Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Commitment: The Missing Ingredient

As a child, I gained the reputation of being strong-willed.  In common conversation, that is usually heard as a bad thing - and yes it can be - but it is really a characteristic that most people these days are in need of.  Having a will that is strong is important, as long as it is pointed the right direction.  The struggle as a parent of the strong-willed is teaching them to direct it appropriately.  Being strong-willed against wearing your seat belt is not appropriate.  Holding firm with that strong-will in the face of hopelessness or peer pressure - very fruitful direction.

As an adult, my strong-will is no less complicated at times (I can be stubborn, hurt easily and inclined to hold grudges), but it has given me a great blessing that I never would have anticipated.  A strong-willed, highly sensitive, creative introvert is set up to find friendships difficult.  So sometimes the comfort of principles is easier to obtain. (There he goes, off to write that hit song, "Alone in my Principles"-That Thing You Do)  While I stink at maintaining friendships, I seemed to have been blessed with several helpings of commitment, especially when the principles are close to my heart.

I hate cleaning up.  I'm a lousy housekeeper mostly because it seems so futile and doesn't change the world enough.  That's probably the reason that I left the dishes on the table after lunch with almost half of an omelet left (that would have been a great snack) while I put the kids down for a nap.  Of course, when I returned Grace (the dog) is just finishing the crumbs up.  I was so mad, but at who?  I couldn't be mad at anyone but myself because I knew she is inclined to do such things and I did not clean up in a timely manner nor have I worked to train her out of such behavior.  Most of our complaints as adults (especially parents) is stuff that is changeable, but not easily changeable.  Sure we could do things differently to ensure a certain outcome, but frankly we're not that committed. And some things, in some seasons in life, aren't worth the extra effort.  If that's the case, great, but can we tone down the complaints about it?  

Over the past 2 years, my life has been full of really difficult challenges.  Not a complaint, just something to note.  Health issues, time management issues, financial pressure, and personality conflicts galore make quitting (or not even trying to begin with) the best looking option most days.  This past month, certain things have really started to turn the corner and I look to be decidedly out of the valley.  God is good and I'm so thankful for answered prayers.  In addition to God's grace, I think my stubborn strong-willed self has done me some favors.  I'm very committed to natural health.  I'm very committed to pleasing God completely.  I'm very committed to the health, education and good behavior of my children.  I'm very committed to the outdoors and all they provide.  If I wasn't emotionally bound to all of these ideals, quitting would be my job.  A professional quitter.  Because quitting is easy and life is hard.

As a child of the 80's, I've always been tempted to find the spot (job, relationship, method) where everything just flows.  If life didn't flow, then I must be in the wrong job/relationship/method.  There is truth in committing your life to God's ways and then that way will be blessed.  Still, in that commitment, there is mountains of work.  My intention is to encourage you to revisit the things that are important to you, the realities that you want for your life.  Then don't quit.  If this way doesn't work, keep at it and find another way.  It won't magically fall into place most times.  But over time with plenty of work and constructive planning, a harvest is reaped.  

I love that my son is learning to read.  By this time next year, he should be reading books all on his own!  I think of the 5 years Mr. Butler and I have spent reading to him and around him.  Imagine if we had only done so for a couple of months?  Good, worthwhile things take time and all-in commitment.  Everything takes more time than you're likely to expect.  Don't give up yet.  And next time you get frustrated with someone's (maybe your own) stubborn will, remember it must need to be pointed in a different direction!  

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