Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Commitment is Not Done in a Vacuum

Commitment is deciding to make yourself available, standing strong with someone against the storms of life, daily if not hourly choosing to stay beside them when all others fail and flee, requiring an investment of yourself and your resources, and demonstrating the trust and faithfulness you have for and in them.

Commitments, however, are not meant to be done in a vacuum.

Something to think about: is conditional commitment really commitment? If we place certain conditions on someone before we commit to them, is that actually not committing to them? Is it really wise to commit to someone unconditionally?

Think about a family. If a child does not behave, is it wise or foolish for a parent to continue in full commitment to that child without having certain conditions in place? In a work environment, is it prudent for an employer to keep committing to any employee that regulary steals from the company, keeps everyone stirred up, and is insubordinate?

I don't think conditional commitment is an oxymoron. I know some would disagree, and that's OK. We have to remember that it is OUR choice, OUR investment, OUR resources, that are on the line in any commitments we make. It seems to me that it is wise for us to evaluate our commitments to see if they are truly worth what we put into them. I don't see this as selfish; in fact, I see it as just the opposite.

Each of us is limited in our resources. A buzzword today in business is ROI: Return On Investment. Businesses want to see that the investments they make are going to pay off in the long run for the company. Some see ROI rapidly; some will not see an ROI for a while; but all investments need to bring a yield that is greater than the investment.

In a REALatioinship, ROI is often not considered. I think it needs to be considered carefully. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. Where do we choose to spend them? On what, or in who, are we going to invest that time?

I have friendships that have ended. Friendships that I thought would never end. Why? In some cases, distance was a factor. In other cases, I could no longer see a benefit in the friendship, as the investment involved was more than I was willing to make, or was decidedly one sided-I was making all of the investment. A few friendships have ended due to learning who the friend really was, and not liking what I saw, compelling me to end my commitment.

In each case, the commitment I once had made a priority now became less of one, or ended altogether. That's OK. This decision, though not always easy, did allow me to more fully invest in the commitments I still had and were making.

Commitments are very special aspects of REALationships. We need to make the most of the ones we have and let go of the ones no longer bringing any kind of ROI.

Only we can make that determination.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Choice of Commitment

The statement that "no man is an island" is never more true than we see it being lived out today. Since we are designed for relationships, it makes perfect sense that every person, regardless of age, creed, sex, or any other category we may fit into, has a need for commitment. A need to be committed to, and a need to commit to someone else. So how is this lived out? What does a commitment look like?

Just how DO we commit?

Commitment is a choice. It is a decision. Not a one-time thought, but a continual action of the will. To commit to someone is to decide to be there....and be there....and be there. Regardless of the circumstances or outcome.

This is a total giving of self for the greater good of someone else. How better could we show our love and care for someone than to be there for them whenever they require our presence? This is the descriptive living of selflessness. This brings such joy into our lives, because we find meaning in it. Many over the years have sought out the answer to the question "Why am I here?" which is answered at least in part by knowing that through commitment we are serving a purpose much greater than just living in our own little world. Through this decision we see that we can be committed to someone and not just involved with them.

I am reminded of a conversation between a chicken and a pig. The chicken was complaining about the farmer. "That farmer comes and takes all my eggs" the chicken was saying, "and just uses me as a source for his food. I don't think it's right for that farmer to take advantage of me this way. I mean, has the farmer ever considered the impact this has on me? How I feel so pressured to produce every day just so he can have his breakfast?" The pig listened patiently to the chicken's diatribe. The chicken's final complaint was "I just don't think the farmer ever realizes how much of a sacrifice I give for him." It was at this point that the pig spoke up and said, "I really don't see where you have such a sacrifice to make in the farmer's breakfast. You see, you are just involved; I am committed to his ham & egg breakfast."

Now that is real commitment!

Let's live today and every day, seeking how we can be ham to someone and not just eggs!