If you’re finding the hustle to be exhausting and draining, it doesn’t have to be that way. Keep reading to see why I’m ending this toxic relationship with the hustle. For good.
Another Sleepless Night
It was another one of those nights when I was tossing and turning and just couldn’t sleep. You know the kind – your brain is completely wired, there’s no ‘off’ switch …ideas are spinning and none of your go-to, fall-asleep strategies are working. I looked at my phone and saw that it was 2:30, and I knew it was going to be a long night. I just had to let the spinning run its course before I would finally fall asleep. That happened some time around 4:30 – lots of fun when your twin toddlers are waking up an hour later, right?
So what was keeping me awake? Well, my to-do list the next day, blog posts ideas in my head, freelance articles and guest posts to write, courses I needed to start, Facebook threads I needed to finish. social media posts to create and share – oh, and then there’s Pinterest, the blogger’s greatest mystery (and time-suck). It was all the things I needed to do to make this SAHM, work-from-home endeavor a success.
In a nutshell – overwhelm with the hustle.
Why the Hustle is So Alluring
As a SAHM who’s trying to reinvent herself after a 15-year teaching career on top of trying to piece together a supplemental income to justify my staying home, I’ve often tried to dissect why I feel like I’m drowning under all this. I don’t have a legit boss, I don’t have deadlines, my husband doesn’t pressure me, the money helps but it’s not really enough that we depend on it each month… where was all this coming from?
I’ve gone back and forth over this – it’s the pressure to hustle. When you’re in any kind of self-run or work-from-home business, there’s this driving pressure that never sleeps (and keeps you up at night, too). You don’t get to clock out at 5pm and forget about your work until the next morning. It’s always present.
And you’re bombard with these messages everywhere you look – in your inbox, in your Instagram and Twitter feeds, on your Facebook pages: if you’re gonna succeed, if you’re gonna make it, if you’re gonna be one of the ones who doesn’t quit, then you’re gonna have to hustle. The hustle always promises if you do more – and only if you do more – then your greatest plans and dreams will succeed.
By no stretch am I opposed to hard work – actually, it’s the opposite – I probably rely too much on hard work. But that’s where the tension is. We’re told work, work, work – hustle, hustle, hustle – and I do believe success comes from hard work. But at the same time, it feels like there’s constantly someone riding on your back and cracking the whip. Even when you’re trying to sleep at 2:30 in the morning. Even when it’s yourself. There’s always something else you could be – and should be- doing if you want to succeed.
And who doesn’t want to succeed?
The Driving Pressure of the Hustle
I understand this push for lots of SAHMs. We’re trying to find ways to stay home with our kids and not work outside the home. We want to (or need to) contribute to the finances in our house. Maybe we just need that creative outlet that’s all our own and not attached to our littles who are attached to our legs.
But when the hustle is killing you, it’s time to take a step back. We take it so for granted that feeling like this is just normal when you’re trying to succeed in something, when you’re juggling a family and motherhood and kids and work.
But is it?
I’ve been wrestling about and with this hustle for a while now…feeling exhausted, feeling like my work is life-sucking instead of life-giving. Now, I don’t think every part of work is supposed to feel like a party – it’s work, right? – but I couldn’t shake the feeling that there is something fundamentally wrong with this exhaustion and overwhelm.
It’s something I’ve been praying about, because I know something has to give – or it’s going to be me that gives out. It’s just a matter of time.
The Antidote to the Hustle
I felt like God tapped me on the shoulder this morning in church and cracked this whole thing wide open for me.
My pastor was preaching on Matthew 6:25-34. As part of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus was telling the crowds not to worry about what they would drink, what they would eat, what they would wear. They had a Father who loved them, who would take care of them, who watches over birds and dresses fields with lilies – He’s completely capable (and desirous) of taking care of them, too.
Jesus told them not to be like the unbelievers who are chasing after these things – but seek God and His kingdom first, and all the rest will be taken care of for them.
And somehow, that clicked for me. The hustle. The fretting. The crazy pace. The frenzied worrying. I was like the pagans who were running themselves in circles, trying to fend for themselves. To create security. To create success. Like it’s up to them to provide those things for themselves. Like it’s up to me to provide those things for my family.
My pastor said another thing that echoed in my head: [click_to_tweet tweet=”Worry creates chaos.” quote=”Worry creates chaos.”]
Yes. That was exactly it. My worry, my fear that God wouldn’t provide,, my fear that it was up to me alone to make this succeed, had caused me to jump with 2 feet into a relationship with the hustle. And it was making my life chaos.
This pressure – to do it all, to follow the latest strategies for blog traffic, to take this Pinterest course – and you better learn about that SEO hack, and be sure you get your pageviews up so you can apply to MediaVine – I was being bombarded by the hustle. And while I have no issue with hustling itself if done right and in balance, my issue was where was my drive to hustle coming from.
It was stemming from a lack of trust that God was going to take care of me and my family while I was a SAHM. That it was all on my shoulders to succeed or fail.
And that’s the wrong reason to hustle.
We Actually Don’t Have to Hustle
Here’s a newsflash: we actually don’t have to hustle. God is not asking us to hustle. He is asking us to trust Him. He is asking us to put Him first and let Him provide. He is actually asking us to stop hustling and just let Him show us what we’re supposed to do.
And here’s the truth: God really will take care of us. God really will lead us. If we let Him.
While that’s amazing news, it comes with a catch. It means that I have to let go of the hustle. To break up with the hustle. To let Him lead me in different ways than the hustle says are the best practices. And as much as I sometimes hate the hustle and am exhausted by the hustle, I admit I’m still enamored with the hustle and still think it’s the only way I can get to where I want to go.
And that’s the other catch – it’s not about where I want to go…it’s about where HE wants me to go – that’s the ‘seeking His Kingdom first’ part. To let go of the hustle, you gotta be on board with His plans. And that’s what’s so alluring about the hustle – it’s usually about the success of our plans. And that’s exactly why it’s so hard to break up with the hustle, even though we know that toxic relationship is killing us.
Along with the hustle, we have to break up with our plans, too.
You Really Can Break Up with the Hustle
Whatever your reason for hustling, whatever your hustle is – it’s different for all of us – if you want to break up, if you want off this crazy train, it’s really just as easy as stepping off. The hustle will try to pull you back into that dysfunctional relationship; the hustle can be sneaky and passive-aggressive, showing you all the ways you’re missing out and losing out by breaking up with him. But don’t you believe it.
You can’t let both the hustle and God be in charge, be your provider. The hustle only promises; God actually delivers.
Now, God may tell you to hustle sometimes, but it’s totally different when HE’S telling you to do it, because then there’s a whole lotta grace to it. It’s not done in A. your own strength, and B. out of fear or some other unhealthy, driving motive. And He knows the best way to get you from A to B, that sometimes has zero to do with ‘best practices.’
So on the surface, it may look like I’m still dating the hustle, I may do some of the same things, but it will only be because it’s part of seeking God first and doing what HE says. It will be coming from a whole different place – and without the hustle riding my back and cracking the whip. How freeing is that, right?!?
Like every dysfunctional relationship, it takes courage to break up (don’t ask me how I know this 😉 ), but I have a feeling it will be the best decision you (and I) will ever make.
Be brave, girl. Walk away. You’ve got this.
You just might be pleasantly surprised where you end up.
If you know someone who would relate, please share!
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