Started to rant yesterday on how “flexible” people’s commitment seems to be and figured I’d take today and try and help those of you who think commitment is a flexible kind of thing. I decided to start with one of my favorite theologians, Yoda. There are a couple of things you need to know about Yoda. First, he didn’t like the Dark Side and taught Luke to avoid it (see, we’ve got something in common because I don’t like the Dark Side either and am trying to teach you to avoid it). Second, he understood that the struggle people have within themselves is usually the one that causes the most trouble, not the outside circumstances. So with that said, let’s look at two things we can do to avoid being non-commital people or someone who takes commitment lightly.
Do or do not…there is no try.
If you say you’re going to do something or going to commit to something, understand that you have just eliminated your options when you say “yes, I commit.” Practically that means you’re in it to the end. So take marriage. Every year, thousands of people say, “I do” – they commit. And yet, every year, thousands of people say, “I don’t anymore.” So what happened? Well, apparently circumstances changed and rather than doing the hard work to fulfill their commitment of ’til death do us part, they quit and justify it by saying “I tried.” Yoda says there is no try.
Or like I see all too often, people commit to church, or participating in a ministry, only to change their mind mid-stream. I’m sorry to tell you, but when you say yes, you just removed the option to say no. I think I remember Jesus saying something similar to what Yoda said. Want to solve your commitment problem? Then do or do not…there is no try.
You must unlearn what you have learned.
One of the reasons people “opt-out” of their commitments is because they’ve been taught that it’s OK. Financial commitments can be avoided….just file bankruptcy. Marital commitments can be avoided…just have an affair or get a divorce. Parenting commitments can be avoided…just get a girl pregnant and be the “baby daddy” but not a real father. Personal responsibility can be avoided…just sit on your butt and expect a handout from some government program that’s more “committed to helping you” than you are. A commitment to health can be avoided….don’t eat right or exercise, just get a prescription. And of course, church commitment can be avoided….just find another church when you don’t like something at the one you attend.
If you want to avoid having those kinds of commitment problems, we need to learn from Yoda and “unlearn what you have learned.” You’ve learned that it’s OK, maybe because you see everybody doing it. But don’t you remember your mom or dad saying something like, “if everybody jumped off a cliff would you?” The point is, it’s not OK. Actually, it’s stupid and it’s destructive.
Tomorrow I’ll finish up with how to deal with people who just can’t grasp the meaning of commitment.