Written by South Atlanta Community Facilitator, Michelle Witherspoon
I’m a hustler.
I’d like to say I’m a recovering hustler but more times than not I continue to see how pervasive the hustler in me is. I come from a family of hustlers. It’s an unspoken commitment to accomplishment and success. Burnout is not an option. Failure is frowned upon. Weakness? What’s that?
The journey to own my story and the internal voices that so often rule my day is one that has taken some time. There are no shortcuts to the process of owning what is deeply rooted in me. It’s a long and often times grueling journey but it is one worth investing in.
When Jesus says that He is reconciling the world to Himself I am deeply relieved and yet I feel somewhat lost.
I remember like it was yesterday when I sat in my pastor’s office as a teenager after my mom got to the end of her rope in trying to help me with some extreme obsessive/compulsive behaviors. I remember the room smelling of old books and leather sofas. I remember the perfectly lit room where I felt so comfortable to hear what the Bible was about, yet deeply intimidated to be known in my OCD foolishness and lack of real Biblical understanding.
The pastor began to tell me that all of the Bible was pointing to this main truth that Jesus loves me “as is” and that He is reconciling me and the whole world to Himself, and that we don’t have to be separated or divided off anymore. He invites me to relationship with Him as I am, not worthy.
I began to weep and it was as if there was an endless amount of tears that flowed, one after another, telling the deep story of how afraid I was that God did not love me and did not approve of me. The tears continued to flow as he walked me through this amazing love the Father has for his children, a love that led Him to die for me. More and more and more tears. It was the first time in my life I let my guard down. I can be who I am and be seen in my sin and weakness and Jesus will still love me and stick around. I couldn’t have said it then but it was rest for my hustler’s soul.
Twenty five years later, I am still over taken by the reality that the work of reconciliation is one that belongs to Jesus.
In my best days, I continue to have that childlike awe that I am loved and welcomed by Him. In my worst days, I continue to obsessively perform and hustle to be worthy of His love.
So what I’ve learned is that hustlers need community. We need to know one another and be honest. Truth is, if you are a hustler, well, you can usually spot another hustler pretty quickly.
We have to welcome one another to the community of God over and over again, confessing together, celebrating together, and welcoming our other fellow hustlers in. Somehow in this chaos and mess, we find our belonging and rest for our hustler’s soul.
Come join other hustlers as we live in intentional community around Atlanta and seek to join our lives together with those on the margins.
You can find where our communities meet here: http://churchonthestreet.com/#/community-projects