Struggle Strategizer: You
A few years ago, I woke up every morning wishing, I could hit snooze for just a few more minutes. I would wait until the very last, possible minute before jumping out of bed. I thought college heavily influenced this pattern, but I was wrong. In high school, I would pop out of bed, get ready as quickly as possible, and be on my way. I used my forty-five-minute bus ride to eat my breakfast, study, and brush on a few strokes of mascara. My mom used to call me “lotion face” because I would run down the steps as I was rubbing in my moisturizer!
In college, life got busier. My mornings were more rushed. That familiar feeling of running down the stairs to grab breakfast became a solidified routine. I would jump in the car and blame myself for not leaving for class five minutes sooner. “If I had just woken up five minutes earlier,” I thought. My legs would burn as I power walked to my eight am class. A few minutes later, I would smile and tell myself, “Arriving at 8:02 isn’t that bad.”
Life became a race. A race to try to keep up with a standard of productivity and hustle that I never wanted to keep. A measure that I believed was a golden rule for success only because that was how others were living.
Take a minute, and ask yourself what success looks like to you.
I thought I had to get up early, fill my schedule, and do all the things to be a well-rounded student and an aspiring young professional. Looking back, I realize that comparison only breeds doubt. Comparison leaves me jealous, not motivated. Comparison leaves me worn out, not inspired. Comparison leaves me feeling undervalued, not grateful for my accomplishments. Comparison tells me that I have to live a hectic, non-stop life to get somewhere, or be “someone.”
I used to hate those days. I used to hate eating breakfast in the car, leaving the house five minutes too late, running errands, and doing homework all weekend. I hated always staring at a never-ending to-do list. I used to hate the message that floods American society. The message that this type of lifestyle is not only standard but leads to success, as long as you’re going for the right goal or dream.
Ask yourself, is my life all about hustling? If so, what am I hustling for?
Here’s the thing, I don’t hate hustle. I hate hustle without rest. I hate hustle without peace. I hate hustle driven by comparison. I hate hustling to be present over perfect.
See, I used to hate the days described above, but then my life stopped without my permission. I couldn’t eat by myself, let alone drive with one hand while downing a protein shake. I couldn’t walk down the steps, let alone run down them in a rush. I couldn’t do the things I used to hate. That’s when I realized that if you’re hustling in the right way towards the right things, it’s possible to love your life. It’s possible to appreciate the good, the bad, and the ugly because it’s all a gift. Life is a gift, and healthy hustle is a gift. The ability to meet set and meet goals is a gift. Don’t forget that comparison will steal this gift when you least expect it, and it won’t ask for your permission before doing so.
After I experienced so much physical loss, I made a promise to myself. I promised myself that I would never complain about getting up early, running down the stairs to avoid being late, driving in traffic, or staying up late to study for a test because I know what it’s like to lack those abilities. Do I catch myself in the act of complaining? For sure. I’m far from perfect, but I catch myself, and I remind myself that there is purpose in the mundane and in the struggle.
I remind myself that I don’t have to hustle all day to succeed, but I do have to work hard and commit myself to the Lord. I also have to rest, and commit my plans to the Lord, because in the end, control is simply an illusion, and we don’t succeed alone.
None of us are promised complete mental, physical, or emotional healing on this earth. You may not relate to the physical loss I experienced, but you will struggle on this earth. However, you can choose to be grateful amid pain, and you can find joy during struggles.
I don’t claim to fully know what it’s like to be in your shoes, but Jesus claims to be walking in those very shoes with you.
God promises that beauty can come from ashes, even if we aren’t made entirely whole till eternity (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, Colossians 3:16, James 1:2-3, Deuteronomy 31:6, Isaiah 61:3, Romans 8:28). So friend, are you in? Will you re-evaluate what you dread, and what you’re aiming and hoping for? I hope you do because my life changed when I did. Whether you’re in or on the fence, let me know your thoughts below!
Never Give Up,