To Hell with the Hustle, Seriously…

Hustle: to push or force along. *Cambridge Dictionary

Hustle: to have the courage, confidence, self belief, and self determination to go out there and work it out, until you find the opportunities you want in life. *Urban Dictionary

Jefferson Bethke’s message in his newest book “To Hell With the Hustle” is a timely and sharp message that each of us need to take in, in the midst of today’s “hustle” culture. As Christians, we’re called to resist the hustle, slow down, not fill every second with yet another commitment. Believe me, I’m just as guilty of this. Sometimes life just feels boring if we’re not going and doing, constantly connected, busy, busy, busy. Who needs sleep anyway, right? Wrong.

We’ve become slaves to the devices in our pockets, on our wrists, or at our desks. Everyone has constant access to us, through social media, texts, calls, FaceTime, tags, etc. and we feel guilty if we don’t answer the call, respond to thetext, or click “like” on our bestie’s pos three seconds after they post something. I’ve even fallen into the habit of sleeping with m phone laying on my pillow overnight, ridiculous.

“I refuse to glorify and elevate the grind, the hashtag #nosleepmovement, the noise, and commodification of our personhood through these little rectangular glass devices in our pockets. Who’s with me? ”

I’m in, are you?

So much of this book spoke to me and hit me, hard, so trying to keep this review from being a novel itself, will be incredibly difficult.

What hit me the hardest throughout the book, was the reoccurring theme of dancing, rhythm, and music. First, because I’m a musician, and second because shortly before reading this book, I had a dream that I was alone in a big room, with high ceilings, and out of nowhere,, came a tall, gentle man, who reached for my hand, and we danced slowly, until I woke up shortly after. The Sunday following that dream, my pastor wrapped up his sermon by saying, “let Him teach you how to dance…” As soon as I hit Chapter 3: Music from Chaos, and stumbled across this quote, I knew the exact interpretation of the dream I had had prior…

“Have you ever heard music so beautiful you could hardly bear to listen to it?

That’s the music God is playing. And He’s inviting us to dance to it. But here’s the thing we have to acknowledge about dancing, before we can keep moving forward on this’s journey together: Learning to dance takes work.”

So, I leave you wit this question: Are you slowing down enough to learn how to dance to and with the rhythm of Jesus? Or are you caught up in so much of the hustle culture that you’re tripping over your own feet, and getting ahead of Jesus and His plans for you? Listen closely for the rhythm and music of Jesus, slow down to His perfect pace, and start saying “To hell with the hustle” as a new way of doing life.

“But even if He does not…”

   

    Wow, I haven’t done this blog post thing in a really long time, but the Lord definitely hit me with something as I was reading Daniel this morning, so I’m back, finally! 

 

  I’m sure we all know about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego being thrown into the fiery furnace after refuding to worship the idol King Nebuchadnezzar set up, right? Well, the Lord lead me to the book of Daniel this morning, and as I was reading, verses seventeen throguh eighteen of chapter three lept off the page at me. King Nebuchadnezzar was angry at the three guys for refusing to bow down to his precious idol, and informed them of their consequences for not doing so. They replied (paraphrasing) “we don’t need to defend ourselves over this issue. Go ahead, throw us into the fiery furnace, we’re not afraid, because our God is able to deliver us from the fire, AND from your hand that threw us in there in te first place. BUT, even if He does not, we’re sticking to our guns and we STILL won’t bow down to worship your silly golden idol…” well, that REALLY ticked him off and he ordered for the furnace to be turned up to SEVEN times hotter than usual, and in they went. The heat even killed the soldiers that were assigned to throw them in there, that’s hot!! 

  I went back and let verse eighteen set in for a few… “But even if He does not…” Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego fully believed and trusted that God had the ability and power to rescue them from the flames, but they were also 100% set on refusing to worship the idol even if it wasn’t the Lord’s will that they be rescued from the flames. They fearlessly stuck to their word and expressed their unwavering allegiance to their God, the King of Kings! 

 We have to really ask ourselves, is our faith dtrong enough for the “but even if He does not…” moments in life? Even when God doesn’t pull a Superman and swoop in to rescue us from our situation or circumstances immediately, we MUST trust Him, and go throguh it knowing that He’ll use those circumstances for our good and our growth, and for His glory. We must go into any and all of life’s “fires” with confidence that God will NOT let them destroy us, but instead refine us, strengthen our witenss and testimony, and use us as living proof of His mighty, saving power. 

Trust Him, even in the fire. He’s got yout back. šŸ˜‰ 

Strengthening Your Faith Muscle

 

   “There will be pain, but much like going to the gym and being sore after a good workout, God has to work us through the painful things, just like we push through the pain at the gym to achieve the results we want. Don’t you have to break a muscle down, in order to begin to rebuild and strengthen it back up? In the end, the pain is worth the new found strength that we gain both throguh a good workout, and trusting God in all of our circumstances.” 

 

   I sent that to a friend a few months back, as the Holy Spirit fed it to my frantically typing fingers, and it just hasn’t left me alone since then. 

 

  How often do we find ourselves in the middle of painful circumstances or situations, begging God to lift the burden from us, or to relieve us of the pain, faster than we can process His reasoning? Think about it, like I mentioned above, when we go to the gym to get a good workout in, isn’t our frame of mind “no pain, no gain,”? If we don’t leave the gym sore, or wake up sore the next morning, we don’t feel like much was accomplished during that given workout. So, why then, do we not take that same mentality and apply it to our faith, and trusting God to work in our lives?  

  God never once promised us a perfect, pain free, easy life once we trusted Him as our Savior and invited Him into our hearts and lives. He did promise that He would never leave us or forsake us, even through our trials and temptations. “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me…” I mean come on, if everything was so easy and pain free, why would we even need to trust Him? When we go through those valleys, those dark times, trials, etc. we need to take a deep breath, trust God completely, and just know, the pain we’re facing, is what the Lord is using to continually strengthen our faith, bring us into a deeper, more intimate relationship with Him, and prepare us for the next big, God sized thing He has planned for or lives. 

 

  If you find yourself in the middle of a painful battle, the Lord WILL fight for you, He WILL be with you in your darkest valley, and believe me, whether you can see it or not, you’re being strengthened and pulled closer and closer to God. Dig into The Word, hang onto the promises it contains, and remember… “no pain, no gain.” 

 

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the powwer of the weak.”

  Isaiah 40:29 (NIV)

In His Time

faith-in-his-timing

 

In His Time

I’ll wait on Your timing

as hard as it seems

I know that Your blessings

far outweigh my dreams

 

You Lord, are faithful

You’ll always provide

and whenever I need You,

You’re right by my side

 

Your plans are all perfect

and You know what’s best

So, take hold of my heart,

put all of my worries to rest.

 

~Amanda N. Sams

June 12, 2016

Struggling Through SinglenessĀ 

I’m just going to start out by saying, my heart is in a weird place right now. It’s stuck somewhere between trying my best to be content waiting on God, and anxiously wanting so many things to happen at once. Lately, I’ve really been struggling with my season of singleness. I mean, to be quite honest, it’s not even a season. I’ve been single my entire life. I never did the whole “teenage dating scene.” I had my share of crushes in high school, but none of them ever went past the point of me liking a guy, and him not even knowing I existed. So, to say that my heart is getting to be a little impatient, is kind of an understatement.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for waiting on God and trusting in His timing, but sometimes I wish I could give Him a little nudge and get the ball rolling a little faster. The thing that makes waiting even harder, is thinking that you know who He has set aside for you. When you let your head and your heart get comfortable with the idea of spending the rest of your life with someone, and it just doesn’t go the way you want it to, it tends to throw you into a funk. As difficult as it may be, that’s when you have to remind yourself that God has His absolute best planned for you, and you just need to stay out of it and let Him work.

I guess the thing is, I’m almost twenty five years old. I have baby fever like crazy, and I’m beyond ready to find a sweet, man of God to marry and settle down with. I want nothing more in life than to be a wife and a Mom. I want someone to love unconditionally that I can spend the rest of my life with. Someone who is closer to God than he is to me, someone to help me raise our kids to love the Lord with their whole hearts. I’m just ready. I’ll keep on praying, hoping, and waiting until that man comes along, because I know that God’s plans are far better than anything I could ever imagine. Even when its a struggle, we need to learn to hang in there and wait on God.

 

 

 

 

Waiting for my ValentineĀ 

To my Valentine,

I know you’re out there somewhere, and I like to think that you’re closer than I realize. Everyday I pray that you’re preparing your heart for me, as I am for you. The Lord is using this season of singleness to build us up and strengthen us in Him, so that as we do life together, we’re constantly encouraging each other and drawing the other closer to Him. I want you to love God more than you love me. I pray that we both learn from His love, and can find new ways to love each other through Him.

I’m giddy with excitement for the journeys He’s going to send us on, the people we’ll meet, and I can’t wait to see how He uses us for His Kingdom. When I find it hard to be patient, I just thunk about those things, and it makes the wait easier. I pray that we’re a power couple, on fire for Christ, being a blessing to those around us. I’m positive that doing life with you will be so beyond worth the wait, and I hope that you feel the same way.

They say that good things come to those who wait. Well, I’m here to tell you that I will wait for as long as it takes for God to decide when the timing is right. Waiting and praying and preparing my heart for you.

If you’re reading this, Happy Valentine’s Day, love.

Forever Yours,

Mandi

 

The Forever ValentineĀ 

 

Will you be My Valentine?

I gave my life for you

I bled and died upon that cross

to give you life brand new.

 

Will you be My Valentine?

I’ll wipe away your tears

I’ll bear your every burden

and comfort you in fear.

 

If you’ll be My Valentine

I’ll be forever yours,

together for eternity

I’ve opened Heaven’s doors.

 

~Amanda N. Sams

February 14, 2016


“Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.”Ā 

Hebrews 13:5Ā