Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Let's Talk Commitment

"Is this conversation going to require a commitment from me?" I paused, watching their baffled expressions, "Because if it is, I don't want to have it."

Baffled gave way to a knowing nod. My husband and mother-in-love smiled and simultaneously informed me that I was required to have the conversation and commit. In the end, I did commit and aside from some forgotten items, it all turned out just fine.

But weeks later, I'm still mulling over those words I spoke. Words that surfaced from deep insecurity. I don't want to fail. I probably won't follow through. I'm known for being unreliable. I can't stand disappointing people. To risk vulnerability and the ensuing hangover.

And so I continue on this self-effacing path, making jokes about how I can never be counted on, how it's a bad idea to enlist me for any kind of a committee that wants to actually accomplish something. I light-heartedly reiterate that I'll most likely show up late and forget the item I signed up to bring.

A friend messages me on Monday, "Can we get together on Wednesday at 5?" At 2:00 in the afternoon -- on Wednesday -- I respond, "Yes! 5 will work great!"

In referencing pop psychology, no, this isn't working for me. The shackles of indecisiveness are painfully limiting. Ah, the old cliché, nothing ventured, nothing gained? Yes, well, nothing ventured, no one disappointed, no one let down. I don't fail. I save face.

And there it is. The crux of the situation. Nothing ventured means my faith isn't stretched and I hold on to my pride.

I learned recently that the crux in rock climbing is the most difficult part of the climb. In Latin it means "cross or torture." I stood at the base and watched climbers scamper up the rock, almost effortlessly, until they reached the crux. At that point, they hesitated, scanned for the next hold, legs shaking uncontrollably.

No climber begins the ascent with the goal in mind to arrive halfway. At least I haven't met that climber yet. They reach up and take hold, lift their foot off solid ground, and look up at the top of the rock, the mountain, the anchor. They make a commitment.

I watched intently, waiting to see if they would make it past the "torture" portion of the climb. A couple of climbers, physically exhausted and mentally weary, decided to rappel down from that point. But most of the climbers found a way to navigate the difficulty, to cling to fingertip ledges, to trust the anchor holding them, and make their way to the top.

Writing, for me, is that rock. Put up a website? Write consistently on a blog? Make a private, personal commitment to write so many words or minutes per day? I nervously shift my feet and hear the sound of chains rattling against slabs of rock. It's safer down here. Mediocre and status quo... but safe.

Wind whistles through a crag in my fears and I hear Spirit whisper, "So when you committed your life to following Jesus, what exactly did you mean when you said, 'Anything, anytime, anywhere?'"

My breath catches.

I ache to lift feet off solid ground. To make the ascent.

Repent of my pride. Cling to faith ledges. Trust the Anchor.

Jesus, help me.

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