Sunday, June 21, 2015


"Politicians hate to speak about their vision of America's immediate place and role in the world for several reasons," writes Peggy Noonan (Wall St. Journal, June 6-7, 2015).  "They have risen in the ad hoc, provisional, moment-to-moment world of daily politics.  That life teaches you long-term plans don't have to be part of your long-term plan.  In foreign policy especially, declaring a clear stand wins you committed enemies and tentative friends.  Best to dummy up and speak in generalities."  Noonan writes reviewing Time columnist Ian Bremmer's new book on America's foreign policy.  They contend that Presidential candidates are hesitant to answer the question of which approach America should take toward the rest of the world in our new global realities.

I am a recreational runner.  I am not gracefully gliding to victory like local star athlete Josh Beck.  Unlike Josh, I get slower with age, not faster.  I plod along trying to run off the cheese steak I shouldn't have eaten the night before.  My knees and ankles creek, crack, and cry for me to elevate them on a recliner instead of going another mile.  Like Josh, I get to experience the runner's high.  It's the time during your run where you feel empowered and energized in every facet of the human experience.  Physically, you're strong.  Emotionally, you're content.  Spiritually, you are connected.  All is well with your soul.  And still, I hit snooze too often, choosing to delay the short-term investment that will result in long-term gain.  I only flirt with commitment. 

Noonan argues that leaders on America's political landscape are failing to choose a path.  She writes, "President Obama himself has never chosen or declared a foreign-policy vision, which made nothing better and some things worse.  The worst choice now... is to refuse to choose.  We can't just continue improvising - that has become dangerously confusing to our allies, our rivals, and ourselves."

My wife carries a lot of self-imposed guilt.  She works part-time, mothers full-time, and feels like she isn't doing enough in either role all the time.  Author and speaker Margie Warrell penned an open letter to working moms in Forbes, telling them to stop "shoulding" on themselves and stand confidently in their decision to work outside the home.  She argues that while there are trade offs to any decision, women must clearly understand why they've made the decision and then accept and celebrate the journey along the path they've chosen.  My wife misses some Saturday activities because she is working, however my kids learn a great deal about work ethic, entrepreneurial spirit, serving others, service, creativity, and leadership because of this trade off.  They learn about commitment. 

Jesus' antics would have been a nightmare for a PR firm. He went too far in his statements, calling himself the Son of God and such.  He was too far left (love others) and too far right (love God) and was unconcerned with the polls.  He was committed only to his God-given mission and called others to the same (surrender all that you hold important and follow me).  What Jesus did bring was a clarity of vision.  He understood his identify, embraced his purpose, and stepped obediently into a risky future.  It wasn't easy.  It his last hours, Jesus prayed for another way.  In the book of Matthew, Jesus told his friends that he was "overwhelmed with sorrow" and prays "My father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me."  Later, he continued, "if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done."   Jesus chose a path and was undeterred in his commitment.

Whether it's a commitment to exercise, aspirations of a Presidential hopeful, our personal identity and purpose, or our faith journey, may we confidently choose a path.  The world calls us to be uncommitted as to not be boxed into a position.  Let's get out of bed even when it's hard and we feel like sleeping in with the masses.  Lace up our shoes.  Walk out into the new day.  Commit to something. 

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