Who Cares about Commitment?
By Martha Nelson
New Year's Resolutions
As another new year begins, we make our New Year’s resolutions -- intended to create a better life for .... ourselves. Join the gym. Lose that weight. Try to leave work at the office. We fully intend to commit ourselves to these goals – and hopefully we achieve some of them.
There are many commitments in our daily life – to our careers, to goals, to our health. But what I’d like to discuss in this series is another type of commitment: commitment to other people. That can mean many things including volunteering for a community project or organization – spending more time with our family – or really listening to others.
My father was part of a large community service organization and once told me in the 1990’s that they, like many such organizations, struggled to get new members. Why? Everyone was too busy “doing other things”. Dad ran his own business so was busy too – yet added, “People don’t even make time to sit down for a meal anymore – they eat while they drive the car.” This was alarming to him – and should be to more of us.
Talk to Me
My sister worked more than 40 years as a Parent Educator, helping parents be better parents; to understand and support their kids. Something she recommended to struggling families were two life-changing habits: eat at least one meal together as a family, and read together before bed. These are such simple things, and yet modern media and hectic lifestyles oppose these types of basic commitments. Why else would they have to be recommended?
How often have you gone out to a restaurant and watched a couple waiting for their meal – not talking to each other – but each engrossed in their phone texts? It’s rather humorous but also sad. We have let many distractions keep us from nurturing precious relationships.
Why Resolutions don't Work
Okay, so do we all just make new resolutions to help others or change ourselves? Personally, I don’t think it is possible to change ourselves by ourselves. That is, I think there are often deeper reasons why our society has grown so insular and self-focused at the expense of others.
I think many of us don’t believe there is Someone who loves us and cares for us more than anyone else could. We don’t have the security of knowing that this Person (God) is looking out for us – and is wanting to share even the hardest or loneliest moments with us as we make our way through life.
What would it be like to have Someone who watched your back not just when waking but every moment? Someone who has promised, “Can a woman forget her nursing child, or lack compassion for the son of her womb? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hand.” (Isaiah 49:15)
I think if we got to know this Person (God) and could trust Him with our lives, we could be free to think of others because we’d be secure knowing that we ourselves were looked after. And we wouldn’t feel driven to meet our own needs at the expense of others.
If you’d like to explore the subject of God’s existence and how this affects our own sense of fulfilment, click here for a 30-minute video .
Next issue, I’d like to discuss one of the most important commitments to make or break – that of marriage.