There was nothing I could do because clearly her mind was made up. All that was missing was our chaps, holsters, and cowboy hats for this to be an authentic Western duel. Yet, she seemed to possess a greater grip on her goal of defeating me, her perceived enemy. And all because I was denying her a purple pinwheel that she was dead set on obliterating. She hopped on the suitcase, climbed onto the chair and if she wasn’t so attached to her arm, she would have successfully snatched it from its position. I moved it farther; she frowned at me, retraced her steps and tried another route, still with no purple pinwheel. She went back to her original plan, frustrated but determined. After many (as in the technical term of five or six) attempts, I safely secured the object so another child would be able to enjoy it one day. A moment later she was on to another colored object, while I remained struck by her fixated determination. Have I lost that? Have you?
What do we do with this word “resolve” in light of the bad rap it’s gotten since Grace showed up and eliminated our need to live by the law? Things are different now, but where and how does Resolve play itself out?
I've been chewing on Proverbs 31:14-15 this month: "She [the valiant woman] is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar. She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens." My ignorance nearly got the best of me, and I thought I was doomed unless I became an early riser. I decided firmly on a course of action to start getting up before the sun....and failed the first day and the second day and well, you get the idea. I just set myself up for failure in part because of a misinterpretation of Scripture. If you're like me, you shudder at the concept of failure and avoid it at all costs, thus not taking any risks at all. But hello, it is the Year of VALOR, I'm supposed to be doing crazy things like...getting up early. If the excellent wife is doing it, and I wanna be like her, then I should be setting my alarm for 4:30, and not taking "snoozy" way out.
Thankfully, getting up early is not what those verses are about. It's about this woman's resolve, and the lengths she will go to for what is important to her and with what she has been entrusted. She very practically makes the necessary adjustments to ensure victory and success. She goes the distance (go ahead, sing the song, you know you want to), and she sacrifices. No one would ever associate her with laziness or sloth. And THAT is what makes her valiant.
(Side note: See how He likes to teach us things in themes? I like to think of them as "spiritual arches." You will see this start to happen when you choose a word for the year, but even THAT gets broken down into other lessons that circle back around to the WOTY (what I am not calling "word of the year"))
I don't want to lose my focus. I don't want to be lazy. And I certainly don't want to punt to another capable follower if the Lord has chosen to use me for something.
"work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure." Phil. 2:12b-13
BEST. NEWS. EVER. I can't actually have resolve on my own! AND the work that I do is a RESULT of his work in me. He is my motivator, He KEEPS ME GOING. He STRENGTHENS MY RESOLVE. He enables me and reminds me it is a BRAVE and COURAGEOUS thing to be resolute. Hallelujah, I cannot continue in obedience without Him. There is rest in that, there is peace in that. And you know what there is not? Fear. As He works in me, fear has no room, and I can keep getting up after I fail because I am fixated on Him, like the girl after that pinwheel.
Oh, may I let nothing keep me from fulfilling my calling!
Set Jaw. Furrowed Brow. Focused Eyes. That's exactly what I picture when I think of the word: VALOR. It's my word of 2014, and I am working my way through Proverbs 31, in a quest to be worthy, excellent, honorable, and yeah, valiant. I mean, who wouldn't want to be those things? In theory, though, right? It definitely sounds like a lot of work and sacrifice. It sounds like pain. And not like hangnail pain. Like there will be bruising, the kind that makes you wince. Like there will be blood and war wounds. And for what exactly? That's the question.
In stories where VALOR is involved, behavior that is classified as such is motivated by love or loyalty, by obedience, and/or by service. Inherent in the word is some sense of purpose and reason. These are my first impressions of the word. And guess what? They're already being modified by the One who DEFINES valor. This description isn't wrong, but it needs, as Tom Hanks would say in You've Got Mail, tweaking.
One of the first verses I've been focusing on this month is "The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain." (v. 11) Now, I'm not married, but I hope to be one day, and I want to be someone who's worthy of being confided in, worthy of trust. As I've been chewing on what that means, I read this verse today, "Saul went to his home at Gibeah, and with him went men of valor whose hearts God had touched." (1 Samuel 10:26) Then I REALLY started to get excited because what if being a trustworthy person means that you have a heart that God can touch?! And THAT is precisely what MAKES you trustworthy! So, by being that malleable clay in the Master's hands, by being sensitive to the leading of His Spirit, being REACHABLE by my CREATOR, I am capable and worthy to be relied upon because I am in HIS hands!!!! And this should strengthen my relationship with both God AND others. And if there is strength involved, that almost looks like...could it be?...yes, I think maybe that's a glimmer of VALOR.
So, are YOU trustworthy according to how we defined it? Do you have a heart that God can touch thereby making you more valiant?
Brittany Van Ryn
Working out thoughts with HIM.