“Over the hill.” “No spring chicken.” “Has been.” These are some of the derogatory terms for people who are aging, but those negative stereotypes are being dismantled. 50 is the new 30, baby! In this conversation, Cheri and Amy discuss the abundant gifts that are emerging as they age. With real talk about menopause and after, they process the second half of life as a time of thriving, not wilting.
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- Episode #208 Transcript — coming soon!
- What is my body telling me it needs?
- How can I prepare to “cocoon” (but not “tomb”)?
- As I remove the “rose-colored glasses” of my first half of life, what is God bringing into sharp focus?
- In what area(s) is God telling me that it’s time for a transplant?
Transcript — scroll to read here (or download above)
Grit ‘n’ Grace — The Podcast
Episode #208: Bursting Out of the First-Half-of-Life Boxes
Note: This is a machine-generated transcript that is only about 60-70% accurate.
Sherry, you came up with a great not for us this week. And it’s you’re not boxed in. Tell us what you mean by that?
Oh, certainly. So Cheryl talked about the spiritual holding containers that we become comfortable with for so long. And she said, The problem is, if we stay in them, we may stagnate. And it reminded me of a drama that I wrote when I was in college. And it was literally called the box. And it was about a girl, a young college girl, probably about me. And they’re kept being little vignettes like I came on stage holding this large box with a lid on it. And the other primary character would ask me what was in it, and I was holding it very protectively. And I was holding the lid on it very tightly. And so I would reach in, and then use my hand to gesture and then a little vignette would show up on stage with other people acting it out that I would then join. And so one of them was like family worship. And then another one was, you know, being in my class with the other children and getting stickers for doing the, you know, MIT my memory verse perfectly and stuff like that. So all of these little religious traditions and rituals, and none of them were bad or negative in any way. But the whole point of it was that by the very end that I don’t even remember the the the conversation that happened, but by the very end, I came to understand that while everything that was in it was good. Having the lid and holding the lid on to it so tightly was was a problem. And so at the very end, I literally took the lid to this box and just threw it out into the audience, and which was really fun. And so it what it did is it symbolize my openness to adding new things into the box. But here’s the thing that met did not occur to me. Here’s the thing that did not occur to me. When I was in my late teens and early 20s. It did not occur to me that one day that box might actually be too small. And I am you know, listening to Cheryl made me realize that I am used to intentionally keeping myself pared down to size. I’m not used to thinking that I might outgrow a box and that it might not only be okay, but it might actually be part of God’s plan for this season of life for this second half of life to actually outgrow those original spiritual holding containers. So it’s half exciting and half terrifying.
Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Half terrifying. And it’s so interesting that you started with a story about yourself when you were a young woman. Because last night I was driving home from Target. And all of a sudden on the local Christian radio station. And Amy Grant song came on like in a goalie Amy Grant song. It was I will do you remember that one. But
you know what? The first concert was I ever attended.
Amy Grant, it was Amy Grant.
Me too. Yeah. And I walked out because she was to rock and roll. I couldn’t handle it.
Oh my gosh. Okay, that’s hilarious. Honestly, I was going in the opposite direction when I went to Amy great.
No, that was our first concert, too. I loved her. And actually, I’ve been following her some on social media and she’s lovely. But anyway, so it’s listening to this song. And I instantly teared up sharing because it invokes very strong memory of who I was 16 years old, as I was falling, falling passionately in love with Jesus. And that was the soundtrack of my, you know, falling in love with Jesus was was Amy Grant. And so I was listening to this and remembering that girl. And there were lots of good things about that girl, but I’m not her anymore. And that girl not only was comfortable with boxes, she loved box. Because I’m a woman, I just sew a box. It’s my happy place, man. I mean, that is that’s where I feel comfortable. You know, the reforming perfect perfectionism of that period growing perfectionism. Yeah, right of my life. All of that felt very, very comfortable and safe in a box. But you know what? I am no longer happy with boxes. Who know? Like, we’re not throwing the lid out, baby. We’re throwing the whole box Now our listeners I know show like, Oh gosh, hear me you guys again losing subscribers for us. So listeners Don’t be afraid okay. So because I want to I feel like I have to put some caveats on this. This is why throwing out these spirit old spiritual containers right these old paradigms ways of thinking about things should not scare us. Because we have matured Hmm, I am no longer that six six
I that went new direction. I wasn’t excited. Okay. I am no longer that 16 year old girl and I neither are you and neither are listeners. Although I saw a review from a 13 year old if you’re listening, we love you. We’re so thrilled you’re here. Yes. Okay, so but I am spiritually mature enough to throw out the box, I am biblically grounded enough that biblical filter for me after you know, because it was when I was 16, that I started having a daily quiet time, I have been in the word for how many years, that’s a lot of years, I’ve been in the word almost daily. For that many years, I have a biblical filter in place. So what is happening in my world is that I’m not afraid of hearing different voices, different ideas, things that are actually expanding my spiritual world instead of continuing to stagnate them. So it means that I’m outside my denominational bubble a little bit that I’m interested in. But I’m not naively taken in by every wave of doctrine, I am mature enough and biblically sound enough to be able to eat the meat and spit out the bones. We do not have to be afraid. So for example, last week, um, my friend Carrie sent me a podcast and listen, it’s, I’m not even gonna name it because some of you would faint. I wouldn’t usually listen to it. And I was actually a little scared, like, should I listen to this? Should I not listen to this? And I listened to it. And guess what I came out on the other side, and I lived and I still love Jesus more than anybody. So what happened was, is I was like, Hey, I’m not on the same page as these as these people on a lot of things. But hey, there were a few valuable things in there that we’re transforming. For me, that was worth a listen. So we are spiritually mature, we are biblically grounded. And listen, we’re smart. Cheri Gregory, we know you’re smart. Smart, so our listeners and we don’t have to be afraid of thinking about or listening to things outside of those old spiritual containers, we can to use your word Sherry pray cess them, and, and expand and grow and beautiful, beautiful ways. And one of my editors previously, she would say to me, when she sat down to write, she would say, Jesus, come sit down beside me and think with me, and this is how I’m processing, you know, things that I’m reading that are a little outside of my denominational bubble, things that I’m listening to. And it’s it’s been really it’s making my life richer, and deeper and wider as well.
Oh, I love this so much. And for a moment there, I thought maybe that this episode would have to release with a vial of smelling salts, but I really think I think it’s gonna be okay. I think I think our listeners are still with us. And you know, here’s the thing, I always tell my AP students, because I teach a variety of literature. And every now and then I’ll have people question, Well, why are you teaching that and I remind them because I tell them the first day of class so that if they they can’t get on board with it, they can go ahead and exit in exposure does not equal endorsement. And one of the things that has been hard in this season, but it has been good. And that is to understand that there is a greater variety of the ways that people think and experience this world than what I realized. And even though knowing some of what I know is uncomfortable. I know it’s valuable because not knowing is not better. Not knowing means that I I was ignorant. Alright, well, let’s move from a loser who you’re not. You’re not. You’re not boxed in. So Amy Tell us we’re going to move into love who you are. And oh my goodness, I love your statement for this. So do tell us what your take on love who you are as for this episode? Well, this is unusual. And Cheryl really challenged
us on this, this this was such a rich conversation with her. You are in charge of your anger. Okay, so I know shocking count ones don’t like being angry. So, um, because you know, we see it as a negative emotion. So I’m like, What is that about? Well, so, um, it was, it was so fascinating to me. We were brain science geeks. We’ve talked about this. And when Cheryl talked to us about the wash of hormones that we have when we’re teenagers that kind of make us happy with the world. I was like, Really? That’s amazing. Right? And that that wash kind of starts to get up ended when we’re in that perimenopause phase. And so it’s she said, that lovely dance of progesterone and estrogen gets all out of whack and there’s a rise in estrogen and drop in progesterone and it really, it makes us angry. I was like, Okay, well, it’s nice to know there’s an explanation. Say that there are days because I’m in that perimenopause stage, well, I think I’m going to kill somebody. You’re like, Jesus, take the wheel for real. All right. So, um, but then she talked about the function of that anger in this stage of life. You know, I was thinking about how she said, You know, for those people who have been traumatized, that suddenly they, you know, they they’re feeling that traumas bubbling back up again. And I was thinking about how God is so good. Because Listen, when we’re raising kids, yeah. And we’re in that stage of building careers, or raising kids, or both. We don’t have time for all that emotional drama. Right. But But she, as she said, those things never disappear. They just go down deep. And so I just thought, isn’t God good that he gives us a season of life, that we start to feel angry about the things that we should feel angry about? Yes. And then it’s just our job. This is where we’re in charge of the anger. It’s just our job to do something positive with that. So the bad news I saw processes is a bad news, good news things. So the bad news is hormones are going to rock your world as they are currently rocking mind. And then the good news is, is that they don’t have to take over us or take us over. We can use them as a tool, those emotions. So if you’ve experienced trauma, trauma that you can no longer gloss over get mad in a therapists office, if you’ve been through a divorce that you didn’t want, let the anger motivate you to get out of your house and out of a rut and seek out the rich relationships that God has for you. Um, and so we could go through a whole list of things, but I thought what a McKerrow What are you angry?
Do tell me girl,
which is such an uncomfortable question. I don’t like it. But I’m I’m currently angry that I think I’ve been sold a bill of theological goods that I’ve accepted, unexamined. Okay, so, but here’s the thing that puts it back on me. Yeah. So I’m kind of mad at myself, that I’ve gone this long, without examining a few things that I’ve always wondered about. So I’m letting that anger propel me to deeper study in my Bible, to settle what I believe instead of accepting wholesale what other people have told me. Mm
told you, when I saw the notes to this episode, I was like, Oh, I can’t read anymore. But my computer’s on fire.
And once again, I want to tell our listeners, me and Jesus are so so good. And the Bible is so preeminent in my heart and mind and so don’t be worried about me. I promise I’m okay. It’s just, you know, it’s time to ask a few questions, and I am mature enough and theologically sound enough to deal with it. And the Holy Spirit is guiding the boat. So, um, and I wanted to say just to give a little teaser, can I give a little teaser for Season Three? Absolutely. Sherry and I are working because this whole idea of the hormones and all that stuff. We kind of didn’t really come back to that because we have no medical expertise. But in season three, we’re gonna come back to the Euro questions bunch of you asked really great questions and talk about this. From from a Physical medical point of view. Absolutely. Yeah. Sherry. Oh, sorry. Go ahead. No, I stepped out every so let’s, um, I want to hear your what we what you are.
Well, I was really proud of mine. And then I saw yours. And I’m like, Well, I think at first I wasn’t sure if mine was, you know, was was equal or on par with yours. And then I remembered, well, we’re not comparing anymore because you know,
cuz we talked to
Shannon, right. And comparisons not a game. It’s a it’s a it’s a strategy of the enemies. So I think we’re actually on a very similar page. Because your statement for love who you are, you said, You are in charge of your anger. And my statement is you are a boat rocker. And in fact, I phrased it for myself, you are a boat rocker baby.
I love it. I love it.
So Cheryl said she said God’s Spirit is with us. And she pointed out that when the Spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness, she said that the word there was literally to push or to shove, and she said that this perimenopause and menopause season is a wake up call. And when she said too many women are slightly updated versions of their younger self, and they might need a radical transformation that really hit home to me. And you know, I’m, you know, me, I’m not a green thumb in the lease, but I am aware that there is such a thing as a plant becoming rootbound. Like you buy it, and it’s in a small container, because it started out small, and so that size container is appropriate for it. But then as it grows, and grows and grows, and it gets more and more roots, if it stays rootbound, it will die. And I remember listening to her and thinking, don’t I owe it to everybody in that I know to stay the same to stay predictable to, for them to be able to count on me to not, you know, just freak out on them. My family, my friends, you know, like, how dare I change. And then I realized, especially as we moved into the rest of the conversation with her that once again, this is all or nothing thinking that is so classic for those of us who are recovering.
perfectionism rears its ugly head again, because perfectionism loves dualistic thinking. And so in this case, it’s well, if it’s good for me, it must be bad for everyone else.
but that’s not necessarily true. And you know, it sounds any course I’m an enneagram, too, and so into taking care of everybody before taking care of myself is not only my greatest strength, but it’s also my greatest source of pride. Look how sacrificial I am. Aren’t I more sacrificial? Oops, wait, I’m comparing again aren’t. And so literally, I mean, when I when I sat down and really process this, I’m like, Well, if I change what will become of everyone else, like, well, I’m pretty sure God created them, and God cares for them. And I’m pretty sure that they will not all faint and need smelling salts, just because I grow and change. Like, if there are people who care about me, they’re going to want me to grow and change.
On On the flip side, there will be those people who do not like that you are growing and changing. Can we just acknowledge
Absolutely. And I’m pretty sure there were there are some who will say Good for you, too. And and now I’m speaking to our listeners, okay, not just myself and not just you, there will be those who say good for you to our faces, and then do everything they can behind our even unconsciously to sabotage and get things back to the way they used to. Because that’s how that’s how systems work systems like to stay at equilibrium. And one one part changes, everybody else has to change, or they have to get the the person who changed to go back to the way they were. But I realized that for me the big message and the reason it was so important for me to say you are a boat rocker baby, is that not rocking the boat has been such a value to me, you must not rock the boat, you must not rock the boat. And, you know, a metaphor that’s so important to me. Is this dualistic thinking the either or thinking is like a light switch. It’s either on or it’s off. Okay, so like I’m either growing or and caring for other people. Okay, it’s, again, that false dichotomy, when the truth is, is that in many, many areas of our lives, and again, much like you, I’m not saying anything about the truth of Scripture, I’m not going I’m not talking about areas of morality that are clearly black and white. But in many areas of our lives, we are much more like a soundboard with sliders. And so instead of a light switch, which is either on or off, I can care for myself, and that can have its own slider where I’m either not caring for myself, or I’m growing and you know, you know, I can dial that up, but I can also there’s a switch for caring for other people. And I can dial that down or I can dial that one up. So I could do both, you know, on a soundboard. If there’s a slider for both of those. I could do both simultaneously. I could grow and I could care for others. It’s more Not that either or simplistic choice. And you know, I’ll just say in this year of all yours, I think, because we are tired, because we are stressed, it is so easy to just kind of, because all or nothing thinking is a protective strategy. It’s a simplification strategy. It’s a survival strategy. And so I think it’s important to work all the harder to look for the complexities to look for the, the, the way that I’ve heard it is holding paradox intention. And for me, growing and caring for others is like, Ah, so I have to sit with the discomfort of that, and wrestle with it and process what that might look like. There was a recent blog post by Seth Godin, and he talked about getting away from the this dichotomy of you’re either right or you’re wrong. And embracing the idea. I’m confused right now. Hmm. And confusion is one of my least favorite things to feel. And yet it’s so important for problem solving. Like, it’s, it’s, it’s the admission, I don’t know, what’s going on, and I might not even, I don’t know what I don’t know. And so confusion can actually lead to some really healthy curiosity like, I’m less likely to grab for a quick right answer that keeps me from feeling wrong, because I hate feeling wrong. Um, if I can recognize that feeling confused, confused, if I can recognize that feeling confused, is a normal part of a healthy learning and growth process. So I can go from confused to becoming curious. And then I can just kind of expand my understanding, rather than, and again, this is a stress response, tunnel vision, putting on blinders so that I can quickly feel right and feel like I’m not wrong. So just wanted to wrap around to that whole idea. It’s not either or, we’re sliders on that on that soundboard. It’s not right, the symbol on or off switch, and especially in a time of stress, the more that we can challenge ourselves to avoid the simplistic thinking, the more we’re going to grow, and the more gracious we’re going to be to others.
Fantastic, beautiful picture. And I think ours are so tied together because that, that simplistic thinking is usually external stuff that we just internalized. views, confusion is questions. And that’s when we are nuancing. And coming up with our own answers.
I had not thought of that. And that is absolutely true. I love that so much.
So now we want to go into living our one life. Well, what do we do with all this information? Whether you’re, you’re, you know, before all this whole perimenopause, menopause situation, in it or after, what do we do with all this?
Okay. So of course, I’m always the one who brings us some questions to ask and Amy will tell us what to do. And so yes, these questions apply, no matter where you’re at. And I’ll confess that for those of you who haven’t even begun to hit that perimenopause, or menopause stage. I envy you. I wish I had known a lot of this stuff sooner. I wish I’d asked these questions sooner, but it’s never too late. And so I am I am, I am officially out of menopause. Like, the signs are all there and I’m grateful. I’m grateful for sleep again. It’s the best thing in the world. And even though I’m on the other side, I am still now asking these questions because I, I need to I have some repair to do because I didn’t take the kind of care of myself that I wish I had. So question number one, what is my body telling me it needs? I almost cried when Cheryl said that we really need to during that season of perimenopause and menopause, that we need to take a break. And my body was asking for that. And I was like, No, no, we are going to prove that we can keep on going as if we’re 20. And so what is my body telling me it needs? Number two, how can I prepare to cocoon, but not tomb? I have a post it note literally here on my on my computer. And it says cocoon versus tomb. Rest versus rust.
Perfect, perfect. So yes,
we need that downtime so that our body can do the repair. So it can it can it can move into that season but not slowing down so much that we never come out of it or that we actually start to decay. Number three as I remove the rose colored glasses of my first half of life, what is God bringing into sharp focus? And I think that’s different for each one of us. And well I wrote this with you in mind, Amy because it’s been so it’s been such a pretty Be a part of your journey and see that again, you aren’t abandoning, you aren’t abandoning God, you’re not abandon your faith, you’re you’re stepping into a much fuller expression of who God created you to be. And you’ve got this incredible laser laser focus now. And that that’s, that’s making you so, so effective. So number three as I removed the rose colored glasses of my first half of life, what is God bringing into sharp focus? And then number four in what area or areas? Is God telling me that it’s time for a transplant? So
actually, tell me about that one? No, before we go on to get explained that one,
okay, I’m just thinking of in terms of back to the spiritual holding containers, like in what area or areas of my life? Am I in my rebound? And do I got it? And do I need to pull out and go into that next size container so that there’s room for the roots to loosen up and, and break up so that the plant can thrive? And, you know, again, back to the all or nothing thing I I sometimes I’m tempted to just be like, fine, I’m just going to quit all the things and start completely over. And it is very rare that I feel like God is speaking into that process. He’s usually over here going Sherry, this one little part, this one little part of your life is it really needs the transplant, but the whole grand sweeping change everything he’s not called me to. So that’s why I said what area or areas of life is that? It’s time for a transplant?
Great question. Great question. Okay. So my action to take is you’re going to do one or the other, you’re either going to prepare, or you’re going to share depending on what phase of this in. So if you’re before or in perimenopause and menopause. Let’s prepare your questions help us prepare so much. This stage of life seems like such a mystery. I don’t think women talk about it a lot. It’s very interesting. But this, it’s clear from our conversations, you and I together and then with Cheryl T, that the changes are substantial, that they’re physical, that they’re emotional, and that they’re spiritual. So all parts of our being are affected by this stage of life. And it was interesting, because as I was having some situations, I asked my mother and my mother in law, like how did you go through this stage? And they were like, both of them said, I don’t really remember it being a big deal. And I was like, okay, you’re too far away from it. That’s,
I will never tell that to anyone. Trust me. That’s
the only thing. That’s the only explanation I can come up with. So what I would say is part of preparation is finding kind of a mentor for the stage, somebody who’s gone through it sort of recently, and that you can talk to and ask questions, and how did you process this? And what did you do about this physical situation and find a mentor by Cheryl’s book. I mean, hello, how many amazing things did she tell us? And stay tuned for Season Three of grit and grace? Yeah.
I love it. Okay, so the scripture for today is first Corinthians 1420. Now, you want me to read it, are you?
Because we’re we’ve got a lot of stuff. I won’t go into my other ridiculousness, although I can if
I want you to.
So how do I lead into you?
Say that you cuz usually I read the scripts or say she said, Amy, you want to read the Scripture for today? Okay.
Okay. Amy, lead us into the scripture for today.
Well, okay, so I got a little confused, because my job is to do the Scripture. But now we’re letting our guests say it. And so, but I forgot that. So I went on a search for it. And the one that I found about change was Jesus changing water into wine, his first miracle. I started thinking about how we as women are aging like fine wine. And then I was like, Can I say, talk about why not great grace. And then I thought, Oh, yeah, this isn’t my job, after all say, Okay.
Today, maybe we need
to worry about you more than you think we needed to.
I think all these horns are affecting my brain.
But not my sense of humor. So that’s good.
Very true. Very true. So this group should that Cheryl gave us is first Corinthians 1420. Amy go ahead and read it. And then I actually did a little research
Okay. All right. Brothers and sisters. Do not be children in your thinking rather, be infants and evil But in thinking the adults,
yeah. And so I looked this up in context. And it’s interesting that it has infants, children and adults, and really in contact text with this, the way I’m applying it, okay, is that we don’t want to get pulled into whatever the latest fad might be. We want to be innocent as babies when it comes to evil or just completely inexperienced. But when it comes to thinking, we want to be practiced, we want to be mature. And it’s the exact same word as the verse that says, Be there for perfect. So it’s that word for my tour. But in this context, especially it has that sense of being practiced, inexperienced, and evil experienced in thinking I just thought it tied so beautifully with what we were just talking about what Cheryl talked to us about
avoiding the dualistic thinking, because that’s so simplistic. That’s so so so so much faster. So being practiced in move toward thinking that kind of mature thinking, that is, the perfecting process of God, working in our lives, beautifully said, Well, I’m finding some grace in all of this. Right now. I’m finding this this stage physically hard, more than anything, and I said something to Barry over the weekend that I’ve never said before. And I said, I wish I was just 25. Again, because of just my aches and pains and stuff. And I’m Barry just looked at me This is the most tender moment, I will never forget it. He looked at me and he said we are growing old together. And he said, he said these things don’t bother me because I’m, I’m you know, he’s going through his own changes, men are going through their own changes at this stage. And so and so I just thought that was so wonderful that we can do this together, whether it’s a husband or friends, and that we give grace to ourselves, we don’t wish ourselves back into 25 year old bodies, because that’s a 25 year old spirit and a 25 year old mine too. And there’s nothing wrong with that when you’re 25 it’s just not good when you’re 53. And so I’m trying to give myself grace in the season and giving grace to my friends that are going through this as well, if they’re a little more emotional on a day, or they’re smarter than me, or you know, whatever that is. So how about you? Yeah, have some grit for us.
Yeah, I’ll have some grit, but it’s also gonna you know, as I’m thinking about it, I realized that it’s, it’s really grace disguise, just, I’m just trying to wrap grit around another form of grace. And for me, the hardest thing about this season has been letting go of the expectations that I had for myself. Because, I mean, I don’t have to tell you what it’s like, if you haven’t slept, what it’s like, if you’ve been drenched in your own sweat. And you stare at a schedule that you made the day before, when you thought you might have a brain. And you know it really again, either or thinking needing to come down to some kind of a balance, the number of days where I would either power through and it would hurt, and it would damage me it wasn’t good for others. Or the days I would be like fine, I’m just not going to get anything done. And so I would just toss the whole thing. And so I think the grit, it’ll come down to grit for me is to be able to really lean in, both in the midst of a season like this. And even though I’m kind of on the other side, you know, if there’s still I’m not who I used to be, I can’t accomplish what I used to the words don’t come the way the way I wish they would. And so to really continue to wrestle with that to continue to fight the good fight in the midst of it in a way that is
I’m not battling myself, I’m not fighting myself, I’m not hurting myself. At the same time, I’m not letting myself completely off the hook and just giving up and so to, you know, to stay in and to be present and to be processing each day each hour. You know with Jesus without processing it with the Holy Spirit to say okay, what’s reasonable right now? What do you have for me? What What do you have in front of me and how much of this is me needing to suck it up Buttercup, and you know, I hate it when somebody says that to me, like nobody’s allowed to say that to me, but I’m allowed to say that to myself in the mirror. And when is it that I need to do that? When is it I need to get my my rear end gear? And when is it that I need to rest? I you know, I guess it comes back to really being very conscious and intentional about is it rest or is it rest? And do I need to be intentional about taking action or do I need to be intentional about, you know, really giving my body what it needs in the moment and for me, not oversimplifying, that not not swinging to the wild extremes is going to take grit and grace.