4 Weeks of Thankfulness: Commitment

When I was a senior in high school I had my first serious boyfriend. We dated for a grand total of two years, much of that time separated by miles since we went to different colleges for a year. He was a nice guy and it probably took about a year for us to start talking about "the future". We had it all planned out - down to how long we'd date before we got engaged, how long we'd be engaged before we got married - you know, stuff 19-year-olds are supposed to think about with their first serious relationship. At some point during all this planning and dreaming, he gave me a promise ring and even wrote a really sappy poem to go with it. I thought it was sweet, but was still kind of confused by this whole thing.

I probably don't have to tell you how that all turned out in the end (hint: we did not get married). I'll admit that there are times that people marry their high school or even middle school sweethearts. My sister and a cousin of mine married the boys they dated in high school. So it can happen. It just didn't happen in my case. Why not? Probably a host of reasons - the fact we just weren't right for each other and I didn't want to travel the world like he did being two of them - but I think the biggest reason was that we just weren't ready to commit to each other like that. I saw that promise ring as a sort of pre-engagement and when I really gave that some thought it scared me. I knew I wasn't ready for that at that point in my life. I wasn't ready to commit.

Commitment seems to be thrown around a lot when we talk about relationships - usually in reference to a guy not wanting to settle down. But really, is it just guys? I think we all have a hard time with this concept, and I don't think it only rears its head when we talk about human to human relationships.

Think about it...

We don't want to get tied down in a specific plan in case something better comes up we'd rather do instead.

I'll say I can "try" to do something, "but I'm not making any promises".

Sometimes we just can't guarantee we can be there or do that because we know some other legitimate thing may come up that we'll have to drop everything to do.

Or, we'll give ourselves to less important things...

We feel a stronger sense of duty to our boss than to our family.

We schedule time to be with friends but squeeze in time with our spouse when it works in our busy schedules.

We know we should get more involved at church, pray or ready our Bibles more, but it gets pushed to the end of the day and all but forgotten by the time we're falling asleep.

I'm guilty of all of these things. Are you? We humans sure do get our priorities messed up sometimes. 

But God doesn't. He doesn't forget about you or shove you off to the side. He values you and makes you a priority in His schedule. God is committed to you - and not in a pre-engagement sort of way, not in a "I can't make any promises" type of deal - He is fully and totally committed to you.

God's commitment to you is less like an engagement and more of a marriage. In fact, our marriages are a model of God's relationship with us. When my husband and I got married we vowed to always love, honor, and stay faithful to each other. We promised we wouldn't let anything come between us and separate us. And when marriage is working the way God intended, that's exactly what happens. Husband and wife are fully and totally committed to each other - no matter the cost, no matter the struggle. And there will be struggles. There will be tension and pain and hard times. You may even want to call it quits. It's hard to commit to someone like that. It's hard to commit to anyone like that.

It's in those hard times that those vows we made become so important. Commitment is what makes us stay when we want to go. Commitment is what makes the hard stuff worth the trouble and effort.

When I'm having a rough day, feeling like a failure, hurt and defeated, I know two things - God still loves me and Jeff still loves me. Those two truths may not fix my problem, but they sure do give me a different perspective. I know that God and Jeff don't see me as a failure. They are always ready to forgive and help me pick up the pieces of a broken situation. People who don't want to commit don't do that.

This doesn't only apply to marriages, either. Great friendships have similar qualities. Being bonded to a friend will make you be there for them. They'll be there for you. Friendships have their struggles, too. There are strained relationships, hurt feelings, nasty words spoken. But with a committed friendship, there is also forgiveness, healing and hope for restoration. Commitment does that.

So this week I'm thankful for commitment in all its forms, but especially that I have a great man who is faithful to me and greater God who is constantly present with me. Because at the end of the day, knowing that someone is fully committed to you makes life a little better. 

Scripture Readings:
Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant. 
Psalm 119:76

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23
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