Book Review - Holy Hustle

I first was introduced to Crystal Stine when I signed up for my first Write-31-Days challenge back in 2015. She was our host, encouraging participants to keep going on our challenge.

This week, I was thrilled to read Crystal’s first published book that released today, Holy Hustle: Embracing a Work-Hard, Rest-Well Life. 

I’m here for the rest. This is a lesson I’ve been learning the past few months. After some serious burnout, our church sent my husband and me to a week-long retreat specifically to help us overcome our ministry burnout. The majority of our week was spent learning why proper rhythms of work and rest were extremely important in ministry. I had already begun learning some of these lessons as I hit a wall and wrote about my feelings towards good works and God in my 2016 Write-31-Days challenge.

Crystal has learned the importance of rest.

I’ve had to admit some prideful thoughts to God as He’s asked me to incorporate rest into my life. Thoughts like: No one else can do this as well as I can. If I don’t do it who will? If I say yes to all these projects I’ll have job security. I don’t have time to rest.

Whether it’s about the work I need to do to maintain our household for my family, the tasks on my freelance to-do list, or the commitments I’ve made to friends, my pride tells me I need to strive, work harder than everyone else, and prove I’m irreplaceable. In reality all that does is cause me to experience burnout and frustration.
— Crystal Stine, Holy Hustle

The idea that we can rest well as we do good work is so exhilarating.

I have to admit that I felt a little tension with the word hustle. I’ve been in urban ministry for twenty years, and for me, hustle has connotations related to selling illegal things on corners. I know that might not be the typical connotation for a middle-aged white Jesus woman, but it is. Rap lyrics are not a stranger to me.

Crystal lays out a beautiful case for redeeming the word hustle.

When we look at the dictionary definition of hustle, all it means is to ‘work rapidly or energetically.’ Doesn’t it remind you of Colossians 3:23? ‘Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.’
— Crystal Stine, Holy Hustle

Crystal spends the majority of the book telling what good work is not:

  • It does not bring guilt or shame you for resting.
  • It is not striving.
  • It isn’t bothersome or insignificant to God.
  • It can’t be too small to make a big impact in God’s Kingdom.
  • It isn’t born out of fear.
  • It doesn’t serve ourselves, instead it serves others.
  • It doesn’t shine a spotlight on ourselves, instead it illuminates God’s glory.
  • It isn’t work just meant for a few people, instead it is for everyone.
  • It doesn’t promote competition.
  • It isn’t limited to a few gifts, instead every gift is needed.
  • It doesn’t stop when failure happens, instead God can redeem failure.
  • It doesn’t keep going when it is time to rest.
Tucked into holy hustle is freedom that takes away the guilt of work and the shame of rest.
— Crystal Stine, Holy Hustle

Holy Hustle will change the way you live out your calling among the people in your lives. As you read and embrace healthy rhythms of work and rest, you can obey your commission well and have holier harmony in your priorities.

We can model rest to our families, we can prioritize people over projects, and we can enter our work ready to serve with our whole hearts. We can also create a sustainable model of holy hustle that allows us to do the best possible work for God’s kingdom as we choose to intentionally work hard, rest well, and repeat.
— Crystal Stine, Holy Hustle