About the Author

Holley Gerth is a Wall Street Journal bestselling author, counselor, and life coach. Her newest release is The Powerful Purpose of Introverts: Why the World Needs You to Be You. She's also wife to Mark, Mom to Lovelle, and Nana to Eula and Clem.

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  1. He’s telling me the same thing–me, a dreamer, too; He doesn’t expect *all* of that from me. Though, perhaps our dreaming is an investment of encouragement in others to inspire great works, and we’ll never know how our dreaming influenced much for Him. Could our dreaming be our spirit interceding?

  2. Such powerful words. I love how your friends said “You’re always going to think of more than you can actually do.” This is SO me. I’m am trying every day to distinguish what I think needs to get done vs. how God wants to use me that day.

  3. I love that your friend leaned across the table and spoke grace words to you. What a treasure of a friend!

    And yes, I’ll take that last cupcake gladly!

  4. holley, your words were a like a spiritual hug from god for me today. he’s so good. and they reminded me when in my twenties, a friend told me i was intense. it was like someone turned on the lights and i saw it for the first time. and what god whispered to me was, “and that’s how i made you to be. it is not something you need to extinguish or be other than”.

  5. What a beautiful reminder, thank you! Of friendship and the joys of sharing transparent conversation over dessert…and of the truth that affirming God’s plan is often much more simpler (and joyful) than “trying” to live our own.

  6. Love it! Through prayer, I find a balance in what I say yes to. I am very relational, so that brings me joy and gives me energy…which spills into other things! I don’t ever feel compelled to do things to “earn” salvation, and rarely feel pushed into doing things, and only rarely have to say no…just because of schedule conflicts! I like staying busy, and live kingdom work!
    It was a different story when our son was in school and doing sports…I’m not a fan…and often felt I had to be there to show I was a good parent, support the team, etc. I never minded being at work in the concessions though!
    Where I have a harder time on boundaries is with people…I need more discernment in holding my ground, saying no, or maintaining the upper hand in being able to influence/encourage them more than them dragging me down. There’s only a few people, but I sometimes let their problems weigh me down.. Too much. (That’s how I know I could never be a counselor, even though I love encouraging!)
    Thanks for the great post!

  7. Such an epiphany moment…I think I needed this, too. It is so wonderful to surround yourself with encouraging, uplifting friends. Your dear friend is so insightful, and definitely deserved the last bite of dessert.

  8. “You’re a dreamer. You’re always going to think of more than you can actually do.” Yeah, that would be me. Sometimes I feel like the only thing I do accomplish is heaping a generous pile of guilt on myself. More than I care to admit. I distinctly remember a few years ago standing in the shower crying (what is it about the shower that gets the tears flowing?) about what a complete failure I was and hearing clear as a bell, “You are doing enough.” Thanks for the reminder.

  9. I can relate to your flavor of guilt. Mine is slightly different – not that I can’t do enough, but that I can’t BE enough. It’s taken a couple of years to realize that as one of my enemy’s lies to debilitate me, but I’m so thankful for the TRUTH God has given me to fight back when that guilt washes fresh. Thanks for your honesty. It’s freedom.

  10. I am thankful that you have wake me to come to realize that I don’t have to be doing exactly what I am always trying to do. I am always expected to do the impossible and when I fall, I mean it was bad. I realized that God has never expect me to achieve anything in life if I could just surrender my everything into his hands and let him take me and carry me.For his yolk is easy and his burden is light. I thank God that I have a him who does not expect anything in return from me, his love and grace empower me to want to know him more! Praise the Lord!

  11. Yeah, I’ve learned the hard way. I nearly collapsed. I was just far too tired. So now, I’ve learnt to say no. Just what I’m doing is enough. More than enough. Love your cup cakes Holly. So delicious. Can’t take sugar. It would make me sick but lovely to look at. Keep up the good work.

  12. Love this! Such a wonderful reminder. It’s hard not to want to “do more.” But truly, God wants us to rest in His grace. Thankful.

  13. Long ago, before my husband and small children and I (Unexpectedly expecting,
    but totally un~aware, yet!) left for South America to learn language and
    then church plant in Ecuador, a precious brother in the Lord spoke these
    life changing words to us, which go along with today with you, Holley:

    “I would rather sit back and watch God work, than for Him to sit back and
    watch me work.”

    As we left and began, with yet a fourth pregnancy, later, in the country,
    I literally felt the “easy yoke and light burden” of Yahshua, Himself.
    He is So Good and today, I needed to be reminded of this, again.
    Thank You.

  14. I have just discovered Panic Attacks….That would be when you know that the tasks before you are impossible to be completed…..Right NOW…..and then you become overwhelmed with guilt, depression, and pushed to the point of not completing anything.
    Silly girl! ER Dr. had a great spin on it…..You have just been surprised by a bear….your heart races, your breathing speeds up because a bear is going to eat you alive……Your job …..tell the bear that he doesn’t exist. Everything will get done or it won’t “Things” are not that important. The difficult task is figuring out what is truly important to God and taking that road. It’s alot easier said than done but, brings incredible peace. The peace that surpasses all understanding.

    • Dear Kathy, I know how you feel. This is how I deal with those feelings. Sit down, take 3 deep breaths. Think only in the moment, not the whole picture, that is too overwhelming. Start with one task at a time, the most important one and go on from there. Minute by minute. It’s great of you get everything done but you are not superwoman and if you don’t get everything done, so what? What will happen to you? Nothing! I hope this helps a little.

  15. Holley – Your words are a wonderful reminder. I am sitting at the table feeling overwhelmed with all the projects on my to do list. You have told us how amazing we are but Holley -YOU are an amazing women. I just love to read your insights. You are such a great encourager.
    God is so good to us!

  16. Oh, Holley…I needed to hear this TODAY! I see so much that needs to be done and do my small part. I try to let the outcome go and let God take my little loaves and fishes and make a fiest…but…it is so hard. I have dreams of healing for all my family and see bits come. Those little sparks of light fill my heart with joy. It’s getting there…it’s getting there…it’s getting there. Thank you for your words. My life is full of wonderful blessings and I don’t get to stop here as often I did a while ago. But I’m glad…so glad I stopped here today. Your words were an answer to frantic prayers of healing and help for someone I dearly love. Pray for Bev. Pray she find the solutions she needs. Merci…mon amie! πŸ˜€

  17. #1, I want one of those cupcakes. πŸ™‚ Holley, we all love you and look so forward to all of your posts. It’s funny how often you will say what’s in my thoughts. Thanks for not hiding and pretending that you are perfect. Thanks for making me THINK. We all love you Holley and plese never go away. β™₯

  18. Holley,
    Your words were just what I needed to hear this morning. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed with everything that needs to get done. If I sit and rest, the guilt sets in. My good friend told me once… “we are human beings, not human doings!” I love that, it gives me the freedom to just be, sometimes!

  19. How amazing is the Lord to speak so faithfully and gently through those who He has given to us in friendship, fellowship and caring… today this enlightened me to see how he has used me in this and how this can open my eyes right now in my present circumstance with “and I don’t expect you to”. Much pondering has come from my reading (in) courage thank you…
    encourage one another…yes Lord

  20. “We do what we can and then we rest in grace.” ~ Oh girl, I needed this today. I’m resting in this good word as this fall break week and the stomach flu and all sorts of unplanned happenings knocked my writing schedule down the toilet.

    You are my kind of friend. For your words and your sweet tooth. Can’t wait to see you in a few days! xoxo

  21. Oh Holley,
    Thank you so much! I sure needed this today! I have been caught up in purpose driven church, until I am ready to convert! I feel as though I never do enough, never give enough, never read enough just NEVER Ever enough! What happened to His yoke being light? After time spent in the little girls rest room having a good cry yesterday, soon after a little girl offered me her sucker(true story), I am today rethinking my “ministry opportunities”. Thank you for giving me the permission to say no thank you at this time! Love you for being you and being obedient to HIM! Kim

  22. How this hits home for me! “We do what we can and then we rest in grace”. I am going to print this out to put in front of me as a reminder. Thank you for your many words of inspiration. I enjoy sitting across the table (monitor) from you. Thank you again for all that you do.

  23. This has always been my problem. Feeling like I shouldn’t sit down and read a book as there is so much to do. Always thinking I have to be busy all the time and my house must be perfect. Well now that I am older I realize that this is from the Devil who wants us to stay busy so we don’t have time for JESUS, and others. Now my house is a little messier, but I am trying to find more time to give and do for others.
    This just reminded me that we can’t do it all so just do what HE wants us to and the rest will be done by someone else . Thanks Holley for reminding me.

  24. thank you, Holley………….if I was at the table with you all, I would have given YOU the rest of my dessert. From one dreamer to another…………..

  25. Oh Holley! You’re always telling us to use the gift we have, and my friend of whom this was most true died on Tuesday. I got to be with her last weekend and she asked me to come give a eulogy. She said, “You’re a pretty good writer, just write from your heart.” you know what? I connected with the fact that I was proud, that I wanted to be a great writer. I even would settle for a pretty, good writer! But I had to lay that down, confess and move on, serve with the gift I had been given. Because the eulogy is about me telling her that her gift is priceless, needed in the body, and to use it, not to think its no big deal and everyone can do it. Her gift? The true, life giving compliment.
    Real time, I leave tonight for an overnight flight and the funeral is 2p tomorrow in New Haven, CT. Pray?

    • Oh, Beth, I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend. It sounds like you brought so much joy to your life and I’m so glad you’re honoring her with your words. I know they will be just what is needed. Love and prayers!

  26. Holley, your words echo those of Elisa Morgan’s, last weekend at the Women of Faith conference. She taught on the story of Mary anointing Jesus’ feet with oil (Mark 14:3-9). Verse 8 was her text: “She did what she could.” Elisa made the point: God isn’t asking us to work 24/7 to solve the world’s problems. He just wants us to do the next thing in front of us–even if it’s as simple as making a phone call, sending a card, or inviting a new neighbor to lunch. Verse 6 lets us know what Jesus thinks of such acts: ‘She has done a beautiful thing to me.” With two dependable sources (you and Elisa) saying the same thing, I know God is tapping me on the shoulder to say, “Pay attention, my dear. This is for you.” Thank you, Holley, for your part.

    • Nancy,

      Your words are resonating with me. I consistantly do what I can when I can as often as I can for as many people as I can. My hubby says I’m very thoughtful and always thinking of others. My basis for doing so are 2 fold: I try to treat everyone as I want/have been treated & secondly I would dearly love to hear the words “Well done my good and faithful servant” from God!

  27. Holley,
    I read your beautiful words all of the time and usually they resonate with me in some way, but this particular one really did. I, too, ask myself all the time…”do I do enough?” My 43 year old husband passed away 3 years ago from cancer. We were married for 18 years, and I was his caregiver and patient advocate for most of those years as he also had a genetic blood disease that started it all. He has been gone for 3 years, and there are still times that I ask myself, “did I do enough for him?” Family and friends say yes. God says yes. Why don’t I say yes? There are very dear people in my life going through very traumatic things, and once again, I ask myself,” am I doing enough for them?” I pray, yes, I pray deeply for them and tell them I am here. The saying ” do my best and leave the rest to God” is being whispered to me by the Holy Spirit. I need to listen. I need to let go and let God.

  28. A-ha! I needed to hear this. I do struggle with trying to do too much, but I also struggle sometimes with taking on other people’s ideas/dreams as my own personal action items—oh dear. No wonder I feel frustrated trying to work on other people’s dreams! Thanks for helping me see this today. When the dreamers in my life (husband, boss, co-worker, etc.) think things out loud regarding an aspect of a project or goal we are working on—sometimes I think I have to immediately do something about it! Good for me to recognize this. It’s called: Boundaries! πŸ˜‰

  29. Thank you Holley. I remember a lesson I learnt when I was teaching New Entrants – five year olds. I would worry about what they might be like until I learned to leave it to my Lord. My worry ceased and I was ready to receive the new children.

  30. Holley this is so powerful. I’m like that. I say to myself ” when it’s all done I take a break ” But it’s never all done. I continue to feel soooo guilty. Thank you so much for bringing me this gem of wisdom this morning. So today I will just do what I can an allow myself to enjoy a guilt free break.
    Blessings Gail

    • I want to say I agree! And I wanted to say it right after Gail because I have a big sis named Gail and this seems like something she might say.

  31. My mum said that to me a lot and still does. When there is something important going on, she says ‘Simply give the best you have right now and then it will be okay’. Sounds like your ‘we do what we can do’ and that’s it. So it seems I should not only think of it in particular situations, but always…

  32. Oh how I loved this, Holley. I never thought of the fact that I am a dreamer and a doer being part of the reason I always feel like I have more, more, more and more to be, do and achieve.

  33. God loves when we dream “BIG!” So go ahead with your big dreams… and just let Him make them come true!

  34. Holley, I have a completely different slant on this statement. Today my husband and I went to the grocery store and purchase enough food for two weeks, a large amount. When I got home, I was putting the amount in the ledger and saw that there was no check missing. I even looked in the other checkbook from another bank. All I could think of was that I had forgotten to give the cashier a check. My husband suggested that we wait and see what the bank would turn up at the end of the month.

    I told him that I couldn’t do that because it wasn’t right. He told me I had done nothing wrong. I said, “This is going to make me sick because the young guy who checked us out will come up short and I don’t want to do that to him”. I left the room and began to pray. I came across your article and thought, “This is definitely something I have not done enough on.” After about 10 minutes I could hear my husband talking to the grocery store. They matched up numbers of my receipt and found my check. Yes, I had written a check, but one that was17 checks beyond where my next check should have been. Don’t know what I was thinking, but I know what God was thinking.

    He made it very clear to me that we had to do something more and that it was something that couldn’t wait. Whatever your answer to that question is, it must be the answer from God. I KNEW that I KNEW that I KNEW something more had to be done. That you for the article, I love the things you write.

  35. This is my daily life! My brain is 24/7 thinking of cool, neat, original, needed, helpful, exciting things to do, make, share, write, create…. It would take be 10 lifetimes (and no children) to get it all done. And I’m sad at the thought that most of it probably isn’t ever going to get done and wasn’t meant to in the first place. I talk to God alot about it, my desire to discern which idea is from Him and how to get peaceful about letting the rest just be ideas. Perhaps in Heaven, when time isn’t a factor anymore, we’ll get to delve into all the things we dreamed about here on Earth and that idea is one of the few that I am peaceful about πŸ™‚

  36. Holly, you always seem to express words that speak right to my heart, just last night I was talking with a friend of my short comings, she explained to me, I do so much. When she broke it down for me, I do, do a lot but it just never seems to be enough and yet it is right where God needs me, and he gives me enough to do what is asked of me, guess because it doesn’t seem to be alot because God gives me the grace to do what I need to do, I guess it seems as if its not enough on my part. Thanks for sharing as always your words of inspiration

  37. Thank you – this means so much to hear.
    I guess I am a dreamer too, though I generally would likely tell you that I am one who dreams too much! I challenge God with the dreams sometimes – “Okay God, I’ve imagined it. Now it’s Your turn to do the greater – more!”
    I dream on the behalf of others too, and take on their burdens and roles and whatnot, and it’s that line near the end that gets me, Holley…
    rest. in. grace.
    Thank you – I needed that reminder/slap in the face… wake up, and rest…

  38. Holley, this is SUCH GOOD NEWS! Thank you for answering the question of my heart. It’s so easy to assume that every good thing I think of must be something God wants me to do. What a relief and invitation to rest!

  39. Thank you Holley for sharing these precious words. I so feel this pull between possibility and pressure. I needed to hear the words… “We do what we can and then we rest in grace.” I have been so blessed by (in) courage and my community. Thank you so much!

  40. Dear Holley,
    I love to read your writings and love the book You’re Already Amazing…I have had a hard time with feeling Iam Amazing….but through reading your book and the Bible I know I’am amazing to God my creator…….We have a bible study group at our church,these are and amazing group of ladies,and now next week-end we are having a retreat at a Mountain Lodge, for fun, laughter,and fellowship along with Bible Studies. We are to bring along our PJ’s and prepare to wear them alot as we kick back and enjoy this time of fellowship. Guess what,we are suppose to bring a snack, cupcakes sound pretty good right now. Love getting together with girlfriends!!!! So enjoy your posts all of them!! Love and prayers to you!!!

  41. This is a fabulous article!!! Every woman I know and coach is dealing with guilt in some way or another. We are so hard on ourselves and put so much pressure and stress on ourselves, robbing our peace and abundant life, when our spirit is crying to be heard saying, “You are enough!”

    Ruthie Lewis
    Author, Speaker, Life Coach

  42. Here I am sitting at the women of faith conference in St Paul MN just got done getting blessed by Max lucado on GRACE then during break reading your message. Amen to grace!!!! Thanks for the everyday message.

  43. God has been teaching me to “be still” for about a year now. There are times when obedience means literally and spiritually simply being still… sit right here in this chair and relax and be still… and that’s so very very hard! That can’t possibly be enough! yet, it is… There are times to “do” and times to “be”. I’m afraid I can’t say that I always listen and obey when God tells me to simply “be”, but I can praise His holy name and say thank You that He hasn’t given up on teaching me these lessons. It is always enough to “be stil… and KNOW that He IS God!!!”

  44. Women tend to want to do it all and do it well. We drive ourselves crazy and those around us.

    We as women need to stop doing and start listening to that still small voice of God. He won’t have you do it all–just one small thing at a time. He also expects us to Rest in His presence and peace.

    Great article!

  45. Dear Holly,
    You have been an inspiration to me in so many way on so many occasions. Your question: “how do you know when you have done enough?” I have reached a point in my life when I am telling myself that I DID NOT DO ENOUGH. I wonder if any of your other subscribers are asking the same question. You see, my family/children are all grown and gone. I have a large family ( six children, 22 grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren) and many people comment , “o how wonderful”!. The truth is that I am very lonely and full of questions about what my life has all been about and what am I still doing here. When I was young and struggling as a single parent with six children under 10 years old, I dream’t about the day when all would grow into wonderful adults and I could settle down into old age and enjoy my family and grandchildren. Well, they have all grown into responsible adults: good husbands, fathers, and now grandfathers as well as good citizens making positive contributions to society, their neigborhoods, communities, and country. But they have all forgotten about me. I am not included in their lives and they do not want to be included in mine. So my question is not, “when have I done enough, but rather, “did I do enough”?

  46. Holley, thank you for sharing. I know God hears the work being done & I believe for HIS purpses. blessings kiddo, good job, love kathy

  47. Holley, thank you! Yes, i tend to always keep wanting to go, go, go. I sometimes feel guilty if i don’t keep going, keep working, etc. How do I know when I have done enough?
    How do I know how much God asks of me?

  48. Thanks Holly, this was for me, I am always thinking that I don’t do enough. My husband read this & said that I need to read it as well because he is always telling me the same thing…stop, breath don’t try to do it all. God Bless

  49. Holly, Love your blog. I pass it on to friends frequently.

    Is it possible that some are called to keep on going and going and going? Mother Teresa and Billy Graham come to mind. The trick is knowing when you are that person.

    Ahh but in Christ there is no condemnation. If you are called to it – the grace will be there and you will be focused like never before. The ability and resources will be given and they won’t come with an offering of guilt on the side.

    So, unless that call comes, and it’s unmistakable, leave the guilt at the dessert table πŸ™‚ and remember in prayer those who are doing those things that we have not been called to do.

  50. Thanks Holley. Great simple to the point post. A trap I often get knot is thinking I’m not enough. I get stuck driving forward endlessly to make it perfect or to get the validation that I need.

    We are enough, each of us. It’s often very hard to remember this but it’s important. Without feeling we are enough it’s too hard to focus on the right things. It’s too hard to give back. It’s too hard to let out out own unique gift into the world.

    Thanks again for the post.

  51. This post came on the right time for me. Thank you for the reminder…. But I keep forgetting this TRUTH and get my self stressed up. God help me with that…