Amy Carroll » Living Joyfully » Don’t Miss This Excellent Advice for the New Year

Don’t Miss This Excellent Advice for the New Year

Happy New Year, friends! I hope you had a joyful and restful Christmas season and are ready to jump into a fresh start.

Truthfully? 2016 was a tough year for me. (I’ll share more about this next week and why I know 2017 is going to be better.) In fact, it fell into the “overwhelming” category, so I’m invigorated by the idea of a new beginning!

If you felt overwhelmed last year too, I’ve got a treat for you. My dear friends Cheri Gregory and Kathi Lipp have just released their second book together called Overwhelmed: How to Quiet the Chaos and Restore Your Sanity. It’s a genius book chock full of ways to change our thinking and practical steps to take to reclaim a joyful life.

This guest post written just for us from Cheri is rocking my world (and making me laugh myself silly– BONUS!), so make sure to read to the end and leave a comment today to enter to win a free copy of the book. It’s just the advice we all need to maximize 2017!


The Regret vs. Risk Conundrum

I never saw the Jell-O.

I should have been focusing on my family; we were all gathered at Griswold’s to celebrate my eighth-grade graduation. But I only had eyes for the cute guy at the table next to ours.

That wavy blonde hair! That surfer tan!

After casting him several sly glances, I was sure he was staring at me. Or would be, if I could just catch his attention.

As I got up to get more salad, I wondered, How can I make an impression on him?

I knew I was dressed to impress. After all, I’d tried on and discarded a dozen outfits before settling on a velour blouse, flowing skirt, and—best of all—my very first pair of high-heeled shoes.

I exuded all the sophistication a clueless preteen could muster.

Look confident. Confidence always makes an impression.        

While heaping baby spinach on my plate, I squared my shoulders. As I poured salad dressing, I practiced casual hair flips.

Walking back to my table, I picked up my pace and was thrilled as my new high heels tapped the rhythmic beat of my bold stride. Just as I passed the table next to ours, I flashed my well-rehearsed, spontaneous smile.

Which is why I never saw the Jell-O.

Suddenly, my right foot shot out from under me. Bewildered, I staggered back, lurched forward, then pitched my tray as I became a windmill of flailing arms and legs before sprawling flat on my face.

Even with my skirt and slip flipped up over my head, I heard the entire restaurant laughing at the spectacle I’d made of myself.

Especially the cute guy at the table next to ours.

I’d made an impression on him, all right.

How Perfectionism Poses as Our Protector

Whenever the question, “What’s your most embarrassing moment?” arises, I pull out The Jell-O Incident.

As an HSP—a Highly Sensitive Person—I experience my emotions with extra intensity. So thirty-seven years later, I still feel all the overwhelming feels of that day:

The dashed hopes.

The public humiliation.

The burning shame.

I never want to feel that way again!

Amy and I recently had a great conversation about how Perfectionism keeps us from taking risks. (If you’re a Grit ‘n’ Grace member, you’ll get to listen in, soon!)

Perfectionism poses as our protector.

We tell ourselves, I never want to feel that way again!

And Perfectionism is quick to assure us: “As long as you don’t take any risks, I promise that you’ll never feel that way again.”

Is Self-Preservation Worth the Loss?

For decades after The Jell-O Incident, I avoided anything that would make me feel that way again. 

All activities during which I could slip and fall—literally or figuratively—were totally off limits.

No dancing, no charades, no karaoke, to name just a few.

Looking at this list, my logical reaction is: Oh, well, nothing important. No great losses.

But my eyes sting as I recognize all that I’ve missed for so long:




Such staggering losses, all in the name of self-protection.

What Perfectionism Fails to Disclose

When Perfectionism presents itself as our protector, it fails to disclose one vital truth:

Risks hurt less than regrets.

Not the kind of foolish life-threatening risks that wisdom and discretion guide us away from.

But the kinds of harmless risks that are just for fun. Risks that help us get over ourselves. Risks that connect us to other people, via laughter shared and memories made.

Risks like dancing (perhaps badly), playing charades (that nobody can guess), and singing karaoke (totally off-tune).

Perfectionism insists that we should regret every time we try and fail.

But when it comes to harmless risks? My greatest regret is failing to try.

Playing it safe.

Not risking enough.

Being a perpetual prisoner of perfectionism.

Finding Freedom to Risk

John 8:36 (ESV) offers these words of hope:  “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

The astonishing truth is that you and me? We are free!

Free to take harmless risks. Free from unnecessary regrets.

So whenever that old Jello Incident sense of I never want to feel that way again! rises up again, I’m learning to reassure myself with words like these, which you’re free to us, too:

Oh, I’m going to “feel that way again”—over and over again. It’s part of life. 

I’m okay. I don’t have to take it too seriously. 

When I find myself on the floor, I can catch my breath. Get back up. Take a bow. Laugh it off. 

I’d rather take risks than live with regrets.

We are free indeed.

The Giveaway:

Kathi and Cheri would like to send a copy of Overwhelmed: Quiet the Chaos & Restore Your Sanity to one of you!

To qualify for the drawing, you need to do TWO things:

#1. LEAVE A COMMENT below.

#2. SHARE THIS POST on social media.

That’s it! Once you do both, your name will be entered into the random drawing. Be sure to tell your friends so they can sign up too. The drawing will take place on Monday, January 9th, so don’t delay! {Contest is limited to US & Canadian readers only.}


Kathi Lipp is a busy conference and retreat speaker and the bestselling author of several books, including Clutter Free, The Husband Project, and The Get Yourself Organized Project. She and her husband, Roger, live in California and are the parents of four young adults.

Cheri Gregory spends her weekdays teaching teens and weekends speaking at women’s retreats. She’s been married to her college sweetheart, Daniel, for more than 28 years. The Gregorys and their young adult kids, Annemarie and Jonathon, live in California

About Overwhelmed:

Feeling overwhelmed? Wondering if it’s possible to move from “out of my mind” to “in control” when you’ve got too many projects on your plate and too much mess in your relationships?

Kathi and Cheri want to show you five surprising reasons why you become stressed, why social media solutions don’t often work, and how you can finally create a plan that works for you. As you identify your underlying hurts, uncover hope, and embrace practical healing, you’ll understand how to…

  • trade the to-do list that controls you for a calendar that allows space in your life
  • decide whose feedback to forget and whose input to invite
  • replace fear of the future with peace in the present

You can simplify and savor your life—guilt free! Clutter, tasks, and relationships may overwhelm you now, but God can help you overcome with grace.

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  1. I loved this! And can totally relate! I had a fall like that on my 16th birthday in front of someone I was interested in. I went all the way down the front stairs of the restaurant on my knees. He was going in, I was going out. My skirt flew over my head and there were holes in my pantyhose. And I ended up kneeling practically at his feet. Oh my goodness. Embarrassing! And my perfectionism got the best of me, too……I guess this little comment and reading your article is a good way to let go! LOL Love the both of you and all the you do!

  2. Sharon Heron says:

    I can see myself in this post. Never thought of how I miss out!

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Whew! Me too. It’s something I still have to work on and look for ways to say “yes” instead of automatically saying “no” when I feel unsure.

  3. Good advice for myself is to take each day as it comes and not get ahead of myself and to choose joy over happiness.

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Yes! Great insight.

  4. Kathy Scott says:

    It’s true that being perfect (or nearly so) made me feel good about myself. But when I slipped up, causing myself to look foolish, I became inwardly hollow and shaken. The fact is that we all makes mistakes and bring unwanted attention to ourselves. I love the verse of John 8:36…”that if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” Finding freedom in Jesus is the essence of living the abundant life only God can give. Thank you for this timely message. May all who read these words be set free from perfectionism to find joy and peace in Jesus.

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Thank you, Kathy, for your encouraging response!

  5. Perfectionism keeps us from being the person God intends us to be.

  6. “Perfectionism poses as our protector.” What a solid truth that it steals our joy instead. Love your Jello story and the truths you shared.

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Cheri is both wise and hilarious. Such a great combination!

  7. I have felt Overwhelmed too many times in my lifetime. Looking forward to the book. Thanks.

  8. Shannon S says:

    I love listening to their pod casts that they do..I so need this book!! What mom of 4 teens doesn’t feel overwhelmed?!?

      1. Amy Carroll says:

        ps. And thanks so much for listening to the podcast. 🙂

  9. Judy Ruggiero says:

    “Overwhelmed ” perfect word to describe how I’m feeling right now, and my family also. I am excited for the opportunity to win the book, thank you! And thanks for writing it. God given talents, you have quite a few. I haven’t found out what my talent is yet. I’m sure the Holy Spirit gas revealed it to me I just haven’t caught on yet. God Bless, and once again, thank you. Sincerely, Judy

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Rooting for you as you mine the gifts God has planted in you!

  10. “Risks hurt less than regrets.” Wow, I had to read this few statement a few times because it just didn’t make sense at first (maybe because I try to be a perfectionist too!). But, it makes sense. I’ve experienced a lot of things in life and very recently, a lot of pain, and I live with a lot of regret but I thought if from now on I take less risks in life, this will bring me closer to God. Maybe this excerpt on risk vs. regret is God’s way of telling me not too overdue the withdrawal of risk. Thank you Amy for the New year advice.

    I’ve shared this on Pinterest.

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      I’m so glad this encouraged you, Lorena, and thank you for sharing!

  11. I totally relate to this post. I don’t take risks anymore because I’m afraid I’ll do something stupid & be made fun of. I am missing out on the full life God has prepared for me!!

  12. This story is great! I can totally see that happening to me. The book seems like a good read to quiet the mind. Thank you for sharing.

  13. Thank you ladies for continuing to write and share on these topics that affect so many of us. Our lives.
    My to do lists are too long. I’m surrounded by clutter. I’m detailed and seeking more from others at times. These do lead to overwhelmed feelings at times.
    Continually searching and seeking ways to help me in these areas. Turning to God often.
    It is good to read these devotions and learn of resources available.
    May God Continue to bless and guide us on our journey…

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Frances, I highly recommend the book Overwhelmed even if you don’t win it. Also, if you buy it through the podcast, you’ll get the planner which is fabulous. Here’s the link:

    2. Frances, may God give you peace and remind you of His patience and grace as you seek to make changes to lessen your feelings of being overwhelmed.

  14. Elaine Smallwood says:

    Love the light hearted yet very true way this author brings life and reality to her words! This topic sounds like one most women of today will be able to relate to. I’m looking forward to reading her book .

  15. Becky Foutz says:

    I can totally relate to the “Jello Incident” and the feelings and resolutions it engendered! It took many years (and being married to an adventurer) for me to realize that risk wasn’t necessarily bad. Would love to read this new book, whether I win it or not!

  16. Vicki P Maline says:

    I learned to laugh at myself in public long ago, yet privately rehashed such an embarrassing incident. I continue to ask for grace with my perfectionism. Sounds like thus book is for me!

  17. Katharine says:

    Such great words. I’ve let my fear or failure or not doing just right keep me from doing so many wonderful things — I’m 46, it’s time to let that silliness go. I’m sharing this post on pinterest. Thanks.

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Thanks for sharing, Katharine!

    2. I’ll be 45 this year, Katharine, and I’m still a work in progress on this. Here’s to this being a year of both of us making progress on this one.

  18. Jolyne Guay says:

    Free indeed! I have learned that there is no “fun” in perfectionism…doesn’t mean I don’t struggle to let go and go for the fun all the time. Progress, not perfection!
    Thanks for your openness!

    1. Yes, Jolyne! “Progress not perfection!” What a rallying cry. You encouraged my heart today. I kind of lost it with one of my kids yesterday and was kicking myself. But I apologized later with is progress. Thanks for making me smile.

  19. Amy, Thank you for sharing Cheri’s amusing yet heart-wrenching story of an incident that pretty well defined her attitude toward life for many years! Can you imagine that being shared by a bystander on their social media or a YouTube video (had they been around at the time)?!!! Embarrassment times ten!!! I remember years ago, a lady at church unknowingly walking down the aisle to her pew with her dress tucked into the back of her pantyhose! THAT was a memorable Sunday morning, for sure! Even with all the promises in the bible that our loving father – God himself – has given us, isn’t it sad that we cling to those things that cause our emotions (hurt, embarrassment, fear, anger, etc.) to never let us forget how we felt AT THAT MOMENT. I look forward to reading Kathi and Cheri’s book! Be blessed today!

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      I agree with you, Shirley! Social media has multiplied the embarrassment in these situations. I’m learning to laugh at myself and inviting others to join in!

  20. Overwhelmed: Quiet the Chaos & Restore Your Sanity NEEDS to be on my Christian bookshelf!!!
    Thank you for adding this to bring peace and hope to our homes nd hearts! What a great way to enter the new thing He is doing this season in the lives of so many. Thank you my friends for lifting us up and over to the other side . t.

    1. I’m working my through it now, Tonya, and you are right–it’s a great addition to your bookshelf. Kathi & Cheri are so down-to-earth in their writing voice. Enjoy.

  21. I used to live under the perfectionism of perfection! It did steal a lot of moments and experiences I deeply regret. For me, I learned to leave perfectionism behind through walking the steps of Celebrate Recovery. I did not join because I had an issue with drugs or alcohol, but Celebrate Recovery is for much more than that and God drew me in to deal with ways I become overwhelmed with life due to codependency – I had to the perfect everything for everybody. People pleasing was destroying my life – emotionally, physically and spiritually. But God redeems and He showed me the way out of that mess of being perfect. Being perfect is really only an image in our mind anyway, but it is a binding image. I praise God I am free to be the person He created me to be. I am delighted in my exploration of who He made me!

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Wow. I never thought of perfectionism in terms of a drug, but that’s profound. Acceptance is our “high”, but disapproval is like an overdose or withdrawal. What a wise woman you are!

    2. Celebrate Recover offers such freedom from all kinds of hang-ups, Jan. I love that you found the skills you needed to let go of this. Thank you for sharing.

  22. SusanKelly Garrett says:

    As a young teenager.. “pleasing” was a taught thing at our house.. if my mother was not happy.. no one was happy… and we all did things to make sure she was.. but it never seemed enough.. As I grew up… this followed me EVERY WHERE!!!…. in work, home, relationships… the pleasing was never about what was right.. it was about making other people happy. That was not my job.. as I have learned..It is taken me close to 50 years.. I am now 61, to realize that the only pleasing I need to be doing is to God… and realizing this has made my life so much easier. Also with pleasing God, it has open me up to taking risk and doing some things that I would not have done in the past.

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Susan, I learned the lessons you talked about in my 40s, and I’m always thankful for a chance to share with younger women. I want them to get free long before I did, but I’m thankful that it’s never too late. Thanks for sharing!!

    2. “…it has opened me up to taking risk….” LOVE that encouragement. And as a woman in my 40s, I totally get that this is a process. Thanks for sharing Susan.

  23. I think most of us have at least one of those stories. Fortunately age has allowed me to care less and less about them – both past and future. I know they’re bound to happen from time to time so it’s easier to just deal with them when they do than to try not to allow them in the first place.

    1. Finding no “share” button on the post I copied and pasted the link to it on Facebook.

    2. Amy Carroll says:

      Yes! I agree that age gives us perspective when we’re growing closer to Jesus.

  24. Cheri, this is so powerful, “I’d rather take risks than live with regrets.” Thank you so much for your engaging story. Many of us would have wanted to catch you and keep you from falling! I’m loving “Overwhelmed”, thanks for writing it. Amy, thank you so much for hosting this blog and for peeking the curiosity of what you are going to tell us next time!

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      MaryLou, thanks for being such an encourager. You’re a treasure!

  25. Corena Hall says:

    I was born a people pleaser raised by a father who was often moody and unapproachable. After he died ( I was not quite 10) it was even more imperative that I was to be no trouble. I had already lost my mum and growing up a girl in India minus any monetary resources meant I was nothing. To be allowed to live I adopted perfectionism. You guessed it I could never ever be perfect or please everyone. It lead to comparison and low self esteem. Praise Jesus the only One who is perfect, allowed seasons of trials to show me agape love. He showed me His Sovereign nature and above all His grace. Today I live to please my God. Yes I slip but He covers me with His grace and perfect love. I know my walk with Him is closer as I read His Word. It is enhanced as I ponder on the wisdom He imparts through the books of His children. I will be blessed if I win this book. I love to read and learn. It’s how He made me, imperfect yet loved by God.

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Thank you for sharing your beautiful story, Corena.

    2. What a story of survival and God’s grace, Corena. Thank you for sharing. Such triumph in your words of Jesus setting you free from perfectionism. You brightened my day.

  26. I get OVERWHELMED with New Years Resolutions & gave them up years ago.

    In 2017 I will RESOLVE:
    • to invite some feedback & discard the rest – GUILT free
    • continue to alleviate ” to do woes with more GRACE for SPACE”
    • replace future concerns with PEACE in the present

    Enjoyed this post! It’s for me but I’m sure others could use it also (LOL) ?✝️❤️

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Love your resolutions, Susan!

      1. Oh my goodness! I have felt that same sting of humiliation, Cheri. I’ve also responded with self-protection and refused to risk feeling those painful feels. Like you, I’ve squandered precious opportunities to connect and grow because I didn’t want to fall flat on my face in front of someone I wanted to impress. Thanks for the exhortation to take risks and to learn to laugh at myself a little more!