I was crushed. Angry. Defeated. I had done everything I was supposed to do. I had gotten the right internships, made the grades, put in blood, sweat, and tears.
This shouldn't be happening to me. I did everything right.
The year was 2020 and Zoom was no longer just the platform where I connected with friends, it was the app I hopped on one day to find out I had lost my dream job due to the financial strain of the pandemic. My world was instantly thrown off its axis.
Glorifying the Grind
We live in a culture that glorifies the grind. Look at everything from music to movies, podcasts to social media. As women we are constantly presented with this image of perfection that can be attained if we are only willing to hustle for it. We are told that there is nothing that can’t be ours if we have the right mix of determination and hard work with a dash of self-care thrown in. Because, as we all know, you can’t take on the world without treating yourself to an iced coffee and now and then.
If you’re willing to work for it, the promised land of perfect job, handsome hubby, size 2 jeans and blossoming social life will open up before you. You can do it, you are in control, and you are a self-sufficient #girlboss. I’m ashamed now at how bought in I was to the whole idea. I took pride in my ability to do it all. Until life brought me to my knees.
Big events in our lives force us to stop and take a beat. Whether it’s job loss, illness, a death in the family, the end of a relationship we never saw coming, suddenly we remember we are not in control. Our illusions of self-sufficiency are shattered, often painfully so. Our hustle becomes worthless, the grind screeches to a halt, and we are left feeling lost.
Two Choices When Things Grind to a Halt
We can choose between two paths in this moment:
- one of anger that takes us further down the road of self-determination, or
- one that beckons us to a deep intimacy with the Lord.
Choosing to let go of hustling, grinding, and self-sufficiency is a lifelong process. It doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a counter-cultural move, one that takes intentional work on our part.
Self-sufficiency // Dependence
When I lost my job, I lost a lot of my independence with it. I moved back in with my (sainted) parents and looked to them for guidance. They never shied away from my pain, my needs, or my big emotions. They were a soft place to land in a world of upheaval. And as much as I resisted depending on them again, I needed them.
The answer to our desire for self-sufficiency comes in the form dependency. Dependency on another person can only come from a deep level of trust. I trust my parents implicitly because of my experience with them. I know them and I know they love me beyond a shadow of a doubt. I have years of knowledge and personal experience I can draw from that leads me to that undeniable conclusion.
In turning away from self-sufficiency, we are invited to become dependent on God the Father. Our Father. But it is absolutely impossible to be dependent on someone we don’t know. So we have to get to know Him. Learn who He is, see what He’s done. Get to know who He wants to be to you. You’ll find all of that in the pages of your Bible. He longs to not only reveal Himself to you but to be everything for you, including your Provider. Take time in Scripture to let Him into your life and heart.
Grinding // Wasting Time
The antithesis of striving and grinding is wasting time. As women, we are maximizers, multitaskers, and borderline professional time managers. Give me half an hour of time to myself and I will have listened to a new podcast, folded my laundry, made happy hour plans, and snuck in a quick call to my grandma. In a world that constantly encourages us to rush, do more, consume, and achieve, wasting time can often feel physically uncomfortable.
Be intentional with how you waste your time. Wasting time with the Lord is life giving, wasting time scrolling Instagram is life draining.
Spend time in an Adoration chapel.
Wake up and catch the sunrise with the Father.
Dive into some spiritual reading.
Have conversations with faithful friends.
Take a conscious step to get off the hamster wheel and spend time with the Lord and people who point you towards Him, with no agenda other than just to be.
Hustling // Abiding in Gratitude
The very definition of hustle reads as follows: to obtain by forceful action or persuasion.
If we accept this mantra as the way we receive things in life, it can lead to an incredibly warped view of both ourselves and the Lord.
Either the blessings we have in life are the result of our forceful actions and successful attempts to persuade God, or the gifts of a doting Father who loves us and longs to give us every good thing. It can’t be both. Lucky for us, we don’t have to wonder which lens is correct:
If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him. // Matthew 7:11
When we shift from hustling to recognizing the Lord as the Giver of all good gifts, we develop a new sense of gratitude and understanding of His limitless generosity. Cultivate it by beginning prayer in thanksgiving, taking time to jot down moments you were grateful for, or just stopping to say thanks when something wonderful happens.
This means giving thanks not just for the big stuff (health, family, etc.) but the small moments as well. Catching a cool breeze as summer slips away, the text of encouragement that came at just the right moment, hearing your favorite throwback on the radio. As we recognize and acknowledge the Lord, we move away from self-determination and towards the Lover of our souls.
A Soft Place to Land
Take a deep breath, relax and lean into Him today, sister. He is our soft place to land. You don’t have it all together and you can’t do all the things. But the great news is, you were never expected to.
Shelby Hennen is a young professional who hails from the Midwestern metropolis of Kansas City MO. She loves a good book, a good chat with a friend and a good taco joint.