Changing the Landscape = Commitment


A husband with a day off, beautiful weather and no agenda is a dangerous combination in our house.  Our to-do list of home projects has included “redo the dilapidated retaining wall and front steps” for more years than I want to admit. Cost, timing, decisions to DYI vs hire a contractor, all those and more have kept us frozen and unable to make it happen.  Monday, we committed.  We didn’t sign a contract or purchase materials.  No, my husband just announced “I’m tearing out the bushes”, headed for the front door and began tearing out the three overgrown bushes lining the steps and wall.  And with that, we were committed.

No time-table, no contract signed, no blueprint but he took action.  Action he paid for later in a sore back, tired muscles and the realization that tearing out overgrown bushes and three corresponding stumps is work meant for those much younger than he.  We took the first step forward which seems to be the hardest one to take, we he took action.  And more importantly he changed the landscape.  Permanently. Boy, did he change the landscape.  It’s a mess. There is no turning back, no rewind, no other recourse but to move forward.  We are committed.

I often think, dream and imagine new projects, plans or changes in my life.  As long as they stay in my head, unspoken and unknown to anyone I am safe.  I can back out at any time without feeling I have failed by not actually accomplishing what I had hoped to do.  No one else knows so I’m safe.  Around January I heard a friend say that verbalizing your New Year’s resolution can help you achieve it.  Within a few days I read that saying your New Year’s resolution out loud can cause you to think you’ve already done it and can actually erode your resolve.  Hmmm, conflicting opinions.  Which one do I find to be true in my life?

Taking a step, tearing out the bushes and changing the landscape, does it for me.  Just saying it out loud does not propel me to do anything and it doesn’t really make me feel like I did it either.  It’s the no-going-back action, burning the bridge as they say, that moves me forward. Picking up the shovel, ax, electric saw, tow rope to pull the stump out with the car, whatever it takes, to make that first step that means I can’t go back to the way it was.  Action leads me to commitment.

Last year I took action and committed to meet weekly with a few women and share how we have been impacted by reading the scriptures the previous week.  It was the action I needed to commit to something that I wanted to do but didn’t always have the resolve to do.  These women would expect me to be there and ‘let me know about it’ if I didn’t show up.  It was the committment to these women, the weekly meeting, that did it for me.  And it has changed the landscape of my life this past year.  Just like our front lawn now, it is messy and unfinished but it is evident that something is changing.  And that something that is changing is me.

How about you?  Are you committed by saying it out loud?  Or do you need to take action, change the landscape and tear out the bushes? What project or plan are you committed to?

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1 Comment

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One response to “Changing the Landscape = Commitment

  1. Elizabeth

    I do not know how many projects i have planned in my head.Organizing the kitchen cabinets, painting a picture, changing things in my life. But they are all thoughts until I commit with an action.But all to often that first step to take action falls to the way side due to many excuses. Im too tired,I don’t know how to begin,I’m scared, I don’t want to rock the boat.Can I finish what I started? Lately though I have taken action. For years I didn’t do any painting.Recently I have done painting for others which got me to get my blank canvas out.For weeks I stared at the blank canvas scared to begin.Finally one rainy night I just started.”just do it ” I told myself.It was done in two days.How many years did I ponder over it and I completed it in two days!!! But more important is changing thing in my life. Openning that closed lock box of the soul . Taking the steps towards God. Taking steps towards peace, love ,compassion. and forgiveness.and this all started with the action of going to a friend with bewilderment and questions concerning God. And with the action of a friend and God I am now in a commitment of a lifetime!!!! So now with a few more new started commitments,I am excited about what the future holds.

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