"it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy..." - Isaiah 35:2
**Photography by Melissa Talbot**
Abraham Lincoln onced quipped, "We must not promise what we ought not, lest we be called on to perform what we cannot." Basically, Mr. Lincoln is telling us that we shouldn't make promises we can't keep.
People who you make promises to will go one of two ways. They will either hold you to that promise and hound you until you have followed through or they will simply hold no value to that promise and never ask it be fulfilled. Why? I think it has a lot to do with how the person, themselves, views promises and the type of person they see you as. The promise is bond or it's open for breaking.
I never used to be a person of my word. Years ago, when I was living a very sexually immoral and self-destructive life, words didn't hold a lot of value. I never concerned myself with my word being my bond and I never made a promise because I knew that it wouldn't be kept. Kind of sad, but I was smart enough to acknowledge the reality of my life and circumstances at the time. That reality being a promise would never be delivered.
Today, as a result of my life being turned around by God, I take the words that are spoken very seriously and my word is my bond. If I say I am going to do something, I will, and a promise made is followed through on. Seems simple enough doesn't it? So, why are some promises harder to keep than others?
The harder promises to keep, that come to mind, are a big trip somewhere when the monetary resources may not be there or making your child's play when your work schedule is more than insane. Perhaps, the greatest promises made are during a wedding ceremony. The kinds of promises that can be a real challenge to keep after a few years into the marriage.
While each person's intention to keep the promise may be real and sincere, sometimes situations happen that run the risk of breaking one or numerous promises. The person loses their credibility and the words no longer matter. For some, promises are taken very seriously and cause great emotional and psychological harm when they aren't kept.
Broken marriages, children, and friendships are all legitimate forms of collateral damage when the break of a promise occurs. Reality sets in and trust is lost. Quite often, it's hard to recover from the recurring cycle of broken promises. Have you ever made a promise that was challenging to keep?
Recently, I entered into a promise with someone. A promise that had to be made and one I thought, initially, would be easy to keep. Boy, was I misled. We entered into this covenant of sorts on June 1st, for forty days. Forty days. How hard could it be? Well, after being in it for only twelve days now, it is one of the most difficult promises I have made.
I never thought it could be this hard to keep this kind of promise. Granted, it's nothing to do with delivering a trip or showing up at a special event. It's real stuff, with integrity and honor at stake. It's trusting a process to take place while doing away with something meaningful, in hopes of obtaining an amazing outcome. An outcome that could set the course for even more amazing things to come.
Have I been challenged in keeping this promise? Uh, yeah! Do I intend on following through and finishing these next twenty-eight days without breaking that promise? Yes. For me, the words spoken as part of this promise, matter...a lot. I want to continue to be that person, that woman, who does what she says. Even if each day is broken down into ten minute increments in order to cope.
"Just a little longer", I tell myself. The heavy load of the promise has been lightened by my reliance on God to get me through, not only today, but in the days ahead. I confided in a close friend about the promise and she assured me that it would get easier as each day passed. I believed her, even though I haven't felt like it's gotten easier. At the end of the day, the way I get through this journey is a choice.
A choice to focus on other things and not get caught up in the pain of the promise. I am looking forward to the point when things do become easier. For now, I need to occupy my mind and time with things that ease the pressure and heaviness of what needs to be accomplished and the promise that needs to be kept.
Encouragement for the week:
Did you ever make a promise you didn't keep? How did that make you feel? How did the person you made the promise to feel?
We all have good intentions and sincerely wish to follow through but, sometimes, life gets in the way. Let it be life and not ourselves, that gets in the way of being persons of our word and keeper of our promises.
If you are a Christian, you have the promise of God's Word to hold on to, knowing that each promise will be kept. Let us be the same in keeping our word to others.
If you are not a Christian, look for Jesus and you will find Him and all of His great and wonderful promises for you that He is anxious to keep.