As a book review blogger, I sometimes have the privilege of receiving advance copies of books, usually in electronic form. But I decided to order my own hard copy of a new book from Malinda Fuller, “Obedience Over Hustle.” Why? Because this one needs to sit on my nightstand and join a short list of books that are important re-reads every year!
I am a perfectionist. I ask way more of myself than anyone else ever will. I am guilty of the sideways glance, measuring my own achievements by what I see others accomplishing around me. My passion can run amok, driven more by selfish ambition than unwavering commitment to clear direction from the LORD. That drive can leave me anxious. Worrying I have missed the mark. It can all become very fragile. Those insecurities fueled by ugly, sinful pride.
Malinda very quickly grabbed my attention. Drawing me away from my teetering house of cards, built in fits and starts, bursts of stubborn, independent determination. She suggests a much firmer foundation. OBEDIENCE. To the LORD’s leading! Orchestrated by His divine plan, guided and equipped by His Spirit, fueled by His power, and characterized more by worship, compassion and conviction than self-serving passion. There is purity in obedience. There is also peace.
I could have highlighted the whole book! I lingered over every chapter, savoring the balm to my weary, fickle heart. Malinda’s compelling definitions of “hustle” and “obedience” remind me of the dialogue among fellow believers that has captured my attention over recent years. To choose the counter-cultural way. To worry less about the tips and tricks and hoops to jump through to dream big and make those dreams become reality, and instead, to dedicate myself more to stepping aside with the LORD. To regularly pursue a place where all other voices fall silent, where I can ask Him what He wants me to be doing!?! And to get busy doing it!
In my writing, my longing to speak truth into hearts of women in whatever avenue is open to me, I also want to truly grasp that I am first a wife and mother and more importantly a child of the King! He is the One who longs to hold first audience with my heart! As Malinda describes what it might look like to prioritize my days and efforts in a way that honors Him, she reassures me that most of my steps are not as faltering as I fear. Most of them have been toward Him, NOT swept away with the raging tide around me.
“She knows the voice of the One who speaks her dreams into being. She has learned to heed those promptings when they come. Instead of becoming bitter about the mundaneness of her days [as a mom], she’s choosing to be the influential leader GOD has created her to be, right now. Even though she doesn’t have a giant platform, she is using her unapologetic voice to bring healing and inspiration to others through social media . . . she has gathered together women from all seasons and denominations in her city for mornings of Bible conversation and coffee . . . she meets together with other moms to encourage and strengthen them on a regular basis . . . and most importantly, she has sunk deep into the trenches of motherhood with an eternal perspective. She is going after the hearts of her children, intent on raising them to love and follow JESUS. Instead of chasing what other people are doing, she has plugged herself into her family and her community. That’s what obedience looks like for her in this season. Laying down the hustle meant being content with being small. She has said yes to GOD, given up the hustle, and stepped into obedient living.” (p. 50-51)
Malinda’s words speak peace to my easily distracted heart and encourage me to keep choosing Him, even when the path forward seems unclear or uncertain, or unseen by others. His full plans for me and my efforts will one day be realized. A lot of them are already unfolding in those unseen places! He is the One who has gifted me and faithfully leads me one step at a time. He will truly delight in seeing any further plans for me come to fruition . . . in His time! If I simply hunger to know His heart, with deeper passion than for anything else, I’ve already received the greatest gift He can offer! As I look to the Father for His plan and His purposes, and work hard to align my efforts with His, I can rest assured that I am always on the right path.
As I recommit to choosing His way, these quotes from “Obedience Over Hustle” will serve as important reminders:
“Continued obedience . . . it is carefully tending to what He has commissioned us to do, sometimes without being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s not just a one-time risk or a single act, but faithfully putting our hand to what GOD has led us to do.” (p. 220)
“It is choosing His way over our own. It’s laying down what we think best – our timing and our methods – and yielding to what GOD thinks is best.” (p. 221)
“It’s living with the knowledge that His opinion is the only one that matters, and that seeking Him first is a command worth following. When we live like this, we are choosing obedience over hustle.” (p. 221)
Malinda beautifully weaves Biblical truth with personal stories, her extensive research as she wrestled with these concepts, and examples from Scripture of men and women who have faithfully gone before us, choosing to follow Christ!
. . .
Do you find yourself crumbling under the pressure to succeed, to chart your course and make it happen, to dream big and “go for it!”? Do you battle fear that you will miss that one big break, falter at that pivotal moment and lose your one big chance? “Obedience Over Hustle” offers you the chance to breathe and look UP! Malinda Fuller suggests a much kinder option: simply ask the One with the master plan which next step to take . . . and follow where He leads!
“Obedience Over Hustle” by Malinda Fuller, from Barbour Publishing, is available wherever books are sold. Find Malinda on Facebook or Instagram to follow #thefulleradventure as their family continually chooses obedience to the call of Christ!
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