When a year is winding down, it is naturally to reflect on what meaning one takes from the year. That is the process that I’ve been going through recently as a realize that we are about to put another year “in the books”. For me, 2014 has been a year without equal. It has been the year of breakthough. In these final days of the year, however, I’ve come to realize that for me and many of you what stands out most in 2014 is the consistent commitments that I made. Those commitments have changed everything.
Over the course of this year, I have written many blog posts and recorded many podcasts in an effort to add value to my audience. As I look back over the year, it is interesting to see which posts and podcasts most resonated with you.
When I look at them it doesn’t take long to discern an underlying theme: “Commitment”.
What is it about “commitment” that speaks to our most basic and visceral emotions?
I love the way that Lebron James, the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) most dominant player today, talks about commitment.
“Commitment is a big part of what I am and what I believe. How committed are you to winning? How committed are you to being a good friend? To being trustworthy? To being successful? How committed are you to being a good father, a good teammate, a good role model? There’s that moment every morning when you look in the mirror: Are you committed, or are you not?”
I love this quote because it speaks to the multi-dimensionality of commitment. Commitment must be balanced. As James says, yes there is a commitment to winning. But, there is simultaneously a commitment to being a good person. Yes, there is a commitment to success. But, ultimately genuine success can only be measured in relationships.
For example, if one is extremely committed to one’s job at the expense of everything else, we call him a workaholic.
If a woman is committed to her fitness goals at the expense of her family, we dub her irresponsible.
But, commitment that demonstrates homage to something bigger than oneself and to altruistic service to others is noble.
Commitment that is consistent in the face of adversity is applauded.
Commitment that recognizes the innate value and frailty of our humanity is transformational.
As I surveyed dozens of my most popular blog posts and podcasts of 2014, my sense is that this idea of commitment is resonating with you as well—with each one examining a different angle on the idea.<
My Five Most Popular Posts of 2014: Commitment in Review
#1 ranked post: Marriage is NOT about love (Click link to read full article)
Though I write and speak about many topics related to leadership in the workplace, home, and ministry context, it was a marriage-related post that narrowly took the top spot in 2014.
Despite the commonly held belief that marriage is primarily about love, this post offers a counter response that it really is commitment that solidifies the foundation of great marriages. It is commitment, more so than love, that takes you through the valleys and elevates you to the mountain top. In marriage, love is a byproduct of commitment to God’s design for your marriage, to helping your spouse become the person God intends for him/her to be, and to a marriage that ministers to a culture in need of marriage models.
Love is a Commitment.
#2 ranked post: 10 Reasons I’m Glad I was a Virgin When I Married (Click link to read full article)<
The reaction to this blog post on the drivers of my virginity for 22 years has been nothing short of amazing.
The most interesting example is a phone call that I received from a mother in North Carolina. She had read the post with her teenage son. She couldn’t believe that it was written by a male. She wanted to thank me for writing something that she could use to combat the promiscuity-laden messages with which her son is bombarded. She asked me if I would speak with her son so that he would have a more tangible connection with me. I was honored and humbled.
Unfortunately, in our hyper sexualized American culture, it is notable that a young man marries while still a virgin. Maybe what is even more striking to people is that this is something about which I’m very proud.
Ultimately, my decision to remain celibate until my honeymoon was a commitment to purity. It was a commitment to God’s directive against fornication. It was a commitment to presenting myself as an offering to my wife. It was a commitment to myself that I was in control of my flesh rather than it dictating terms to me.
Purity is a Commitment.
#3 ranked post: My Vegetarian Breakthrough: Part I (Click link to read full article)<
I prayed that 2014 would be my year of breakthrough. Though recent years has brought some successes in meaningfully contributing to marriage and family education, I was experiencing a void. I wanted to develop a broader umbrella to more fully capture who I am and the impact that I’d ultimately like to make on this world.
My sense was that I needed to commit to a journey of consecration to truly listen to God’s direction for me, to better understand how to develop a viable platform, and to enter my 50th year of life with a clear vision.
I believe that this post resonated with many of you because it demonstrates a commitment to personal growth and purpose. You saw how 12 months without meat continues to open amazing experiences for me.
This journey led to the development of a free resource (“10 Steps to Your Extraordinary Influence”) that I believe will be of tremendous value to many who are also pursuing their own influence. You can get instant access to that resource on my website, HaroldArnold.com.
Consecration is a Commitment.
#4 ranked post: 3 Steps to Effectively Lead Your Home (Click link to listen to the podcast)
The next most popular post was actually a podcast that focused on leadership in the home. We focus a lot on leadership in the workplace and even in ministry settings. But, rarely do we give sufficient attention to the importance of leadership in the home.
The irony is that the home is the most influential training ground for leaders.
In this post one can see how expectations and encouragement engender a home context that is rich with love, support, and purposeful pursuits.
The popularity of this podcast suggests that readers value a commitment to leadership in the family.
Family leadership is a Commitment.
#5 ranked post: How to Truly Apologize and Recover Your Relationship (Click link to read full article)
I must say that I have been pleasantly surprised at how well this post has resonated with many of my readers. Focused on the role of apology in maintaining healthy relationships, this post outlines five very tactical steps that a one can do to restore a fractured relationship.
It truly is a fitting post to round out the top five of 2014 because it speaks to a commitment to deeper relationships, even in the midst of struggles and missteps.
Ultimately, if we are to be people of influence and walking in our purpose we have to learn how to recover from relational miscues. Genuine apology requires humility and contriteness. It is an anathema to pride and a healing salve.
Apology is a Commitment.
I hope that you can see the complexity of commitment. Commitment is personal. But, it is also relational.
Commitment is aspirational. But, it is also immediate.
I pray that 2015 will be a year of elevated Commitment for you and for me for it is the linchpin to greater influence. Today as you look in the mirror, let’s each ask ourselves the question that Lebron James suggests,
“Are you committed, or are you not?”
If you need help setting those goals to which you can commit, click HERE for some suggestions.
Happy New Year!
Leave me a comment a let me know what commitments are important to you for 2015.