A Call for Commitment

A Call for Commitment

This for the most part marks the first anniversary of me starting CooperDane.com.

It’s funny to me that more people don’t have a place to share their views with the world other than on other people’s platforms. I can truly say that having this medium has allowed me to not only become more creative, but also be intentional with my thoughts.

When you’re forced to write a thought out article on your views rather than keep them in your mind, it causes you to formulate a much better and more well rounded argument. Sometimes in fact, I would sit down and plan to write an article and halfway through realize that what I was writing was not actually something I believed. So, in the trash can it went.

One thing I have been planning to write on ever since I started this was on the word COMMITMENT.

What does commitment look like?

Why should we keep our promises?

What does commitment look like in the Bible?

Who are we failing by not keeping our commitments?

These are questions I plan to explore among others.

What does commitment look like?

commitment handstied

More and more it appears the definition of commitment seems to be lost.

Commitment defined is the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.

This is a fine definition, but I’d like to expound on it and define what it means to me.

Commitment defined by Cooper is saying, “I will do something regardless of other things that present themselves to the best of my abilities.”

This definition is NOT only to other people.

This is first and foremost to yourself.

When you say to yourself, “I’m going to workout 3 times this week because I want to be healthier for myself and for my family” you are COMMITTING to those three days. That means regardless of other things that are going on, regardless of other people that want to take your time, YOU WILL WORK OUT 3 TIMES NO MATTER WHAT.

Let me give you an example of what commitment looks like from one of my personal heroes in history, Mr. Theodore Roosevelt.

On October 14, 1912, Theodore Roosevelt having been out of politics, but being disappointed with the current administration was about to give a speech in an attempt to win an unprecedented third term as POTUS.

When he stepped out of the car to wave at his supporters, suddenly a man only a few feet away shot Teddy in the chest. Thankfully his 50 page speech he had written along with his metal glasses case had shielded him from imminent death. Being a man who had seen gun fire quite a bit in his life, Teddy stuck his finger in his mouth to see if blood was present indicating a punctured lung. Fortunately for him there was not.

Theodore Roosevelt went on to give a 90 minute speech and providing the world with one of the greatest one liner comebacks of all time,

“Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose.”

My friends, that is the definition of commitment. Teddy had committed not only to himself to give this speech, but also to the people attending. Even though he was SHOT IN THE CHEST, he still went on to give a speech lasting over an hour and a half.

Curious what the opposite of commitment is?

Justin Bieber storming off the stage in Oslo after only one song because people were trying to touch him while he was cleaning up spilled water.

Unfortunately, this sort of lack of commitment seems to have infiltrated itself so deep into our society it can be seen everywhere.

But, before we decide to keep our commitments, we need to know why.

Why should we keep our promises?

Every time you make a promise, you are giving a part of yourself.

Wait, what?

I mean it, every single time you tell someone that you can be counted on, you are giving a piece of who you are.

When you follow through and do the thing you said you would do, you get back the piece of you that was given, plus something extra. That something extra is the trust the person now has for you because you were a man of your word.

This trust that you build with people compounds itself until everyone you know, knows you as a trustworthy person.

Think back to all of the people you are friends or have done business with. When somebody shows up late or doesn’t follow through with something you were counting them on, you remember that. And every time you think of people you can count on to do something for you, that time your friend Bobby said he could help you and never showed up, replays in your mind.

So, if you want to have people who are committed to you, you need to be committed to them.

This also plays itself out in your own life; I’ve seen it 1000 times.

Somebody tells me they’re going to commit to only going to somewhere like Starbucks once a week because they want to save money by making coffee at home.

Not a week goes by and they’re back to buying a cup of coffee at their local brown eyes every morning.

In their mind, it doesn’t matter because it was a commitment nobody knew about. It was simply a promise they made to themselves and in all reality, can you really lie to yourself?

Yes, you can. And the majority of people go through life telling themselves one thing, and doing another.

This lack of trust in oneself will play itself out in all sorts of ways. I mean honestly, how can you expect to keep a commitment to others, if you can’t keep one to yourself?

Biblical commitment

king david

Not everyone reading this is a Christian, however even if you aren’t a Christian, the Bible has many principles for living a successful life.

One of the many stories that pops into my head regarding commitment in the Bible is the story of King David.

I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. – Psalm 16:8

David committed his entire life to the Lord and through it, the Lord blessed him in return.

One of the main principles that is shown throughout the Bible in regards to commitment is the fact that commitment is not always, and in many cases, never easy.

When you commit to someone or something, you should be saying regardless of the obstacles that come in my way, I will give my all to do the thing I said I would. A story that illustrates this in the bible is of Job.

This is personally one of my favorite stories in the Bible and shows that if we commit to the Lord, He will commit back to us.

God allowed Satan to attack Job:

And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” – Job 1:12

Job then began to experience many trials in his health, wealth, and even his Wife telling him to curse God and kill himself. Through all of this, Job remained committed to his faith. He did not sway. He did not forget his commitments even though life was going rough. But instead, Job cried out:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Think on this for a second. Job was a wealthy man who was truly blessed. Suddenly he had nothing.

What would you do in that situation? Would you curse? Would you turn your back on God? It’s very hard to say without ever having gone through such a tumultuous time. But, I believe that through small commitments to others, we can develop the fortitude necessary to remain committed to the Lord even in the most difficult times.

Let me say this again, because to me, this is the most important lesson to be learned in this entire discussion:

By keeping the seemingly small commitments to our friends, family, and business associates we deal with on a daily basis, we can develop the means to stay committed in the situations that would feel impossible otherwise. This illustrates the power of compounding. Many see it only in the area of finance, but it is all around you.

God calls us to be FULLY invested in Him. He does not want wafflers or back and forthers. He despises these types so much it is written in Revelation:

So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. – Revelation 3:16

In the end, after all of Job’s trials and hardships, God blesses Job with twice of what he had before.

And this receiving of something extra goes right back to my example of giving a piece of yourself and in return, receiving even more.

Who are we failing by not keeping our commitments?

You don’t have to commit to the majority of things in life. In fact, there’s many people that live this way. You may ask them to do something and rather than giving you a yes or no, they just give you the ol’ “I’ll let you know.” These are not the type of people that can be trusted and often turn out to be very unreliable people.

But, even worse than never committing, is committing and not following through with your commitments.

What happens when the lady in my previous example who was set on not going to Starbucks each week decides she’s no longer going to keep her commitment?

Well, for one, it will become more and more difficult for her to stay committed to anything if she doesn’t follow through.

“Willpower is like a muscle. The more you work on developing it, the more you can incorporate it into your life. – Dr. Kelly McGonigal

Other people will also see that she is not committing to herself and will not expect her to commit to them.

A secret to committing to oneself

Do you know why people love to tell others what they plan on doing?

It’s because it allows them to feel a sense of immediate accomplishment. So much so in fact, that many people will not do, what they said they would.

Going around telling everybody, everything you plan on doing is a recipe for disaster. In the short term it will lead to little shots of dopamine, but in the long term, it will lead to ruin.

The next time you have an idea of something you want to commit to, say it’s working out or eating better, wait at least 3 months before you tell anybody outside of your closest circle of people. Being able to say, “these are things I’m doing” vs. “these are things I’m going to do” will change your life. Procrastinators talk about what they want to do, successful people talk about what they’re currently doing.

A real life example of commitment

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Every Thursday evening at 7:30 PM rain or shine, 20 dedicated people come to my Wife and I’s home to encourage one another and dig into the Word.

Our group is what’s known as a Life Group and is part of James River Church.

I’ve been a part of various bible studies, but none have had the intentionality and dedication to one another as this group does.

In fact, it’s been such a committed group of individuals, we’ve created a name and a mission statement.

Intentional Pursuit

A group of men and women that is committed through love, humility, community, and the word of God to become more equipped for the intentional pursuit of Jesus in our everyday lives.

The overarching theme and idea that has caused us to flourish, is every one is bought in. When someone says they’re going to do something and doesn’t, you’ll be sure that a brother will come alongside them to encourage future change.

We see each other as family. When people need help moving, we’re there. When a couple is suddenly expecting a baby, we’re there to celebrate. When an engagement is announced, we’re there to share in the moments.

Through commitment to one another, EVERYONE has seen incredible growth. If you’re not surrounded by others committed as much to you as you are to them, then I highly suggest you seek a change. Everybody deserves to have people walk alongside them on this journey we call life.

Final Thoughts

This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list of all of the positive sides of standing by your commitments, but it is a start. Make this year, the year where you no longer say one thing, and do something else.

Live and die by your commitments and your life with flourish.

– Cooper Mitchell

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