We don’t have to be perfect, just engaged and committed to aligning values with actions. Brené Brown
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. The Apostle Paul (Philippians 3:7-8)
Yesterday we made the connection between ‘core values’ and the way the Apostle Paul aligned his thoughts and actions with one BIG thing—knowing Christ and spreading the gospel.
Now that I know my two ‘core values’, I can look back on my life and see many tough moments when these values guided me through the darkness.
Two of my daughters are artists, and the other two chose fields in the humanities. When they were transitioning from high school to college, people would ask them: What are you going to do with your life? (That’s a funny question to ask an 18 year old, but anyway…) When the girls would say: music, fine arts or humanities, sometimes the inquirer would ask, “How will you make a living doing that?” Or “I bet your dad hates that idea; he’s an engineer!” Or “Our kids chose real majors.”
When I heard these reports I wanted to box these adults. Sometimes I would rehearse my counter attack with the family at dinner. But on my better days, I let my values light the way. I would use the opportunity to tell the girls, “It doesn’t matter what you study. The important thing is that you learn to think, write and speak. More important is that you discover your purpose and develop the gifts God gave you. Don’t listen to fearful adults with rigid opinions. Listen to your own heart and the people you trust.”
Looking back, I realize that my values were guiding my parenting in these moments. One of my values is freedom. When the girls received misplaced feedback, I stepped up to affirm their freedom to choose their vocation irrespective of societal values. When the pressure to conform came upon my family and me it was my values that helped us keep our integrity and stay the course.
I could give many more examples, of how values light the way, and so can you. (I can also see the moments when I lost sight of my values and lost my way!)
Once you discover your core values, you can go even deeper and reflect on how these values guide and protect you.
Let’s try it.
Once you’ve identified your two core values, you’re ready to reflect on HOW those values light the way. The Lantern Exercise will help you do that. Bring your values list exercise and lantern exercise to the next group discussion. In my experience, people get energized when they talk about this topic with others.
LORD God, show me how my values guide me in the darkness. Help me align my values with action.