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The Art of Commitment- Lessons in Digging Deep

Glasses clinked together as cheers resounded throughout the room.  Cake was cut, ice cream served as the committed couple were celebrated.  Giggles bubbled forth around the table.  Children and adults alike gasped over the generous portions, and joy emanated as each individual was given permission to indulge.  A hush fell over the group, as bites of delicious cake were savored, and the patriarch of the family took this moment to speak.

“Listen and consider this advice for remaining committed to that which is important in life. Whether it’s in relationships, school, work, or in difficult circumstances; this wisdom will serve you well as you contemplate the blessings that come from remaining committed to that which is valuable and important to you.”

Golden Celebration

All were gathered around to celebrate the joy of a golden wedding anniversary. My parents had reached a milestone, 50 years of marriage, and it was indeed cause for commemoration.  Stories were shared and hugs abounded as our guests of honor shared their wisdom and life lessons with their children and grand-children. 

The legacy of commitment and being devoted

Considering the legacy of commitment set forth by, not only my parents, but grandparents and great-grandparents before them, my heart opened to the insight being shared, as well as the sweet blessing that lies within the gift of commitment. I considered how the hard work of commitment brings about wholeness and completeness. Remaining committed brings about its share of difficult and challenging times. However, I have often measured out in my mind how there is simply no greater reward than that which stems from remaining devoted. Whether it is in a relationship, a task, a goal, a job, or steadfastly moving forward with integrity while in the midst of a strenuous situation; commitment brings blessing and blessing brings joy.

Commitment Uncovered

Contemplating the culture of today, be it via social media or unassuming people-watching at the park, I am continually captivated by the attitude and expression of commitment when it is witnessed. I have found life is often wrought with heartache, brokenness, and pain. However, it can experience refreshment when viewed through the lens of gratitude. Perceiving examples of inspirational commitment surrounding each of us simply take just a bit of keen observation.

Consider the Olympic athlete: the training, time, dedication, and devotion to their sport. Think about the musician who, after a life-time of training, practice, and small-town concerts, strikes gold with an offer at a record label. Reflect on the single parent, committed to making life the best it can be for their child. Lastly, reflect on the couple who has enjoyed 50 years of marriage. Each of these inspirational examples of commitment are truly reviving for those souls which are burdened or broken. Examples of commitment are inspirational, producing joy and motivation within our heart and soul. 

Commitment Defined

By definition, commitment is the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc. ( Webster defines commitment as the state or an instance of being obligated or emotionally impelled; an agreement or pledge to do something in the future. When referencing commitment in the Urban Dictionary, these powerful words are recorded:

Commitment is what transforms the promise into reality.
It is the words that speak
Boldly of your intentions.
And the actions which speak
Louder than the words.
It is making the time
When there is none.
Coming through time
After time after time,
Year after year after year.

Commitment is the stuff
Character is made of;
The power to change
The face of things.
It is the daily triumph
Of integrity over skepticism.

When I say I love you, I mean that I’m committed to working to love you even when it’s hard.*

*Definition of commitment found in Urban Dictionary commitment by Ashbash, January 13, 2005
*Urban Dictionary commitment by Ashbash, January 13, 2005

Living Commitment Out

Due to my parent’s example of living out commitment in their lives, I have had the honor to delight in the gift of learning what commitment looks like. I have their example to learn from and live out. Choosing to exemplify those lessons in my own life, I can continue passing on a legacy of love and commitment for the future generation.

However, I have to ponder and ask, “What is it that encourages us to remain committed?” Reflecting back to the very wise patriarch of our family and his speech to, it is best exemplified in these ways:

“Always treat others with kindness, extending to them the thoughtfulness in which you would likewise wish to be treated. Continually strive for the goal of doing the job right the first time.  Enjoy the moment, loving the ones you are with and being present when with them.  Lastly, don’t ever go to bed angry with one another.”

Further Insight

As I have pondered this insight, my thoughts have grown and been expanded. I have contemplated how dedication to never giving up, and delving into the depth of one’s own personal grit, is tandem to living out commitment in our lives. Considering how life presents challenges that may directly seem to inhibit our goals and challenge our commitment; often we can be left at a cross-roads, striving to determine what is next. As I have further reflected, my eyes have been opened to even deeper insight. If we take on an attitude of patience, along with yielding to time in accepting a renewed perspective, a new path often will be revealed. It may appear a bit different than what was originally anticipated.

However, what may unfold is how this new path remains true to our endeavor. We may find it deepens our resolve and grit, while upholding our commitment to achieve.  

For instance, consider the athlete resting through an injury. In time, she finds herself coming to the other side of her injury renewed, reinvigorated, and stronger than before. She rises to victory in the race.

Think about the single parent who suddenly finds themselves without a job. In time, she realizes how she only had to apply herself and wait for another opportunity to present itself. An opportunity that may even be better than what was endured before. 

What about the musician, forever wrestling with doubt as the gigs just don’t seem to be presenting themselves?  In spite of it all, she digs deep to write songs with meaning and inspiration. Utilizing the skill of story-telling, she writes with impact and emotion. Setting her sight on what opportunity may be right around the corner, she remains committed to her purpose and cause of continuing to share her unique gift and talent. She holds onto the hope of how her dream might come true.

Lastly, the married couple struggling to connect and remain connected; desperate to rekindle the love that initially brought them together. Experiencing deep loneliness while within the midst of married life; directly due to the demands of family, career, and overall daily living.  Daydreams of escape and carefree living become tantalizing. However, the realization of how it takes breaking-up the relationship to bring the daydream into reality brings all thoughts screeching into the present.  In actuality, the bitter truth, very well may lead to more loneliness than initially experienced. Not to mention how broken relationships simply take a great deal of time to adequately repair, if at all. 

The couple who extends grace to their spouse, understanding how grace is extended to them in daily living.

The committed couple seeks to live life through a lens of gratitude, thus attaining a blessed advantage of achieving commitment. It rather ties into the practical wisdom of “not going to bed angry.”  

Wise words from a man who, I know, has striven to live out his own advice. In return, he and his wife have 50 years of love and marriage under their belt. Additionally, their legacy of commitment extends to their two adoring daughters, and five beautiful grand-daughters.  What joy has been found in the lessons of digging deep to learn the art of commitment!

Stacy McClelland

Stacy is a woman with Texas roots, who, as a lover of mountains, camping, and hiking, is over-the-moon to call Loveland, CO her current home. Stacy holds a degree in Elementary Education, having spent many years in the classroom as a Special Education or Substitute Teacher. As wife to her pastor-husband for over twenty years, and mother to their three daughters, Stacy has been blessed with the opportunity to manage their home and focus on raising their girls. Partnering with her husband in ministry over the past two decades, she is armed with experiences of walking through the hardships of life with many. However, she has also had the opportunity to embrace beautiful moments of joy, grace, and overcoming with others, as well. It has been her honor and joy, as of late, to serve and teach within Bible Study Fellowship as a Substitute Teaching Leader. Coming alongside other women to read, study, learn and grow in their understanding of the Bible and how it applies to their everyday lives has been where Stacy has discovered her “sweet spot” for teaching. Having traveled many parts of the world, she yearns to come alongside, support, and edify others in and through their circumstances. She hopes another avenue for finding connection with women will be found in and through her writing. For, it is her joy in life to encourage, uplift, and connect with youth and women in navigating “this thing called life.”

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