How To Match Your Stuff To the Size of Your Plate

How To Match Your Stuff To the Size of Your Plate


It’s March 27, 2017

Due to an emergency, Kathi is unable to do her scheduled Facebook LIVE with the Clutter Free Bible Study group and asks if I’ll fill in.

“If you don’t have any areas of clutter struggle any more, ” she says as only the Queen of Positivity can, “maybe you can tell them about your past challenges.”

“Oh, I’m sure I’ll think of something!” I assure her, glancing guiltily around my office.

During the Facebook LIVE, I show everyone my greatest clutter struggle: the many ways I preserve my ideas.

  • A shelf lined with 2 inch binders labeled “Blog Post Ideas #1” … “Blog Post Ideas #2” … “Blog Post Ideas #3″…
  • File boxes full of hanging file-folders stuffed with notes from in-process book proposals and retreat messages.
  • Stacks of printed drafts (I live in terror of losing digital data, so I hav a printing compulsion) from the months when Kathi and I were writing Overwhelmed: 1st draft, 2nd draft, 10th draft.
  • Notebooks from the various writing and speaking conferences I’d been to, dating back before 2010.

“They’re all so beautifully organized and labeled, Cheri!” someone comments.

“Aren’t they?” I agree.

“Which is exactly what has allowed me to justify keeping all this stuff. After all, if it’s color-coded, labeled, and organized in binders, certainly it’s not clutter…right?!?”

My sarcasm evokes laughter, and then we all fall silent in communal conviction.

Just because our stuff looks good does not mean we should keep it.

What Size is Your Plate?

In Overwhelmed, Kathi describes each person’s individual capacity in terms of “the size of your plate.”

Most women have dinner plates—an average capacity for activity and productivity.

A few have turkey platters and can accomplish 2-3 times as much as most people.

I, on the other hand, have a small plate. As a highly sensitive person, I am extra easily overwhelmed.

“Does all this stuff in my office match up with a small plate person?” I ask the Clutter Free Bible Study group members.

No way, they all agree.

All the binders and boxes and stacks match someone with a turkey platter.

A hard truth hits me, smack dab in the middle of Facebook LIVE:

Hanging onto so much stuff is a form of greed stemming from distrust.

Protecting my precious ideas is me saying, “God, I don’t trust you to remind me of what’s important.”

And ultimately, hoarding my ideas is my way of trying to stretch my plate.

I never wanted a small plate. I’ve always wanted a turkey platter. So I’ve surrounded myself with “evidence” that “proves” my preferred truth.

It’s my way of saying, “Look! I have all this! If I have so much, I must have a really big plate!”

Bottom line: I’m keeping an office full of stuff so that I can prove God wrong.


Learning to Trust God

After the Facebook LIVE I look around my office with new eyes.

I’ve worked so hard to protect all my precious ideas, but I have far too many to use.

I need to trust God to choose.

I need to believe that God will help me remember the ideas I need when the time comes. Or trust that He’ll give me something new.

Either way, it’s time to quit pretending I have a bigger plate than I do.

I need to accept the size of my plate and let most of this stuff go.

My stuff needs to match the truth about who God created me to be.


Cheri Gregory is a teacher, speaker, author, and Certified Personality Trainer. Her passion is helping women break free from destructive expectations. She writes and speaks from the conviction that “how to” works best in partnership with “heart, too.”

Cheri is the co-author, with Kathi Lipp, of The Cure for the “Perfect” Life and the upcoming Overwhelmed.

Cheri has been “wife of my youth” to Daniel, her opposite personality, for twenty-eight years and is “Mom” to Annemarie (25) and Jonathon (23), also opposite personalities.

Cheri blogs about perfectionism, people-pleasing, highly sensitive people, and hope at





What Scary Lies Are Hidden in Your Clutter?

What Scary Lies Are Hidden in Your Clutter?

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” (Luke 12:25-26, NIV)

“Speaking to the people, he went on, “Take care! Protect yourself against the least bit of greed. Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot.” (Luke 12:15, MSG)

It was the closet that I’d been avoiding. It was organized, but there were simply too many things I didn’t need and wasn’t wearing. I stared at the same blouses that had hung there unworn since the last purge. I’d made progress, but not with these items.

Why couldn’t I part with these things?! Yes, they were beautiful. Some had been expensive. All were in perfect condition. But they didn’t fit me anymore. Physically they fit, but not in other important ways. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but every time I had an occasion to wear them, I decided not to.

Why? In a word – fear.

If I get rid of this, will I have what I need?

But it felt deeper than just that.

As so often happens, I decided to pray. As a last resort. Sigh.

I asked God to show me what was going on.

As I pulled the hangers out one at a time, to look at each garment, I was surprised to realize each was “speaking” to me.

I soon discovered these clothes represented fear about the future, fear about who I really am (and who I am not), fear about my value and worth.

How is that even possible?! It’s a collection of threads, for heaven’s sake!

What’s more, so many of the messages were lies. On hangers. They said:

  • You’ll have to settle – you can’t get and don’t deserve what you really want.
  • This is too beautiful for you. You’re not that person.
  • You can’t rely on anyone but yourself.
  • If your husband dies, you’ll have to go back to work full time. Be ready.
  • Strength comes from looking good.
  • Look outside yourself for love.
  • You can’t trust your own experience; just ignore these emotions.
  • You can control everything – how you’re perceived, how others feel.
  • You can hide here. Be invisible.

I became aware of emotions, too.

The beautiful paisley skirt? I noticed sadness on that hanger. I’d worn it for my daughter’s baptism, but now it reminded me of my Aunt Barbara, who’d died shortly afterward.

When I can’t imagine my future I tend to cling to the past; to what’s familiar. Even when it doesn’t fit me anymore.

But fear calls us to prepare, to decide what action we need to take.

 If you find yourself confronting fear in your own pursuit of the Clutter Free life, steep yourself in God-reality:

  • “I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4
  • Identify the fear or lie that each item brings up. Be specific.
  • Trust that God will take care of your needs. “Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life—body and soul—in his hands.” Luke 12:5
  • Make a decision about what you will do – or not do.
  • In faith, make room for the new thing God is preparing.

As I read the final words in the 12th chapter of Luke, I felt myself exhaling.

What I’m trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God’s giving.” Luke 12:24 (MSG)

God, help me to be grateful for all you have already given me. Help me let go and live lightly. Keep me open to receive what you want to give me, above all your love and direction.

Kimberly Gonsalves helps parents thrive while raising capable, connected, compassionate, resilient kids.  An ICF-accredited coach, she combines Adlerian-based principles of mutually respectful relationships with the science of healthy habit creation, helping parents bring their best to their most important leadership roles.  Married for 25 years, she and her husband have a young adult son and high school aged daughter.  Her family provides daily opportunities to practice walking her talk.  Her motto is “Be creative: make a new mistake today!”


Episode #278 – Make Your Move: Finding Unshakable Confidence Despite Your Fears and Failures

Episode #278 – Make Your Move: Finding Unshakable Confidence Despite Your Fears and Failures

Make Your Move: Finding Unshakable Confidence Despite Your Fears and Failures

In this six-session Bible study (DVD/digital video sold separately), author and Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker Lynn Cowell explores how confidence-in-question keeps us from boldly experiencing what God intends for our lives. Dive into six stories in the Bible of not-so-well-known women who found themselves needing confidence to make their move, and how they uncovered the faith to get it. Lynn encourages women to leave behind all the unnecessary insecurity this world induces and find confidence in God alone.

Learn from the Daughters of Zelophehad, the Women of Exodus, the Sisters of Bethany, Rahab, Debora, Abigail and Michal how to:

  • Intentionally build your confidence on the one thing that cannot be taken from you.
  • Recover from defeating decisions to move forward toward a strong self-worth.
  • Position yourself to not lose your poise—even in the worst circumstances.
  • Identify and address the fears that keep you stuck, with practical steps to walk in your calling with confidence.

This study is for any woman who’s ready to dig into God’s Word to find confidence and boldness to do great things. This book includes personal Bible study as well as group discussion questions. The study can be completed by individuals as well as in groups.

Designed for use with the companion Make Your Move Video Study (sold separately).

** This is a re-run of this episode because we wanted to share this now that Lynn’s book is actually available. It’s an episode full of rich truths we need to be reminded of. Enjoy!

Are you afraid to make a move? Do you feel held back? Sometimes we can be the greatest force of holding ourselves back in life. But we can learn how to find confidence when our minds have already defeated us.

Listen in as Kathi interviews Lynn Cowell and they discuss the concepts in her new book, Make Your Move ~ Finding Unshakable Confidence Despite Your Fears And Failures. Join in the conversation and be inspired to make your move from a place of paralyzing fear to an unshakable confidence in God’s promises.

**BONUS** Leave an answer in the comments section: “What would I be doing if I was not afraid?” and we will randomly pick three people in this next week to get a free copy of Lynn Cowell’s book.


Meet Our Guest

Lynn Cowell

Lynn Cowell

Lynn Cowell is a national conference speaker who is passionate about helping women of all ages understand the importance of Christ confidence. She is the author of several books including her newest for women Make Your Move: Finding Unshakable Confidence Despite Your Fears and Failures, and Brave Beauty: Finding the Fearless You just for girls ages 8 – 12.  

Lynn and her husband, Greg, have been married for over 30 years and are the parents of three young adults. They enjoy spending time together, especially when it combines the mountains, well-worn sweatshirts, and anything with chocolate and peanut butter. Lynn, her family, and the occasional backyard deer, live near Charlotte, North Carolina. Connect with Lynn today at and on Facebook and Instagram at Lynn Cowell.

Episode #278 – Make Your Move: Finding Unshakable Confidence Despite Your Fears and Failures

Episode #268: Kickstart to Clutter Free – Part 2

clutter free kickstart

Kickstart to Clutter Free eCourse

Kickstart to Clutter Free
Kathi has broken the process down into tiny steps that everyone can complete in her online eCourse, Kickstart to Clutter Free and is offering at only $5.99 with coupon code CFPODCAST17 through September 22, 2017! Our challenge on the Facebook group will start September 5 and we’ll go through each of the 14 Days of the Kickstart together through September 22.

Kathi and Tonya Kubo are back for Part 2 of the Kickstart to Clutter Free series. Tonya shares her Clutter Free journey and why she is passionate in sharing her story with others.

So many people with clutter problems are afraid of being judged.  Kathi’s book Clutter Free helped Tonya put a system into place, without shame and fear that led her to living free from her clutter in every area of her life. You can do the same. Listen in for encouragement.

Meet Our Guest

Tonya Kubo

Tonya Kubo

Tonya Kubo is known for her tenacious spirit and can-do attitude. Her passion is for helping people realize that all that stands between them and what they want are a few key decisions. With a combination of humor and heart-felt hope, she speaks to groups of all sizes on topics related to how choices — not circumstances — hold the keys to personal freedom. When she’s not traveling as a speaker or writing from the road, she makes her home in the agricultural heart of California with her husband and two daughters.

Episode #278 – Make Your Move: Finding Unshakable Confidence Despite Your Fears and Failures

Episode #245: Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears


“To be in the Presence of God requires you to be present with God.” ~ Kelly Belarie

Fear Fighting

Often, we live feeling judged, worried, and apprehensive, as though our voice doesn’t count. We wear halfway smiles and live half-baked lives, trying to hide from what tomorrow will bring.

I know this routine, this song and dance. It’s exhausting. It’s crippling.

One trembling with the uncertainty of life can’t easily walk into the certainty of God’s great callings. One paralyzed with doubtfulness is not easily mesmerized with God’s goodness. One tallying up dangers, often finds, God becomes a stranger.

Join me, as we break the cage of fear. I found my way out – I learned to become a Fear Fighter – as I wrote the book – you will too.

Fear Fighting Women will:

Develop unstoppable faith so you can go with Christ-centered bravery.
Learn panic, blood pressure and stress-reducing prayers to usher in new peace.
Discover clear and practical action plans to welcome in new peace.
Discover daily bravery decrees to stand armed through the day.
Participate in a 12-week study guide to foster new courage-habits.
Fly the coop! Join me on this journey to become a courageous Fear Fighter!

Does fear ever consume you? Do your fears dictate how you make decisions? Do you wake up wondering what life is going to throw at you today?

Kathi talks with a new friend, Kelley Belarie, author of Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears. They discuss the experiences and fears Kelley lived through over the years and how she chose to fear “less” when trusting in God. Kelley developed a  program to jumpstart your fearlessness. It teaches us how to take baby steps to overcome fear because this is not an overnight journey.

Sign up today for the 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

Book Giveaway

Comment on “What area are you fearful and need to turn to God for help?”  Leave you comment within the next 7 days and you will be entered into a random drawing for a copy of Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears.

This giveaway open to US readers only.

Meet Our Guest

Kelly Balarie

Kelly Balarie

Who I am? I don’t fully know. As I figure it, I am still learning, still inching towards God to let his light shine on all he made me to be. But, one thing I have uncovered in this dim world is – I am a “Cheerleader of Faith.” Meaning, I cheerlead my own heart in truth, so it can walk by truth. Meaning, I get myself up, bruises and all, to figure out God’s leading. I listen.