The Hustle

Hustle. A lot of us were probably made highly aware of the word because of a coach in junior high or high school. If not, we were certainly introduced to it by our mothers when they were trying to get us out the door for school, or a hair cut, or anything with a start time, really. Lately, the idea of hustling has gone past coaches leading conditioning drills or moms trying to be on time, and has made its way into our day-to-day culture. In a world that values production, hustling is in high demand and is being plastered everywhere from t-shirts to coffee mugs, in an effort to remind us to keep going. Don’t get me wrong; my type-A little heart loves the idea of hustling – getting stuff done, being efficient and going full throttle. But, I am learning that hustling has a cost.

“Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.” Psalm 144:4

When we live every day with the “hustle” mentality, life can quickly become all about our “to-do” list and how many things we can get done before dinner. We can become enslaved to the desire to hustle and produce and build for the sake of crossing something off a list or, even more dangerous, to feel accomplished or worthy. When we get into a rhythm of constant hustling, tunnel vision sets in and we begin to see only “what we need to get done” and miss seeing needs of those around us. We can fall into seeing people as a means to a goal rather than actual people. We can start to measure our worth by our accomplishments, either at work or at home, and feel crippling shame when we don’t accomplish what we thought we should.

When I get into this rhythm, I find myself looking to the future without being fully present in what God has gifted me that day. I miss the small things that, so often, are meant to remind us of His creativity, His grandness and His sovereign hand. Most importantly, though, I find myself wanting to transfer the idea of hustling to my walk with Jesus. I catch myself rushing through scripture, just to say I have done it, without desiring to get the marrow out of the text. I find myself thinking a one-thought prayer as I brush my teeth and count that as time with the Lord. I begin to fall into wanting to do x, y and z to make sure God sees the stuff I have done to make sure He is be happy with me (even though that is not the gospel at all – just terribly bad theology).

The Lord calls us to couple “working diligently” with rest (Colossians 3:23, Genesis 2:2-3, Exodus 20:8-11). Not only does breaking the constant cycle of hustling allow our eyes to be open to life outside ourselves, but it also tends to reset our perspective. Taking time to step back from the never ending “to-do” list helps to clear our jumbled minds and allows for time to consider the true importance of things we are chasing. Finding time in the day to be fully present in the here-and-now, realigns our hearts with the One who created them. We are free to work with excellence but we are also free to rest well. We, as Christians, are found worthy through the person and work of Jesus, not by what we accomplish or how much stuff we can get done each day (Galatians 4:4-7, Romans 3:21-26, 2 Corinthians 5:21). Rest is the new hustle.