Making the most of who you are.




While driving home last night, my heartbeat was tap-tap-tapping against my chest like a crazed woodpecker. I rolled my eyes and thought, “Hello, anxiety, my old friend.”

The truth is, anxiety is a long-time companion of mine. As a child, it gave me inexplicable stomach aches. The doctors ran tests and finally chalked it up to stress. I used to hide out in the bathroom because being alone and quiet made my anxiety better. I have two small dimples on the inside of my cheeks where I’ve bitten down for years when I get nervous. I sweat when I have intense (positive or negative) conversations. I own several books on social anxiety. Yep. 

Those who know me would probably be surprised to hear me say all this. I sometimes get told, “You seem so calm, like you’ve got it all together.” That always makes me want to burst into laughter (or tears) and never ceases to shock the living daylights out of me.

Through the years, my anxiety has gotten a lot better. I’ve recently begun to see it as an essential part of who I am.




My anxiety sometimes makes it hard to walk into a party…but it also tunes me in to everyone there. I have an internal emotional thermometer that detects even the slightest shift in mood. That makes me sensitive. It helps me write and counsel. If a big part of anxiety is our bodies being in alert mode, then I would miss a lot if I had no anxiety.

I’m starting to see that my strengths are very closely tied to what I might label as weaknesses. For example, sensitivity = strength, anxiety = weakness – but I wouldn’t have one without having the other. Perhaps it’s just about focusing on the helpful parts and letting the other stuff go.

In Philippians 4:6, we read: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. To me, that means I’m not supposed to let anxiety win. I should hand it over to God and say, “Please take care of this and turn it into something useful.” In other words, redeem this part of me I wish was different.




This has been on my mind lately, and I can’t help thinking that one of you needs to hear it. So, if it’s you, then know that the thing you keep asking God to remove may actually be beautiful in His sight and a part of His plan when you offer it to Him. Redemption doesn’t mean getting rid of who we are; it means transforming everything about us to be more like Jesus.

You really are wonderfully made…all of you.

First published at Holley Gerth. *Republished with permission.

Holley Gerth

Holley Gerth

Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author and Life Coach

Holley loves humans, words, and good coffee. She is a Wall Street Journal bestselling author, licensed counselor, and life coach. She imagines a world where we all become who we're created to be, use our strengths to serve, and grow for a lifetime. Holley cofounded the groundbreaking blogging community (in)courage and cohosts the popular podcast More Than Small Talk. Her newest release is What Your Soul Needs for Stressful Times: 60 Powerful Truths to Protect Your Peace. Find out more and connect with Holley at

100 Names of God

What Your Soul Needs for Stressful Times: 60 Powerful Truths to Protect Your Peace

Holley Gerth

Stress is inevitable, but letting it control your life is optional. This 60-day devotional offers spiritual truth to soothe your soul alongside practical tools to apply it that will truly make a difference. Each day, discover Scripture, a prayer, questions for reflection, and inspirational quotes to help you learn to live with more peace and less pressure, more calm and less chaos, more worship and less worry.

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