Today many people like to keep their options open. They like to be flexible, and to be able to reinvent themselves, changing careers, partners and life situations as they see fit.
They may find the idea of being restricted or trapped by a commitment to a single way of life difficult or unthinkable.
For others this commitment offers a way of being that opens them up to the love and grace of God.
The vows or promises made in a community will vary - in the traditional communities there is usually a life commitment, in the acknowledged and emerging communities there may be a commitment for a set period of time or an annual renewal of vows.
Promises and Vows
Why Make Them?
For members of those communities who do not take lifelong vows there is value in committing one's life to God and a particular way of life for a set period of time where the commitment can only deepen faith and trust in God.
Whichever way a person chooses spending time living a life of stability, seeking to build a place of silence and prayer is valuable whether for a a few years or a lifetime - it is certainly not time wasted.
The vows or promises taken provide an anchor in the way of discipleship that has been chosen.
They are a support in difficult times - and there will be difficult times. They are also a joy and solace, a solid foundation on which to build a life of devotion and service.
They are a solemn promise to which those who make them are constantly called back, a reminder to live out their life in Christ to the full.
Taking religious vows for life in a traditional community does means that certain options in life are being closed off.
The chance of marriage or of having children for example, are things that are sacrificed if you choose to take this path. But it is a choice and for some people serving God in the vowed life is a choice they choose to make.
Taking these vows does set your life in a particular direction that is to be followed until death.