3 Simple Ways to Serve Instead of Strive // Guest Post by Crystal Stine

Earlier in the year we introduced you all to The Influence Commons. As a Network we want to give our members a chance to use their voice. We put out a call for pitches and today we are sharing the first piece written by one of our very own. We hope to share a new piece each week, so if you’re thinking about sending a pitch, don’t hesitate! Don’t forget that we plan on hosting a writer’s retreat and workshop in 2018. We’ll offer 3 scholarship positions chosen from the submissions of The Influence Commons. 

When most little girls were dreaming about their weddings, I was dreaming about my career. I never doubted that I would help support my family through my work, and I had visions of gorgeously decorated New York City apartments, thrilling work as a magazine editor, and closets full of fabulous shoes.

I was Carrie Bradshaw before Sarah Jessica Parker ever heard the name.

Fortunately – for my soul and my wallet – God had something else planned for my life. A move back to my small rural hometown where traffic jams aren’t taxis, but tractor equipment and Amish buggies. It meant adjusting my dreams to make room for what God wanted to do, but I wasn’t willing to let go of my hustle so easily.

Small town life felt slow and unproductive, and I was drawn to the always-busy, never stopping lifestyle of striving that I knew would keep me ahead of my co-workers. I lived that way for more than a decade before God would begin to show me a different way. A way that looks weird to the world but beautiful to His kingdom. I could still use my talents to create, but I could say “yes” to work AND rest. It was no longer an “either/or” decision, but an opportunity to embrace both.

When we are obedient to honor and glorify God with our work, we can learn to serve instead of strive.

3 Simple Ways to Serve Instead of Strive

Maybe, like me, you’re finding yourself ready to be a little weird for Jesus. You’re ready to be faithful where He has placed you, with the work you’ve been called to do, but you no longer want to adopt the world’s bossy version of hustle. Here are three simple things I do when I find myself striving instead of serving.

  1. Start your day in the Word – whether it’s with an online devotional, listening to your Bible app read to you, or doing an intensive Bible study, start your day with God’s Word before listening to the noise around you. Give God your to-do list and ask Him to make His agenda more important than your own goals.
  2. Look for opportunities to collaborate – when we work hard but stay humble, we are better able to admit our areas of weakness and invite others in to use their strengths as we serve together. Asking for help, collaborating, and sharing our knowledge will lead to the kind of success that grows God’s kingdom instead of our own platforms.
  3. Set boundaries – your time is worth protecting and your family is worth prioritizing. Leave work at work, stop being available 24/7, and choose to say “yes” to rest. When you’re able to step away from the false urgency of striving you’ll find yourself refreshed, available to hear God’s leading, and excited to serve your family, neighbors, community, and co-workers.

Choosing to serve instead of strive is a daily decision that I make by the grace of God. He knows my weaknesses, my habits, and my heart. It is only when I abide closely with Him that I can stay on the path He has created for my life.


Crystal Stine encourages women to pursue holy hustle – a work hard, rest well lifestyle that chases faith instead of fame. Mama to a 5-year-old (and married to her high school sweetheart),  Crystal is the author of “Creative Basics: 30 Days to Awesome Social Media Art,” creator of the popular “Clarity Coaching” Course, editor of “Craving Connection” and host of the annual Write 31 Days challenge. Crystal writes regularly at crystalstine.me and can be found on Instagram @crystalstine.



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