How to Undo the Hustle and See What’s Holy

It was a hot Saturday in 2017, and I was at the city dump surveying a massive pile of lumber that my friend was about to climb. Cindy knew better than to leave me home alone with my despair. I had just been let go from a job that was my everything.  

“My life is like this abandoned pile of junk,” I thought, as the smell of the city garbage filled my nose. As I stood there in the heat, I kept replaying the moment I was asked to hand over my badge as a high-profile journalist. And it was here, in a junkpile, quite undone, that God would use my ‘unbecoming’ to reveal His holiness.

Treasures Are Often in the Middle of the Mess

Twenty years my senior and straight-laced, my friend knew the moment I strolled into her Bible study that I needed someone to lead me in all the ways of being a holy, grace-filled woman instead of a heathen.  

And I happened to be the only one of her friends who had a truck which greatly benefited her hobby of turning reclaimed wood into masterpieces. So, she invited me to spend the day with her at the dump while she rummaged through beams, barn wood, and pallets.

To her, tattered discards are a treasure trove of possibilities. Trained as a Nurse Practitioner and Licensed Mental Health Practitioner, she sees what other people miss in the middle of the mess. 

I’m not entirely sure how her therapy skills come into play when it comes to wood, but they do. Like her therapy sessions, she uncovers the beauty in every messy soul she encounters. When she’s not busy revealing loveliness in humans, she sands and paints masterpiece creations.

God Knows How to Refine Your Mess

As I watched Cindy climb, I pleaded with God. Why did you let this happen? I thought we had a plan. I don’t understand. That job was my everything, it was my purpose.  

For the past five years, I had risen through the ranks of the news industry as a journalist, columnist, and magazine director. I was deep in the trenches of deadlines with our third HT Living magazine in all of its glory when I was escorted from the building. 

Dazed, I couldn’t comprehend what was happening. I had just won third place in the nation for one of my columns and took first in the state of Nebraska.  

Cindy’s voice pulls me back to the present. Her trained eye spots an old pallet ready to be reclaimed. Jagged and full of splinters, she pulls on her gloves to pull rusty nails from its flesh.  

“Now this is worth the trip!” She rejoices as she heaves out a nail to release it from its former life. Then it hits me as I stand there under my bedazzled hat. I sense him whisper. This is the process, daughter. To be plucked from the mess, refined in My Word, and sanded into the future I have for you. You haven’t lost your way; you haven’t lost your gift—you’re being refined.

God Can Mend What Becomes Undone

I watch her free pieces of wood, one by one. Pieces tossed aside. Used up and deemed unworthy of life by someone else. 

We like to think we’ve already arrived, but reality tells us differently. Pride pushes up splinters when He offers to sand it down. Insecurity splits us to pieces when God says, “I can mend it.” 

As I watched Cindy pry nails and boards apart to be shaped into something new, I wondered how many of us are willing to be laid bare on His table. 

Are You Willing to ‘Unbecome?’

We live in a world where hustling is holy. We live in a world where striving is the stipulation and rest is sinful. Self-help gurus offer three-step plans to do more, be more, and accomplish more. We take on more and more until there is nothing left for Christ. 

Our hearts are full of trying, doing, being. 

Then we drag ourselves to bed, exhausted only to be woken at 3 a.m. with a deep sense of longing—there’s that crazy idea, that dream. Deep calls to deep and God whispers “I made you for something more.” 

But his more and our more are two vastly different things. 

He’s calling us to unbecome…to become what he intended in the first place. His calling taps into the visceral parts of who we are. 

Four years after being laid bare on God’s table in that city dump, He is still slowly unpeeling layer after layer in this refining process. I am unlearning, undoing, and unraveling the things the world has expected of me. 

So, here’s my thought for you: What if instead of doing, trying, and hustling there was something entirely different? What if you chose to unbecome? What if you chose to unlearn, to undo the world’s messages, to untangle the real you from the muted, smoke-covered version of yourself to find the truest version of you?

Trade Hustle for Holy

Turn away from the “self-help” gods we make promises to; look to the Scriptures instead.

It is radically freeing because when we become who we were meant to be in the first place without all the heavy. Unbecome, undo, unearth, untangle, unravel. Right now is your chance to trade the hustle for holy. Imagine who you could be if you could unbecome by trading:

– Striving for surrender.

– Hype for hope. 

– Running for rest.

– Busy for being.

– Scarcity for abundance.

– Anxiety for joy.

There is a better way to be a ‘be a better you.’ It doesn’t begin with a bunch of worldly, shallow, already-set-up-to-be-broken self-made promises. The better you is already found in God’s Word. But it’s been buried in the lies that hustle-is-better-than-holy life. 

We don’t need to become someone else. We need to unbecome and discover who we are in his hands. It’s an invitation to undo all the messages of the world to bring in the new. 

Are You Too Busy Living Your Best Life?

Recently, I heard author Gary Morland say, “Become who you’re supposed to be so you can say what you’re supposed to say. Don’t rush it. It’s ok to be busy living your story and to take notes, process it, and share later. Every season has something hard to it. Live, learn, and listen.

Sometimes we get so busy living our best lives—or what we think the best version of what it’s supposed to be—that we’ve traded the holy moments for the hustle. If you’re blessed like me, God will intervene and remove you from the situation. If you’re even more blessed, he’s whispering over the noise of this world to trade the be-all-do-all for rest. 

Because when we find the pattern of holy, rest, and the chance to reconnect with God, he peels back the layers, the titles, the jobs, and all the striving to the organic connection with him. Don’t miss your best life: your John 10:10 holy, abundant life.

Trade Busy for Being

It wasn’t until we moved to our tiny little town in Nebraska that I finally understood at the age of 38 what being meant. It was in this new space that I realized it wasn’t about my work, my accolades, or my career. These things were wonderful, and there was so much joy in being a part of the news.

But these things had replaced God. These things were sitting on the throne of my heart.

I loved the hustle more than I loved God. And he wasn’t going to have it. God will stop at nothing to remove the obstacle between you and him. 

The Bible verse Psalm 46:10 that’s so popular and quoted so often has a deep, rich context so many of us miss. “Be still and know that I am God.” It’s about being in awe of who God truly is. The being-still part isn’t about stopping everything. It’s not about Sunday naps. This passage was written in the context of war and trouble. It was written as a wake-up call. It was written to say “Snap out it. Wake up. Get to know the Lord your God because time is short, it’s precious and I have all that you need before you face your day.”  

Be still and know—be still and know the Lord has so much to say to you. Be still and know he has the answers, he has the comfort you seek, the strength you need, and the joy you crave.

Trade your busy for being. Being in awe of your God!

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