I’m a gym goer. In that I go to the gym…Once in a while. All jokes aside, when I do go, I absolutely hate leg days. By the time leg day is over, I feel like a useless wobbly blob of jelly. Each step after that feels like a herculean task and stairs look like Mt. Everest. The simple act of sitting down in a chair turns out to be an excruciating ordeal, one that may or may not bring an expletive (or two) to mind. And the next day? Well, you can’t simply get out of bed after leg day. Nope, you crawl out of bed on all fours. The worst thing is that by the time I’ve recovered, it’s time for leg day all over again! Yikes! But as any committed gym-goer would tell you, leg days are one of the most important days. If you want to improve your core strength, burn more calories, and improve your balance then you can’t skip leg day. There’s no way other than to push through the pain if you want to see results. As one gym poster very irritatingly put it, ‘When you feel like you’re dying, do 10 more.’ Unfortunately, it’s the days that hurt the most that give you the maximum benefit (which explains my spotty gym attendance and my shape!).
So it is with everything in life. If you want results you have to stick with it. I’ve started many a project only to lose steam and quit halfway when things get tough (guitar lessons and cleaning out the closet comes to mind). We’ve all done it (or is it just me?). It could be a relationship, a new year resolution, that book you started to write, a new job or new responsibility you took on. When the going gets tough (and it will), it seems easier just to quit. But if you do, you miss out on what could have been. If you want to see results, you must commit.
Commitment is hard work. This quote nicely captures why: “Commitment means staying loyal to what you said you were going to do long after the mood you said it in has left you.” You see, to me, starting something new is a little like falling in love. There’s a rush of excitement and anticipation. I can’t take my mind off it and I’ll wake up, go to bed, and shower thinking about it. The novelty of it all motivates me to go the extra mile. I’m all consumed and all fired up. The commitment to my new activity is made and the honeymoon period is oh so sweet! And then come the bumps in the road. The calluses on my fingers make me wonder if the guitar lessons are worth it. The hallway closet is taking more time to clean out than I thought it would. The going gets a little tough and I wonder if this was really meant to be. The honeymoon period ends and the mood in which I made that commitment changes from (as the joke goes) saying sweet nothings to saying nothing sweet!
How can we stop this from being the story of our lives? I think a change of attitude is needed. We tend to stick with something or someone only for as long as it pleases us, satisfies us, and brings us no discomfort. That’s the consumer mentality in us at play. As long as we are focused on how we are feeling, commitment will always be hard. When you’re feeling good, the commitment is strong, but when the feelings sour, so does the commitment. Only when we turn our focus away from us and become more focused on the big picture or the mission will we be able to honor our commitments. I’m sure glad that God has no commitment issues. He was committed to me to the point of death. Even now, he is committed to completing the good work He has started in me (Philippians 1:6) even when I resist and make things tougher. No throwing in the towel from Him.
The importance of being committed is even greater when it comes to being part of a church because it has eternal significance. Being a part of the family of God, pursuing genuine community, and loving each other like Christ loves us is no easy feat. People will rub you the wrong way. They may (most likely will) have different ideas or look different from you. Relationships are hard and the easiest thing in the world would be to run away to another church or just maintain a superficial relationship with everyone. But church hopping and superficiality are not the mission that God has for us. As Romans 12:9 says, ‘Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them.’ Real love takes real commitment even when you are not in the mood for it.
Honoring your commitments is not easy. It takes a lot of help from a fully committed God and a shift of focus away from our feelings to one focused on what God wants us to do. Maybe that relationship is more work than you anticipated or the book project is taking more time and effort than you were prepared for. Maybe your new job or responsibility doesn’t excite you as much as it first did. I would like to encourage you to give it another go. Stick with it another hour, another day, another month, and another year and you may one day be able to say, ‘MISSION ACCOMPLISHED’!
Betsy Sony is a stay-at-home mom who has the full-time job of looking after 4 beautiful girls. She came to the United States from India along with her husband Sony about 4 years ago and loves all things Skyline, reading, being outdoors, and experiencing new cultures and cuisines.