Fear of Commitment, Power of Commitment

A pig and a chicken are walking down the road when they come upon a church where a revival is going on.

{gesture towards audience} Any of you been to a revival? It’s been a while for me. Let me tell you, a revival is MOVING.

Pig and chicken were moved, overcome by the spirit.

Pig says, "I want to contribute something."

"Me, too!", says Chicken. "Me, too! Let’s contribute some ham and eggs".

{Look shocked} "That’s fine for you", says pig. "For you, it’s just a contribution. But for me, IT’S A COMMITMENT!"

{pause} People fear commitment no less than that pig. Ohhh, god! They fear it like death itself. But why?

{snort} Let’s look at a typical company meeting. The cast of characters wander into the room, coffee in hand and {squat slightly} settle into their chairs for a two hour Buddha-fest.

{matter of factly} You know what a Buddha-fest is? It’s where you clear your mind of all thoughts, tune out the meeting and drift through time and space {louder, measured} because the inane drivel of the meeting would drive you NUTS.

Suddenly, you are snapped out of your trance.

"Look!", some faceless company robot screams. {shrilly} "I need someone to finish these TPS reports by Friday!". "Someone!"

And the rest of the meeting is all about avoiding that Friday commitment.

See, people see commitment as a trap, it hems them in, leaves them no wiggle room. And they desperately want wiggle room.

Cause when this Friday thing goes south…

{deepen voice, slow gesture with left hand} And these things Always go south.

…someone’s going to be hung out to dry! And you don’t want it to be you!

So no one really makes a commitment, Friday comes and some poor bastard is tapped as the fall guy. Victim of circumstance. Wrong place. Wrong time.

Some people ‘learn to play the game’ and become adept at {draw out speech, widen hands horizontally} maximizing the wiggle room {widen hands vertically} and utilizing it to its fullest.

We call these people {slowly, like Andy Griffith} weasels.


God, I worked at a place, looked like a WEASEL FARM. People ran amok!

The irony of it… We avoid commitment at all costs which leads to our being victims of circumstance but, as it turns out, power over circumstance lives inside commitments which we avoid at all costs.

Hold that thought for a moment.

If power over circumstance lives inside commitment, where does commitment live?

I once thought we each held commitment inside ourselves. Commitment to a faith, to ethics, to goals. Not true! Consider that commitment is one person agreeing to do cause an effect for another person.

If I directed all commitments internally, like "change my car oil every 3,000 miles", I’d spend my entire day talking to myself. And what do we say about people that constantly talk to themselves? Their CRAZY.

Besides, I look down and see it’s been 7,000 miles and somehow, I turn a blind eye. "Well, oil is better than it used to be, coffee was late this morning, the oil change shop changed owners…" And you let yourself weasel out.

Now you’re crazy AND a weasel. We call that, ‘neurotic’.


No, commitment lives ‘out there’. In that company meeting room. When that guy came looking for a commitment, don’t duck and weave. Stand firm and say "Yeah. I’ll do it".

But don’t stop there. You’ve chosen to stand inside your commitment with no wiggle room but you still have to reach out and take the power that’s there. Reach out and grab that weasel who came searching for commitment and squeeze the wiggle out of him.

That’s called negotiation. Don’t close the negotiations until you and he both stand in the agreement with no wiggle lift. Eye to eye. Mind to mind. In that moment, you will have claimed power over circumstance.

Don’t get me wrong. It ain’t as easy as it sounds.

You ever see a weasel? They are nasty! Grab a weasel and they bite, scratch writhe, squirm and spit. But no one said it would be easy.

In the words of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

Here’s a man who knew challenge and controversy. And he understood the power over circumstance that lives in commitment. He was committed that all men, women and children, both alive and yet to be born, would enjoy the same rights, liberties and opportunities. His commitment to millions of Americans. And there were people who confronted him in both challenge and controversy.

That Friday TPS report pales.

Yet, when you choose to be a weasel no longer, choose to stand inside your commitments and live without wiggle, you will quickly find that {solemnly} you are alone.

That weasel you grab will scream horribly while the other weasels will not come to your aid.

You will feel a ball tighten in your abdomen and the taste of brass fill your mouth. But here’s a tip. Something that works for me.

Choose out five or six people who inspire you. Learn about them, their lives and those challenges and controversies they faced. I call them, ‘the great ones’.

Then, in the dark moments of negotiating through the fear-driven shrieking fury of a weasel, call upon the great ones. Stand not alone, but bring the living memories of the great ones to stand shoulder-to-shoulder beside you. Draw upon their inspiration to give you strength, and courage, and resolve to stand inside your commitment and see it through. And take claim to the power over circumstance in your life.