If someone asked me if there was a particular book I found myself returning to and rereading, I would have to answer: The Book of Psalms. Don’t get me wrong…I could say ‘The Bible’ as a whole, but even within the Bible, I am consistently in the Psalms. The Book of Psalms seems to cover every emotion of the human heart: anger, fear, sorrow, joy, peace, praise, questions…whatever situation I find myself in, I can find a Psalm to encourage, comfort or challenge my thoughts.
I am not sure what initially caught my attention to the phrase, but I started to note that “steadfast love” made a common appearance throughout the whole book. I recently restarted the Psalms, this time with the intent of not skipping around, but rather reading through the book in numeral order and making reference to the verses containing the phrase, “steadfast love.” I have just begun and realize that there will be many references by the time I reach Psalm 150. 🙂
Seeing, reading, hearing or writing certain phrases (or words) will cause them to get in your mind, and out of the reoccurrence, a habit of saying the phrases (or words) is most likely to follow. Habits like this are strange. It is not that I planned to get myself in phrase habits…it just happens.
The first time I think I started getting into phrase habits was when my sister started to use the term, “cutsie” in describing things. I started to say it, because I heard her say it. Once I got to college, I stopped saying the word. Then there was the term, “Cool beans.” What that means, I am not quite sure but I am glad I chose that particular phrase instead of “Dude.” For some odd reason, I never found myself sounding realistic when I said, “I know dude.” It would be as if I were quoting Janice from the Muppets, “Oh wow, like for surely.” Both were just not in my personality profile I suppose.
Last summer the word was “genius.” If I agreed with something: “Genius!” If I thought a point was well made in a conversation: “Genius.” If I learned something new or finally understood something that was trying to be communicated: “Genius.” Along the way, with my fascination for English/UK history growing, I then ventured to also stating, “brilliant” after my train of thoughts if “genius” had not already been spoken. Of course, I know where I got my word “brilliant” from: try not to laugh but it is the truth–Yzma, off of Disney’s The Emperor’s New Groove. Truth spoken. 🙂 [And if you haven’t seen the movie…you must!]
As of the present, my phrase is “Good grief.” I have no idea where this came from–I don’t even read the cartoon Peanuts either.
The phrase itself is neutral; the context of how I say it is when it differs from a plain mutter to a complete mode of venting my frustration. I don’t apply it to people as I did the word, “genius’, but rather I find this time my phrase habit is associated with my physical state. I run into the wall as I turn the corner: “Good grief” (muttered). I can’t get my bobby pins in my hair or my pants buttoned: “Good grief!” (with tone of frustration and a slight, ‘ugh’ added.) I spill something, drop something or can’t get something open: “Good grief” (sort of in whinny tone). These are just a few…but my reoccurrence of the phrase has me once and for all thinking in my mind: “Good grief…why can’t I stop saying this phrase?”
I have tried. Then I catch myself saying it again and it starts to play like a broken record in my mind. I am not sure how to break myself from this phrase habit. I have before with the others but this time since I am sincerely trying to stop the habit, I find it more continual. So as I read the Psalms yesterday, the thought dawned on me that if I see, read, hear, or write a phrase that a habit of saying it will be more likely to follow.
I may not walk around and say, “steadfast love” after every sentence, but it could very well be a map of a new habitual phrase. In seeking the continual reminder of God’s steadfast love, I hope to find that in the end all of my ‘good griefs’ will fade to where only His goodness remains.
Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.
Psalm 33:22 ESV