Perhaps I could blame my upbringing. There lives within this former Baptist Sunday school girl the tiniest of a rebellious streak—not the kind likely ever to get me arrested or highlighted on The Drudge Report. My rebellion is more of the sort which refuses to toss my records into the bonfire just because everyone else in my youth group did so.
Many of my friends in blog world choose a word for each year–one which defines an ideal, a practice, or a resolution on which to focus throughout the coming months. When I began blogging, I likewise chose a new word for several years. Much of what I did when I began blogging was motivated by my looking around on the internet to see what others were doing and then imitating what I saw.
The first word I chose was See, inspired by my participation in Ann Voskamp’s Gratitude Community–the weekly appointment I set for myself to tap out words and post them. The following year I chose the word Believe, and the year after that I selected the word Drink. I gave up on Drink about midway through that year and began to ponder the word Dwell. I figured since it was my word and my year, I was free to make up my own rules. See how my rebelliousness creeps in?
I did not choose a word last year, in part because I’ve sort of grown tired of doing what I saw everyone else doing. In the past I’ve written posts just for the sake of linking up with other communities, and sometimes those pieces didn’t really sound like me. I think I’m done with doing what others are doing. My blog and I have been having a serious conversation about what is going to be going on in this space in the future.
Besides. I couldn’t come up with a word for last year. Maybe I was being rebellious. Maybe I was just being lazy.
I wasn’t going to choose a word for this year either, but one keeps presenting itself to me over and over again. Last year I worked through the Psalms in my devotional reading, and I kept coming across the word steadfast. The more times I came across it, the more I began to realize: “I don’t ever really use that word.” There’s probably a good reason for that.
I’m hard-pressed to come up with examples of people I would describe as being steadfast.
Dictionary definitions of the word steadfast include the following: very devoted or loyal to a person, belief, or cause; not changing; firmly fixed in place; immovable; not subject to change; firm in belief, determination, or adherence. I know many people who exemplify elements of that definition. The Beloved Swede, for example, is a very determined person. He is firm in his belief and has proven himself to be a profoundly devoted and loyal husband, especially given that he’s married to the likes of me.
As I considered the word steadfast, however, the closest example I could come up with came, not from a person, but from a movie: The Terminator. Remember that icon of a cheesy 80’s action and adventure movie?
Skynet sent a machine, wrapped in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s flesh, back from the future in order to quash a rebellion before it could begin. I remember, the first time a friend recommended watching it; I rolled my eyes at the premise. It didn’t take long, however, before I had been completely sucked in. I began to believe the Terminator was truly unstoppable. Nothing and no one seemed capable of preventing Arnold from carrying out his mission of terminating would-be revolutionary Sarah Connor with her insufferably fluffy hair. Not bullets, nor even explosions. The impact of a tractor trailer barely slowed him down.
The Terminator was steadfast in his mission. Unstoppable. And deadly.
When I read about Christ’s steadfastness, however, the word is nearly always followed by those of love and mercy. He is unstoppable, unmovable in his mission, and his mission is of being for his beloved children. Christ is not subject to change in completing the work given to him by his Father. He resolutely set his face toward Jerusalem, knowing what it would cost him to redeem, rescue and restore his own.
No matter what circumstances I encounter, no matter what insurmountable obstacles appear to be in my way; and no matter, even, the dumb things I do–Christ will not relent. He will not stop. I can rest in knowing Christ remains steadfast in being for me. He continues marching forward, working all things toward his purpose and for my good.
Even though I hadn’t planned to choose a word, I think the word steadfast is going to be a good one for me to dwell in this year. The beauty, for me, in selecting this word is that it doesn’t require me to do a single thing, except rest in it.
I told you I had a bit of a rebellious streak in me.
Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things;
let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord.
Psalm 107:43, ESV