Hustle and Grace

Grace can take you places hustling can’t.
— Elizabeth Gilbert

When the term, "hustle" started popping up everywhere a couple years ago, all I could do was roll my eyes. To me, the word has negative connotations - I mean, literally, the very meaning of the word includes "aggressive", "fraud", "coerce". So then why was it showing up on t-shirts, mugs, and tote bags? I get that there is an alternative or “urban” definition that means to work hard to achieve your goals - your dream, job, etc. I just don’t get why we have to use that word. What, you mean that “hard-worker” or “work hard everyday” isn't as catchy as “hustle on”, or “everyday I'm hustlin’"? Ok, fine.

It wasn’t until recently that I was able to finally grasp the concept of the word “hustle” for myself. It was this quote that put it into new perspective: 

A piece I lettered this summer

A piece I lettered this summer

Hustle is about focus, not frenzy. It’s not doing more, it’s doing less, so you can focus on what matters most.
— Jon Acuff

Frenzy is exactly what I’d thought hustling was about - doing whatever it takes, working endless hours, etc to reach your end goal. When I would hear someone say that they’re hustling, I pictured them running around like a chicken with their head cut off. I wouldn’t admire that person, I’d feel sorry for them. Yes, goals require hard work, long hours, and sacrifice. I’m just in the camp of “work smarter, not harder” and now I’m trying to incorporate Jon Acuff’s definition of hustle -- “doing less, not more” to focus on what matters most.

This summer, my hustle was to learn modern calligraphy, or hand lettering for the sake of learning a new skill (as prompted by Acuff's #DOsummer2015 challenge). Three months later, I have 67 posts on my lettering-focused Instagram account and I got my act together to publish this site. 

However, it's with God's grace that I was able to put so much time and effort into this hand lettering hustle. It’s by His grace that I was able to spend a year in Taiwan to focus on the important things like my marriage, family, and faith. This experience has not only changed my perspective on the meaning of one word, but so much more.