I have a love hate relationship with the word “hustle”. On the one hand it implies action, right? Hard work, grit, a “get ’er done” kind of attitude which is not a bad thing. It’s become the mantra of the creative entrepreneur, #momboss, and such. But on the other hand I spend a lot of time in coaching and The Daring Way work encouraging women to stop hustling for our value, identity or worthiness because we are already enough.
Several months ago I gave a talk at a women’s event at my home church about this very topic.
The message In Due Season was about letting God produce a harvest in our lives. While we are to be good stewards of our fields, ultimately He is the one that produces we fruit. We cannot “hustle” for salvation or righteousness.
I still have a sticky note in my shower that reminds me to choose abiding over hustling.
A daily reminder I thought I was living out.
But I realized that although that was months ago, it’s a message I’ve had to preach to myself lately.
Because the draw of the hustle can be sneaky.
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10
I lived much of my life trying to please “man”. I spent a lot of years looking at my “worldly accomplishments” for my value.
But trying to please man is exhausting, and several years ago I found myself in a pretty desperate place.
Overwhelmed, exhausted, in physical pain.
I believed there had to be more. I was failing big time and realized that on my own, I could never be “good enough”. I had to rely on HIM. I knew I only had so much to offer but I believed that HE is God and He could take my smallness and make something out of it. And so I prayed that God would help me to see myself the way He sees me. That prayer has led to a desire to live in alignment with the person God created me to be; the one He sees and try live as that ME more and more.
A life aligned is a life of obedience. A life that cannot bear fruit apart from God. A life of abiding.
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. John 15:8
It can start as a perfectly good goal or idea. Then the goals grow; multiply. All good things of course. And before I know it I’m spending all of my waking time and energy trying to make all the things happen.
And that is never really what I want to be about. I can convince myself that I’m just being a good steward, working hard but eventually the hustle for more events, programs, books, groups, opportunities, clients, etc., becomes way too dependent on my own abilities and less on God’s sovereignty.
Abiding has to do with having an intimate relationship with God. Letting Him lead and staying close; connected. Hustling has more to do with mySELF, my abilities but also my limitations.
Recently I began to lose steam in the hustle. I got tired, it all just seemed too hard.
My word of the year is BUILD and I’ve been trying to be intentional about what I should be building.
As I said I don’t think all hustling is bad. There’s a time and place for it. A strong work ethic, a certain level of grit and effort on our part to do a good job are fine things.
The word BUILD itself implies hard work, and some degree of hustle. I was prepared to work hard to build what I believed to be important, what I thought God wanted me to do.
But He has stirred a passion inside of my heart that what I was not expecting.
You guys! We got a puppy a few weeks ago and it is awesome and hard. But God is using him to teach me so many lessons about patience, love, forgiveness, joy, being present.
I don’t even know what is happening to me?
But I think it’s good.
As I’ve sat with my Aligned Parenting Workbook and Lara Casey’s Powersheets (my faves) to plan out my goals for the rest of the year I’ve realized my focus is on homeschooling, caring for my family, cooking good food, deepening my relationships, building traditions and a legacy of faith over work activities and platform.
So simple but also so complicated. Because I also need to work, I like to work, I believe in my work and I love helping people.
There is a tension but I’ve been finding more peace and integrity as I seek to abide in Christ and the things He would have me focus on rather on the things I think I “should” be doing to be more of.
Abiding these days looks more like daily obedience and faithfulness to the small, seemingly mundane activities. It looks like joy despite less than ideal circumstances. Hope in spite of too many tragedies our world is facing. Remaining steadfast in uncertainty.
I do love the parable of the talents and don’t want to squander my gifts or the blessings that I’ve been entrusted with.
And I’m still working; planning retreats for the fall and trying some new things.
But to be honest I’ve had several amazing opportunities comes up this year that have been completely God ordained. I had very little to do with them. Sure, maybe I made myself available to possibilities but honestly they have not been a result of any amount of “hustle” on my part.
Rather they are reminders that God is the one who produces the harvest. I need only be faithful and abide in Him.
He knows my heart, He knows my passion, and He knows me better than I know myself. And when I start to wander (as I can be so prone to distraction by shiny things) He knows just how to ever so gently get me back on track.
It is a process. I will do it imperfectly.
But once again I am choosing abiding, alignment, and obedience over hustle.
Friends, how do you deal with the lure of the “hustle”? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.