You eliminate freedom and choice when you turn good things into obligations. Almost everything in life can be a have to or want to. A past promise or a goal you made can become an obligation. When you do that, you change a “want to” into a “have to” – draining energy from your life.
The same can be true for commitments. They can block our sense of choosing to commit in the first place. Worse, commitments are used to manipulate behavior into compliance. For example, your marriage vows are a commitment. Are they a choice or an obligation? Do you have to stay married or want to stay married? How about obedience to God? Do you have to obey God, or do you want to? Do you have to love others, or do you want to?
See if you notice a difference when you read the following sentences out loud.
- I have to do what is right.
- I want to do what is right.
There is a profound difference between the two sentences. You do not have to do what is right. You have a choice. If you think you do not, you believe a lie.
The reality – you have a choice; you create fiction thinking there is no choice.
Commitments are good, but remember them as a choice to benefit from them. When you focus on a commitment, you seldom remember you are still free, which causes your sense of choice to vanish. “Yes, I chose to commit to this. I can back out of this commitment because I am free to do that, but I choose to follow through.”