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Moving Beyond Commitment


*****

Somewhat skeptical of his son’s newfound determination to become the next Charles Atlas, the father nevertheless followed the teenager over to the weight-lifting department.
“Please, Dad,” whined the boy, “I promise I’ll use them every day.”
“I don’t know, Michael. It’s really a big commitment on your part,” the father pointed out.
“Please, Dad?”
“They’re not cheap either.”
“I’ll use them Dad, I promise. You’ll see.”
Finally won over, the father paid for the equipment and headed for the door.
From the corner of the store he heard his son yell, “What! You mean I have to carry them to the car?!”

*****

Commitment to a cause is sometimes difficult.  I mean, it’s easy to understand something that is true and understand how it could benefit our lives, but to actually change and begin applying that truth creates stress.  Change is hard.  The doctor asks you to stop eating KFC, Taco Bell and Wendy’s three times a week because your cholesterol is getting a bit high…like closing in on 320.  Changing that can be tough.  That was basically my story last spring.  I had been off my cholesterol medicine…cause I thought I had a handle on things.  Truth was, my diet was intertwining in negative ways with hereditary traits and creating a disaster in the waiting.  I had to face truth.  Dr. Tony was the truth giver.  “You’re going back on medicine.  And you’re going to eat healthier.  Or, you’re going to be a heart patient sometime soon…,” is close to what he said after looking at my test results.  I had to make a decision to accept the truthful scenario I was facing, and I had to commit to doing some things differently to get healthier.

We’ve been talking about finances in the last few articles.  The American dream has been changed a bit through the past few generations.  ‘Normal’ in America means that we have/want a nice house, a nice car and nice things and a credit card balance to prove it.  Normal means living the high life but still living pay check to pay check.  Normal means no savings account.  Normal means Christmas is put on an equity loan.  Normal means vacations are financed at a 15% interest rate.  Normal means we’re not content with where we are…ever.  Normal means greed is …well…normal, and even accepted.  Normal is kids being able to beat their parents down for a happy meal when mom or dad know they can’t afford it.

But we’ve learned that healthy means living within our means.  Healthy means recognizing that none of what we have is ours.  God owns it all.  Healthy means living wisely, with savings for emergencies and enough to get us through a couple months of hard times.  Healthy means living within our means so we’re always ready to give generously if God leads us to.  Healthy means no credit card purchases on impulse.  Healthy means paying with cash.  Healthy means that our financial management is within God’s plan for our life…we are stewards of what He gives to us or allows us to have.  Healthy means that we are content and thankful in all situations…no matter what.

Most people in America are living the “unhealthy dream.”  And most people, if confronted with the truth of what is healthy, blow it off as too hard or weird.  I like KFC, Taco Bell and Wendy’s, but I if they are taking years off my life I think I can change a few things.  I don’t like taking medicine, but if it will add a few years to my life…I think I can pull off remembering to take a little pill in the morning.   And if running can get me off of that pill and help me live even healthier, I’m even more motivated to commit to change.

Funny thing here though is that we often commit to things.  We speak new plans with our mouths in front of others with great intentions.  Anyone got an unfulfilled New Year’s Resolution from the past few years?  Me too.  After commitment comes forward motion.  To pull off of square center we need to “do something.”  Commitment is step one.  Forward motion with new choices is step two, three, four, etc. etc.  Will you fail sometimes in those steps forward?  The definitive answer is a resounding YES!  However, failure becomes wisdom when you can see what you did wrong and correct your course and still keep moving forward.  John Maxwell calls this Failing Forward.  You fall down.  Get back up.  You’ll get knocked down.  Get back up.  And always remember this, when committing to a healthier, Godlier plan of financial management, you’re not alone.  He is with you.  You have His word and the scriptures, many which are scattered through the last couple articles, to guide you.

So, what do you choose?  Normal and unhealthy or a little weird and healthy…even Godly?  Which will help you live a more peaceful and happy life?  Which will help you be more helpful to those around you?  So, if you said yes to a positive change, what will be your first step?  Will your first step be tomorrow or will you put it off further into the future?  I know you know the best answers to all these questions, but it is up to you.  Commit and then act.  You will soon be on that journey to success and you will feel like you’re accomplishing something great!  And you’ll be in a better position to be healthy for those around you who need to see Jesus.  That is the ultimate goal.

Love, Serve, Spread the Word,

Ed

Actions for growth:

  • Write out where you are weak in financial management and where you’re strengths might be.
    • Examples:  Impulse purchases are my weakness.  However, if I put my mind to it, I’m actually a pretty good saver.
  • Get a sample budget to start looking closer at where each of your dollars go.  Here are a few links to get you started:
  • Pray your guts out about how thankful you are that God trusts you with money and stuff and things …and that you want to get better at being a manager of His things.
  • Take inventory of your stuff…look at what you need and/or don’t need.  Sell some things.  Give some things to people who might need them more than you.  This will get you on the road to living contently.
  • Begin to tithe and give to Godly things.  Start with your church.  Or, if you don’t have a church, look for one where you can belong and where you can begin a new chapter in your life.
  • Set up a plan to save some extra bucks that will help you through a dry season.  Maybe even an auto take out program so that you don’t even have to think about the money going into a savings account.
  • Continue to recognize that we are not our own.  We were also bought with a price…a high price.  Christ’s life.

…and on that note… Merry Christmas!  : – )

Ed

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