The fear of commitment is becoming increasingly common—whether it’s fear of committing to a relationship, a career path, a community, or something else entirely. The good news is: It’s possible to overcome that fear and reclaim the joy commitment can offer. Learn more about the hidden virtue that can help us all get past our commitment issues in this excerpt from the True Virtue Bible Plan.
In a world where we have access to so much instant gratification, it’s easy to care about something, but difficult to commit to something—whether it’s a TV show, a cause we care about, or even a friendship.
Think about it. When injustice happens, it’s easy to post about your rage and then forget about it by the next day. When you’re feeling lonely, it’s easy to spend hours scrolling instead of intentionally connecting with someone else.
But at the end of the day, we recognize there’s something missing. Our fear of commitment often leads to a lack of fulfillment. So, how do we overcome it? Although we all might wish there were a quick, three-step formula, the answer isn’t that easy.
It’s simple, but it’s not easy. Overcoming our fear of commitment comes by practicing perseverance.
The thing about perseverance is that it must be proven—not just proclaimed. And that makes it all the more difficult because perseverance is usually born out of pain.
No one knew this better than Paul, who could basically give a TED Talk on what it looks like to persevere through trials.
- He was repeatedly imprisoned.
- He got shipwrecked not once but three different times.
- He got lashes not once but five different times.
- He was stoned, beaten, faced danger pretty much everywhere, and carried burdens of pastoring several churches.
- He often went without food and adequate clothing.
Any one of those things would require a great deal of perseverance. But all of them? It seems impossible.
Sometimes, we read Scripture and we forget that these characters were real humans with real feelings, real fears, and real physical needs. Paul wasn’t some superhero. He was an ordinary man.
Yet, when he faced these trials, he didn’t throw in the towel. He didn’t complain about how horrible his life was. He didn’t start yelling at God about how unfair it was that following Him cost Paul everything.
Paul took his pain and turned it into purpose. While he was in prison, he wrote these words:
And I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News. For everyone here, including the whole palace guard, knows that I am in chains because of Christ. Philippians 1:12-13 NLT
Paul wasn’t denying his reality. He acknowledged that it was hard. In fact, he listed a whole bunch of his painful experiences in 2 Corinthians. But he realized that he had a choice.
He could choose to look at life through the pain of his circumstances. Or he could choose to look for the goodness of God even in the middle of his suffering.
Like Paul, we have a daily choice to persevere and to choose not to give in to our fear of commitment.
Here’s the thing: Jesus promised us that we’ll have trouble in this life. But on those hard days—the days where it’s hard to see the goodness of God—we can choose to keep going, knowing that our eternal prize is worth more than our temporary pain.
And when we feel like we just can’t keep going, God meets us there with more of His grace, His strength, and His power.
If you’re struggling with a fear of commitment, here’s a prayer to help you develop perseverance instead:
God, I realize that it’s often tempting for me to quit rather than commit. But I want to overcome my fear of commitment and grow in the virtue of perseverance. Father, give me more of Your grace and strength today so that I can persevere in the race You’re calling me to. As You did for Paul, help me find purpose in my pain, and show me how to persevere today and every day. In Jesus’ name, amen.