Have you ever met a pregnant woman not 100% committed to having a baby? I’m not talking about 100% excited or prepared, I am referring to the commitment to get this human being out of her after 9 months of baking in the oven. An expecting mama is 100% committed. There is no back door. Whether it’s a natural birth or C-section, it’s going to happen. What if we had this type of commitment in other areas of our life? How would our like look different if we eliminated all options for an escape route, a back door, compromises, excuses, etc. and we embraced 100% commitment?
My heart is to give you a fresh perspective on commitment that is free from feeling burdensome, restrictive or legalistic. Because from true and devot commitment comes peace, certainty and blessings. But here’s the hard truth - It is easy to be 100% committed. But most of us aren’t 100% committed, so commitment feels hard. The reason it feels hard is because anything less than 100% commitment gives us permission to deviate from our standards and compromise what we desire in moments of weakness. Anything less than 100% commitment is one foot in and one foot out. If we are 95% committed, the 5% will tempt us, torture us, lure us and consume us. We will constantly be telling ourselves, “Oh, it’s just this one time. It won’t make a difference. I will just get on track Monday.” and then asking ourselves, “Why did I do that...again? What’s wrong with me? Why do I do the very things that I told myself I wouldn’t do?”
Think about marriage. Would you want to marry someone who says, “Hey babe, I’m 95% committed to this relationship, will you marry me?”. Um, no thank you. But if we are really, really honest, this is the case many times. We are committed AS LONG AS x, y and z happens. We are committed as long as the person loves me, is affectionate towards me, provides for me and spends time with me. I am in as long as he MAKES ME FEEL HAPPY. The 5% will kill a relationship. It will open the door for compromises that lead to decisions that results in consequences that kill the good things in our lives and hurt the people we say we love the most.
I hear a lot of my clients say, “when I commit to something, I am all in, Amber!” Then we start the journey to healing and wholeness and the commitment begins to waiver because the process is hard and the results are uncertain. We get on the phone for a coaching session and my clients will lament and confess about how they made compromises when it came to working out, they engaged in unhealthy eating even though they weren’t even hungry and they failed to do the very things they had committed to doing at the end of the last session. Defeat sets in. Negative self-talk fills their head. Guilt, shame and condemnation get heaped on top of their already frail sense of self-worth. Ugh. Welcome to the struggle of commitment.
So what gives? Why is commitment so easy to say, but so difficult to carry out? Here are a couple of things happening when we say we are committed, but we don’t act like we are committed.
- We are being compliant versus committed.
Compliance is about following demands, adhering to rules, focusing on changing behaviors without addressing where these behaviors are coming from. It’s what diets are based on. Diets depend on us following the rules/instructions/protocol so we get our desired result. The problem is no one likes to be compliant long-term. At first, it may feel refreshing because we believe we don’t have to depend on ourselves for the plan or strategy, but eventually our inner child exerts it’s free will and bucks the system. We may have the plan, but we struggle to commit to the plan once the newness wears off or the results don’t show up. Compliance lacks passion. Compliance is fixated on the results, but it doesn’t address our beliefs, passions, priorities and standards - which are the essential ingredients for true commitments.
2. Once we commit, we want to FEEL like staying committed.
This is my number thing I believe holds us back from getting what we say we want - we do what we feel. We want to magically feel inspired, energized, creative, strong and focused because we 100% committed to losing weight and getting healthy. We want to keep that initial excitement and “commitment high” and feel like going to the gym, grocery shopping, preparing meals at home and planning ahead every day of our lives. We want to have an overwhelming power of self-control wash over us when we are at a party and every temptation of food and drink is available for the taking. A declaration of a commitment does not solve the fickleness of human emotions that ebb and flow with our circumstances, people’s personalities or our responsibilities. Being committed does not shield us from the trials, tribulations, disappointments, temptations, setbacks, misunderstandings of others, and unfulfilled desires of life. I know, bummer. Commitment will require you to do what is right, not what feels right. Commitment is what keeps us on track despite the storms of life.
3. We believe we have control over our results if we commit.
Oh, this is a HUGE one that I had to take to God and wrestle with over and over and over again. This is what I my conversation with God sounded like, “Okay, Lord, you are telling me that if I am 100% committed to my marriage and I put everything I have into loving my husband, honoring him, caring for him, respecting him, etc. that I don’t get a guarantee that he will give me the same back? That even though I am 100% committed, I don’t have control over whether or not my marriage lasts?” WHAT?????? Yes, my friends. It is true. We are ultimately out of control of the final outcome of many aspects of our lives. That is why it is critical to know in the deepest part of our self, WHAT and WHO has ultimate control. It is also necessary to separate our need to control our outcomes from our ability to control our choices. Control is what we think we have, but it’s an illusion. And if we only commit to things IF we can control the outcome, then we are going to struggle with commitment and disappointment, because it’s not how things work.
This can be a really really depressing reality for some people and could be enough to say, why even commit if I can’t control the results? I am right there with you. I have felt the same way over the past 3 years as I committed 100% to saving my marriage. I was committed 100% to healing what was broken. I was 100% committed to working through my contribution and responsibility for the breakdown in intimacy and communication. I planned date nights. I greeted him when he came home with affection and a delicious meal. I asked for forgiveness when I was wrong. I read books. I journaled. I went to retreats for healing. I talked with wise counsel. I spent more time with God than I ever had. I prayed and prayed and prayed. I let go of expectations. I was all-in. I thought for sure that our marriage would be redeemed and restored, because that is what 100% commitment produces, right? But like many of you who feel you have committed 100% to something - the failure comes. The disappointment shatters our reality. The rejection shreds the very fiber of our being. We cry (at least I do). We throw a fit (me too). We get angry at all of the time and energy we expended to get nothing in return. What was the point?
But my sweet friend, what if the very PROCESS of committing, was God’s intention? What if the gift was in the process? What if the process was exactly what God used to reveal to us what faith, trust and surrender looks like. What if the very process of going all-in when we don’t know what the results are going to be is an opportunity to reveal within us the areas that are still full of fear, skepticism, distrust, doubt, hurt, judgement, shame, etc. and without the process, we would never have had access to those parts of us that needed to be healed and whole? What if commitment is more about the process than the outcome?
I know. This is tough stuff. I only recently have been able to look back at the last 3 years and my entire marriage and see the blessings in the trials, disappointments, pain and rejection. I sometimes ask myself, “what if” - which can be a dangerous question, but in this context I see that what I have gained from this journey is what many millionaires desire, but cannot buy. I have peace with God. I have peace over my past, present and future despite my circumstances. I have peace and trust that God has ultimate control over my life and his intentions are always good. I have peace that I only want His best is for me - not what I think my best plan for me is. If I listened to God in the first place, so many of my current hardships would have been avoided. This is harsh, but it’s so true. But only now do I see that. I have a deeper walk of obedience because of the process of my commitment. I tried to do it my way and God is now cleaning up the mess I made and making it into something beautiful - I just know it. Where is your peace? Do you believe you can control people, circumstances or outcomes? What happens when things don’t go as planned? Does your commitment waiver based on what you can see and feel?
Which brings me to my next point of why we commit, but then don’t act like we are committed.
4. Our commitment is focused on the wrong thing.
Take parenting for example. You have a kid and you are 100% committed to raising them (assuming you have chosen to be the parent/guardian). Every day the kid is there. You feed them. You clothe them. You send them off to school. 100% commitment right? I don’t know about you, but I feel sorry for this kid! There is NO PASSION! Are you a mom who feels overwhelmed and exhausted and frustrated more than you feel the joy and honor of being a mom?
Commitment is all about intention. Yes, I am committed to keeping Berlyn safe, fed and alive every day, but that’s a pretty low standard of commitment. What I’m 100% committed to is raising a daughter who knows:
- She is loved no matter what she does or doesn’t do.
- She has a unique, God-given purpose on her life that she has been created to fulfill.
- Forgiveness is the foundation of loving others.
- All our choices have consequences, so choose wisely.
- Choosing healthy is how we partner with God to fulfill all He has created us to do.
These types of commitments require me to act a certain way, react a certain way, talk a certain way. It requires me to be the best version of myself - because the power is in the example I set. From the place of “being” these things, then I am able to speak to and train Berlyn. And with these types of standards, I need Jesus EVERY DAY to give me the strength, wisdom, patience and sanity to do it. I’m not perfect, but I’m committed.
For example, these are some ways these commitments are lived out daily. I ask Berlyn for forgiveness often. I live out my purpose of empowering and coaching women to live free and whole in their bodies and minds and I share what I do with Berlyn. She understands that when “mommy works”, there is a bigger purpose beyond paying the bills. I talk to her about my webinars, challenges, successes with my clients and I always show her the joy and gratefulness I have to do what I do. We pray for my clients at night. I allow her to make decisions and explain to her the consequences of the choices she has available. We eat healthy. When I give her “treats” such as a sucker (no artificial colors of course), I tell her, “it’s just because I love you and you are awesome”. I don’t tie a reward to it (although I admit I have used it as a bribe in this awesome season of the terrific two’s!) This is commitment with intentionality. It is not a perfect process every day, but I know what I am 100% committed to instilling in my daughter and living out in my everyday life for myself.
My last point for this discussion of why we don’t do what we have committed to doing is:
5. We don’t commit 100% because of fear of failure.
Commitment makes us vulnerable. It involves putting ourselves out there with no guarantee of the results. That is super scary. Especially if we are super invested in the validation of other people, the scale, the mirror, our bank account, accolades, etc.. Committing to eating healthier and going to the gym with the chance that the weight may not come off quickly (which it probably won’t) is to expose ourselves to vulnerability. What if people judge what I am doing and think I am not doing enough? Committing to a relationship 100% with the chance that they may not reciprocate your love and affection is about as scary as it comes in life. Raising your children with 100% commitment to the standards you have deemed as most crucial with the chance that they could live a life completely opposite of the way you raised them, is downright terrifying. So some of us choose to not commit. We choose to not put ourselves out there and try for better in our life. We choose to avoid the chance of rejection instead of embracing the chance of success.
Where are you at? Where have you been less than committed because of one or more of the reasons I explained today?
- Where are you being compliant instead of committed?
- Where are you waiting to feel like doing it?
- Where are you looking for guaranteed results before you commit?
- Where is your commitment focused on the wrong thing?
- Where are you allowing fear to hold you back from stepping out in faith?
I hope you are challenged to think about this topic. Don’t try to change every aspect of your life. Choose based on priority and urgency. You know where you need to commit first. Ask God. He will show you. Look around at your life, you will see evidence of where 100% commitment is needed. Let go of the results and trust God in the process of fully committing to the messy process of commitment. Then be open to the gifts and results you will receive - they may just be better than you expected.
If you need to commit to your physical, emotional and spiritual health and you need some guidance, let's chat. Schedule a free session with me here. I would love to hear your story!