Hustle. Yep there it was, just waiting as Monday began. Hustle was all over the roads driving on them as the sun rose over the late autumn hills. Hustle was there inviting itself into my parenting. Hustle was in the car park. Hustle was at the checkout in the Cafe. Hustle tried to catch a lift back with me to work.
Hustle. We all know it. We all experience it.
Hustle. The outworking of our fear and inadequacy onto others.
We live in cultures that really are having an emotional conversation. The conversation is around our value and dignity as human beings and this conversation has some significant drivers. Inadequacy and fear.
Are we enough… not only for our functions, but for the greater things that really change the world like love and belonging to something bigger than ourselves?
I have watched over the last 12 years fear change us. Change our families, change our communities, change our nations. Before my very eyes, I watched fear dramatically change the USA as we lived there.
Fear is accompanied with other words now. Infact they are more commonly spoken than the word fear. Words like hustle, anxiety… terror. I have seen for the first time in my lifetime not only acts of terrorism, but repeated acts of terrorism in my own city. It is no longer confined to London or Israel or Paris.
Dr Brene Brown defined terrorism as “time-released fear. It embeds fear so deeply in the heart of a community that makes fear become a way of life. This unconscious way of living then fuels so much anger and blame that people start to turn on one another.”1.
Participants in a recent research expressed a growing “concern that the only thing that binds us together now is shared fear and disdain, not common humanity, shared trust, respect, or love. People report feeling more afraid to disagree or debate with friends, colleagues and family because of the lack of civility and tolerance.”2.
Fear has become the dominate emotional driver of so many of our cultures and relationships, and by and large we don’t recognise that!
What we don’t lean into, we can’t move through. When we do this, we become defined by it and it owns us.
Fear intimidates our humanity and our divinity.
So in this atmosphere of heightened fear, we evidence society reaching for anger and hate as the go to emotions. When we reach for anger and hate as way to manage fear, we descend down a very dark path of the destruction of human dignity.
Hustle is a sojourner on this path. Hustle is slippery. Hustle is the clever demise of human worth. But when we refuse to hustle, we begin to disempower fear and inadequacy and we give ourselves permission to be human and others permission to be human.
To be human is to be vulnerable, and I believe that the invitation to us squarely and fairly in this hour is to do human better. Infact, if we don’t do human better, the force and unconsciousness of the fear in our nations will drive us only further into loss of dignity and freedom.
If we don’t value vulnerability, we won’t manage fear.
When we stop hustling, we stop fear and we let in love. Love casts out fear or fear bullies love (1 John 4:18). They are mortal enemies.
God did human. Full human. Philippians 2 says, “He existed in the form of God.. emptied Himself of the OUTER glory by reducing himself to the form of a lowly servant. He became human! He humbled himself and became vulnerable, choosing to be revealed as a man..”
God loves human. He took His image and dignity and made human (Isaiah 60:1). God is not afraid of human, nor is He afraid of fear. He honours our humanity and vulnerability (Psalm 103:14). Love is fearless.
We encounter a sense of worth when we encounter His Presence and this sense of worth is a prerequisite for showing up and living courageously in our lives.
The opposite to love is not hate, it is fear. Fear hustles. Love is patient. Fear is a whole bunch of me in focus. Love is sitting with each other not afraid. Fear argues with our self worth. Love says “You are enough.” Fear demands tidy, perfect lives. Love is messy and vulnerable. Fear keeps us small. Love makes us big.
So let me leave you with this question. Do we really think fear is that powerful that we have to be afraid of it?
We can do human better.
- Brene Brown, Speech to the RSA, The Power of Vulnerability, June 2013
- Brene Brown, Braving the Wilderness, 2017
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