve blown up some relationships with truth bombs—


Cheri: [Giggles]


Amy: —and at bad times, saying the thing that needed to be said, but not in the way it should be said or in the time it should have been said. So I was listening, and I can’t even remember the source of this, but I was listening to a podcast the other day, and they said –and I’m going to use your wording instead of theirs for the beginning—they say, “Hey, can we have some candid conversation about this? Or do you need a blanket today?” That’s the way they say it.


Cheri: Ohhh. That’s so good!


Amy: Isn’t that cool? Like, oh, that is great language for me. When a friend is sharing about a hard situation, and so to be able to say, um, “do you—do you want candid conversation about this? Or do you need a blanket today?” I thought that is an amazing thing to be able to say, and I would love it if somebody said that to me because sometimes I would love it if somebody would just say, “I need the warm blanket today. Thank you so much. And I can do that.” I mean, it’s not like I’m a heartless person; I have compassion to offer. I just often don’t know the difference in the timing between the two, so I love that you and Anne Marie are processing that way. That’s incredible.


Cheri: Well, and I love this question because of course what do those of us recovering people-pleasers and perfectionists tend to do? We go straight for the fix. When so often the quotes “fix” is- being the blanket, being that presence, being, just being with them and not trying to change anything for them. Which is still something I understand in my head, and I’m learning to in my behavior. That’s great.


Amy: Mmm. Mhm. Well, I have an adult at home as well um—


Cheri: Woohoo.


Amy: —Anson has been home and will be home for the next bit before he moves off into his new job, and so we’re we’ve been excited about that. It’s been nice to have him home, and it’s been, we’ve been having some fascinating conversations, sometimes you need long periods of time to talk about big things and as your children become adults and they can handle the family history. For example, we’ve been having a lot of family history conversations, and I can watch Anson’s eyes and see light bulbs go on. And I said to him last night, “So now you understand the dysfunction we have passed on to you.” [Laughs]


Cheri: [Laughs] Oh my, goodness! Yes!


Amy: And so um, it’s been really good, and I said to Anson because he’s about to go spend time with Nolan and Madison my daughter-in-love—that’s been a wonderful new season too — and I said to Anson, “I may never have this kind of time to sit down with Nolan again.” He is in a new season of life, with a spouse, and so you know how the dynamic changes and the time frame changes for things. So I said to Anson, “Feel free to share any of that craziness if you’d like to.” So anyway, um, that has been really good and it’s, and so we’ve been processing like change through the generations.


Cheri: Mm. Yeah.


Amy: And so this growth mindset to pass on to our children at whatever stage they are, it’s so important that you know that our children see growth in us, and they experience growth, and that God often He sees the long game and that often this is happening through generations, not even in just our lifetime but we can be part of God’s work in that. So that’s been really, really powerful. And then just this growth mindset I’ve just been finding a lot more joy in life in general and in the imperfections of life; whereas, I used to find so much angst in all of that.


Cheri: [Chuckles]


Amy: Especially when my kids were little.


Cheri: Yeah.


Amy: So it’s been good to say to Anson. So you know, one of my few regrets—I don’t live with a lot of regrets—but was just the perfectionism, that I was just in the worst throes of that when this, particularly Anson was little, so you know that first child—


Cheri: Oh yeah.


Amy: —you put so much on them. But there’s healing in having these conversations with our adult sons and daughters, which I’m thankful for. . .


Cheri: Yeah. Well, and one thing I’m hearing from you, and I’m experiencing, too, so I want to make sure our listeners are getting this. It’s never too late. It’s never ever too late.


Amy: Oh, good.


Cheri: I mean there was there was time I used to think, “If I haven’t done it by the time they’re eighteen there’s no point. Throw up your hands and give up.” It has been such a redemptive season to see how much how far honesty and candor and listening and curiosity and what you just said, being committed to our own growth mindsets and sharing what God is doing within us as a result of that. That can have a huge impact.


Amy: It really can. And it is having an impact in both of our families. I hear it when we have our personal conversations, too. It’s great.


Cheri: Okay, well in the notes it says moving into new seasons, so now you have me worried. Tell me what’s that about?


Amy: [pause] Oh okay! So this is church, a church situation, so um. . .see [pause]


Cheri: I just want you to assure our listeners that you’re staying at Grit ‘N’ Grace.


Amy: Oh! [Laughs] I am definitely staying at Grit ‘N’ Grace. You’re not getting rid of me, Cheri Gregory. So, no, we’ve got a sabbatical kind of mindset at our church this year. It’s been easy to just say yes, say yes, say yes, say yes, and Barry and I are both in places where it’s been a tremendously hard year, and it’s been super, super busy, and we’re feeling like it’s time for us at our church—not to go anywhere, we will be there—but to step back.


Cheri: Mm.


Amy: And let that next generation begin to lead, and um and cheer and support them on while we take a little rest. Um, and so, that’s what that was about.


Cheri: All right. All right. Well, then you have my hearty approval because that’s what you were looking for, right? [Laughs]


Amy: [Laughs] Exactly!


Cheri: Okay now for something completely different, and I don’t even have a segue to get this into this episode. But this summer, Kathi Lipp shared me with me a website for Camp Wandawega. I think that’s how you pronounce it. I’ve been practicing it. And they are, they’re, they’re motto is, “Where five stars is four stars too many.”


Amy: [Chuckles]


Cheri: And they have, like, it’s this beautiful camp but it is so back to nature. So they have something called ‘the manifesto of low expectations’.


Amy: [Chuckles]


Cheri: And I’m going to put the link in the show notes because I think it’s the funniest thing in the world—


Amy: And y’all you’ve got to go read it.


Cheri: You do.


Amy: We always say link in the show notes; we know you don’t go read it. Go read this one! [Giggling]


Cheri: My goodness. And they’ve also posted their one star reviews of people who hated being there, as if they didn’t read the description—like, they didn’t know what they were getting in for. So, this is the segue, this is why it belongs in this episode. I know I sent it to you, like Amy, this is like the best example of boundaries in the world. Like they’re setting up the expectations. Like if you want warm water, don’t come here. If you don’t like squirrels in sleeping with you or doing laps around your tent, don’t come here. So I thought maybe—oh, it was your idea—you thought we should try doing, um, a few rules for low expectations for ourselves, and you came up with three that made me giggle.


Amy: Yes. So, these, this is our ‘manifesto of low expectations’. Um, my first one is: Come visit me anytime for deep conversations, but expect dust and bad food unless we order out.


Cheri: [Snorts] Okay, as long as there’s no dust in the bad food that’s kind of okay, right? [Chuckles]


Amy: [Laughs] That’s right! Cheri, you have experienced this. You’ve been at my house and you know we eat out as often as possible.


Cheri: I know you offer great hospitality. That’s all I remember. [Chuckles]


Amy: [Chuckles] Well, we’ll have fun if you come, just you know bring five dollars for pizza. Um, if you do a conference call with me before lunch, please imagine me in professional clothing, but I’m generally in my pjs and slippers.


Cheri: That actually makes me really happy.


Amy: [Laughs] It makes me really happy, too.


Cheri: [Giggles]


Amy: The joy of working from home. And then the last one for me is: I know some women get up before dawn for their quiet time, but my kids are out of the house so I wake up when I wake up. That’s my last one.


Cheri: Okay Amy, you just gave freedom to so many women. [Chuckles]


Amy: [Chuckles]


Cheri: You just broke the rule for having to do it before dawn or at the crack of dawn.


Amy: Exactly. Jesus will be there when the sun is up girls, He will. I promise.


Cheri: I love it. And that’s not a low expectation. That is a great expectation. All right, well here’s mine. When deciding whether to visit us here are three things you should be forewarned: number one, we’re currently planning to install a huge sign above our front door that says, “Welcome to the Gregory rest home for incontinent geriatric cats.”


Amy: OH! OH!


Cheri: I will not unpack that one.


Number two. The leaking bathtub you can hear in every part of the house day or night? Just think of that as part of the rustic charm. It’s been going on for two years. I’m about to lose my mind.


Amy: I love that. It’s a water feature. [Chuckles]


Cheri: [Chuckles] There you go! It’s like a fountain! Think of it as a fountain!


Amy: [Laughs]


Cheri: Thank you for the rephrase. See that positivity? You’re right. Oh, it’s rubbing off on me now. And number three: When I’m cooking, the smoke alarm doubles as my kitchen timer.


Amy: [Laughs] We’re sisters, soul sisters on so many levels.


I love it!


Cheri: Okay, so for our listeners you have to go and read these things on the Camp Wandawega website. And then write your own ‘manifesto of low expectations’. It is going to be so much fun! And–


Amy: And please send it to us! Yes!


Cheri: Absolutely. We want to giggle, too.


Amy: Hey, let’s ask our social media team to put it on the Facebook page.


Cheri: Oh, I love it. That’s a great idea.


Amy: The manifesto of low expectations. You come and add yours on the Facebook page.


Cheri: Love it. Love it. Love it.


Amy: So Cheri. You’ve got a great scripture to help us line up today. Tell us the scripture and what has God been teaching you from it?


Cheri: Well it’s Isaiah 30:21, which says, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way. Walk in it.’” And I learned that years ago in King James. So of course, my tongue wants to say “walk ye in it.” That’s how I memorized it years ago.

But here’s the thing, I’ve never actually read this verse in context. So I’ve always assumed that this promise was for the most ‘Godly of the Godly,’ that it was a promise for the ‘never question-ers’ and for the ‘no-poor-choice-makers’ of the world, which I suppose reveals the truth about how I operate. Like, if you want my help you better have earned it. That’s a—that’s a side comment we won’t follow.

But here’s the thing: that verse is not for the best behaved, the most responsible in the world. It’s a promise for those of us who have messed up over and over again, who have been headstrong or have sought after other gods. So God in verse eighteen says that “He longs to be gracious to us’”and in verse nineteen He says, “how gracious He will be when you cry for help—as soon as He hears He’ll answer you.”

Now, it’s not that there’s no consequences. In verse twenty it says that, ‘although the Lord gives the bread of adversity and the water of affliction. Your teachers will be hidden no more and with your own eyes you will see them.’ But this amazing promise, so this is verse twenty-one again. “Whether you turn to the right or to the left your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way. Walk in it.’”

This promise is for every single one of us no matter where we are in our walk with God right now. It’s not for us in a few weeks or a few months, when we finally get our act together enough. It’s for us right now when we ask for help. God is here to guide us. And so for me, that has been just kind of mind-blowing, and I’m still marinating in it.


Amy: That made me tear up. There’s so much grace in that.


Cheri: Mhm.


Amy: He’s giving direction to those of us who need it.


Cheri: Mm. Mhm.


Amy: How about that? That’s amazing.


Cheri: So what’s the bad rule that you came up with for this-for this whole wrap up of our whole Exhale series?


Amy: I’m stuck in the life I’m living right now.


Cheri: And the truth? The fact we can focus on instead?


Amy: Jesus created empowered change to live the life He designed for us. There’s so much grace in that.

One of the lessons that you talked about in one of our episodes along the way is, ‘putting our overdeveloped sense of responsibility, our need to fix, and all of those things on the backburner.’ That you can say to that overdeveloped sense of responsibility, ‘Well, you served me well for a time, but you’re off duty now.’


Cheri: Mhm.


Amy: Go rest. And that has been a point of grace for me that I have come back to time and time again, and really now hearing the scripture you just shared that there’s a purpose for that. I put the overdeveloped sense of responsibility to rest because that way I can listen for God’s voice.


Cheri: Mm.


Amy: Before me and behind me, otherwise, I was just listening to my own inner critic and that overdeveloped sense of responsibility that said everything was my fault and my responsibility.


Cheri: Mm, so good. And for me, the grit, as always is going to be asking for the actual help. Because it says, when we ask for help, then God is going to be speaking. I am a little better than I used to be, but I want to get so much better at that being my first reaction that I’m constantly asking God for help. And maybe that’s why Susie Eller doesn’t have an inner critic.


Amy: Mmm.


Cheri: Maybe she is so used to being in constant conversation that there’s just no space; there’s no room for an inner critic. That. That I can imagine.


Amy: Yes.


Cheri: That I can make as a goal. That. If that’s what it would be like to have no inner critic because God’s voice is the one that’s so constantly speaking because it becomes such a practice to ask for help and to seek help and to be open to help. That is a worthy goal.


Amy: Yes, indeed.


Cheri: We hope you’ve enjoyed Episode 170 of Grit ‘N’ Grace: Good Girls Breaking Bad Rules.


Amy: Head on over to There you will find our transcript, the Digging Deeper download, which is a printable resource that helps you to apply what you’ve learned in this episode, and there are also links to the Camp Wandawega website so you can laugh yourself silly.


Cheri: We would love to have you join us in our Facebook group for after-the-show conversation and fun. If you’re not yet a member, just search Facebook for Grit ‘n’ Grace Girls, and you’ll find us!


Amy: Next week our guest will be Kathi Lipp, and we’ll be talking about her new ‘Christmas Project Planner: Super Simple Steps to Organize the Holidays.’


Cheri: 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 ‘n’ Cheri: Break it!




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