Commitment is a scary word, most often used in the context of romantic relationships. We all know people are who serial commitment-phobes, who float from relationship to relationship without ever really settling down. Almost every romantic comedy is about this uncommitted guy or girl meeting the other lead in the story and settling down together. In these movies, true love is the thing that breaks their inability to commit.
But in what other areas do we struggle with commitment?
I’m committed to my diet until a piece of bread is in front of me.
I stay committed to the idea of working out, but have trouble following through.
I am committed to the idea of accountability, but the practice of it scares me.
I am committed to writing every day until it’s easier to just let Netflix autoplay instead.
I am committed to going to church until I don’t want to drive in traffic.
Currently, I am in the process of looking for a new church home. I am being intentional to listen to the Lord in this season and hear where he’s leading. I love the church I’ve been going to and I pray for them often, but I know it’s time for a change. I have been attending certain services at another church and have loved it since I first walked through the doors. When talking to friends about this church, I would say, “If I ever need a new church home, this is where I would go,” and yet, I’ve been struggling to commit.
I am afraid of commitment.
I didn’t know this about myself. I thought that I was great at commitment. Every other church I’ve attended and served at I was fully committed to them: I attended regularly and served until I couldn’t serve anymore. When I commit to an employer, I give them my all and I stay there for a considerable amount of time. I’m not one for constantly moving or always changing; I like roots, consistency, and structure. So why am I dragging my feet on this decision?
I am afraid of choosing wrong.
I am afraid of being known.
I am afraid of getting involved.
I am afraid of being hurt.
I am afraid of community.
I am afraid of letting people down.
I am afraid of being seen.
I am afraid of failing.
It may seem a little overdramatic that I’m thinking this much about this one situation, but it’s the way my mind works. It takes me a long time to make certain decisions because I see the domino effect that one decision can cause. I study eventualities and possibilities and use those to make the best decision I can. I am so thankful for this gift that I’ve been given, though I have to consistently work to steward it well.
So, back to my current predicament. It’s so easy to stay on the periphery and remain uncommitted, claiming that I am just “exploring” or “keeping an open mind”. That space is safe. Being known by a limited amount of people is comfortable. Being alone is my sweet spot. Being a number instead of a name is refreshing. But it’s also cowardly. Now, don’t get me wrong, this has been a hugely healing season for me. Stepping back so I can receive and be revived and encouraged without having to consistently give of myself has been incredible and absolutely necessary. But recently the Lord has been putting it on my heart that the time is approaching for me to commit.
My time of residing in limbo is quickly coming to an end. And that’s scary. But this is when faith and trust come into play: I need to believe that facing my fear and making a decision will be absolutely worth it. I have to trust that my God who has been a faithful companion every step of the way will be there with me as I embark on this new adventure. It’s so easy to think that being free is the only way to have an adventure, but I think that’s wrong. Committing to something is exciting and new. Commitment an adventure all its own.
I’ve been where you are–wrestling with changing churches. When I rested in Christ and asked Him to lead me and He did. As a result, I joined a fantastic, Bible teaching church and was a member for 14 years until we moved to another city.
I want to share a personal story that has nothing to do with changing churches, but has everything to do with making commitment.
Several years ago when I was teaching our 4th and 5th graders in Vacation Bible School, our theme was Facing our Fears. I had always been deathly afraid of roller coasters. I didn’t even like to look at pictures of people riding roller coasters or videos of roller coaster rides.
One day after VBS, we took our VBS kids to Six Flags over Georgia. During class time I told the kids I was going to ride Goliath that afternoon. Remember the lesson was “facing your fears”. Goliath was 20 stories high and reached speeds up to 70 mph–the most intimidating thrill ride in the park. Our kids were wondering if I would really ride it. Well, not only did I ride it, I rode it two more times. It was a blast!
Now, that’s a pretty silly example, but it hit home with our folks (AND with me). God showed me that once we face our fears, the fears go away; because God did not give us a spirit of fear. Fear comes from the pit of hell.
Anyway, I don’t know if that will help you in your dilemma of finding a new church family, but God sure showed me, and our kids, what can happen when we face our fears and ride those roller coasters.
Something else that helped me when I was searching for a new church home was mixing with the people. The people in the new church were accepting and welcoming. The accepted me right where I was, warts and all. That made deciding to stay there much easier and I never regretted one day that I changed churches. It’s ultimately where God transformed my faith and helped me feel accepted by the members, and from God. I’ll be praying for you.
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What a good analogy and a great lesson to learn! I’m so happy to hear that you found a new church home and are loving it… that’s amazing! Thank you for the encouragement.