The fabric of faithfulness is woven with the threads of small choices. 

It is typical to pause mid-year and check on the goals one made when the year was newborn. My word for this year is “faithful.” I am a month late with my half-year reflection, so that should tell you something. It has been a struggle. I spend too much time on social media. I watch TV. My exercise clothes sit neatly folded, where they were laid out with good intentions. Leftover takeout shares refrigerator space with unprepared produce. My workspace is cluttered with the remnants of homeschooling, when my last kid graduated three years ago.

Believe it or not, even with all these failings, I can still see some success and progress. I have started the habit of 100 words before breakfast. Before I eat, I make myself write at least 100 words, about the length of a paragraph, on any project I’m working on. This post started with this pre-breakfast habit. It fires up my brain and helps me ease into writer mode. I achieve this most weekdays, but not all. And some days, my 100 words is all the writing I do.

I try to exercise at least five days per week, and my fitness is improving steadily. But just last week I received an email with the chirpy subject line “Your Fitbit report!” informing me I had accomplished 0 out 5 days of my goal. Still, I’m making progress, in general. Same with chipping away at the chaos in my home. My goal is to spend a few minutes every day moving forward against clutter beyond daily maintenance like dishes, laundry, and routine cleaning. It doesn’t always get done. But the other day I did empty out my homeschool planner and file the last quarterly reports from Nicholas’s senior year of high school, so there’s that.

The best of faithfulness happens first thing in the morning, when I grab a cup of coffee, my Bible and journal, and sit with Jesus. Since the morning in February 2015 when I came back to this habit and gave Him a chance to make something whole out of my shattered soul, I have missed only a handful of mornings. To be fair, this is not something I give Jesus; it is something He gives me. I can hardly take credit for my craving, any more than I can congratulate my lungs for wanting to breathe or my stomach for rumbling for food.

The Bible talks a lot more about God’s faithfulness than human’s. Our faithfulness always appears as a response to something God has done in us, like growing fruit, or entrusting us with talents. In our English Bibles, the Old Testament words for “faithful” are often translated as “true.” The Hebrew verb aman: to make firm, to support, and words derived from it (like emeth: firmness, continuance, stability, emunah: certainty, amen: sure, truly, amanah: a type of covenant) contains both concepts, inextricably intertwined. 

Faithful and true. This is the character of our God.

This year I am on the uncomfortable path of exploring my own faithfulness. Too often, I discover my unfaithfulness, the times I am not true to my priorities, my intentions, my values. How I spend, or waste, time reveals it. The little things, at the end of the day, determine if I feel satisfied, like I have purchased meaning and purpose and joy with the coinage of my time. In the tapestry of my life, what does that day’s inch-worth of stitches show?

The fabric of faithfulness is woven with the threads of small choices.