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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Day 13: Level of Commitment

"Level of Commitment" . . . I coined this term in the middle of a difficult relationship. This relationship seemed to run hot and cold with unpredictable frequency. At times all was well, great even, with a deeply satisfying connection and truly enjoyable. At other times the relationship bordered on abusive and was very difficult. Yet, unless I made radical changes to my life, I could not avoid relationship with this person. How was I to cope with this constantly fluctuating drama?

At the same time, I was involved in more activities, had more commitments that I could juggle and do well. I was looking for a solution. I came across this idea of "Level of Commitment" and it gave me hope for balance.

The idea behind "Level of Commitment" is to choose a level of commitment that is healthy, safe, and reasonable, either to another person or to involvement in an activity and then stick to it.

With the relationship, I could be a friend, but I could not be a savior, a "dog to kick", or run interference for them. I could be a friend. I could be a friend who loved and expressed compassion, yet who had distinct boundaries in the context of this relationship. I could move away to a safe point, still accessible, but not in the midst of the daily emotional whirl that accompanied this relationship.

In the area of too many commitments, I could choose what I had to offer to each one. In some cases it meant withdrawing from the commitment so I had energy to give to something else I valued more. In other cases it involved modifying my level of involvement such as instead of going to every home game, going to a few each season.

What suggestions would you offer to someone feeling frustrated in a relationship 
or who is overcommitted?


  1. Wow. This is profound! Thank you for sharing these wise words today, Dar!

  2. Thank you, Linda! This was one of the most important lessons I learned.

  3. I definitely have too many commitments right now. I think your advice is good, but I find myself unable to decide what commitments should have more or less time. Seems like the things that I am cutting out are the things I enjoy most.

    Even though I don't want to be, I feel like I am in a "Martha" mode. Somebody has to do the work, don't they??????? I long to be "Mary" sitting at the Lord's feet and soaking in His teaching. Yet, what happens when the teaching is over and nothing has been done to fulfill the needs of the guests? Are they to be sent home unclothed, tired, hungry, and thirsty?

    I am struggling with this greatly and wish I could find peace in my heart, my mind, and my schedule.

  4. Dear Anonymous,
    Thank you for your heartfelt questions.

    Regarding deciding which commitments should have more or less time, a few guiding principles rise to the top (1) what would God have you to do? When you filter this commitment through Scripture and prayer, what do you discover? (2) What is before you that only you can do? What are you committing time to that someone else could do? An example: many people could do the work of a volunteer or employee, only a parent can love, protect, and meet the needs of their own child. (3) Every time you say yes to one thing you are saying no to something else. Saying yes to the call of God and to the things that only you can do is important and saying no to things that God is not calling you to or that someone else could do is equally important. (4) It's easy to get caught up in doing "good" things rather than focusing on just the best things, the things God calls us to do. There will always be good things to do, but we need to focus on the best things.

    You ask some important questions about caring for others. The key here is balance. Yes, someone has to do the work AND each of us need times to be Mary and sit at the Lord's feet. The key is to find the balance, times to be still and be refreshed and renewed by the Lord AND times to do the work He has called us to. Sometimes we are in the middle of the whirlwind and unable to see clearly, often a friend, family member, or counselor can help us look at our commitments with outside perspective and greater clarity.

    I pray that God will give you great wisdom as you seek to find peace in your heart, mind and schedule. Choosing what to keep and step away from is very difficult, but also very important to our health and well-being.

    1. Such good insights! Thank you for taking the time to reply!!!