Obedience Over Hustle
Obedience Over Hustle
One hundred years ago the word “hustle” was defined as, “to obtain by forceful action or persuasion.” It was a derogatory term used to label cheaters and swindlers (and criminals). Fast-forward to our culture today and this word has morphed into how we all use it: “busy movement and activity” or, more simply: “working hard”. This negative definition has become a craze: we applaud it in others and covet the title of hustler for ourselves.
In contrast, the word “obedience” is used much less frequently than it was in the 1800’s, perhaps because it’s meaning, “compliance with an order, request, or law or submission to another’s authority,” has remained the same. It doesn’t sound positive; it feels constricting, challenging and not much fun, hence it’s use being on the decline.
In between these two definitions is where I feel tension.
You see, the world tells me that in order to get ahead, to be successful, to feel fulfilled, I need to be hustlin’.
But when I open the bible and read the words of Jesus, I am overwhelmed by an entirely different message:
“Get smaller. Give everything away. Be last. Make a big deal out of others. Do less. Stay still. Seek His kingdom, not your own.”
Within a matter of chapters, I am bombarded by the reality that I live in an upside-down kingdom. We are assaulted every day with messages to have giant dreams, set goals, work hard, build our brand and whatever sacrifices we need to make along the way are worth it.
But, friend, the truth is, they are often not.
And there I was, a number of months ago, staring at the following words which were almost jumping off the page and being chiseled into my heart: “God is awesome. He doesn’t need you to be. He needs you to be obedient.” (Thank you, Matt Chandler).
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for setting goals and slaying them. I love encouraging women who are building and creating with the talent that God has given them, and then celebrating when He dwarfs their grandest dreams with His even greater plans.
But what concerns me is that many people are chasing a dream, when God has called them to sit still. They are starting projects and pursuing plans that may be the right thing, but the timing is all wrong time. And perhaps what God is asking them to do is lay down the dream because while He does have a purpose for it in the future— a greater and resurrected plan— there first needs to be an act of faith. A surrender. And then there are others, who should be hustling in a different direction, or after a different purpose, altogether.
And so, while I’m all about the hustle, I’m even more about the obedience. To do what God has asked of us, in every season we are in:
As spouses and parents.
In our local churches.
With our neighbors, coworkers and friends.
Regarding our online platforms.
In regard to our personal growth and health.
As employees and business owners.
Obedience. Total obedience. Every time. Every day.
And, friend, this message is full of grace, because I don’t have this down completely. I am definitely guilty of giving in to the hustle craze, of losing sight of my purpose and focusing on what everyone else was doing instead. I’m all for working hard, and believe we should be the diligent worker who continues to sharpen our skills, set goals and then raising the bar when we reach them. This isn’t an anthem for the slacker. To be sure: I’m all for hustle, just not at the cost of obedience.
And I think there are others who feel the same way. And I want to stand next to them.
I want to encourage the unpopular decisions: closing a profitable business because to be more involved in your community, or saying no to something your kids love in order to create more sacred family space. I want to cheer you on in your choice to downsize your expenses in order to give away obscene amounts of money, or hold off on your own dreams in order to support those of your spouse for a season. Not because these things make sense through the lens of the “me-centered” world we live in, but because we are listening to, and obeying the voice of the Lord. Maybe that looks like focusing on a newborn instead of a blog, or stepping down from a church ministry in order to have more time to get to know your neighbors. Or perhaps it’s writing the post or book that you know will ruffle the feathers of family, friends, and leaders, but you can’t get away from the feeling that God is asking YOU to speak up.
Obedience, it’s not new or popular. It’s typically not easy or fun. And chances are it may mean fewer profits or a smaller platform. But obedience to God warrants the greatest rewards, and it’s where I’m choosing to set up camp.
Will you join me?
I would love to share your story on Instagram as a way of inspiring, and challenging others to choose #obedeinceoverhustle
I want to feature your voice, your words, and use your small (or big) act of obedience to encourage others.
If you’re interested and/or would like to share what #obedienceoverhustle means to you, you can drop a comment below, or use the Contact form to get more information.
I am grateful that you are here!