I played field hockey all through school.
I definitely was not a naturally gifted player, but I stuck to it and was able to become reasonably good. I learnt that defence was a whole lot more satisfying than attacking positions; mainly because frustrating other peoples’ plans was easier than trying to make my own (insert life lesson here, haha).
But learning to play hockey, I came across a term that helped me improve: “commit to the ball”.
Now honestly, I had no idea what that meant and the more I heard it the more insane I thought my coaches were. In time I would learn that it means to confidently engage with the ball – focusing on it before you run, pass and shoot.
In light of what I learnt, I found that this definition works well for life in general as much as it did on the sports field. Never in my life would I have thought I would dedicate a whole post to a sports analogy, but here goes!
Here is my definition of commitment:
Confidently engaging and focusing on the present, with directional intention for the future.
Let’s break this down:
Confidently engaging and focusing on the present
- So much of our lives can be lived regretting the past.
In fact, some people never stop looking backwards. Not only will you have ample opportunity to consistently beat yourself up, but this way of living results in you regretting that you were busy regretting your distant past and did nothing constructive in that moment. We all make mistakes – we have all made full-blown informed wrong decisions – but continuously replaying your mess-ups denies us the ability to learn from them and move forward.
- We can also waste full seasons pining for the past.
I am sure there are some times in the past that you really enjoyed – moments that made you feel truly alive! Nostalgia is that familiar friend that leads you down his own version of memory lane – where all the suffering and conflict has been tidily tucked away. I know of seasons in my life where it was easier to look back and remember good times than face the realities before me. But no matter how grateful you are for what your life has been, the mirage will never become reality again. Moments cannot be recreated. They would not be defined as ‘moments’ if they could. The good memorable times in life can definitely encourage and give us hope for our future. But if we keep looking for them, we will waste that hope on half-hearted living in the present.
With directional intention with the future
- What is before you right now?
I have goals in life. I definitely want to reach my goals. I want to win. But I can get so caught up with my goals that I actually lose focus on how I need to reach them. Just like on the field – no matter how much I hang around my goals, I will not be able to reach them without the ball.
The future can be as enticing as the past. In fact, the ‘world of possibility’ can be so exciting that making any decision in the present feels limiting. Yes – you are free to run around the whole field. But without committing to what you have before you, there will be no direction or constructive purpose to what you are doing.
Sometimes the day-to-day responsibilities we have before us look nothing like our goals. Sometimes we need to make strategic decisions to change the direction of our lives. But most of the time, all we will have to do is commit. Commit to what you have today.
There is a saying that has really helped me focus on what I have, instead of being caught up in what I am wanting out of life:
Commit to your present as if it is forever. Pray as if you will reach your goals tomorrow.
Living life this way gives you the clarity to use what is in your hands to build towards your goals. It gives you the determination to do what needs to be done wholeheartedly, while not giving up hope that there is more in store. It ensures that even if everything you are carrying today was taken away from you – you know you milked every last ounce of purpose from it.
One of the greatest commitments you can make in life is getting to know God. He knows your goals, your future, your present and your past. Not only does he know how you can reach your goals, but he wants to show you as well. If you want to find out more, click on the link below.