“If you take that job, aren’t you hustling for a paycheck?“
His words cut deeply. Tears welled, and I blinked to keep them from spilling. It’s one thing to talk about obedience; it’s another to walk in it.
The truth is that I’ve had to make the choice over and over. The opportunity seemed like a good option— working minimally from home— even though I had already asked myself when I would fit in the required hours. As I talked through the list of reasons why I should pursue this at-home writing job, my husband sat and listened with a smirking face.
“Is that what you really want to do? Write copy for this random company that you aren’t passionate about?” Without giving me the chance to answer, he plowed forward with the one-sided conversation:
“Babe, I’d rather have to work a little harder, then have you take a job that you aren’t passionate about, just for a lousy paycheck. I mean, isn’t that the whole #obedienceoverhustle thing that you’ve been talking about all year? Is this job an act of obedience, or hustle?”(Don’t you just hate it when your spouse spews the very truth that you’ve been speaking for months back in your face!)
I closed my gaping mouth and smiled. He was right. And I knew it. I exhaled and felt the weight lift in the same instant. What had I been thinking?!
Because I know that God had asked me to trust Him. It’s been a year now since that day back in Indianapolis when God asked me to trust Him. A year since I heard Him whisper, “obey”, and caught the vision for what He wanted to do… if I would just let go of trying to do things in my own strength and ability. A year since I opened my hands in surrender and said, “ok God, let’s do it your way.“
And the truth is that it hasn’t been easy. But it’s been sweet. The sweetest life that I’ve known thus far. And I feel that God is just getting started.
But I have to continue to obey. It’s not a one-time decision, but a choice that must be made repeatedly. I have to ignore the shouts of the world, in order to hear the whisper of God— exchanging His wisdom, for what the world tells me I “have to do”. There are so many others who have walked this way that I know I’m in good company:
The man who built an ark in a land that had never seen rain.
The king who sent worshippers to the front of the battle formation.
The leader who circled the city, instead of ramming the gates.
The fishermen who distributed a simple lunch, sure that it would never stretch far enough.
The carpenter who boldly walked into the tomb of a dead man and shouted, “come forth!”
Every story gives me chills and reminds me that God has always sought obedience. When He asks us to submit, it’s not because He needs our help to construct a plan, or even carry it out. What He does desire is an active and willing participant. He doesn’t need us, but He yearns for us to be a part of what He’s doing. When we faithfully put our hand to the tasks before us, even when they are mundane and completed in obscurity, I believe He smiles.
Instead of controlling and fixing situations, we can learn to say, “I’m sorry, Lord. I did it again. I thought I could do it on my own, and that was wrong. Please help me to stay here. Right here, next to you— knowing that your plans, your ways, your timing are far better.”
We can do this. We can choose to stop clawing our way forward, faithfully executing every directive that experts and well-intentioned leaders and friends tell us is necessary. We can choose to believe that God’s vision is so much greater than our own, and that He has a plan for whatever gifts and abilities that He has purposefully placed inside of us. We can choose to stop the hustle, and embrace obedience. I believe that is what He wants for us.