Why You Don’t Have to Save the World this Week

We are not the savior of anyone or anything. Instead we're simply messengers and servants. http://HolleyGerth.com

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I placed my head in my hands and whispered, “I can’t do this.” My perplexed husband asked, “Do what?” I replied, “Everything for everyone.” {That might have been a bit of a whiny exaggeration on my part.} He raised an eyebrow at me and smiled a bit before responding, “You don’t have to.”

How do I so easily forget that’s true?

It seems every time I end up exhausted this is the reason: I’ve delusionally decided the fate of the universe and all who live in it is up to me. No pressure, right?

Here’s what’s true: I don’t have to save the world. Jesus already did.

And you don’t have to either.

My friend Serenity works with women at the House of Hope. In a recent newsletter, she shared how what she does can be both wonderful and hard. And she included this quote from someone else trying to make a difference in the lives of others:

You know I cannot save them. I am not here to save anybody or to save the world. All I can do- what I’m called to do- is to plant myself at the gates of hope. Sometimes they walk by. But I stand there every day and I call out till my lungs are sore with calling, and beckon and urge them in toward beautiful life and love.

I can’t get this one phrase out of my mind or heart: I plant myself at the gates of hope. Yes. Isn’t that it?

In other words, our job is simply showing up and pointing the way. Regardless of how it may feel some days, that is enough. We are not the savior of anyone or anything. Instead we’re simply messengers and servants. The only arms strong enough to carry the weight of the world are the ones that stretched out on a cross.

Those same arms are there to hold and carry us when it all feels like too much.

Because what Jesus has already done is truly enough.



Holley Gerth


P.S. Do you need a little hope, friend? Are you weary? Stacey and Brooke have written words just for you in their new book Hope for the Weary Mom.


Books to encourage you…

Books by Holley Gerth
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Good News for a Monday: Your Worth Doesn’t Come from Your Work

The God who created you is the One who will help you respond with all your heart, soul, mind and strength to that question and He'll use your answer to make a difference in and through you all the days of your life. Your worth doesn't come from your work. http://holleygerth.com

{my images are free goodies for you to enjoy & share}

We can be a career-obsessed culture. Stand around long enough at any gathering where you don’t know everyone and you’ll be asked, “So, what do you do?” Frequently it’s even the first question posed when meeting someone. {In case you didn’t know, this is oddly American. Most other cultures don’t start with your job. They start with who you are. Your family. Your friends. What you love.}

Maybe that’s one reason why it’s so easy to fall into the trap of believing what we do equals who we are. We define ourselves by titles {manager, artist, stay-home-mom} and by the roles that go with them {employee, Etsy shop owner, mother}. Then when something changes {the company closes, the art doesn’t sell, the kids grow up} we despair.

“Who am I now?” we ask.

We also experience a lot of fear if it even seems like that might happen.

“Who would I be without this?” we question.

I thought about this as I drove home the other day from a writing session at a coffee shop. I have a deadline coming up and it’s scaring me silly. Because I’m afraid if I fail then I might have to stop writing and without writing it feels like I might not know who I am.

I whispered a prayer for help and one simple statement flashed into my mind: What you do is not your identity. It’s your assignment.


I knew that but somehow it got buried under stacks of “what ifs” and worries. Immediately I could feel my shoulders relax and I let out a big sigh of relief. Because I remembered this too: As long as I’m on earth God will find a way for me to be useful. I saw that in the life of my 93 year-old Grandpa who went home to heaven last summer. I see it in women like Barbara Beskind, a 90 year-old designer for the tech company Ideo. I watch it in the lives of others around me who continue to contribute despite significant alterations in their circumstances.

We usually have one what but over a lifetime the how will change a lot. For example, one woman’s “what” might be encouraging. She might primarily do that for friends in high school, for her team at work in her twenties, for her kids as a mom in her thirties, for her Bible study for her church in her forties, for her classmates when she goes back to school in her fifties, for her employees in her sixties, for her neighbors in her seventies…and so on until God decides it’s time for her to go Home.

None of those are about a job or career…even if they involve a business or specific title. 

Our culture may be work-focused but thankfully God isn’t.

He isn’t like that stranger at a party asking, “So, what do you do?”

Instead He’s posing a far more important question, “Who have I made you?”

The God who created you is the One who will help you respond with all your heart, soul, mind and strength to that question and He’ll use your answer to make a difference in and through you all the days of your life.


Holley Gerth


P.S. If you live in the Northeast and are looking for a retreat this Spring, I’d love to see you at The Winsome Retreat… Will you be there? Find all the information here.


Books to encourage you…

Books by Holley Gerth
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Become a Better Encourager in 2015

The ebook for encouragers - 21 easy, practical ways to show that you care. Written by Holley at http://holleygerth.com/

When I asked what you wanted help with many of you said: I want to get better at encouraging others.

As a licensed counselor and certified life coach, I’ve learned a lot about how to truly help and encourage people. And I want to share that with you because it’s a lot simpler and less scary than you think!  I’m so excited that The Encouragement Project {my new ebook} is launching January 1st. It’s 21 days of inspiration and practical tools that will help you become a better encourager in 2015. 

The Encouragement Project is only $2.99 because I want everyone to be able to get this inspiration and information–our world needs encouragers more than ever! {I’ve charged over $100 an hour as a licensed counselor and certified life coach for sharing similar material}.

Get the Encouragement Project here: Kindle, Nook and it will be delivered January 1st.  {If you don’t have a Kindle or Nook, you can read the book on your computer, tablet or smart phone} Forget new year’s resolutions. It’s time for an encouragement revolution!


Here’s an excerpt from The Encouragement Project:

You want to help others.

You love giving encouragement.

Yet you still often find yourself saying, “I’ll pray for you,” and not following through the way you’d like. Or you feel tongue-tied at a time that calls for comforting words. You may even walk away from a tough situation scratching your head and thinking, “I have no idea what to do!”

You already have what you need most: a loving heart. Now I’m going to share some simple, easy, practical tools to turn your care into action. Through working with thousands of people as a bestselling writer, a counselor, and a life coach, I’ve learned what truly helps most.

The great news is, we won’t be doing this on our own. God cares even more about the people in our lives than we do. He’s committed to helping us serve them well.

Our role is obedience. God’s job is results. And what He wants most from us is for us to simply open our hearts and share what He gives us. We can all encourage each other—one prayer, one word, one act of kindness at a time.


Holley Gerth

Get The Encouragement Project for $2.99 here: Kindle, Nook and it will be delivered January 1st.  {If you don’t have a Kindle or Nook, you can read the book on your computer, tablet or smart phone}. You really can become a better encourager in 2015!


Welcome to the Coffee for Your Heart weekly link-up! You’re an encourager so I’m asking you to pour out a little love with your words every Wednesday {link-up goes live at 5:30am CST}. Simply write an encouraging blog post and then share it here. Don’t have a blog? You can still write an encouraging comment. If you’re reading this by email, go to holleygerth.com to see all the fun and join in too.

Pretty please use this button in your blog post so others can easily join in with us {html code in right sidebar}. And when you link up your post, take a moment to leave an encouraging comment on the one that’s linked up just before yours. Thanks, friends!


I’m having Coffee For Your Heart with my friend Holley Gerth

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Why We Need You to Be You

Dare to Be You by Holley Gerth

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We sit in a circle in a living room, a mini-arena where we can see each other’s faces close-up, watch eyebrows go up, enjoy the sounds of each other’s laughter. I’ve been invited to share with a group of young mamas.

Women who change diapers and the world. Who know how to rock a little one at night and a job in the day. Who grow tiny bodies as well as dreams and hopes. Wonder women. 

We’re talking about our strengths, skills and who we’re called to serve. We put that all together so they can create a Life Statement. They’ll work on this at home this week.

Before they go I say this, “Your statement isn’t something to live up to instead it’s meant to be an affirmation of what you’re already living. So when you’re up to your ears in dirty dishes and diapers you’ll still be able to know, ‘Yes, this is where I’m supposed to be. And it matters.’ ” 

May I kindly whisper the same to you? If something in your life makes you continually feel as if you’re falling short then it’s probably time to put it through the shredder. That goes for parenting books, sermons, lectures from well-meaning people who love you, magazine articles and Facebook posts.

It’s funny how often “they” think there’s a right way. Most of the time that simply means this: it’s their way. And if it works for you too, great. But if not, it’s okay to walk away and find the path Jesus has uniquely for you.

Scripture is very specific on the what. But it’s very vague on the how. For example, “love one another.” Right now for me that means sitting at this keyboard and typing encouraging words to you in my pajamas {oops, did I admit the pajama part?}.

For you, that might mean fixing a snack for your kiddos. Or listening to a coworker who’s just gotten out of a tough meeting. Or taking a nap because if you don’t you may end up in jail. Love one another can be lived out many different ways depending on who you are, where you are and what God has for you to do that day.

This is why I’m passionate about helping women know who they are: If you don’t know who you are then you will be vulnerable to someone else trying to make you more like them. And if they succeed, we miss out on you.

And you, my dear, are irreplaceable. God doesn’t have a plan B for your life. You’re it. {Also, we’re not supposed to be more like anyone but Jesus. I’m just sayin’.}

So take some time to ask God today, “What do you want me to do with my one wild, beautiful life that no one else can?” Then listen to the whisper you hear in response. {And, yes, compared to the other loud, bossy voices in your life it will sure sound like a whisper. But it’s the only voice worth listening to with all your heart.}

Then dare to be you. Dare to be loved. Dare to live your one extraordinary, ordinary life.

Because you’re the only one who can.


Holley Gerth

Finding the Hope in Your Dark Moments…

Diamond Mine by Holley Gerth

necklace by Premier Designs

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“Count it all joy when you meet trials of many kinds.” {James 1:2}

I shake my head a bit at the words above and think, “I’m not so sure I wanna do that right now.” Normally I would have been tempted to skip to a friendlier, easier verse {I’m sure I’m the only one who does that}.

But I’d been invited by Premier Designs to speak on exactly this topic. And deep down inside, I knew I needed to figure out how to “count it all joy” for my own sake too. After all, I’ve been in a season of loss lately.

So I looked closer and prayed, “God, can you please help me understand what this means? I know you’re compassionate and you’re not telling me to just plaster a fake smile on my face. After all, Jesus wept with us when he was here. But I’m gonna be honest–I don’t get it.”

As I continued to pray and considered the passage more, I realized when we count something it means we’re intentionally recognizing the worth in it. And when we count something as joy, we’re saying there’s not only worth but also even something good.

Those thoughts brought up a memory of another challenging time in my life. I’d been through several losses and felt utterly discouraged. One day I prayed, “Lord, I feel like I’m in a deep, dark cave right now.” Of course, I didn’t hear an audible response, but He did impress on my heart, “You may be in a cave but you have a choice: You can sit in the dark or you can diamond-mine your difficulties.”

I decided then and there I wasn’t leaving that cave in my life empty-handed. I was going to take every blessing I could find with me. There were still many days when all I did was sit on the floor of the cave and grieve but I also walked away from that time in my life with treasures I never would have found otherwise.

I can hold those diamonds now and count them each as a joy. Yes, count them all joy.

Do I want to go back to that cave? No, ma’am.

But do I see the worth in it now? Oh, yes.

I’m discovering “counting it all joy” isn’t a one-time thing. It’s more of a process and a promise. It’s something we’ll be learning to do until we step into heaven where all the darkness is finally gone. Until then, we can know that with our God nothing is ever worthless. It all counts even more than we can see right now. And that hope can light the way to treasures we never imagined we could find in our hard times.


Holley Gerth

p.s. I’m speaking to over 6,000 wonderful folks from Premier Designs today and would appreciate your prayers! The necklace in the photo above is one of their beautiful pieces of jewelry.