Thursday, September 01, 2016

What Are You Committed To?

Lately there has been a lot of discussion about standing for the flag and the national anthem. Some feel it's disrespectful to sit in protest, some feel sitting in protest is the ultimate symbol of freedom. To me it's a statement of commitment.

What are you committed to?
It's pretty easy to look back on a long, fulfilling life and see what you were committed to. Maybe you're reflecting on your life, and you realize how strongly you were committed to helping the poor, or how fiercely committed you were to your family. Maybe you were committed to making as much money as you could. Maybe you were committed to donating all of that money to non-profit organizations before you die. Regardless of your commitment, it's much easier to see what was important to you in retrospect.

But what do you do when you're a young kid, just out of high school or college? Is it really important to be committed to anything right now? It's hard enough making a commitment to meet for a movie, or to study together. Why can't I just go with the flow? Why not just stand for the flag, and sing the national anthem, because everyone else is doing it?

Commitment is more important than ever
I believe it's more important than ever to help young kids find and make commitments that matter—commitments that will last a lifetime. In a world growing more and more fragmented, we need to have certain things to hold onto... things that don't waver, things you don't compromise.

Commitment takes courage
Standing up for something you believe in takes courage. Sitting down for something you believe in, when the rest of the world is standing, takes even more courage. But when you make a commitment, when you discover deep inside the light that burns for you, it's no longer possible to go with the flow.

Commitment takes integrity
Doing what you say you're going to do takes integrity. Commitment is a special kind of promise you make to yourself. Nobody else really knows what you stand for until you stand. If you decide in the heat of the moment that you're too scared to keep your commitment, the only person who really knows is you. That's why it takes integrity to keep your commitments. The more commitments you make, and keep, the stronger your integrity.

Commitments give you wings
You might feel like commitments are chains that hold you back from doing whatever you want. But it's exactly the opposite. Commitments give you wings so you can fly with confidence through this fragmented and conflicting world. When you hold tight to your commitments you don't waver, you are not easily swayed, not easily tempted. Freedom is not the ability to do whatever it is you want, whenever you want—freedom is doing what you say you're going to do. Exercise that freedom by staying true to what you're committed to, even when every force is raging against you.

Commitments are not beliefs
But they do reflect your beliefs. Commitments are real, tangible expressions of your values and beliefs. When you make a commitment to feed the poor, then you feed the poor. When you make a commitment to marriage, you stay married. When you make a commitment to your family, you do whatever it takes to support your family. Commitment is tangible.

What are you committed to?
Commitment isn't easy—it's hard. It might seem easy at first, but when things get difficult you'll really get tested. No matter what you are committed to, whether it's a marriage, a belief, or a cause, stick with it—don't give up, don't waver. You'll either discover deeper meaning in your commitment, or you'll discover that you're not really committed. Then, take a long look into the future... what do you want to say you were committed to when you reflect on your amazing life.

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