In the religious tradition that I come from, at the beginning of the marriage ceremony, after the priest has done the Introduction, he/she turns his/her attention to the couple to be married for the ‘Declaration of Consent’. Included in the ‘Declaration of Consent’, is a question as to the willingness of the bride and the groom to forsake all others. It is only after they have each given their consent that the priest continues.
In the Introduction that precedes the ‘Declaration of Consent’ the priest reminds all gathered that marriage must not be entered into ‘carelessly, selfishly, or wantonly, but responsibly, honestly, and after serious thought and prayer‘.
Last week’s piece, I Do, focussed on commitment. This week’s piece is intended to continue in that vein, focussing now on what is required for commitment. I posit that release is a necessary precursor to commitment. Commitment is founded upon release. I ask a simple question, ‘Who can commit to anything without first releasing something?’ My friends, even if it’s as simple as scheduling an appointment, must you not release the free time that you currently have before you commit to the time of the appointment? For an act as simple as scheduling the appointment, you must forsake the free time – you must forsake all other pulls/demands on your time.
Let’s use another analogy. If you propose to increase your savings, you must forsake spending. In the study of Economics, I learnt that saving is income not spent or deferred consumption. Wouldn’t you say that that involves a form of release? You must release or forsake the spending of income now in order to commit to a higher level of saving as you work your way towards the purchase of the good or service that you desire.
There are many other examples. Think of some yourself. When you’re done, I’m sure you too will be convinced that commitment cannot happen without release.
As I say this, I’m reminded of Newton’s Third Law:
This law is founded on the principle that forces always come in pairs. So, consider the one force the release, and the other force the commitment. Physics aficionados, please bear with me. (SMILE)
Now that we’ve established that release is a precursor to commitment, how do we commit? Before I move forward, let me point out that
without release, there is no commitment.
You fool yourself if you haven’t released. I advance that if you haven’t released, then, you haven’t committed either, or at best, your commitment is impaired.
So, back to the question: ‘How do you commit?’ It’s at this point that I return to the Introduction/preamble that precedes the ‘Declaration of Consent’. Remember, we are told that marriage is not to be entered into ‘carelessly, selfishly, or wantonly, but responsibly, honestly, and after serious thought and prayer.’ This ‘serious thought and prayer’ must influence how you move forward into your commitment. If you’re not one for prayer, well then, reflect. Whatever you call it, the process (NOT THE ACT), yields guidance on the way forward. As you commit, be it to higher levels of service, activity, new phases in your path, you will need to enter that only after serious thought and prayer/reflection.
You will observe that I refer to prayer/reflection as a process and not an action. Well, that’s just what it is – it is a process. It will take time. It will even involve multiple steps. It cannot be undertaken in a single sitting. If that’s the case, it is also a process that necessarily involves patience. The outcome, the guidance will not manifest itself right away, so you have to be prepared to wait…to employ patience.
You could consider this as preparing you for the commitment – for helping you understand the release that is required of you. For, to wait means that you must release your preference or desire for a result in the now, and to take hold of the period of the wait.
I offer you these thoughts, friends, as we begin to wrap up another year. I encourage you to begin your process of prayer/reflection now. Remember, you will have to wait for the guidance. Begin your process of prayer now so you may be guided into what is the release you need in order to render yourself ready to commit to whatever the new year will mean for you.
As I close, remember, good things come to those who wait, but not to those who wait too late. So, your good thing will come if you wait, but you must begin that process of reflection even now, so that that good thing that awaits you might not escape you for failure on your part to begin the process of release.
My process has already begun. I am releasing because I am about to commit. I pray you find your release as well.
Until next time, love, peace and joy.