Dictionary.com defines commitment as “the act of committing; the state of being committed; the act of committing, pledging, or engaging oneself; a pledge or promise; obligation; engagement; involvement.” These definitions read like a foreign concept of yesteryear, as commitment seems like an ideal that worked when nearly everyone stayed put in close-knit communities, rarely venturing too far from home.
In the twenty-first century, it goes without saying that it’s an uncommitted world out there. No doubt I’m part of this dynamic at times. Maybe you have a role in the disappearance of this value, too. We all value freedom, but persistently leaving our lives in an open-ended state has led to a culture that pursues personal happiness as its core religion, discarding the notion of commitment to our work, our relationships, our values, and our faith.
Certainly, I’m a big believer in discovering and pursuing your God-given calling. However, if the never-ending search for discovering our life’s mission becomes all-consuming, then we’ve placed ourselves on a pedestal. We’ve exalted self above all else. As the search for happiness persists over a long period of time, our inward focus becomes a quest for happiness rather than a life spent seeking God and serving others. While looking for contentment through multi-sensory experiences, we cast aside commitment to anyone or anything as simply old-fashioned.
In The Road Trip That Changed The World, Mark Sayers points out, “In contemporary culture the message is clear: happiness and fulfillment are found in breaking away from community, social expectations, rules, and tradition. Thus the life script of the contemporary world is to gain as much individual freedom as possible to assert one’s desires, and this is achieved through escaping from relational and social expectations.”
If we’re not seeking a life of freedom, meaning, and purpose, then we’re simply existing. However, those pursuits should complement a life of commitment to God, our marriages, families, friends, church, work, and service. For it’s in those commitments that we encounter satisfaction and meaning. Apart from them, we’re aimlessly wandering the earth, on a never-ending journey to find that elusive deeper meaning.
What areas of life are you committed to building up? What parts do you need to commit more of yourself?