Some time ago, I told you about my one word for 2013 - diligence.
But I have to confess to you, thus far this year, I have not been very diligent.
Diligence, it turns out, is hard.
The daily commitment to get up and engage life, especially when you are waiting for the fulfillment of answered prayers - it's hard.
Oh, I've had days of diligence. I've recommitted myself time and again to diligence, but in general, I'd say I haven't found the rhythm of it.
A few days, maybe even a few weeks, of consistency all thrown off by a single happening. A small break in routine which totally breaks down habit making.
But even with my lack of diligence, I have managed to learn a few things about being diligent.
Coming into the new year, I thought diligence meant routine. It meant getting up every morning at five, exercising, reading, praying and getting ready for the day. It meant making a healthy lunch and cooking a healthy dinner every evening. Bed by 10:00 pm. It meant set times for set things. Diligence meant routine.
But diligence, I'm finding, is not synonymous with routine. Routine can and probably should be part of diligence, but diligence is much bigger than routine. You can be diligent to a routine, but you can also be failing to be diligent in other arenas - finances, for instance, or relationships.
Diligence is a life style. It's wrapped up in your character and who you are in every moment of the day. Diligence requires self-awareness and discernment. Diligence is how you approach new challenges and how you meet old ones. Diligence is the friend you are, the daughter you are, the mother you are, the partner you are. Diligence is earnestness and faithfulness. Diligence is when you can be trusted with the largest of things and the smallest of things.
But diligence in Christ is where we encounter diligence at its apex - diligence in our relationship with Him overflowing into diligence in our relationships with ourselves and with others.
I can be no more diligent in my everyday life than I am in my relationship with Christ. When I fail to be diligent - to be earnest, to be faithful, to be consistent - in my relationship with Him, I fail to be diligent in every other area of life.
The aim of diligence is to draw closer to the living Lord.
The aim of diligence is a life filled up and overflowing with Him.
The truth, I'm finding, is a lackadaisical faith leads to a lackadaisical knowing and understanding of Him. When we diligently, faithfully, earnestly come into our relationship with the Father, we increase in knowing and understanding. And out of this knowing and understanding, diligence will flow into the rest of our lives.