A writer friend and I recently exchanged emails proclaiming our disgust over the repeated encouragement we received from various sources to “just keep hustling” when it comes to our work. I believe we may have thrown around terms like “punch them in the gut” or “drive me to drink” and even a reference to ” lighting my hair on fire”. It may not have been our finest writing, but it certainly was authentic. Writers are told, mostly by people who have seen some success in publishing, that if we work hard enough, we will eventually see the reward for our effort. And while conceptually I believe this to be true, I also know life doesn’t always reward those who work the hardest or hustle the longest. Ask any mother, blue collar worker, or adult over sixty. We can work and hustle and pray and believe and declare ourselves writers (or healed or financially secure or fill in the blank___) and in the end, it might amount to a few comments, lots of rejection letters, and the only compliments courtesy of our own mother.
I believe in hard work. I believe in sweat and hustle. I am built for endurance and perseverance, and so are you. We aren’t necessarily built for reward, and this leaves a bitter taste in the mouth of anyone who has grown up in America or as a good girl in the church. If we’re honest, most of us live as if we’re out here earning our salvation. We live with excessive choice and call it our “right”. We think the journey should come with accolades and affirmation in the form of freshly minted green dollars. And we forget our earthly treasures will rust and rot and amount to nothing. Sometimes the work, the sweat, the obedience, the straining for the finish line IS the reward.
I want to earn a living doing what I love, and I want to see my name on a book someday. But, I know at the end of this journey, I’ll find my name written in the only book which truly matters. If I never see the reward here in the flesh, I will hear the words “Well done, good and faithful servant”, and they will serve as reward enough.
I hope you feel encouraged to continue in your work with excellence, with sweat, and with little desire to set your hair on fire. El Roi, the God who sees, has not forgotten you.
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