Commitment

A friend shared a decision he makes each morning when he wakes up; he makes a conscious decision to remain in relationship with his wife, to be married.

His decision pronouncement was met with a puzzled smile.  How could he decide to do something that he had already committed to do?  Publicly and legally, he had declared his obligation.  His response stays with me as a life lesson.

“Every morning I wake to a choice.  Will I be married today?  I know I said “yes” in the past.  This is a new day.  I have a decision to make.”

In our decisions and actions, we give birth to commitment and give it substance to live.  I have come to appreciate how decisions made in the past, even minutes ago, only live in the reality of this moment.  Without intentional decisions and the reality of following actions, commitments wither until they become empty shells rattling in the wind.

I have come back to this lesson frequently, working to embrace the following lesson practices.  My starting point is a prayer of commitment; “I’ll bless you every day and keep it up from now to eternity.” (Psalm 145.2).

Expressing a decision is different than making it silently to yourself, at least from my experience.  I do not fully understand why, but the act of saying it out loud, especially publicly, changes the decision.  For me, the difference is tangibly real.  I have played with how I express the decision – from a simple pronouncement to an expression of thanksgiving.  I have come to appreciate the need in my life to repeat a decision, almost as a mantra because it comes with the gift of courage.

It is difficult to look in the mirror with open eyes and heart.  I find it easy to judge others and their lack of follow through on a promise until I struggle with what I find in my mirror.  As I slow to judge, I often find myself filled with care and kindness.  Forgiveness and compassion are critical, especially when we give it to ourselves.

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