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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things we love
& you will too!
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Reader Interactions


  1. Holley,
    This IS an ah-ha moment. I’ve been experiencing a lot of stress in my life and it’s taking a physical toll. Being that Enneagram #2 Helper (and sometimes people-pleaser) I need to be on the lookout for what is the JOY that is set before me? Is this stress necessary or self-inflicted? Is it leading to a greater good or simply to burnout? Thanks for giving me a much needed new lens through which to filter my stress.
    Bev xx

  2. Thank you, Holley for this reminder today. Asking “what is the joy set before me”? relieves the stress I am carrying especially when I answer it honestly. It also made me think of the perspective changer of choosing to say “I get to” rather than “I have to.”

  3. You’ve described a very good (and Biblical) way to think about our stressors in life. For me and a lot of other women I know, it’s sometimes hard to let go of a stressor (or maybe responsibility) that once served us well or we were called to do for a season. But as life changes and seasons change, God can lead us to something else. Perhaps serving in the church nursery is not where you are thriving anymore and serving in some other way could help you and others bloom.

  4. Powerful, necessary shift. Thrive has been a word that’s elusive, but worth the effort to intentionally head toward. As a Catholic Christian, I’ve been asking myself the very question your friend speaks of above. Your sharing gives me some breadcrumbs to help me continue to step forward. Thank you.

  5. Suzanne Stabile (the Enneagram godmother) puts it this way: “Is it mine to do?”
    What you’ve written here brings that question to my mind in a new way, because so often I take on things for the reasons you mentioned, and the poor fit causes stress–and maybe I’m preventing someone else from stepping into the void and it would be a perfect fit for them.

  6. Thank you for your insight. It speaks directly to a situation in my family. I now need to determine if I need to persevere or walk away. Praying for the wisdom.

  7. Holley, I love your thoughts here. I am a driven list-maker. I stay up too late trying to get it all done. It doesn’t help that I’m also a procrastinator who suddenly realizes I need to finish my list before I head to bed! Occasionally I draw arrows to the next day, but I think I need to re-evaluate my list with these thoughts in mind. What’s the joy set before me?!

  8. Thank you so much for this! — And as I thank you, I thank God… for I’m realizing when I can’t figure out what the joy is anymore, you are reminding me it is He Who has to set it before me — “The joy set before us.” There are so many areas where I’ve spent decades thinking I was doing the right thing, doing my best. I’m finding evidence of traumatic truths — decades of deception, and I am broken, my truths and the joy I thought I was going toward gone. I’m worn and can’t see the joy anymore. So, I see I have one more choice… to TRUST GOD anyway. And PRAISE HIM anyway. He has not changed. He’s only revealed. And I am asking Him to heal me and show me what new, true, authentic, hope-filled joy He is setting before me now. I’m reaching out with both hands, settling in wait for Him. Crying out is done. I trust His character, even if I don’t understand this path of pain. I trust His creative power and redemptive love and restoring grace to heal and make me whole — and stronger in the broken places, because of the broken places. I know, in HIM, those places will eventually become my greatest strength. Hmmm…. maybe that’s the joy He is setting before me. I will persevere in HIM, but walk away from that which has destroyed me. Again, thank you so much for sharing this.

  9. Holley,

    Women tend to be overachievers. We think we must do it all & well. By so doing we are making ourselves worn out women. God never intended for us to do everything. In trying to do it all we may actually be robbing others of their joy. I recently read a Face book post on releasing our burdens to God. The person related it to being out in a boat on the lake fishing & just throwing your burdens out there never to see them again. Life can get uncomfortable & hard at times. But not all the stresses in life are meant for us to tackle. Matthew 11:28-30 states “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Lets examine if the stress is optional & unnecessary. If so then eliminate it from your life. Great questions to ponder.

    Blessings 🙂