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Hustle culture advertises itself as the gold-paved road to self-improvement and success. It tells us that the only thing stopping us is us. At face value, that's the most healthy mentality we can have. We do have the power to embrace change and personal accountability. The problem is, our hustle will run dry, no matter how many extra dark coffees we have. Continuous progress doesn't come from just doing more; it comes from rhythm, receiving, and eliminating. It comes from ingraining our lives with discipline.
The word "discipline" doesn't conjure an uplifting picture. It makes us think of punishment and rigid boarding school principals with long faces. Yet, if discipline is so negative, why is it central to God's good design for our lives? Hebrews 12:11 says, "For the moment, all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." We can see this truth reflected in our daily habits. When we first pursue a "resolution," it's frustrating, and we often give up because we think hard habits are outside of our strengths. However, once we build a pattern, the "hard" things feel right, and we improve the quality of our lifestyles. This same principle applies to our career goals, as our patterns will create more success than constantly spending energy.
Discipline is as much about what we don't do as what we do. We fill our minds and time with things that don't move us forward and sometimes move us backward. We need intentional rest to open ourselves to discernment and self-control. Otherwise, our exhaustion and frustration can lead us to make destructive choices for the sake of escape. As much as our society talks about "boundaries," we don't focus on boundaries with ourselves. In 1 Corinthians 6:12, Paul tells us, "All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be dominated by anything." This means we have freedom in Jesus, but we still need to listen to God's direction in order to flourish. There are some things that aren't "good" or "bad," such as choosing between two jobs for great companies. However, in those situations, we should take the time to seek God's will through every step. He knows far more about our future than we do, and He wants to use our every move for greatness.
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." - John 15:5
In discipline, we listen to God and choose actions that lead us closer to Him. Sometimes that does mean jumping into the "grind" when certain goals are a priority, but ultimately, moving in fast forward is not a sustainable or productive work ethic. Here are some simple tips to replace hustle culture with mindful discipline in your work:
You were created to work and rest. Are you keeping those two areas distinctly separate and giving each your full attention in the moment?
"In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves." - Psalms 127:2
What fillers or distractions are holding you back from your goals? We all have something. Set clear boundaries, and don't give up if you slip up. Focus on your habits before you chase the big picture.
"All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty." - Proverbs 14:23
Guilt doesn't equal shame. Guilt is a healthy feeling to have when we reject discipline. It provides reinforcement by reminding us there are consequences to our choices. We can use guilt to identify where we need help and move forward. It only becomes unhealthy when we doubt our worth and don't forgive ourselves.
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." - 1 Peter 5:6-7
Believe in God's power over your own. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, but that doesn't mean we will be able to do all the things we want to. Maybe you won't get "that one job" or your start-up idea might hit a dead end, even if you exert your full effort. Trust God through those disappointments and take the next challenging step to produce a new path. Discipline requires grit and wisdom, but more importantly, it requires faith in the One who gives us all our opportunities.
Written Content Coordinator at Sun Valley Community Church. An avid writer since the age of 5, who loves to explore new ideas and places. Inspired by Jesus, books, and travel.