These days, hustling has become a prerequisite to success. If we don’t hustle, we might just get left behind in this busy world. Contrary to the current world’s expectations, Malinda Fuller has overcome the need to strive and hustle and traded it for a life of obedience, faithfulness, and rest. In this episode, Malinda talks about that with Liz Hoefer through her new book, Obedience Over Hustle. Living a remarkably different life than before, she narrates what led her to wrestle with the idea of living obediently to God and bringing it to others. Centering on faith, Malinda shows what life is like when we allow God to be our provider and be in a continual conversation with Him. Find encouragement and understand that you don’t have to work to the bone to gain God’s favor. All you have to do is allow Him to do it His own way and in His timing.
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Obedience Over Hustle with Author Malinda Fuller
Advice On How To Find Balance In A Busy World
My guest, Malinda Fuller, is going to be talking about her book, Obedience Over Hustle. She is a wife, a mother, a friend, a former massage therapist and now an author. I’m very excited for you to know the story she has to tell about her journey into overcoming the need to strive and hustle. Instead, trading that for a life of obedience, faithfulness and rest. Welcome to the show, Malinda.
Malinda, I am so glad you’re here. I want to get into this thing called Obedience Over Hustle and our audience are excited to know about it. Can you talk to me about what you’re leading into and then we’ll reverse the story and start at the beginning? What are you doing right now?
Our family sold our house and 70% of our belongings. We bought an RV trailer and a truck. We will be on the road full-time working and schooling from the road. My husband and I both are working from the road and traveling in our 42-foot travel trailer. It’s some fun and exciting adventures.
It looks remarkably different than where you were at a few years ago.
Remarkably different than where we were at a few months ago.
That leads to the entire point of our conversation, which is this book that you’ve written called Obedience Over Hustle.
Yes, which I am super excited about.
I have to brag on you a little bit because you’re one of the inspirations that led me into finally being obedient and starting my own practice because I was scared for a long time. It’s no secret. It’s interesting because as I read your book, I was excited because I saw the whole journey. Not the beginning of your life and the marriage, but I’ve known you for years. I got to watch you wrestle with this idea and then bring it to fruition to be a blessing to people. I get your newsletters and I see the things that you post on social media. You’re obedient and it’s refreshing. Let’s go back to the time of your life when all of a sudden this was calling you. I think it started at a conference in Indiana if I’m not mistaken.[bctt tweet=”If we would get out of our ways and let God do it his way and in his timing, the best fruit comes.” via=”no”]
It was September 2015, I went to a conference in Indiana. It was a creative conference for women who wanted to be influencers and it was a great experience, but I had gone with an agenda. I had gone giving the Lord an ultimatum, which is never a good idea. At the time, I was working three to five days a week in the chiropractic office as a massage therapist. I had started homeschooling my kids. I had no idea what I was doing in that world. My husband was working for a large church. We were two ships passing all the time, passing off kids. At the same time, I wanted to grow as a writer, a speaker, an influencer and a communicator.
I had attended this conference with the hope that God would miraculously open a door for me to stay at home and work from home and have this at-home job to supplement my income because I didn’t want to give up my income. In the book, I talk about how at that point in our lives we had increased our expenses by 30% because we moved from our two-bedroom apartment into a much larger rental home because nobody in Orange County owns their house. To quit my job was a 30% decrease in our take home every month. The math didn’t make sense for me to quit altogether. On the last night of the conference, I was frustrated with the Lord because he hadn’t done what I had demanded him to do. I sat there journaling angry at God and he gave me this picture of a fist and it was white-knuckled fist.
I very strongly remember the Lord saying, “Malinda, I want to give you more than what you have right now. I want for you to be this same influencer that you want to be and give you these opportunities, but your hand is holding so tight to your job and there’s no room left in your hands for anything else.” I felt he was asking me, “Am I your provider or you are your provider?” My knee–jerk response is, “Of course, you’re my provider, Lord,” because I grew up in the church and that’s what I’ve been preprogrammed to think. I felt him pressed my heart and asked me, “If I’m your provider, then you need to be willing to give up your job.” I talked to my husband about it. I came home and within a week, I’d given my notice and put a date on the calendar and quit the week before Thanksgiving, which made no sense at all.
The Lord didn’t provide a new job. He didn’t give me this open door to be able to work from home. What did happen was about a month later, my husband started getting phone calls to go and do contract work on the side. A couple of months after I quit my job, his side income was easily surpassing what I had been making consistently every single month. Without us spending any money to promote his business or market him in any way, faithfully the Lord provided for us. That was the first big leap of obedience. Throughout the book is a continual story of what God has asked me to do since then in the last few years. A few years to the day almost, my husband quit his job and decided to be fully self-employed and start his own company.
It was a few years almost to the day, the Lord has brought us full circle. It’s been this continual conversation with God about choosing to listen to him. Listen to his voice in the big things like quitting my job and the little things like how I talk to my children, how I spend my days, how I spend my money, if I’m doing the things that he’s telling me to do like be a good neighbor, call my mom, be friends to somebody who isn’t friendly to me. Weaving a lot of scripture through that and what it looks like for different people throughout the Bible as they listened to the voice of God with very unconventional details in their stories. It’s been a journey and I’m super excited for it to be released finally and hopefully it encourages a lot of people.
I know that watching you walk through the process of this book coming to fruition has been a blessing to me because as I said and I texted you, “I did it. I put my notice in. I’m starting my practice.” I did #ObedienceOverHustle. It’s given me the courage to have somebody who I’ve seen that I personally know who worked with me. I remember when you came and you had gone to the conference and then you put your notice in. Of course, I was sad because I loved working with you every day. I loved having my patients be able to have you be their massage therapist, but I understood that this was holy work. I even understood that anything that God asks you to do is worth more than any paycheck.
Watching the blessings come. It wasn’t overnight. It wasn’t magically you had all this extra money, but seeing him be faithful because he is faithful. That’s one of the things that I’ve experienced when he called me very specifically on January 20th to start my own practice. I said, “I’m afraid.” He said, “Do you trust me?” I said, “Of course, Lord, I trust you. You’re the provider. You’re the Creator of the universe.” He said, “If you trust me, I will provide.” He provides in small and large ways. I told my husband, “I need to put my notice in.” My husband said, “Don’t you think you should get a loan first?” I said, “I think that when I put my notice in and trust God, I will get a loan.” That’s exactly what happened. This is such an encouragement to my soul, to the people I know. I chime in on your social media because you’re always offering up relevant and fresh encouragement to allow people to understand that you don’t have to work to the bone to gain favor and to gain some notoriety because God’s favor is outside of effort.
Many people told me like, “You need to have a bigger email list before you write a book or you need to have a bigger platform.” I’m so sick of hearing that word and I love telling people that I sold my first manuscript, which such a small percentage of authors get their first manuscript published. I did it with less than 500 email subscribers and less than 2,000 social media followers. God can do whatever he wants to do. I feel like if we would get out of the way and let him do it his way and in his timing, that’s when the best fruit comes. It’s when we’re in partnership with him. One of the things that I dove into in the book is researching this idea of working hard.[bctt tweet=”Our hard work goes from having a good work ethic to workaholism quickly.” via=”no”]
I’m not anti-hard work. My husband traveled 150 days out of the year and I homeschooled my two kids and I finished my manuscript and edited it. I worked hard. I’m not anti-hard work, but what happens is our hard work goes from having a good work ethic to workaholism quickly. It’s a fine line and we cross over when we stopped working in partnership, in tandem with the Lord and we think that it’s all on us and we have to strive and achieve everything on our own. That’s the hustle mentality of, “I know what’s best for me. I know how to do it the best. I know the best time frame. God, can you jump in here when I need you and otherwise, I’ve got this?” When we go back to the garden and look at Adam, one of the first things God does is hand at him this job to do and he says, “Tend to the garden.” Yet it wasn’t on Adam to make the trees grow or bloom and to make vegetables come up from the Earth. God is the one who makes all of that happen, who makes the rainfall. Adam didn’t irrigate the land. His work was in partnership with the Lord.
It’s a message of stewardship.
After the fall, the work became toiling. God says, “By the sweat of your brow, after sin entered the garden, you’re going to have to work. You’re going to have to struggle for the same thing that I had given you freely, but you messed it up because you tried to do things your own way.” I thought that was so profound that when we work with the Lord, it’s not struggling and it’s not striving. The subtitle of my book is The Surrender of the Striving Heart because it’s a message that applies across all areas of our life, not just our work, but that’s the one that’s so easy for people to understand.
How would you present this to somebody who wants to believe what you have to say, but doesn’t know how to surrender or let it go? How did you get to that point? You grew up in church, you knew the right things to say. You knew what the right answers were and somehow you still got caught up in hustling. What was it? You went to this conference and you were angry. I think it’s cool that you admitted that because God isn’t too big to handle. Our insecurities and our frustration, he’s waiting for us to admit it. What would you say to somebody who wants to believe you, but can’t figure out a way to let go?
Eventually, what’s going to happen is you’re going to exhaust yourself. The definition of a workaholic is somebody who sacrifices things in order to achieve their goals. What often gets sacrificed is our relationships. There are a lot of people who are sacrificing relationships with their family, their kids, their spouses and friends on the altar of their work, their goals, their ministry or whatever. At some point, it’s going to break. Your physical health, your mental health, your relationships, there will be a break. What’s it worth to you? At the end of our lives, nobody ever says, “I wish I’d worked harder.” Nowhere in scripture does Jesus ever ask us to be busy.
He asks us to have a good work ethic, to be diligent, to be good stewards and to use wisdom. He also tells us to rest, to be sacrificial, be generous and all these things. All of that has gotten lost in the, “Have big dreams. You can do anything you want if you work harder. You owe it to yourself to go after your dreams,” and all this stuff. That’s not the message of the Gospel. You can fight it that more and more people are tuning into this idea that, “I’ve done all of that. I’m not any happier. My relationships are more in a mess. My physical body doesn’t feel good because I have adrenal fatigue and I’m not sleeping and all of these other things. Mentally I’m not doing well because my anxiety is so high.” At what point is it worth it? Because you can only do that for so long before something breaks.
The word obedience, there’s a lot of stigma with that word. I was having a conversation with one of my best friends. I was in Chicago finishing a conference and coming home. She said something to the effect that her husband doesn’t let her. I said, “What do you mean by that?” She said, “My husband is the head of my house and I am obedient to what he says.” I said, “You should say it in a different way. You should say, ‘I honor my husband and because he’s asked me not to.’” I understand what she’s saying, but if a stranger were to eavesdrop on our conversation and hear somebody say, “My husband won’t let me or I’m obedient,” it sounds radically wrong.
Many people tell me, “You’ll never be able to sell it with obedience in the title. You have to change the title.”
That’s what God gave you to say.
It’s not changing, we’ll just find somebody who loves it and I did. Obedience sounds a lot like submit. Our culture, especially American or Western culture, we don’t want to submit. We love being rule breakers and we love circumnavigating things. We don’t want to be told what to do. We don’t like to be conformists. This idea of obedience is more freedom than anything for me. It has been for me because it’s me letting go of control and letting God do what it is that he wants to do in my life. Giving myself a grace pass, diving deep into grace and doing a couple of laps. Realizing that at the end of the day, if my platform isn’t any bigger, but I cooked a great dinner for my kids, and I have quality time with them and our marriage is strong and healthy, then that’s what matters. Obedience isn’t a word that God instituted for us to be in bondage to. It’s a freedom thing. The more we lean into it, the more we realize that it’s there for our benefit, not for our captivity.
That’s why I wanted to cover that because who knows who’s going to read this. I do pray that somebody that has never even been exposed to the concept of obedience gets a hold of the heart behind this because it is for our benefit too. I don’t know if follow the rules is the right way even to say it but live in the design, in the rhythm, in the pattern that he designed.
Because when we don’t, it’s us saying that, “I’m smarter.” That goes right back to the garden and it was the song that Eve was singing. That’s what the enemy deceived her with and lied to her about, “Did God really save us? He doesn’t want you to be as smart as he is.” If you agree with this like, “Is that what God is going to do? Are you going to die?” It’s us singing the same song, “I can take care of myself. I know what my limits are. I’m not going to allow myself to become some crazy work-obsessed person. I’m never going to sacrifice my children.”
The next day you have a three-year-old that’s saying, “Mommy, will you put down your phone and come and read to me or play Legos with me?” It’s that revelation that I’ve been trying to tell God that I can do it on my own and that I can do things in my own time and I don’t need him. If you want to crack me about the spiritual things in my life, I bet that I got everything under control. That’s not the way that he wants us to live. He wants to be a part of the conversation for all areas of our life, our finances, our sex life, our parenting, our friendships, our work, our health, all of it. He doesn’t want to be left out of any of it.
I know the story, I understand the principle but I’m over here so convicted because I get it. I’m a busy mom, working, having a practice and I hear that from my girls like, “Mom, will you put your phone down? We want you to watch us ride our bike. You’re always on the phone.” I’m like, “You’re right. It sucks.” I need to put that stupid little device away and pretend I didn’t have it and pay attention. This conversation is what I need to hear and I’m confident that other people are going to be as excited to dive into the reality and the truth of this book. How can people find it?
It’s available for pre-order. It will be in bookstores. Any Christian retailer will have it. Barnes & Noble, Amazon, we’re hoping Target, we’re not totally sure but any of those places. MalindaFuller.com or ObedienceOverHustle.com.
Is your plan to go on the road with the kids and talk about the book and do ministry with this?
Yeah, we’re hoping that lots of things will open up. I’m going to be attending a couple of conferences. We’re traveling and following my husband’s work schedule. We’re excited to see what happens in being mobile and hoping that some cool opportunities surface as the Lord allows it to happen.
These last few years have been an incredible journey for your family, living this principle and being able to testify about it. It’s obvious that it’s working out. I’m excited to see what God is going to do in your life. I hope that when you make it to Northern California, I’ll get to give you a big hug. I love it if we can cross our paths wherever we are. I know that I’ve driven to LA when you have been in town and that was so awesome. I was going to be in Redding at one point and I was like, “I’m coming to your house.”
We do have plans to be in Northern California.[bctt tweet=”A workaholic is somebody who sacrifices things in order to achieve their goals.” via=”no”]
I will be here. I will be ready to check you out. You can come to my new practice. This has been a fantastic conversation and thanks for taking the time. I know both of us are waiting to get our kids to bed so that we can make this happen. That was fantastic. We had a little work-life balance there. I’m excited. Obedience Over Hustle, Malinda Fuller, you need to check out her book. Take to heart the principles that she’s writing about because it didn’t come from some fairytale-like existence. It came from the struggle of understanding that we don’t have the right to determine what our lives look like. We need to submit to our Creator. That’s what I wholeheartedly believe. Malinda, thank you so much for this awesome conversation.
Thanks for having me. It’s such an honor. I’m so excited to have been here.
I can’t wait for everybody to tune into the next episode. Thank you for tuning in to the show. We’ll talk to you soon.
- Obedience Over Hustle
- Obedience Over Hustle in Barnes & Noble
- Obedience Over Hustle in Amazon
- @Malinda.Fuller on Instagram
About Malinda Fuller
Malinda has a passion for seeing people thrive. Through her bold communication style, Malinda inspires people to dive deep and really examine their life with a lens of truth that allows freedom in all areas.
She and her husband Alex have been married for over 14 years and have two spirited daughters that she homeschools, while they travel together as a family for both her and her husband’s career.
Her writing has been featured in multiple publications including Huffington Post and Relevant Magazine.
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