Can I Let Go of Hustle and Rest in God? With Christy Nockels [Episode 146]

GIVEAWAY ALERT: You can win the book The Life You Long For by this week’s podcast guest. Keep reading to find out how!

Has your desire to serve God ever overshadowed your delight in simply being with Him? Oh, friend, it’s something that can happen to all of us from time to time!

It is when we surrender ourselves as living sacrifices that we find true rest. [Click to Tweet]

But did you know that it can even happen when we’re using the gift God’s given us? That’s Christy Nockels’ story. And, on today’s 4:13 Podcast episode, she shares how God called her to lay down her ministry for a season.

Christy is a worship leader and singer-songwriter with a passion for writing and speaking. Her podcast The Glorious in the Mundane inspires listeners to find the wonder of God at work in their everyday moments. Christy has released seven solo albums and, previously, she toured nationwide with her husband, Nathan, as the duo Watermark, recording seven #1 radio singles and five acclaimed albums. The two have also served on the worship team at Passion City Church in Atlanta.

Instead of asking: What do I need to build today? We can ask: Lord, what do You want to build in me or through me? [Click to Tweet]

You’ll hear how Christy was forced to confront how her sense of purpose and worth had become tangled up in her work. But what she gained was the benefit of an empowering surrender that let her live as God’s beloved. Christy shows you how to let go of hustle and achievement and instead find your identity in the quiet center of God’s love.

Jennifer’s Highlights and Take-Aways

I simply won’t capture Christy’s content and especially her heart here, so make sure you listen in or read the whole transcript. It was such a great conversation!

  • Finding rest. Christy starts our conversation by describing how she hit a wall with motherhood and trying to do it all in ministry. “I had no idea that a readied heart could look like an exhausted heart,” she shares.

    In the process of God calling her off the road for a season, she learned that she had been living for God but didn’t know how to live from Him. He called her off the platform for four years to come home and take care of her family. And, in doing so, she learned how to be His child again.

    Being off the platform revealed that she was finding her identity in what she did. Christy realized that singing for God had replaced sitting with Him. She says, “We offer ourselves as living sacrifices, then in that surrender we find rest.”

  • Finding the bullseye. Christy explains how, for her, living from the “bullseye” means living as the beloved and delighting in God. Psalm 37 helps us understand what this looks like. She describes that the concentric circles from that bullseye contain the community of the beloved. “We live in community,” Christy says. “People over productivity.”

    “Living in the bullseye, we get our assignment each day and live from God,” she says. Christy returns to that bullseye several times a day. It reminds her to live from a heart of rest, receiving God’s love. “We experience joy from serving God, but our service should come from our sonship,” Christy shares. “When we live from that order, the rest will follow.” I love how she put that: Sonship first, and service follows.

    Christi says that to stay in that bullseye requires communication with God. She prays, “Instead of seeking what am I supposed to build today, help me to surrender and be built. Help me to live as Your child.”

  • Finding communion with God. Constant communication develops intimacy with God, Christy says. It’s because you express to Him your cause or what keeps you up at night. As Psalm 38:9 says, “Oh, Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you.”

    According to Christy, true heart rest looks like constant communication and living from the bullseye. “Life isn’t about us achieving,” she explains. “It is about surrendering and being built … receiving what God has for you in every season.” Christy suggests that we need to take stock of our season to live with a heart of rest.

    • Ask: What am I trying to hustle and do on my own? Take inventory.
    • Pray: Lord, I commit my way to You. I trust You to hold up my cause and help me.
    • Ask: What does this free me to receive? If I am trusting You with this, what does it free me to pursue today?

    “When we live as Jesus as our treasure,” she says, “then we start to treasure the things He treasures.” When we live from rest, it propels us to receive and pursue what God has for us.

  • Finding wisdom through heart rest. Christy says that every morning she has to re-center herself in God through prayer and meditating on Scripture. This helps her discern what she should say yes to and what she should say no to. When she is living from a heart of rest, she can trust the Holy Spirit within her. She describes that when she lives this way, she can often trust her first impulse as the stirring of the Holy Spirit.

    When we have time with the Lord in the morning, it helps us with our yes and no, and in paying attention to the stirrings in our spirits. When we slow down and live from the bullseye or that heart of rest, we will hear Him singing over us.

I love Christy’s music and her heart! I think her last suggestion that we take inventory was such a good challenge. Ask, not “What do I need to build today?” but, “Lord, what do You want to build in me or through me?”

And, remember, no matter what you face or how you feel, you can do all things through Christ, who gives you strength.

Related Resources


Books & Bible Studies by Jennifer Rothschild

More from Christy Nockels

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Episode Transcript

4:13 Podcast: Can I Let Go of Hustle and Rest in God? With Christy Nockels [Episode 146]

Jennifer Rothschild: Sometimes our desire to serve God can overshadow our delight in simply being with Him. Well, when God called Christy Nockels to lay down her ministry for a season, she was forced to confront how her sense of purpose and worth had become tangled up in her work. But what she gained was the benefit of an empowering surrender that let her live as God's beloved. Oh, my people, on today's episode award winning singer-songwriter Christy Nockels is going to show us how to let go of hustle and achievement and instead find our identity in the quiet center of God's love. This conversation is full of practical encouragement and biblical wisdom, so let's get to it.

K.C. Wright: Welcome to the 4:13 Podcast, where practical encouragement and biblical wisdom set you up to live the "I can" life, because you can do all things through Christ, who strengthens you. Now welcome a woman who writes things on her to-do list after she's done them just so she can mark them off, Jennifer Rothschild.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes, yes, I admit that's so true, K.C., it's so true. Welcome, our friends. I'm Jennifer here to help you be and do more than you feel capable of as you live this "I can" life. And I will just give one disclaimer to that introduction, K.C.

K.C. Wright: OK, let's hear.

Jennifer Rothschild: It's not that I'm a productivity junkie, I just like closed loops.

K.C. Wright: Oh, OK.

Jennifer Rothschild: OK? So I just -- you know, I like everything to have a beginning and an end, so if I miss the beginning, I have to include the beginning so that I can end.

K.C. Wright: Well, you're a woman of much accomplishment. I admire your hustle, I really, truly do.

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, we're talking about hustle today with Christy Nockels, so here you go.

K.C. Wright: Well, I'm a huge fan of Christy because she helped me pick out my little girl's name. She wrote a song, and it's called Elliana's Song. And you have to look this up on YouTube. But this song is absolutely wow. "Elliana" means God has heard and answered our prayers. And she has a little girl named Elliana, and this song, well, it was all I needed when I heard it to say, that's the name I'm going to pick for my little girl.

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh.

K.C. Wright: Yeah. So Christy means a lot to me and I've never met her. So, Christy, if you're listening to the podcast, you got a fan in me. OK?

Jennifer Rothschild: That's right. And another little Elliana too.

K.C. Wright: Yes.

Jennifer Rothschild: You know, it really was a great conversation I had with her, and you're about to hear so much of her heart. It's just beautiful. You know, though, I will say this, y'all, just to give you one little heads-up. As we talked, at one point we had some technical difficulties, and we worked them and edited a little bit. But just in case, I don't want you to miss something that was very important. She's going to talk about the bullseye. OK? So when she begins to talk about the bullseye, I want you to already know what she's talking about. The bullseye is living as God's beloved. OK? Got that? The bullseye is living as God's beloved. So I don't want you to miss that. You're going to really love this good stuff that she's going to speak to your heart. So, K.C., you've already told us how much you love her, but why don't you introduce Christy for us.

K.C. Wright: Let's do it. Christy Nozzles is a worship leader and singer-songwriter with a passion for writing and speaking. Her podcast, The Glorious in The Mundane, inspires listeners to find the wonder of God at work in their everyday moments. Christy has released seven solo albums, and previously she toured nationwide with her husband, Nathan, as the duo Watermark, recording seven number one radio singles and five acclaimed albums. The two have also served on the worship team at Passion City Church in Atlanta. Now, are you ready for this?

Jennifer Rothschild: Mm-hmm.

K.C. Wright: Take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy this conversation with Jennifer and Christy.

Jennifer Rothschild: So, Christy, I think it's really fascinating, difficult, interesting -- I'm not sure which adjective to use -- but the fact that God called you to lay down your public ministry for a while. So I'm curious, how did you really know that that's what God was calling you to do? And when you did, what did it expose? What did you learn?

Christy Nockels: Yes. Well, God readied my heart for it. I just had no idea that a readied heart could look like an exhausted heart, one that was about to burn out. And I'd really hit a wall, especially with motherhood in the early years, and was trying to do it all with ministry. And for a while, you know, I could hold it together and get things done, but the Lord really, I think -- you know, I'm a Jesus girl, grew up in the church, my dad was a pastor, and, you know, a lot of my life I was sort of -- I use the word hustle. I read that you use the word grit, and I love that. But kind of hustle is the way I described it of the Lord just showing me that -- you know, I was doing all these things for Him, but I didn't really know how to live from Him.

And so for a time He was really showing me -- and he'll use anything for me, it just happened to be that He called me off the road, called me away from the platform for a time -- for about four years actually -- to come home. And the goal was to take care of my family, take care of my children. And I think even in that the Lord did that so purposefully in me taking care of my kids so that I could learn how to be His kid again, learn how to be His child, to learn how to be seen by Him in the secret place where no one else was, sort of the, you know, unproductive moments of my life, learning how to live from Him in that space.

And, of course, you know, it revealed that my identity, of course, had been completely wrapped up in what I was doing. Singing for God had replaced sitting with Him, and doing things for Him had replaced learning just to live from Him, like -- I use the word supernatural in the way that, you know, His promises and His principles work is that we offer ourselves as a living sacrifice, and in that Christ in us, which is our hope of glory, is then -- it's like we give God permission in that way. I say like -- I just use the word surrender a lot. And this book talks about living from rest, but really trusting God equals rest, surrendering to God equals rest. And that's kind of a spoiler alert, but --

Jennifer Rothschild: That's okay, 'cause --

Christy Nockels: It may not sell too -- put "surrender" on the title of the book.

Jennifer Rothschild: Right. Well, and I'm glad you gave us a spoiler alert, because truly that's not an easy thing, what you just described, and it does seem unattainable. And what I love about your life and your book is you show that it is -- well, I'm going to use the word incorrectly here -- it is attainable because in many ways it's not, it's a receivable. And you have received that, but you agreed with it, you cooperated with what God was doing. And so, Christy, one of the things I was curious about, in your book you write about these two concentric circles around this bullseye that impact the way we live, and I'm curious what that is. So could you explain what that is and what it means to us.

Christy Nockels: Sure. Well, I tell the full story in the book, which is actually just a really amazing way that God unfolded what I kind of call, like, a life shape. I think a lot of people probably have a way that God speaks to them, whether that's through nature or trees or, like, sometimes, you know, an actual shape. For me, it's been this bullseye. And it happened -- it was one morning when I was cleaning the toilet upstairs in the middle of the most mundane task ever and the Lord brought this picture back to my mind that friend of mine -- we had talked about a couple of months before that. I kind of went downstairs -- because it was just interesting to meet God, you know, cleaning a toilet.

And it caused me to just, like, go down to my table that morning, I opened up the Scripture to Psalm 37, which is actually my life passage of Scripture. But I had literally done one of those things where your Bible just -- I, like, opened it up and let it fall wherever, and it was my life passage of Scripture. And as I was reading Psalm 37, it was almost as if it was like a transparency. I could see this shape or this bullseye in these concentric circles over Psalm 37, which is, "Delight yourself in the Lord," verse 4, "and he will give you the desires of your heart." And then it says, "Commit your way to him and trust him and he will do this. He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, and the justice of your cause like the noonday sun." And sort of how I was speaking before, you know, it was like God showed me that I was, you know, living for Him, but I was kind of stuck out in these outer rings of my life, in the outermost ring, and I was exhausted. And I was sort of, you know, running raggedly in that outer ring. He's like, "If you hit the bullseye, I'll take care of all the outer rings of your life and I'll show you my glory." And so He was calling me really to come home to live in the bullseye.

And then that next circle out from that wasn't like our capacity as the beloved, He showed me over time that that's the community of the beloved, and as we live from the bullseye, we move out into actually community with others. And it's people over productivity, it's community before capacity. And then really the design in that which he showed me is Philippians 2. There are so many passages of Scripture that come around this. The design in that is that we are supposed to gather with all the saints, rooted and grounded in love. We experience God's love together. And then even we raise up. We mentor, we pull in the, you know, upcoming generation and we actually take them into our fullest capacity together into that outermost ring, which I like to say has been reclaimed. As we live from the bullseye inside out, we move into -- what I love, Ephesians 2:10 basically kind of shows us that, that we are his workmanship and we were created in Christ Jesus for good works that He's already prepared for us in advance to walk in.

So I love that, you know, living from the bullseye we kind of get our assignment each day and live from God from that place out into the reclaimed rings of our life, bringing our community with us side by side and co-laboring in what God has already prepared for us. So that's kind of -- that concentric circle picture and living inside out from the bullseye.

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, it's powerful because we can all identify with it because so many of us get it backwards, and I think we all can identify with that level of exhaustion that comes when we get it backwards. But I can see why it happens, because we find satisfaction doing things for God, and we -- and we should. You know, on some level we should feel a deep soul satisfaction as we serve the Lord. Yet that cannot be a substitute for finding our true soul satisfaction from just literally being with God. And so I think it becomes this habit we fall into, this machine, that we don't even realize we're doing it. So I'm curious for you, like, how did you untangle that, like your worth from your work, and how do you live that way and keep from falling back into this doing-versus-being pattern?

Christy Nockels: Yeah. Well, I find that I actually have to return to the bullseye sometimes several times a day. And so it's really -- you know, like you said, I think we all are -- you know, we experience joy from getting to serve God. But I think it's really living from that place of understanding that our service actually comes from our sonship or our daughtership. So it's like an order, God is a God of order. And it's experiencing -- when you live from that order, it really does -- like my brother would say to me -- who has ended up being one of my mentors in life -- the rest will follow. And the pun intended. Like, when we live from the order of sonship out into service, the rest will follow rather than, you know, exhausting ourselves in service and forgetting where -- kind of forgetting that order and where that supernatural life is able to, you know, live through us, Christ in us. And so, yeah, I think that for me it's really -- I kind of answered that backwards, I guess. But it's like learning just to live every day from that place of knowing how to sort of get back in that bullseye. And it takes communication. I've learned to, you know, lift my voice with my actual words and talk to God, whether that's at the steering wheel of my car after I've blown it with my family or, you know, waking up in those outer rings and feeling that pressure to build, or scrolling through Instagram and feeling like everyone's out there crushing it, they're building their things, but instead just like surrendering ourselves to be built. I love -- you know, 1 Peter 2:5 is that we are living stones being built into a spiritual house. And so rather than what am I supposed to be building today and that frantic, you know, pace we can wake up in, it's God -- just help me resist that and just surrender myself to be built.

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, I think you've described what true heart rest looks like. And so for someone who's listening and is thinking, oh, my goodness, I need that, I'm exhausted, I've had it all backwards, I love the Lord, I know He loves me, so what would you tell them that their first step or their next step may be in really experiencing this kind of heart rest?

Christy Nockels: It's so much about us receiving -- right? -- and just receiving what God has for us in every season. And so I think about, you know, just maybe take stock of like what season you're sitting in and to be able to go, OK, Lord, if this really -- if life is really about this relationship with you, me communicating with you, kind of even writing down, like, what season am I in, what are my circumstances, like what am I maybe trying to kind of hustle and do on my own, and sort of almost like take inventory and then be able to say, like, OK, God, if you're holding up, if I commit my way to you and I trust in you and you say that you'll hold up my cause and that you'll help me -- you know, which is what He promises in Psalm 37. He's like, I'll help you. If you're doing all that and you've got this, what does it free me then to receive? And that can just be every morning. You know, like, OK, God, if I'm trusting you with this, what does it free me to pursue today? So, yeah, I love even just each morning -- as this changes the trajectory of our lives, if we're able to surrender ourselves each day to be built, to trust God with the things that we want to hustle for, you know, and then really it causes us to be able to walk into those things that God's prepared us in advance to walk in. And so much of that, I believe, is just the people that we're going to encounter, even at the grocery store or in the carpool line or whatever it is. I love how it changes, how we go about our day as we're trusting God and we're really able to live from a rest that propels us into all the little conversations and all the places that God has, you know, caused sort of these divine appointments to happen. And so I love that it's all about what we're able to receive and what we're able to pursue because we've sort of shifted the order of our lives to live from God rather than chasing after all of these things that we so often end up waking up chasing. And I love how it just sort of -- it changes each day for us to live out from Him and to who He's called us to today.

Jennifer Rothschild: And what you're describing, Christy, too is -- I think just almost like your soul gets to take a deep breath. The pressure's off. You're not trying to figure it out and strive and please God and build yourself up. I mean, you just truly -- it's this -- it's a beautiful posture with low pressure. And there's a lot of sisters right now who need that. You know, though, I was curious -- as you were describing it, I thought, OK, so for many this will be a radical shift, a radical paradigm shift. And, of course, that's going to manifest in a radical lifestyle shift. And so I'd be curious, how would you deal with all the people in your life, you know, and your other demands when you shift your focus, because it's going to affect them. So how do you deal with that?

Christy Nockels: Well, you know, it's been a process for me of really learning how to say yes in the right seasons and say no. And I remember my brother -- who I've told you before has kind of mentored me through the years -- you know, just talked about how, you know, if we have the Holy Spirit in us, when we get opportunities that come our way or for -- you know, in my life, I have several different people because of building a ministry. It's like I have different people that are expecting things of me. And at the time this was happening to me 15 years ago when God really called me, sort of like you said, to that radical place of just resting, you know, there was like a record label and a booking agency. And for many listeners out there, it sometimes even can be our families and our children, and that can be a tricky place. And I think that for me it was really like having that time -- you know, I had to for sure have that time in the morning where it was just me and God, even if it was five minutes in the morning -- especially when my kids were little -- to be able to sort of, you know, re-center my life and trying to take at least one Bible verse that I was able just to kind of meditate on the rest of the day. But then as things came towards me, like even opportunities, I would be able to -- and as I was going to share before, my brother kind of, you know, taught me like when we get an opportunity that comes our way or someone's asking, you know, something of us or, hey, could you come do this or could you help us do this and -- he sort of helped me to be able to realize that the Holy Spirit is in us and that sometimes that first response is really him. And I believe that, you know, when we learn to live in this bullseye, when you start communicating with God and you have that time with him in the morning, it helps you with your yesses in your nos, it helps you literally be able to pay attention even to those stirrings in our spirit that -- not to say we shouldn't pray about things or decisions or people or people asking things of us, but it started really helping me kind of realize the places that I was saying yes to things because of what it could do for me. And I realized that it was exposing that I wasn't trusting God in that area and how -- you know, God teaching me to trust him with those things that actually brought more of kind of that -- those life-giving experiences. And it was sort of counterproductive too. I hope I'm making sense. But, like, sometimes it would be something that for ministry's sake or for building my career didn't necessarily make sense.

Jennifer Rothschild: Right. Right.

Christy Nockels: It was like he would give me these relationships or a mentor relationship with a young worship leader that would end up propelling something in my life, even God holding up my cause in a way that was, like, supernatural. And so you never know how God is going to work. And so I think that -- you know, obviously our family, that was really just a way that God, like, taught me right away in trusting him with even the little moments in my life, with being there with my kids, you know, nighttime -- the whole nighttime routine and all of that was just a way that God really -- slow down, that those moments were precious. And those unseen, you know, kind of spiritual moments -- like, I see the fruit of that in my teenagers now. I have a 20-year-old, a 17-year-old and a 13-year-old. And him slowing me down from thinking, you know, that life beyond, you know, that bedtime routine was -- you know, could hold and everything could kind of hush and get quiet so that I could just have that time with my kids, and letting God kind of come into those unseen places, it just was beautiful. And I see the fruit of it even now of clearing time for my children and my family in those days. So it's -- I hope that made sense. That's, like, the roundabout way.

Jennifer Rothschild: It does. And you know what, I don't know if you realize what you did, but by sharing that about being with your kids, the bedtime routine -- you kind of at the very beginning of our conversation talked about how this living from a heart of rest and learning to detangle your worth from your work and -- that being with your kids more helped you understand your relationship with God more clearly. And I think you just gave us a beautiful image that just as you languidly just spent time with your kids -- and because of who you are, I'm sure you sang beautiful lullabies over them -- that's what God does for us. And when we slow down long enough to surrender and live from that bullseye, that heart of rest, I believe we'll hear him singing over us, too. So thank you so much, Christy. This was a beautiful conversation, a beautiful book, and many blessings and favor upon you, my sister.

K.C. Wright: I can just tell her book will be so good and somebody right now knows she or he needs it.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yep.

K.C. Wright: I'm so grateful that we have one to give away right now to you listening. And here's how you win. You win the good stuff on Jennifer's Insta profile. OK? Go to Jennifer's Instagram to enter to win. She's @jenrothschild. That's @jenrothschild on Instagram. I hope you win. Or you can find a link to her Instagram at And we'll also have links there to Christy's books and her music.

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, yeah. Everything you need will be there. I love that woman's music. I really love, though -- got to be honest -- her heart. You know, I think her last suggestion, K.C., that we take inventory was such a good challenge.

K.C. Wright: Very good.

Jennifer Rothschild: You know, don't ask, what do I need to be building today --

K.C. Wright: Yeah. Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: -- but instead, Lord, what do you want to build in me or through me? Good stuff. Well, you can read a summary of my highlights and takeaways from our conversation at We're just so blessed on the 4:13 to talk to so many great people, aren't we? I mean, I -- I know you agree. So if you agree and you have not yet left a review, would you please leave a review. Because that really invites others to trust this podcast to give them the hope-filled encouragement that they need. So we're all in this together, our people. Thanks for being a part.

K.C. Wright: Yes, we are. Life is better together with you. We love doing life with you right here on the 4:13 Podcast. And do leave a kind review. We appreciate that. So remember, no matter what you face or how you feel, you can -- here's the promise from the Promise Keeper, you can do all things -- all means all -- through Christ, who gives you strength. I can.

Jennifer Rothschild: I can.

Jennifer Rothschild and K.C. Wright: And you can.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes, you can.

K.C. Wright: Man, that was good.

Jennifer Rothschild: I know. Lots to think about.

K.C. Wright: I want to listen to this again, seriously. She is just a well of wisdom.

Jennifer Rothschild: She is. And she's got a gentle power about her, I think.

K.C. Wright: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: It's just beautiful. And she's brave.

K.C. Wright: Loved listening to that conversation.

Jennifer Rothschild: And I love that your little Elliana has a song about her.

K.C. Wright: "Elliana" means God has heard and answered our prayers. It's the same meaning of the name Samuel as well. So if you have a Samuel in your life, it means the same thing, yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: The feminine version.

K.C. Wright: And it's true, she is answered prayer. Yeah, God has heard and answered our prayers.

Jennifer Rothschild: I love that.

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