Posing, Hustling and Layering
I was never a star athlete. I enjoyed the various sports I was in, but never broke any records or anything like that (unlike Iris who held the girls pole vault record for her high school for years-dead serious). But, I was big and that helped on the football field and in the field end of track and field. Not that I was bad in either sport, just not a star.
I did try to fit in though. I cringe now at all the groups I tried to fit into. Probably one of the worst was a “cowboy” stage/group (no offense to all of you real cowboys)…ooooooohhhhhhhh, it was bad. My belt buckle, boots, hat, duster…my belief was if I couldn’t be the part, I could look it. This “looking the part” has always hung on me like a massive boulder, dragging it behind me from place to place, season of life to season of life. It was like one of those memes you see on social media of “This is what I think I look like while working out….this is what I actually look like,” with come goofy looking person next to a ripped body builder.
In college it moved to other things and even into later adult life. Trying to nail down who I really was instead of this masked person I was constantly trying to be, was something incredibly difficult to do. Thankfully, I had/have several people in my life who have helped to strip away the layers of things put on me to get to the core of who I am. That is a painful process, the stripping down. Perhaps another story for another day.
My desire to fit in, or perhaps to make myself out to be something/someone that I’m not, rears its ugly head from time to time. Convincing myself to project this persona that isn’t me, but I think it is, usually puts me in the need to hustle. Hustling is being in a constant movement to find worthiness in others eyes because I don’t feel worth for being who I am. Constantly trying to make myself look better. Constantly trying to make myself look important. Constantly trying to make it appear as though I am what I perceive everyone else thinks I am. Constantly, constantly, constantly……hustling. As Brene Brown put it “If we spend a lifetime trying to distance ourselves from the parts of our lives that don’t fit with who we think we’re supposed to be, we stand outside of our story and have to hustle for our worthiness by constantly performing, perfecting, pleasing, and proving.”
I do this, and I hate it. I doubt I will ever stop doing this. But I have grown to more easily recognize when I’m doing this. That alone has been incredibly freeing.
I was reading the other day and came across this prayer: God of true happiness, your kingdom gently subverts the illusions I live with. Who would have thought that knowing my misery would lead to joy or comfort, that admitting I don’t have it together might bring blessing? Still, I am drawn to illusions of self-sufficiency; I ask for your mercy to see my own spiritual poverty so as to know more of your rich deliverance. Amen. (A prayer on the Hedielberg Catechism 2)
I am so thankful God is gentle. My illusions can become quite extrvagant. And with those illusions comes the idea that I’m doing it all on my own, on my own strength, in my own power. Through His gentle reminders, I am always able to right myself again and see my strength is only human strength, not His supernatural strength.
Knowing my misery is simply coming to an understanding that when hustling, I’m exhausted, tired, unhappy, panicked and trying to outrun my fear and pain. Facing the pain, knowing my misery and “ripping the bandage off” so to speak, is worth it to have the freedom God gives us every single day. But that freedom cannot be seen or realized as long as I’m blinded by the hustle I feel I have to do. It is hidden by the layers I have allowed to be put on me or have put on myself.
Freedom comes when I, when we, stop trying to play the part and just be us- exactly like He made us, warts and all. No more posing, no more hustling, no more illusions. Just freedom unlike anything else.
Be blessed today.
Are you hustling? Are you trying to play a part that can never be you? Have you realized your hustle and found freedom? What was your experience in seeing it for the first time? Sharing our journey with each other shows us that we are not alone, that we are walking it-why not walk it together.