Do resolutions even work? Most years, they haven’t for me. I’m not sure if it’s because I choose too many and then become overwhelmed, get distracted with other opportunities as they arise during the year, or just set unrealistic goals from the start. Whatever the reason, I’m continuing my approach from last year and choosing just one word, in lieu of a list, to set my course ahead. This year my word is “steadfast.”
Webster’s definition is: “firmly fixed in place: immovable.” I’m sure you’re thinking, “Well, that’s pretty rigid, Julie. Why would anyone even want to be immovable? Isn’t ‘flexible’ better in our ever-changing world?” Let me unpack this, because often things don’t appear as they may seem. And, by the way, God himself is described as immovable in Malachi 3:6: “For I the Lord do not change …”
For years I have had a pattern of setting the same goals — de-clutter, get in shape, stay in shape, write a book, learn how to play the piano, etc. While I have made progress on those fronts, they never seem to reach completion. Each year I get off to a roaring start, but then something happens and I don’t get the satisfaction of checking the task off my to-do list. After reflecting on past years, I discovered the reason for my lack of accomplishing these goals is the result of another word — distraction. Some distractions, even seemingly good ones, have taken me off track and off task. Usually they are ushered in when I log on to the internet for a minute but hours pass, or I allow difficult personalities/relationships to consume my emotions and time. Overcommitment has also become a bad habit. And during the holidays another culprit may be the never-ending Hallmark “Countdown to Christmas” — every night.
So this year I’m combatting distraction through — you guessed it — my word. Steadfast is a word I have admired from afar for a while, but this year I’m embracing it. And I’m not the only one. Throughout the Bible, the word steadfast appears over 200 times, and it is also lived out through many well-known biblical heroes. Unfortunately, because of their steadfastness, many were persecuted and some were put to death. Daniel was thrown in the lion’s den, Paul was imprisoned, Stephen was stoned to death, apostles and followers were martyred, Jesus was hung on a cross. Being steadfast in their faith practically guaranteed to be persecuted.
But to them and now to me, it’s worth it. Because being steadfast not only has eternal but also immediate rewards — peace and a promise that our immovable God will always be with us because “his steadfast love endures forever.” (Psalm 118)
“Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (1Corinth. 15:58 NRSV)