Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Commitment Is A Long Journey, Not a Short Walk

I have been having fun recently with an anagram finder website.  It takes a word, name or short phrase and tells you what words or phrases would use the same letters. Some of them are silly but some are pretty funny. For example, my name Gary Sinclair also spells Scary Liar Gin or Sangria Lyric.

However, I recently tried the word commitment and guess what?  There is only one other option:  commitment.  

I guess it's hard to say commitment any other way than just commitment.  In other words there are no cheap substitutes. What might that mean?

Well, a lot of us would like our commitment to something - marriage, parenting, a changed life, devotion to Christ and the like - to be pretty easy.  Check off a few boxes, have an emotional moment or special gathering, think about it now and then and we're done.

But commitment to anything for a long time requires giving oneself to it one step, one moment, one day at a time. We can't just go, "Oh yeah, you know I need to give a little attention to my parenting or marriage.  It's been a while."  Or, "Jesus is important to me but I'm not going to get too radical about my faith."

But you see anything great takes hard, consistent, passionate effort and thought - all the time.  Look at outstanding athletes, musicians, artists, authors and saints. They all had to give their life to it. But even so they had to first commit to a daily mindset and way of life.  What might that look like?

First,  do we think about the true significance of that part of our life?  Do we have it near the center or just along the periphery of our mind?  I wrote about this in my last blog concerning our faith in Christ.  Is Jesus the center or just a piece of the pie?  If our goal is a great one then we must come to grips with how important it is that we reach that goal.

We must think, "This matters.  I have to do this well."

Second, have we put habits into our life that cause that area to grow in us and others?  For example, do we habitually spend time with our spouse or include meaningful activities with our kids?  A lot of families these days are on cruise control every week and instead of them running life it runs them. Or in our spiritual lives, do we read the Bible, pray and spend time learning from others at church, small group or one to one?

Third, do we have people around us who will keep us focused?  We all need partners, cohorts, mentors and fellow-runners who will encourage us not to quit.  Ecclesiastes 4:9,10, says, "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down his friend can help him up." Find someone who will be relentless in helping you reach your goal.  I think of Michael Phelps, perhaps the best swimmer of all time.  But if he didn't have his coach Bob Bowman it's unlikely Phelps would have accomplished all he did.

So whatever commitment you made long ago or just recently, remember the hardest part is keeping it. It's a long journey.  As some like to say it's a marathon. But it will be worth it when you look back someday and realize you made it.  Not without some challenges or bumps and bruises but you will have made it.  Good things, great things, lifechanging things and most importantly the things of God will not happen any other way.

Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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