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Keeping Commitments

October 22, 2019

Have you ever watched This Is Us? If you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know what I’m talking about, This Is Us is a popular TV show, known for its emotional drama, filled with both heartwarming and heartbreaking stories.

My wife and I were a little late to the This Is Us bandwagon. And to be honest, I would like to jump off at any time. But for the sake of my marriage, I am hanging in there. 

It’s not that This Is Us is a bad show. In fact, I think it’s a great show, but it’s emotionally exhausting

In our house, the scenario goes something like this. We’ve just put our son to bed. We’ve got roughly an hour before we both would like to go to sleep. Laura turns to me and asks, “Do you want to watch This is Us?” And I think, “You know, it’s been a long day at work, and I don’t think I have the emotional capital to spend on watching that show tonight,” so I suggest Family Feud instead. But I don’t hate This Is Us. It’s one of the most compelling shows I’ve ever seen. 

Inevitably in every storyline, there is some great tragedy or some heightened emotional moment born out of the light, fun topics of alcoholism, death, eating disorders, family conflict, or divorce. The show mirrors real life, so in most episodes, some character makes a bold commitment about how they are going to live their lives differently. They are going to be present at home. They are going to stop drinking. They are going to lose the weight.  

We can all relate to the show, because even if we haven’t faced the same situations, we’ve all  made those types of commitments to ourselves and other people in our lives. There’s been a conflict with your friend, a tough conversation with your boss, or a fight with your spouse. And in that moment, things have been brought to light. The picture has been clarified. And you realize something about yourself that you never have before. So you make the promise to your boss, your coworker, your friend, your spouse, or maybe even to God: “I am going to be different, and things are going to change.”

Ever made a promise like that?

I’m going to be a better spouse. 

I’m going to be intentionally present with my kids at home. 

I’m going to give it my all at work. 

I’m going to invest in this friendship. 

I’m going to support this coworker. 

I’m going to be a more committed to God and my faith.

When things are bad and there’s nowhere to go but up, these commitments feel easy to make. But when things are better, those promises are often easy to break. So here’s my challenge to you and to me today: Be willing to fulfill in the good times the commitments you’ve made in the bad times. 

There are multiple critical components to effective leadership. Leaders need to provide clear direction, they must lead by example, and they need to own up to their mistakes, all while keeping the commitments they’ve made to themselves and others.

We make promises when things are tough, but the true test of integrity is whether or not we fulfill those when our situation improves.


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