Sunday, January 4, 2015

"On Fire": The Five Standards of COMMITMENT

"Breaking up is hard to do, and moving on is even harder. When we lose a love it is easy to feel as though we will never move on, and that we will continue to sing the same old song. One must ask themselves if they really want to move on, or if they want to pursue an old love that didn't seem to work before. In order to move on a person's best bet is to change the things around them that may seem to make them think of, or put them in close proximity of the old love that they are trying to get over.

A person must be willing to give the attention that in the past was reserved for their lover, to themselves. Not in a greedy, self-centered fashion, but in a fashion that promotes growth and independence. When you are with someone for a long amount of time, it is easy to feel abandoned and angry because you are so used to having someone there for you that is no longer there. One must be willing to minimize their dependence on others, and just rely upon God, faith, and their own heart in order to keep climbing higher in life."---Unknown

First up...

Have any of you seen this picture:


There is something that I found to be very...supportive and endearing about this picture. You can click here to read the story behind it but long story short, the woman in the shot's fiance' broke up with her five days (FIVE DAYS) before her wedding. And so, she did a photo shoot to "trash" her wedding dress as a way to process it all. The guy behind her? That's her dad.

Yeah, I can only imagine how it felt to be stood up being that close to marriage, but you know what? As I oftentimes say "Better to break up than divorce." And when a man is less committed than you are (clearly) she dodged a bullet...that brings me to the main point of today's post.

Although I'm almost old enough to be his mother...

I must admit that I have my own little crush on the actor Michael B. Jordan. Not enough to want to meet him (necessarily). But enough to check out his movies (Fruitvale Station is...whew!). So, this past week, I just got around to checking out That Awkward Moment.

Now look, it's a guy's flick with some crass moments in it. Therefore, I'm not endorsing the movie (it does have a few shining points in it, though). However, the very beginning of the film brought up a point that serves, quite well, as the intro do this blog. Let's start with a reference of a Scripture that I have posted oftentimes over the years:

"There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, 'The two become one.' Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never 'become one.' There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for 'becoming one' with another. Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body."---I Corinthians 6:16-20(Message)

Rinse and repeat:

"...we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never 'become one.' There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for 'becoming one' with another."

The Word is telling us that sex, outside of marriage, avoids (AVOIDS) commitment and intimacy. That it has the potential to leave us lonelier than ever. Lonelier than we were before engaging in sex. In fornication. In *sexual sin*.

That said, here's how the movie opens up: Zac Efron's character finishes having sex with a girl and as she's getting read to leave, she's crying and talking about how they need to break up. This is what he says in his mind to her ranting, um expressing:

"I wasn't confused because she was breaking up with me. I was confused because I had no idea that we were dating."

Sex for weeks and yet, he didn't define it as a relationship.

In the words of the late and great ESPN correspondent Stuart Scott "Booyah!"

It really is...something how women find themselves caught up in some pretty, let's say unfortunate situations because they are thinking one thing is going on while the guy is thinking something else.

It's even more unfortunate how so many people will act like they are the exception to the "don't have sex rule" that God put into place.

Yeah, let's not even get into the fact that sex before marriage is not a way to establish a commitment. God's Word says to wait until marriage and that judgment comes to those who fornicate or commit adultery (Hebrews 13:4). Therefore, how can something that defies commitment to God be a trustworthy medium to establish a commitment between two people?

Hopefully that point is a given.

Actually, I want to talk about commitment in more general terms. So, how you can know, *for sure*, that you are in a committed relationship with someone who (get this) is also in a committed relationship with you?

Before we get into that, I first want to share an article that I recently read entitled "The 4 Types of Guys You Can't Change (So Stop Trying)". I'm just going to share the first two types. Click on the link to read about the other two:

The Commitment Phobe

This is the guy who can’t comprehend settling down, but that doesn’t stop him from dating. He’s wired this way—commitment is PERMANENT and FOREVER, and you can NEVER get out of it. He can’t commit because what if he makes a mistake? This guy can’t reconcile this in his mind so he gets involved, tries to settle down, but becomes increasingly fearful and anxious as the relationship progresses. When he can’t stand it anymore, he breaks up in order to relieve his anxiety.

You can spot him by ferreting out his relationship history wherein you will see a very long line of 1-to-3-year relationships that he always exits. Usually a commitment phobe changes only when he reaches a point of suffering that drives him into therapy, so you might be able to influence him by breaking up before he does. But that’s a long shot, one that’s painful for you, and highly risky emotionally.

It’s best to move on and search for someone who is commitment ready.

The Flake

This is the guy who always leaves you hanging—he cancels dates at the last minute, constantly changes his mind about what he wants, and runs hot and cold. One day he’ll text you 10 times and then nothing for a week.

The flake is usually unstable in other areas of life—job, career, friendships and even family. He lacks a clear sense of self, and he doesn’t know who he really is or what he wants out of life or relationships. He blows with the wind and, depending on his mood, you will hear from him or maybe not.

Here’s how to spot The Flake; he asks for dates at the last minute, usually by text message instead of a phone call. He fails to nail down the details, leaving you wondering what time you’re getting together and where you’re going. He may even be very sweet, but you will never pin him down.

Frankly, he’s not worth the frustration. Flaky people bring drama and instability to your life. Run from this guy!

Yeah boy. I don't know about you but I've dated---well, experienced---these kinds of guys before. Not only that, but I know quite a few women who are caught up in cycles (sorta like a hamster wheel) with these types of men even now. Sadly, rather than live in reality (Ecclesiastes 7:18-Message), rather than see things for exactly what they are, they romanticize their way deeper into their situation. They call it "having faith". I call it "not discerning a tree by its fruit" (Matthew 12:33).

That's not to say that a man can't change...or grow (on his own with God's help). What I'm am saying, though, is if perhaps more time was spent defining what a commitment actually looks like, a lot of us wouldn't find ourselves in....less-than-commitments. We'd be n real, true and very obvious ones.

That said...

Here are five standards of commitments, based on the actual definitions of the word "commitment".

A commitment is a promise. OK, let me say this. I'm not saying that a commitment is automatically a vow. I liken it to how I tend to correct someone who is dating when they say "He cheated on me." A guy you are dating did not "commit adultery" because he did not make a vow to you and God that he would remain faithful. If you two are dating and he's seeing someone else and the two of you had the understanding that he wouldn't, one, why aren't the two of you married (single people are, well, *single*)? Secondly, being that he is single, that would be *lying* not *cheating*. Anyway, it was another "late and great" man, Dr. Myles Munroe, who once said this about promises vs. vows: "A promise is a commitment to do something later, and a vow is a binding commitment to begin doing something now and to continue to do it for the duration of the vow." Indeed! So, when I say that a commitment is a promise, what I mean is that when you're in a committed relationship with someone, they are going to be careful to keep their promises to you. Whether it's a a promise to go on a date on Saturday or a promise that they will pray for insight about where the relationship is headed between the two of you.

A commitment is an involvement. Yeah, this is key because there's nothing worse than being in a relationship by yourself, right? Oh, but I've been there and I know a ton of others who can say the same. So, in order to spare you any future or further drama, please listen. One definition of involve is "to include as a necessary circumstance, condition, or consequence; imply; entail". Yep. When someone is committed to you, they will include you in their lives. They will see you as someone who is necessary. Necessary means "being essential, indispensable, or requisite". When you're necessary to someone else, you don't have to tell them or manipulate them or ultimatum them or spiritually compromise yourself (or them) to get them to see that. *They will tell and show you that you are essential*. If you're not being told that, if their actions are not dictating that to may be in something, but it's probably not a commitment.

A commitment is an engagement. OK, I don't mean a wedding proposal although prayerfully it will lead to that at some point (see Point #5). I mean this kind of engagement: "to occupy the attention or efforts of (a person or persons)". When a guy is in a commitment with you, he *wants* your attention and *appreciates* your efforts. Therefore, you won't have to give him the run down of how awesome you are and/or all of the things you've done for him in the relationship. He recognizes those things all on his own and because he wants to keep you around, he will show you that he cherishes you and what you have to offer. Without your assistance (or your nagging).

A commitment is rooted in trust. It's kind of a long story (the Hebrew language can be pretty complex), but the Hebrew word "galal" can be translated into "to trust or to commit to". The Hebrew word for trust is "batach". Some of the meanings of that word is "confident", "feel secure" and "rely". When you are in a commitment with someone, you should feel confident in the relationship and secure in the guy (for the record, it's not his job to make you feel secure in yourself; that's yours. He just makes you feel like you can trust the relationship). One of the reasons is because he is reliable. Someone who is reliable is dependable. Someone who is dependable is going to be "honest" and (please catch it) *consistent*. Not perfect but consistent.

A commitment is progressive. A commitment is going to not be stagnant. This means that if the two of you are on the same page and in the same book about your relationship, you're not only committing to where you are now, but you're both putting a concerted effort to make plans for the future. No, this does not always, automatically or necessarily mean that a ring is coming tomorrow or this year. What it *does mean* is that he will see the "good thing" that is before him and want to do what is required, by God, to make you his wife. In God's time (Acts 1:7-Message). In time's time (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Much more than in your time.

So there you have it.

Whatever it is that you are participating in right now, run it by these standards to make sure that it actually *is* a commitment. And if you're praying to enter into one in the near future, use this blog as a guideline.

Oh, and if you're recently ending a commitment/relationship/situation, please take that lead quote up top to heart. The attention that you put into the relationship, put that into yourself. Go to God. Seek healing. Cop an *embracement ring*---and wait for what's next.

Prayerfully, next time, it will be a true and lasting commitment.

Amen? Amen!



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