In today’s society we don’t keep our promises. In fact we really have a hard time even committing to anything. It seems that we are afraid of commitments because that would mean we are responsible for something or to someone. We want our freedom. Freedom to do what we want, when we want and how we want. Unencumbered by any responsibilities. So when we inadvertently make a promise and keeping it gets hard, we break our promise. If we were to look back over our lives we would probably find many broken promises. The hard thing is that it is through committment to something or someone, that we can find true freedom, true happiness. It is a paradox but one that is very true.
Think about it…if you want to learn how to play an instrument of some kind, you have to commit to practicing every day. You have to discipline your life around the time needed to become good at playing that instrument and once you do then you have the freedom to play any music you like. The same is true for anything even our relationships. If we really want a good relationship with our spouse or significant other, then we have to both commit to spending time together and be willing to work out the rough spots in the relationship. That may mean going to counseling, being willing to change bad habits or anything else that may be discovered along the way but once you do the work then the two truly become one and you will be in sync with each other. What freedom that is!
In my own life I have made the commitment to get my college degree. Because I am a late bloomer I began going to college when I was 42. I was a single mom at that time and still had two children living at home with me. I worked full-time and didn’t have a clue how I was going to accomplish my goal. So I started out small by planning to get my AA degree. It took four years, taking one or sometime two classes a semester but….and here is the best part, I GOT MY DEGREE!!!! Once I finished my AA, I decided that, I really wanted my BA, so…..I enrolled and began working on a degree in Business Administration with a minor in communications. I made a commitment to take three classes a semester so I could get done sooner. That meant that I would basically have very little time during the week for extracurricular activities but I would be done in three years and with my success at getting my AA behind me I just knew I could do it. And you know what? That is exactly what I did and in 2009 I graduated with my business degree. And here is where God got involved…
Actually I have to tell you that a year away from graduation, I felt that God wanted me to go into full-time ministry. I had been working for my church since 1998 doing just about everything at one point in time with the exception of youth work and loving it. Even when things were not going well I felt that was the time to really get down to business to try and work out the kinks! Anyway, as far as I was concerned going for my MDiv was out of the question. I was tired, I was broke, I was done in one year, and I did not want to add four more years of school to my life. I was done. Well, after wrestling with God for quite a while, I realized that I would commit my life to ministry and that meant that I needed to continue going to school. But I just did not know how I was going to continue. I wasn’t kidding when I said I was tired and broke. But God is good and I relinquished the entire matter to him. If this was what He really wanted in my life, then He would have to give me energy, He would have to find the financing and He would have to get me accepted into the school that would work for me. Remember I still had kids living at home and I needed to work to pay bills let alone college costs. Well, Asbury has a regional campus in Orlando that is geared to men and women who need to work, and I was accepted to their program very quickly, They offered me a substantial scholarship that is paying for most of my college costs and God has been the wind beneath my wings these last three years energizing me in all that I have done and continues to do so. I have one more year and should graduate in May of 2013. None of this would have happened without two things. One is my faith in God and the other is my willingness to commit to something bigger than myself. To believe that I could do it and to be willing to sacrifice now so I can have freedom later. I know beyond a shadow of any doubt that discipline and commitment to those people and things that are important to you leads to freedom not bondage.
So whether we would like to learn a musical instrument, lose weight, be good at a sport, go to college, or have a good relationship with someone or anything else we would like to learn or do, we have to move away from our dysfunctional view of what freedom is and discover true freedom comes when we are disciplined to order our lives in such a way so that we are able to accomplish our goals. We will have to give some things up along the way but the end results will be worth not only the time spent but the sacrifices made. Above anything else when you give it to God, if it is the right thing for you in your life, because lets face it as humans we don’t always make good choices, if this is what is good for you, then with God walking beside you and the commitment you have made, then it will happen.
My prayer for you all today is that you stop being afraid of the discipline you need in your life so you can honor your promises made. May God be with you and bless you today and every day.