Friday, July 31, 2009

The Strength of Commitment

Commitment is foundational to any REALationship. It is through our commitment to them that others know they will never have to face the storms of life alone. It is not necessarily a great number of people that are around someone that enables them to weather the storm, but it is the strength of the commitment that is made to them, even if this exists only in one or two friends.

To see this proven, take something as simple as a rope or string as an example. If you have a single stranded cord, then there is not much strength in that, because you have similar fibers that are oriented in the same direction. When you have a double stranded cord, then you are sharing that load stress across the fibers of two assemblies that perhaps are oriented in the same direction, yet are not oriented together until they are bound together. A three stranded cord is stronger still, and almost impossible to break.

Try a simple experiment. Take ordinary sewing thread and tie it off to something, then try to break it. A single strand can be snapped with little effort. Then tie off two strands and twist them together, using a pencil or some other anchor point. Now try to break it. It is more difficult, isn't it? Now tie off three strands and twist. Pull on that and let me know how you do.

Here is something else that is universally true. The tighter the twist, the stronger the cord. When two or three strands of thread are loosely twisted it does make a good cord, yet if you take the time to twist the strands tighter you get a much stronger cord.

It is also like this in our commitments within REALationships. When we take the time to invest in others, carefully and methodically entwining our lives with theirs, then we have become for them that two or three stranded cord that is twisted tightly. The great thing about this cord is that it becomes apparent that the likelihood of their also being a two or three stranded cord for us increases greatly. It may not be universally true, but the chances of them standing with us through our storms once we have committed to them in this way increase significantly.

If you knew a hurricane was coming, would you rather tie up your boat to the dock with a bunch of single stranded 1/4" drapery cord, or with two or three ropes made from drapery cord twisted tightly together?

To withstand the storms, whether big or small, I'll take my chances with the two or three ropes. There's more substance to them; more ability to take the stresses that come from being tossed around in the surf and wind.

That's the ticket. That's the foundation of commitment. To be so entwined with someone's life that you appear as one single rope.

This two or three stranded cord is what I want to be for those I commit to.

What about you? Who are you entwined with? Who can you begin entwining your life with?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Commitment From A Defining Moment

When we look at the definition of commitment, we see words like pledge, obligate, and entrust used. So what does this look like in daily living? How does one LIVE commitment?

Commitment is a decision to stand with someone or something regardless of the outcome. To commit to someone is to decide day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, to walk with them in their life. This shows that you are willing to make yourself available. See, in a REALationship it is not the smartest, or the strongest, or the richest, that makes for a good friend. Friends are found in those who give of themselves to you, and do so continually. To make yourself available is to commit completely to someone.

This need not be a physical presence either. I have a few people that will answer the phone when I call, no matter the time or place. They have decided to make themselves available to me. This does not necessarily force me, or compel me, to make myself available to them. No, it is MY decision to be available for them. My priviledge. I know they have committed to me, and they know I have committed to them.

Life can be so hard sometimes. Suffering is a part of living in this fallen world. To go through the trials and pain that all of us experience is difficult enough. To have to do it alone makes it almost unbearable.

I once heard that the reason you often see teams of horses pulling loads instead of individual horses was because two can handle a load much greater than each can alone. In fact, this example went on to explain that if one horse could pull 10,000 pounds then two could pull as much as 27,000 to 30,000 pounds. Even in something as simple as freight transportation we see a benefit to having someone else help you bear the load. This only can work however if the two horses work together instead of individually. I understand it is not in their nature to do so.

It is not in our nature either.

To commit, we must decide that we will make ourselves available to others.

Commitment is the outward demonstration of an inward decision to change the lives of those around you by being there for them, to make their lives more bearable and to allow them to know that whatever burden comes along that they must endure, they will never have to endure it alone.

Commitment is denying self and deciding to help someone else, even if they may not deserve it.

Do we really deserve those who commit to us? I know I don't.

Who can you touch by deciding, with no other requirements, that you will commit to them?

Whose life can YOU share a defining moment with today?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Commitment-the Bricks of the Relationship Building

I can think of few days more appropriate to begin the thread on commitment than Independence Day. It was on this day, about 230 years ago, that a few men recognized how a multitude of men had fully committed to something better and greater than themselves. What stronger statement of commitment can be made than for one to give their life for the greater good? In the immortal words of Mr. Spock, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." What greater statement can be made in proving ones commitment?

This is perhaps THE truest definition of commitment: to give of your all for someone else. I see that as the most demonstrative way to prove you are committed to someone. When you think of them before yourself and place them above yourself, you show you are committed to them. Even in the face of fear, when imminent danger is present, to act in betterment of others without thought to self is the ultimate demonstration of commitment to them. Our troops, in the Revolutionary War as well as in all wars since, showed their understanding of what real commitment is. Should you happen to bump into a soldier today, or ever, be sure to thank them for their commitment to, and sacrifice for, you and me.

So how should this be lived in our daily lives? Selflessly. Total, complete, selflessness. It is anything but easy. It does, however, demonstrate more completely and in the highest way possible your commitment toward the one to whom you are living selflessly. No other action, no other words, nothing else can show your commitment more strongly and more perfectly than to live a selfless life toward someone. It is important to show your commitment. To tell someone you are committed and yet to show that you think of yourself first, is the epitome of lies and deception. With commitment especially, our actions truly do speak so loud that no one can hear a word we say. This is a good thing, in that our true heart and intentions are clearly seen and lived.

Over the next few posts, we will look at commitment in depth, examining exactly what it is and how we go about letting those to whom we are committed, know without a doubt our commitment to them. This is one more step we take in establishing and identifying the REALationships that we enjoy with those whom we have, and are, committing to.

Until next time, think about this:

How do you make it crystal clear that you are committed to someone?

How do you know someone is totally committed to you?