Why commitment equals freedom


Something really remarkable has happened: I’ve stopped thinking about moving.

I know that this is probably foreign to some people, but I have entertained the idea of moving – no matter where I’ve lived – for at least the past 5 years.  When I was living in Seattle, I was thinking about moving to Nashville.  When I was living in Nashville, I was thinking about moving back to Seattle.  Then, in December of 2009, family circumstances took me to Denver – and every day, I was thinking about moving back to Nashville, or back to Seattle, or maybe to Portland, or there’s always Boston…

But I have not thought about moving since November.   For over two months, it hasn’t crossed my mind.  I live in Denver, and I’m not looking to leave anytime soon.

My new job commits me to this city.  And for as backward as it sounds, commitment equals freedom.  I am free from the questions, from the what ifs, from the grass-is-greener thoughts that accompanied having options.  Having options creates the illusion that one can do anything – which, while attractive in theory, can be alarmingly paralyzing.

There is something really good about having fewer options.  Having fewer options simplifies my thought life, and allows me to be present exactly where I am.  Having fewer options makes me say “yes” to all that’s right in front of me.  Having fewer options frees up my calendar, my bank account, and my heart.

Having fewer options actually gains us access to a wealth of experiences, relationships, and resources that are far from pipe dreams – no, in fact, they’re close enough to touch.

If you find yourself having your options whittled down, don’t freak out.  It might be the greatest thing that could happen.



  1. natalie on February 7, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    so beautifully applicable to so many situations. thanks for the reminder this morning!

  2. Maria on February 7, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    I really think you and I are so much alike. When we first got married and had no money, it was one of my favorite times ever. I could stop freaking out about where I should travel to or volunteer or donate or what I should buy, etc. because we just couldn’t do any of that like I could in college. Being broke kind of rocks for the exact reasons you outlined above. Embrace your limits! They make free time much more relaxing.

  3. Megan on February 7, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    Great insight. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Greta on February 7, 2012 at 6:04 PM

    Love this AP.

  5. Michael on February 7, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    I agree with all of the above…amazing insight, and very applicable to me. Thanks, AP!

  6. Heidi on February 7, 2012 at 8:56 PM

    Today I was freaking out a bit about committing to a new job and a new city. Thanks for the good dose of how committing can actually free things up instead of tie me down. Brilliant post!

  7. Mary on February 7, 2012 at 9:44 PM

    This is so true! I have always looked wistfully at other cities and other opportunities; now that I’ve moved to SF, and found (won?) myself a new job, I find myself breathing a sigh of relief, having escaped the What Ifs. I can really just enjoy the now. I will say, though, it’s still a challenge to really BELIEVE this is the new me, the new home. And by believe, I mean do all the things you do at home: join a gym, be social and try to make friends, find a church to attend, etc. xx love you AP

  8. Christa on February 8, 2012 at 10:28 AM

    Hear, hear, Annie. I think about this often since the position of having options is a mode that we are constantly living in now more than ever. I heard it described once as constantly “dwelling in the realm of possibility.” While that is exciting in some ways, I think more often than not it keeps us, as you say, from being present and _content_ with where we are. And I think it’s a gift to recognize this so early in life – to understand that “having options” can be both a blessing and a curse. Thanks for your thoughts – just wanted to add a resounding agreement. :)

  9. anna on February 8, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    i’ve spent the last 6 years in kc one foot out the door, trying to find any and all excuses to get the other one out too, and move on. to someplace more exciting. hopefully with mountains. and pine trees. just recently (oh. 2 weeks ago) i decided that i was going to make kc home (and subsequently stop talking about and seeking to move). a little bit nervous/terrified but also a lot more bit excited. home? really? long term relationships? really? you’re right, the stuff of pipe dreams is right on our doorsteps. i’ve often heard “options are the enemy of intimacy”. how true. thank you for this annie. exactly what i needed to hear. :)

  10. Joey on February 8, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    This is good, I like this.

  11. Tad on February 10, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    I see continuity between this and your post about Peace.

  12. Miranda on February 16, 2012 at 8:13 PM

    Substantial. And timely. Thank you AP.

  13. hootenannie » Blog Archive » Lately on February 22, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    […] Why commitment equals freedom […]

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    […] morning, I went to church and heard a sermon that echoed a lot of my thoughts on why commitment equals freedom.  Saying “yes” to one thing may be saying “no” to a myriad of others – but the longer […]

  15. hootenannie » Blog Archive » Longing for home on November 16, 2017 at 3:54 PM

    […] I’ve decided that it’s time to decide. I believe we’re wired for commitment, and that commitment — to a place, a person, or a vocation — equals freedom. Responsibility, routine, and ritual root us in a healthy way, and I’ve found this rootedness […]

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