A value is a way of being or believing that we hold most important. Living into our values means we do more than profess our values, we practice them. We walk our talk—we are clear about what we believe and hold important, and we take care that our intentions, words, thoughts and behaviors align with those beliefs. Brené Brown
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. The Apostle Paul (Philippians 3:7)
If the Apostle Paul were to do the ‘values exercise’ I am about to suggest, he may have chosen a write-in option—’The Gospel’.
‘The Gospel’ is the good news about Christ Jesus on two horizons: First, the message Jesus himself taught, and second, the spreading of that message. For Paul, spreading Christ’s message was the way of being and believing that he held most important. He was willing to place everything else secondary to the value of the ‘the Gospel’.
In Daring Greatly, Brené Brown explains the importance of values. When going into the arena, many people ask what they can bring. The answer is: clarity of values. You need to figure out what values are important to you so when you’re face down in the arena, you’re able to lean against your values for clarity. For example: “I know I’m in the arena in the service of being brave because I believe in my value of _____________.” When we deny our story, it defines us. When we own our story, we get to write our own ending. We don’t want to be a character in our story – not a villain or even a hero. We want to be the author.
During these 40 Days of Rising Strong, I’m suggesting we take a long, loving look at our values. Perhaps you’ve done some work identifying your core values already. I’ve done this many different ways in several different settings, and now I’m sold on the method we teach in The Daring Way™.
In this exercise, you pick only two core values. At first it seems hard and weird, and you feel guilty for the dozens of values that you leave on the page or cross out. But I can attest to the power of this exercise. For the past couple of years I’ve been crystal clear on my two core values. This clarity has saved my bacon dozens of times over. I’ve watched myself go from brave to braver in some very difficult situations, by the grace of God and by focusing on my TWO core values.
Here’s the thing. When you’re in the arena, it will be dark and you will feel alone. When things are difficult, you may question why you’re in the arena. Clarity of values is like a lantern that lights the way.
Let’s try it.
Print out this List of Values, and put a check mark next to those you treasure most. Now, pass back through and circle only five. Next, pass back through and put a box around the top two.
Remember: Which two do you not only profess, but you practice on a daily basis? Don’t feel guilty if “family” or “faith” does not rise to the top. I’m a pastor and a mother, and in the end, I chose “freedom” and “wisdom”; because pretty much everything I love and do boils down exercising or safeguarding those two values, whether at work or at home.
Trust, that God has been shaping your heart and life, even in the midst of your faults and failures. These two values are not things you think you SHOULD practice; your core values are things you DO practice. These are things you are already good at.
Complete the process over the next few days, hopefully before your group meets for your session-five group discussion.
And have fun!
LORD God, give me clarity of values.