Commitment Phobia

For this week's Friday post, I'm sharing a blog post of Nate Keeler on commitment phobia. Nate's the pastor of the church I used to go to in Arlington, VA- McLean Bible Church, Arlington campus. It's a topic that men have been dealing with for thousands of years, but one I think that people in this day and age really suffer from. We like to keep our options open and not commit to anything.

Anyways, here's Pastor Nate's take on commitment phobia: 

I've spent the last 8 years in ministry with young adults observing a sustainable trend that has been evidenced in statistics: our generation suffers from dating and relationship incompetency. I could spend many weeks exploring all the reasons and factors that go into this conclusion but I want to focus on two observations and discuss a few ideas for building our competency. This post will address the commitment problem and next week will address the "ideal-fallacy."

In my research on millennials it was hard to avoid the statistics showing over and over again that our generation is commitment-phobic. We struggle with commitment of all kinds- job, church, brand loyalty... and especially relationships. Likely you have been either on the giving or receiving end of fear of commitment in a relationship. This manifests itself in several ways.

-Avoiding dating altogether

-Serial Dating

-Treating a relationship like a yo-yo

-Breaking up because of a conflict

-Breaking up because things get too serious

There are lots of reasons why we fear commitment including:

-Bad examples from our parents' generation

-Bad experiences in previous relationships

-A weakening of parental discipline (ie: parents allowing you to quit a sport or activity too easily)

-Societal prosperity- things come too easy for us so we don't have to work as hard.

-Over-exposure and the paralysis of too many options

The bottom line is that this is a sign of lack of maturity. But rather than using these reasons as an excuse to continue in a holding pattern, if you find yourself in the category of "commitment incompetent" let's talk about some ideas for improvement.

1) Confess your anxieties, fears and immaturity to the Lord, He can handle it. Ask him for boldness, growth and self-discipline (Philippians 4:6-8, 2 Timothy 1:7).

2) Practice commitment of all kinds. Commitment to friendships, to serving, leadership opportunities and to work projects will help you build up your commitment stamina. How can you commit for life to a spouse if you have very little experience committing in other ways? (Example of Ruth, Proverbs 3:3, 1 Corinthians 13:7)

3) Don't quit stuff. Life is hard, but all too often I see people bailing out when things get difficult or uncomfortable. Did you get into a conflict with a friend or get hurt by someone in church? Don't bail. Pursue reconciliation and don't give up on the relationship. Are you frustrated by a work project because you aren't getting the results you hoped for? Don't bail. Patience builds perseverance, which builds character and maturity- essential qualities in healthy relationships. (Romans 5:3-5, Hebrews 12)

4) Just Do Something! Are you frozen in fear? A great antidote is asking someone out. Life is really short so seize the moment!

~Pastor Nate