September 3, 2004

prior commitments

The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
I know that I haven't posted about this book in awhile. I obviously wasn't trying to fulfill the challenge at the beginning of the book (to read through the book in 40 days). It was one among several books that I was trying to read at the same time, and this one made it to the back burner while I finished up some of the others.

So I picked it up again today, and since my students are taking a test right now, I thought that I would make a quick post about it. (previous posts can be found here and here.) I read it early this morning and this one paragraph just jumped out at me:

Nothing shapes your life more than the commitments you make. Your commitments can develop you or they can destroy you, but either way,they will define you. Tell me what you are committed to, and I'll tell you what you will be in twenty years. We become whatever we are committed to.
--Rick Warren

I don't know about you, but when I read something that impacts me, it usually impacts me in two ways. I hate to admit it publicly, but I usually think about how this affects other people first. I wish that I was the type of person that would always begin by evaluating myself first, but I just don't.

Just consider all of the things that people can be committed to. There are the big things like money, fame, fortune, and so on, but there are also the more subtle things like a commitment to feel good, or a commitment to have fun. These types of commitments could remain hidden for years, but don't be mistaken, they are just as destructive.

But just when I think that I have figured out what is wrong with everyone else in the world, the eyes start to turn inward, and inevitably the question is asked, "what are you committed to?"

Rick Warrens words are sobering when you really consider them: "We become whatever we are committed to." We could all go down the list of things that others have committed themselves to. We could line up the tombstones of people who have wasted their lives being committed to these worthless things. But can you ask yourself the question, "what are you committed to?"