Have you seen those t-shirts? The ones that say Hustle in sparkly gold letters? I’ve seen them everywhere from Amazon to mall kiosks, always smugly bearing the same word. I’ve bought into the trend unknowingly, ever since I can remember. Hustle is for successes. Hustle will bring me achievement and happiness and value. As I keep digging holes for myself and running into brick walls, I’m slowly learning that those t-shirts are really just sad straightjackets. You see, the world brands us with a glittery Hustle, but God is whispering a calming grace.
Lately, grace keeps getting spoken into my heart. Probably because I keep refusing to learn it. “No thanks, God,” I say. “Thanks for the help, but this time I’ve got it all on my own. Maybe later?”
Feelings of anxiety, performance pressure, and seemingly random bouts of discontent colored life right before break. A life change had to happen, and step one was seriously cutting back on social media. That left room for my first love, long forgotten: books. Anything, everything, all the time. Over break, two very different books, by two very different authors, both hit a note that echoed to every inch within me a single idea, given by God.
“What?” was my first response. (I’m always patient and faithful, didn’t you know?)
Make space, this time more insistently.
Making space isn’t some weekend project for me. It’s not a request like, “can you run by the bank?” Or, “would you mind doing these dishes?” It’s a deep-down, scary call for a heart change. I like to pad my life intermittently with too much stuff, food, activities, and responsibilities. Refusing to leave space means also refusing to deal with emotions, or anything inconvenient, simply because there’s not enough time. Sweet deal, right? Maybe. But refusing to leave space also rejects the grace of God. Instead of navigating a life propelled by his love, it makes a frantic life spurred on my fear of failure and shame of letting anything slip. A life without space puts me in the driver’s seat, but without any directions.
That insistent “make space” came from God. It may not sound like much, but the call to make space is a serious upside-down, scramble-around lifestyle change. Making space requires setting aside my idols of productivity, responsibility, and intellect. Making space doesn’t come with a plan. Making space requires me to allow my feelings to be felt, with more listening and less talking. Making space means less social media, less busyness, less fake relaxation, less of my own frantic measuring to see how well I’m making space. Making space also means more God, more genuine listening to Caleb, more Saturday morning coffee chats, more spontaneous ice cream runs, more reflection, more runs for the scenery than for the miles, and more of the me I’m not as comfortable with. Making space requires I step down from that driver’s seat, even when I get scared and want to take control again. Making space means choosing to say no to Hustle, no matter how sparkly it looks.
I know so much of the strong, reliable, brave Olivia. I’m so excited to embark on the journey to find the rest of her- the gentle, patient, loving one.
I’d bet you money I’ll mess up, get discouraged, and try to regain control, but here’s to a season all about Navigating Grace. It’s for navigating with trust the grace presented to us in Ephesians 3:19: “and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
Put on some slippers, fill up your mug, and start to care for your anxious heart. I hope you’ll make some space with me for the journey ahead.