The Hustle is Hurting


There’s a trend in our culture right now, a word that is worshipped, a way of life that is embraced—hustle. We use it to describe those who are hard-working, who have created a name for themselves or developed a business and a brand out of nothing. If you don’t hustle, you may be confused as lazy and unambitious. While the word is modern, the concept is not. Hustle is synonymous to striving, which, in and of itself is not a bad thing. Having ambition, setting goals, and upholding a strong work ethic are all good characteristics. However, when the hustle is set on a pedestal, the need to strive overpowers and will ultimately destroy us. We were not created to work constantly. Let’s explore the ways our hustle may be hurting us.

In his book, Things Hidden, Richard Rohr encourages us to “stop trying. Stop forcing reality. Learn the mystery of surrender and trust, and then it will be done unto you, through you, with you, in you, and very often, in spite of you.”

Surrender and trust are two facets that striving does not consider. Striving encourages you to take control, it puts you in charge of blazing your own trail and crafting your own destination. In the face of striving, surrender is a weakness. Surrender implies you are not in control and must relinquish the outcome to someone or something else. There is no need to practice trust when you are striving. Yet surrender and trust make us more whole. We can have a deeper relationship with other people when we learn how to trust. We can have a deeper relationship with God when learn to surrender to him.

Psalm 46:10 proclaims, “Cease striving and know that I am God.” In Hebrew, “cease striving” means to “sink down, let drop, relax.” This is not a command to laziness. To stop striving does not mean you give up on your dreams, you refuse to set goals, or you quit working hard. It means you take a deep breath and relax. It means you close your laptop and turn off your phone. When you stop striving, you leave the office at the end of the day and get a good night’s sleep. You surrender to the fact that you cannot control every outcome and you trust that the work, the responsibility, or the opportunity will be there tomorrow.

When you stop striving and surrender yourself to God, you can experience unclouded mindfulness. You can think creatively and pursue intimacy in your relationships. In fact, when you force yourself to continue striving even in the midst of physical and mental exhaustion, you are limiting your ability to accomplish the tasks at hand. When you cease striving, you will gain the mental capacity and spiritual rest that will actually empower you to be more effective.

Don’t fall into the pattern of our society that praises the hustle and encourages striving. Instead, embrace a way of life that makes room for rest so that you can be a more complete version of yourself—effective and whole. Cease striving. Practice surrender and learn to trust.

If you’d like support and encouragement as you embrace this way of life, join our community at Seton Cove Spirituality Center. On Tuesdays, we even have a luncheon dedicated to helping you restore balance in your life. We’d love to see you there. If you have questions about how to get involved, call us at 512-451-0272.