I have come up with a "theme word" for 2017. I know some people who get really into picking out theme words and theme songs and you name it for the new year, and I am not really one of those people. But sometimes, a word or a concept or a verse or a goal continues to tug at your heart, and you just need to turn it into a word you carry with you throughout the year. As my title suggests, for 2017, my word is "faithful."
Being faithful means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. I think we most often hear this word in terms of being faithful to a spouse or in terms of being faithful in our friendships and family relationships. But there is so, so much more to it than that.
Mark Batterson writes in his new book Chase the Lion: "Just keep doing the right thing day in and day out. It's called faithfulness." Mark hits the nail on the head--that indeed is what it means to be faithful. Doing the right thing day in and day out, over and over and over again, whether anyone is watching and especially if they are not. One of the reasons I keep coming back to this concept of faithfulness is because the life stage that I and most of my friends are in (late 20's and early 30's) is generally a stage of laying the groundwork for the rest of your life through a lot of hard work and commitment, and that takes faithfulness--choosing to do the right thing over and over again, even when we don't feel like it and are exhausted and don't think anyone notices or cares.
It's a stage of planting seeds, but not so much a stage of bearing fruit, as that often comes much later. It's a stage of putting in the work to be successful, knowing that the success may not come for quite some time. It takes a long time to build that groundwork--the groundwork for a healthy life, a strong career, a family, and whatever it is you may be seeking. It's a time for a lot of sweat and tears. Late nights and early mornings. Being at the bottom of the totem pole at work and often getting tasked with the grunt work that no one else wants to do. Long hours of training and sore muscles. Alarms set for 5am. Budgeting and saving money when you'd really rather not. Investing in personal friendships and a professional network. As the quote says, being willing to do what others are not willing to do so that someday you are able to do what others are not able to do.
And make no mistake--it requires a lot of faithfulness. Being faithful to take care of your body and your health. Being faithful to manage your finances, to take care of your home, and to go above and beyond at your job. Being faithful in your marriage and family life, if that applies to you. Being faithful in your relationship with the Lord, in church attendance, in studying Scripture and spiritual disciplines. Being faithful about the really little things--like responding to text messages and always being on time (can't even tell you how much I need to work on both of those).
In 2017, I just want to be more faithful. I want to go above and beyond. I want to do more than what is asked or expected of me. I want to show up early and stay late. I want to do things with all of my heart. I want to treat the work I have to do as if it is a privilege--because it most definitely is. As Mark Batterson also points out in his book, doing the right thing is one day at a time. He writes, "You get in shape one workout at a time. You get out of debt one payment at a time. You get the job promotion one project at a time . . . Games aren't won on game day. Games are won in the weight room. Whatever dream you are chasing, you prove yourself one day at a time." I love that because it is so, so true.
Y'all, I can't expect to be "a partner at a law firm by the time I'm 30," Elle Woods-style, if I'm not willing to knock it out of the park now on the research and writing assignments the partners at my firm give me to do for them. I can't expect to be able to be running, active, and healthy at age 80 if I'm not carving time out of my day now to exercise. And I can't expect to have the friendships I want to have if I'm not willing to be there for people when they need me.
Be faithful. Pour your heart into the life God has given you and the tasks He has placed in front of you. Work really hard and do your best.
And without further ado--I need to go be faithful in my life by cleaning the bathroom, doing my laundry, and finishing a project for work.