Values Light the Way (Day 25)

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.

Starter Prayer

LORD God, show me how my values guide me in the darkness. Help me align my values with action.

Reading Focus for Rising Strong, by Brené Brown

We are in week 4, of this 6-week study. The focus is Chapters 7-8 of Rising Strong. The topics are: Rumbling with difficult emotions and human need.

Clarity of Values (Day 24)

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!

Starter Prayer

LORD God, give me clarity of values.

Reading Focus for Rising Strong, by Brené Brown

We are in week 4, of this 6-week study. The focus is Chapters 7-8 of Rising Strong. The topics are: Rumbling with difficult emotions and human need.