5am Thoughts on Commitment
My husband is teaching me about commitment today. You see, it’s raining. Torrentially. Not quite to monsoon level, but it’s pretty fierce. Also, we have no power. It’s been out since 10pm last night, due to planned repairs by PG&E. That means that showers were taken by flashlight, the fridge is kept closed, and hot water and coffee are nonexistent. Additionally, the cold everyone has been fighting through finally landed in the back of his throat, robbing him of his rest, his voice, and his comfort. Oh, did I mention it’s finals week in his seminary’s quarter system? That’s right. Jason has finals today. And his classes start at 6:30am. And he drives nearly and hour and a half to get there, braving not only the weather, but the expense of gas, the early morning commute, and exhaustion on the road. That’s commitment.
Interest is having your attention grabbed, the potential seen, and the delight considered, but then letting it go when discomfort is introduced. I was interested in soccer growing up. It was fun, I felt cute, and I got snacks. I was in no way committed, however. Having to wrangle out of being on a boys’ team (they had misspelled my name as Chrstian, and neglected to look at the box I checked for gender) and dealing with catty girls who were always one-upping each other and constantly upset at the coach for putting me in the games so often (I just wasn’t very good but I was the only girl who respected his authority so I got extra game time) sucked the joy out of the experience and I quickly said goodbye to the field. My sister, on the other hand, dealt with even worse girls, but she worked hard at learning the game, and was quickly put on a traveling team. She traveled all over California with her girl’s team and she was a rockstar to watch play. Because she was committed.
Having moved so many times growing up I learned to build an unhealthy wall around my friendships. Assuming I would only lose them after a couple years I stopped investing in them. It wasn’t until I was in my late twenties, however, that I realized how personally destructive this was. I met a sweet mama in our new church and we hit if off. At the tail end of our first conversation, though, she mentioned that her family was going to be moving a few months later. And my heart wilted. For the remaining time they were attending our church I smiled and waved and asked about moving plans, but I did not take advantage of opportunities to delve into beautiful conversations with her or get to know her heart. I had been interested in having a friendship with her, but I was not committed to it, simply because I had made an assumption on how difficult that goal would be to pursue and keep up.
At the heart of things, interest is merely the shell of delight in a project, but commitment is the heartbeat that will bring that project to fruition.
So where does this land regarding Jesus? Am I interested in my faith and my relationship with my savior? Or am I committed to knowing Him more, regardless of the personal cost?
Interest is being excited about being a Christian, and looking forward to the rewards that come from that position before God. It’s being happy to go to church and hang out with friends and say church-y things and be known as a ‘really nice Christian girl.’
Commitment to your faith, however, is a decision every day to make every moment count for the glory of God. It’s not merely the willingness to die a martyr, but to live a martyr, sacrificing every comfort if it threatens the greater objective of looking like Jesus. It’s choosing an outfit that will allow the day’s work to be fruitful and not centered on self. It’s listening to music that reflects the Lord’s values, prudishly choosing movies, and curbing Instagram and TikTok and other social media exposure to hedge against prevalent vileness. It’s anchoring precious minutes and conversations on a resolution to use them wisely and well. Christian commitment means pursuing healthy rest for the mind and body, with the objective of using your thoughts and actions to the intentional pursuit of Jesus. Christian commitment means never being lazy, never schluffing off responsibilities for the sake of momentary comfort.
I want my children to know me as a committed Christian with every moment in my day. In the way I speak to them, how I do dishes, the way I respond to inconveniences, and every time they look at me, I want them to see that I am doing whatever it is both because of Jesus and for Jesus. I am, after all, God’s image bearer. And I must be committed, not merely interested, in pursuing that role well.