Paradox: Grace and Hustling

Elizabeth Gilbert, the writer who wrote Eat Pray Love, posted this on her Instagram account: “Grace will take you places hustling can’t…” and I really liked the quote given I am a professional hustler (i.e. business person in tech startups). As a recovering Catholic, I don’t quite remember the nuns and priests talking much about Grace. It was more like “you are a sinner, you are sinner” and I forgot the rest. When I started attending an evangelical church (don't judge), I started to hear more about Grace in the sermons and I huffed and puffed my way through those sermons. So you are telling me that an adulterer, a murderer or rapist will be “saved by Grace?” Good thing they weren’t zooming into my face on the big screen during the sermon.

And then the very proud Christian would say to me, “Yes, you got it!” (Of course, unless your name is Obama. He is going to hell. <sarcasm implied>)

Grace bothers me a bit simply because it gives to some people freely, without them earning it or working for it. I would so much rather a system where you are saved by your works than by Grace because maybe people would be less shitty to each other. This way you are judged for your actions in real-time vs when you die, supposedly. Can you tell I am an ENTJ? The “J” is particularly strong.

I have my own hybrid theology where I believe in Karma and I believe in Grace. Karma is reaping what you sow and she shows no mercy. Grace is this mysterious gift that gives of itself freely and unexpectedly. I should note that I also struggle with this idea of free will and destiny all the time. I believe that major events in our lives are destined. I also believe that how we get there is free will. You can take the easy path, the medium path or the difficult path. They all lead to the same place however depending on which path you take you may get there at different times. I really start to go down the rabbit hole when I think about Grace, Karma, Destiny and Free Will at the same time. You are probably wondering “Don’t you have enough to do? Why even think about these things at all?”

Ok. Well I don’t have a degree in psychology — but I do think that the way each of us relates to the world is via the frameworks we create or that have been passed down to us by our own family members and caretakers. Some frameworks benefit us, some are harmless and some really impact our lives. You can change the framework at any given time. People don’t realize this I think. For me I’ve always worked really hard and don’t give up easily so this idea of “destiny” vs “free will” doesn’t really affect me until the 4th or 5th consecutive failure (or “attempt”). I mean at some point you are just wasting your time. In many cases, I will what I want and if things don’t work out — even after I throw a Hail Mary (football reference) — I just figure it wasn’t meant to be. I do have situations in life where it wasn’t until I completely surrendered that things started to work in my favor. Grace maybe? Definitely not by works. So that’s my framework. That’s why I think about these things. Because Grace will take you places hustling cannot.

I wondered how we could make “Grace” happen considering that its not up to us. You can’t hustle for more Grace. What came to me immediately was — just be grateful. If you are grateful and content with your current circumstances, no matter what they are, you can handle more Grace. So rather than hustling all the time….maybe just say “Thank You” more often and leave it at that.