You guys! I had so much fun hanging out with you during last week’s live Facebook chat. Thank you so much for joining me there, and for the comments you shared here and on social media. I’m glad you’re all enjoying this book as much as I did!
There won’t be a live chat this week, so let’s make sure we get some good chatting time in here or over on Instagram because I really do want to hear what you’re loving, what’s challenging you, and what …maybe…you just aren’t connecting with. I’ll share my own answer to that last one today.
Can I admit something to you? I realized this week that my people-pleasing tendencies go even further than I thought…even to books. Sure, there are books I’ve read that I didn’t finish, or didn’t even like, but those live over on my Goodreads page. But any time I’ve ever done a book club I’ve felt like it was necessary to agree with the author and love every chapter. Guess what? It’s super rare when that actually happens, because I have opinions! And you have opinions! And sometimes our life experiences and feelings and beliefs just don’t really line up exactly with what we’re reading.
And that’s all wonderful. In fact, it makes for a much more interesting book club when we can really talk about more than just what we agreed with, but have a conversation about some of the things that challenged us and made us think. Seems like a good place to start our chat today, right?
The lie: I’m Better Than You
The takeaways: I have a chapter in “Holy Hustle” called Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better. It addresses the lie I believed for far too long that life is simply a series of mini moments of competition, and in order to get to the next step in my career or my education or my dream, I needed to outdo someone else. I had that elementary school phrase running through my head at all times, looking for ways to one-up someone, be just a little bit better or smarter or impressive. Not exactly the greatest way to create community – which I learned much later, was far better than competition. No spoilers on the specific Scripture God used to show me His version of healthy, honoring competition 😉 But I did have to learn when to separate myself from unhealthy friendships that made that competitive side flare up – especially when their “perfect to the world” facade collapsed in the face of “gossip concealed as prayer requests.” Community is hard, you guys.
The discussion question: When you take a look at the people you surround yourself with, are the spurring you toward community, or competition?
The lie: Loving Him is Enough for Me
The takeaways: I tried, you guys. I wanted to find some way to connect to this chapter and I just couldn’t. I didn’t get it and I was super confused (help me – she WAS dating Dave the whole time? Or no? What?). Maybe it’s because I married my high school sweetheart and had zero experience trying to figure out dating in my twenties. This would be an excellent time for those of you who DID get this chapter to give me all your brilliant takeaways. And…go!
The discussion question: Tell me how you met your spouse! I love a good “how we first met” story.
The lie: No is the Final Answer
The takeaways: Let’s be super clear here. The discussion in this chapter applies to chasing your dreams. In nearly every other area of life, no means no. Including but not limited to when I say it to my daughter. In case she learns to read exceptionally well and uses this as an excuse to argue with me more than she already does. #SixGoingOnSixteen.
Honestly? This was my favorite chapter of our three this week. I talk about a lot of my own failures in “Holy Hustle” because I never want anyone to look at my life and think I’m some out of touch success story they can’t relate to because I’ve never struggled. Nope. My first attempt at a book proposal was rejected (and not even as nicely as what Rachel received) by every publisher who saw it. Even “Holy Hustle” received far more rejections than interest from publishers. The difference between those two experiences (which were almost 5 years apart)? After the first book idea was shot down, I gave up. I decided to be the only blogger who never wrote a book. Going into the second book idea, I knew without a doubt that I was going to write that book. Whether it was picked up by a traditional publisher or I did it myself, it was the message God had been developing in my life and it was for His glory that I got to tell it. The first one was all about me – I was selfish and hurting and trying to prove myself. It wasn’t that I wasn’t going to take “no” as the final answer, but I was determined to figure out how to make it a “yes” – even if no one else did.
On page 67 Rachel writes, “Nothing that lasts is accomplished quickly.” I love that, and I love what it means for our dreams. We can find courage to get up again and again after failing over and over when we know in our hearts that we’re chasing the dream God has given us – something that will build His Kingdom and honor Him. That’s the stuff that will last. At the end of my life I want to be known as a woman who left everyone she interacted with feeling hopeful about the plans God has for them – and I can do that through writing, or helping my daughter memorize Bible verses, or encouraging my husband’s dreams. You can do that by raising a family, loving people well, honoring your co-workers, and being a light that shines Jesus into the dark corners of wherever God has placed you. It has nothing to do with fame or fortune or being in magazines. It’s about the stuff that lasts.
The discussion question: What goal did you write down during this chapter? How has this chapter made you rethink failure?
Next Week: Read chapters 7-9
I really love this book. It truly is having an impact on my life. Perhaps because I’m at a place where my heart and head and ready to hear what it’s saying but regardless of the why….it is. Chapter 4….whoa! It’s hard to admit how much I struggle with this although I truly do see progress in my life in this area. One of my big takeaways from this book in general is that there’s room enough for all of us….me included and the pace at which I do things, realize things, understand things and grow is OK. I don’t have to keep up even in that with anyone else. It has really challenged me to change my self talk and just focus on me (not in a selfish way but in a way that acknowledges myself as God’s creation). I have recently (in the past 6 months) had to pull myself back from certain situations and people not so much because of them but because of me (knowing internally that I’m constantly competing with them and comparing myself). I have just returned from a 6 week hiatus from my regular life and that has been so good. It’s really been a opportunity to “reset”….to start fresh. Chapter 5 it was a little confusing for me. I didn’t initially realize Dave was the guy the whole time. I related in that I’ve made some choices regarding relationships I’m not overly proud of and I’ve cut ties and then went crawling right back. I wish I could say I was in my 20’s when I did this but unfortunately I was much older and should’ve known better….BUT it’s over and I’m thankful for God’s grace and patience with me. Chapter 6 I have a lot to say about this chapter but the reality is….I need to get ready for work. This is definitely an “in progress….I am living this right now” kind of chapter. I was really grateful for the challenge to think about goals I’ve let go of, dreams I’ve packed so far away they haven’t seen the sun in years. I am enjoying thinking about them, praying about them and taking steps (even if they’re baby steps) towards them. I would LOVE to tell you my “love story” but…..I need to get ready for work!
Janelle Allen says
Chapter 4 resonated with me. As long as I can remember, I’ve always had trouble with the “comparison game.” My favorite part of the chapter was when she talks about just because YOU think/believe something doesn’t mean it’s the same for everyone else and that judgement comes from a place of feeling like you have it all figured out and others don’t. I believe this is a huge stumbling block for many of us and the reason we sometimes have a hard time being a friend (or even cordial) to someone who doesn’t believe the same things as we do. I try my best to surround myself with people who can help create community. Often I think that the competition part is all my own doing!
I am totally with you on Chapter 5. I was confused by her story! I can’t imagine dating in my 20s, and I’m glad I didn’t have to. As I’ve been reading through this book, there have been several times when I’ve thought “this or that” might make more sense to me if I lived in LA or had experience rubbing elbows with the rich and famous. My life is much more plain and simple.
I didn’t get much from Chapter 6 because I am not a goal-driven person and I’ve never been a workaholic. Quite the opposite, actually. While I appreciated her thoughts and insight, I just couldn’t identify. My dream has always been to have kids and stay home and raise them. Part of me feels embarrassed to say that out loud because I’m sure, to many, that dream is so underwhelming and old-fashioned. BUT, it’s my dream, and I’m fortunate enough to be living it out. I LOVE my life and I am in a place of such satisfaction and contentment. I sometimes fear for the future when my children are grown and move out, because I will have to redefine myself and figure out a new dream — that scares me!