Capturing the Hustle

photo credit: 'Daily Grind', United States, New York, New York City, 5th Avenue via photopin (license)
photo credit: ‘Daily Grind’, United States, New York, New York City, 5th Avenue via photopin (license)

Hustle is a term I have actively avoided. Dissonance like nails on the chalkboard, contorting the strive-free life I’ve tried to attain. The picture in my head of stressed out, amped up, exhausted me. This is the me I used to be, the me I thought I should be, the me that needed to prove and scrap and earn.

There are a couple definitions for the word, according to The first: to proceed or work rapidly or energetically. The second: to push or force one’s way; jostle or shove. The idea of working intently with purpose, vigor and energy is appealing, not much can compare. Recounting King Solomon in Ecclesiastes: A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This, too, I see from the hand of God.” (Ecc 2:24)

This idea of hustle is not wrong, I get it – to put oneself out there, making important things happen, dreaming big with boots on the ground, storming the castle gates of reticence and reluctance.

The second definition of hustle makes my skin crawl, the very reason I do not typically prefer the word. I am not interested in pursuing a career, hobby, life that requires forcing, jostling or shoving. We’ve all been hustled, we’ve all been on the receiving end of a scam or a slimy business deal. The feeling stays, because of the palpable offensiveness of the transaction. Being used by somebody stinks.

Over recent years I have climbed the tough, arduous road to eradicate the striving, to ease into my designed, created being, to graciously become. Silencing the voices that chant of my inability and shortage of worth has been my life’s work, checking, re-checking competitive tendencies born from scarcity and jealousy. The measuring stick, my filter, the lens through which I determined worth, where I fit on the spectrum – suppressed. These grace-defeating mechanisms I have ruthlessly, not always successfully, named and challenged and confessed. While vestiges of the old still cling, I choose to operate out of abundance and generosity, rather than fear and control.

So, as I long to live better into my call by adding writer to my list of hats, I hope to dig deeper into the craft, while maintaining integrity and vigilance.

A calling does not select for us the assumed, effortless journey. Nope. A calling demands us to proceed in faith, which we can know with certitude, is not certitude. Faith reveals the immediate next step, then the next and the next. We are not privy to the path until we’ve gone long and far enough to stop in our tracks, securing the hard-earned right of hindsight. The path will always materialize, it is up to us to seek, to find, to walk.

I choose first-definition hustle. I choose to put myself out there enfolding the vulnerable and uncertain situations. Living in the tension somehow produces results. My fear of hustle, may be a paltry excuse to dwell in the comfortable, the predictable. If I want to make any headway, beyond where my natural ability will deliver, I must choose this exposed, nebulous, uncomfortable risk.

Choosing to operate from a place of surrendered hustle (shustle?) is my aspiration. The writing, the cringeworthy of self promotion must arise from a place of quiet stillness, abiding.  Recognizing the pitfalls, the temptations, I know the red flags will fly and I will look the other way. I might choose wrong, I might prioritize poor, I might fail. Furthermore, I might also choose and prioritize well and I will succeed, somehow. Both/and always. One never mutually exclusive of the other.

The challenge, attached to any call, is worthy and good. Our work can flow from this place of surrender and trust.

I have honored the stay-at-home mom role. All of us have benefitted tremendously. My presence still mandatory and critical, yet I have leeway and space to hone and promote this creative endeavor.

So, with assurance, a smidgen of trepidation and loads of excitement I will usher you to your front seat as I shustle on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google + (what? I didn’t even know that was a thing until last week). My new work, entering the fray, will involve playful, thoughtful, farm animals, and grace.

Thank you for your abundant kindness and encouragement. I look forward to hearing from you regarding your own paths.

Let’s do this.