I was sitting on a long couch listening to the fireplace crackle and waiting for two dozen women to come together for our next worship session. At the cozy mountain lodge for our church’s Women’s Retreat, I flipped through Holy Hustle by Crystal Stine. I knew I would hear from God when the first chapter talked about Ruth. Ruth was the subject of our entire weekend at the retreat!
Coincidence? I think not.
I knew I was in for a long, drawn-out lesson by the Holy Spirit when I realized I was reading about resting well at a retreat in the mountains I went to specifically to refresh and recharge, while knowing I had my laptop in my room just waiting for “free time” so that I could continue on the editing job I had brought with me.
But I was helping out a fellow author and online friend, I reasoned. She hadn’t been looking for anyone to edit her new devotional. While on her launch team, I had noticed several grammatical errors and offered to edit it for her for a huge discount. She grabbed up my offer, but then I realized that her launch had already been set for the next week! I had to bring it with me to the retreat. It was my first paying gig as an editor, and our family needed that money. So I worked on it whenever I knew I had more than a few minutes at a time. While waiting for each session to start, I usually brought my book, Holy Hustle. Through the month of November for the online book club, I read the chapters of Holy Hustle while, get this, also taking part in a Proverbs31 online Bible Study of another book about resting, creating Sabbath margin, and while staying up to two in the morning most nights writing 50,000 words in 30 days for NaNoWriMo.
Yep, I was the perfect candidate for this spiritual test.
I’ve always swung on the pendulum from one extreme of striving to the other of laziness. It’s been an “all or nothing” attitude. Either I work my tail off or I give up.
The problem has always been my motives. “Hustle [the world’s view] tells us we should push ourselves ahead to get more. Holy hustle tells us to work hard in the name of Jesus to make His name great, not ours” (p.25). Motives do matter. The ends don’t justify the means, but neither do the right actions matter without the right motives. (Matthew 7:22, NLT: “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven…”)
Most of what she said about building an online empire convicted me as I’ve been trying to grow my online business this year. “What if we used the places and platforms God gifts us as places to elevate Him, His Word, and His good news? What if we got to work only after asking God to hide us completely, inviting Him to take center stage?… What if we took the ‘I’ out of platform?” (p.176).
The Holy Spirit helped me understand this principle by giving me a mental picture. Not only are the platforms, influences, and places He’s put us supposed to be platforms for God to shine, but I myself am one of the Lord’s platforms! My life and my words and my actions are all tools He uses to bring glory to Himself, to point others to the Light of the World! We, as believers, are supposed to shine good deeds for the world to praise. Not to praise us. Not to praise my blog. Not to praise me. But to praise our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).
Lila Diller is outnumbered by a houseful of males: wife to the only love of her life for 16 years, homeschool mom to two energetic boys, and caterer to a hyper dog named Copper. She loves purple, sushi, dark chocolate, and reading. As the author of the “Love is…” series and a blogger at Creating Romance, she loves to help readers create romance in their marriages and draw closer to Jesus. You can find her at liladiller.com.