3 Vital Reasons To Define Your Personal Core Values

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“The Chesire Cat: Where are you going?

Alice: Which way should I go?

Chesire Cat: That depends on where you’re going.

Alice: I don’t know.

Chesire Cat: Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Has anyone ever asked what’s most important to you? If so, have you been able to answer that question without a moment to think? The things that are most important to us are called core values. They shape every aspect of our lives.

When I sat down to write a list of everything that was important to me I had to google lists of core values. The stark reality hit that I hadn’t the slightest idea as to what was truly important to me. Other than my children and family, I couldn’t identify things that mattered, off the top of my head. This meant I had been traveling through life blindfolded. It was at that point I decided to put my core values front and center. In doing so, I have learned that there are 3 incredibly important reasons to define your core values.

Integrity

God has a plan for every single one of us. We are individually set apart. Each one of our gifts are unique to who we are meant to be. These gifts come with a set of values… core values. Our core values offer a solid foundation to build our reputation. They help keep our actions and decisions consistent with who we are and what we want out of life. This consistency is called integrity.

Integrity is the place where our character and behavior align with our core values. When we are coming from a place of integrity, the world around us will respond in a positive manner. The only sure way for that to happen is to clearly define our core values. We must know, without a doubt, what is most important to us before we act.

Abraham is who I turn to when in need of an example of integrity. I believe one of Abraham’s core values would have been trust. I say this because he, mostly, acted in alignment with that core value. His trust in God’s promises inspired him to relocate his entire family and willingness to sacrifice his only son. Abraham stumbled and made mistakes, as we all do, but it was his willingness to act in accordance with God’s promises that set him apart.

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Decision Making 

Have you ever wished that life came with a map? Well, it somewhat does. Our core values are there to serve as a personalized life compass. When we are faced with decisions, as Alice was above, we don’t have to look far for the answer.  Keeping clearly defined core values is most important in the decision making process. They are there to weigh the most desireable result of our decisions.

God gives us the gift of free will. I, now, view my list of core values as God’s gift to help guide me closer to His plan. I choose to use the gift of free will to freely choose what God intends for my life.

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Conflict Resolution

When acting against our core values, we will notice conflict in the world around us. Conflict is a warning sign that something is not in alignment with who we are.

One area of my life where I used to notice the most conflict was in my personal and professional relationships.  I had always felt that others had more control over my life than I did. I was right. Because of unfortunate circumstances in my childhood, as an adult, I gave others that control. So, I didn’t know how to use my voice, compassionately, to ask for what I needed. Instead, I bottled everything up until I exploded. This behavior created enormous conflict. It was counterproductive and not, at all, in alignment with who I truly was.

Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes….

A few years back, my voice began to shake when I spoke. I noticed it more when I was reminded of certain memories or when I’d feel inferior and intimidated. It, still, happens occasionally and is quite embarrassing.

When I began to create my list of core values, I realized that, since I had gone so long feeling like I didn’t have a voice, I really valued feeling heard. However, I knew that if I wanted to he heard, I needed to learn how to speak, even if my voice shakes. This has taken some practice, but learning how to compassionately speak my needs, I am seeing less conflict in the relationships in my life. Defining our core values gives us the courage to act in alignment with them. In doing so, we will notice less conflict around us.

Our core values are the drivers of our lives. When we are living in alignment with our core values, we can experience inner peace in every situation. When not in alignment, our lives feel unpredictable and out of control. God gives us one life to live. He gives us the free will to choose a life of integrity, good choices, and peace. Defined core values is at the center of it all!

Have you taken the time to identify your core values? How do you think your life could change if you took the time to do this? I would love to hear your thoughts on the concept!

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Sweet child, live free.

Love, D

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Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace

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For a child has been born for us,

   a son given to us;

Government rests upon his shoulders;

   and he is named

Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,

   Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

His government shall grow continually,

   and there shall be endless peace

for the throne of David and his kingdom

He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness

   from this time onwards and for evermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. Isaiah 9:6-7

This week at work seems to be crazier than the week before Thanksgiving, so I slacked on yesterday’s Advent post. However, the readings in my study are absolutely wonderful. Yesterday’s reading was Micah 5:2-5, and today’s is Isaiah 9:6-7. Both scriptures bring forth the idea of peace through the reign of our everlasting king, Jesus Christ.

I love how the authors prophesy about the coming of Christ in, both, their time, as well as the future. With the rising tensions of political power today, the world, desperately, needs something to hold onto and hope for. Both of the above scriptures are a reminder that we are, still, in waiting for our Beloved King.

I can’t remember a time where I was allowed the luxury of feeling peaceful. I sought for it, but, never, had I truly understood what it would feel like to just be in the moment without some kind of anxiety for the future.

As I studied these two scriptures, I realized that, even if life on earth felt “easy” and peaceful, it would be a false sense of security. We are not given the right to eternity on earth. We gave that away in the very beginning. We do not own these homes, cars, and families like we think we do. These are earthly gifts that do not follow us at the end of our journey. So what, exactly, is the point?

The point is to learn how to love unconditionally in the meantime. The point is to learn how to rest in faith while we wait for our Father.. or as Isaiah says it, “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace,” to come rescue us from the mess we have gotten ourselves into through sin.

I am struggling with the idea of patience and unconditional love right now. As a mother of boys, adolescence can be somewhat brutal. My household has been in the midst of middle school madness for 2 years now and, boy, is this momma tired.

When it seems that life has finally settled down and I can finally enjoy that unfamiliar peace, my 12 year old decides to wreak havoc on our 7th grade year, as if 6th grade wasn’t difficult enough! He has gotten his self in quite the messes here lately and I can’t seem to catch a break from the phone calls from his teachers or emails from other parents.

After 9 days straight of working, and a heartbreaking phone call from my son’s teacher, all I could do was sink myself into bed, last night, and cry myself to sleep. I am a mom who exhausts the idea of teaching life lessons around every corner. I believe in consequences and discipline. I raise my son in church. I teach him about respect and manners… and, yet, he leaves my hands each day, goes out into his world, and turns into something so out of character in the way he is brought up. The dude is practically on house arrest with no contact to the outside world, at the moment, so I am running out of discipline options, here.

Then, I sit down and read the words of Isaiah this morning. I am reminded that I don’t have to live in fear for Grayson’s future. For whatever reason, his journey through middle school needs to be a hard one. I am not the author of his life. I am only fortunate enough to play a supporting role. I have got to stop battling with my own insecurities over the situation. You see, just because it feels like other’s cannot see how wonderful our children are, doesn’t mean they aren’t destined for a promising future. I mean, some people even thought Jesus was a troublemaker… right??

I don’t want to justify Grayson’s actions. I just want to learn how to love him through his bad decisions, even when they effect my own inner peace. Just as God does for me.

Through my advent study this morning, I was reminded that Jesus Christ is the only Prince of Peace and I need to rest in Him during these trying times with my son. It is only in His name that we find security and stability. Before He was ever born, His name was mighty. I have got to learn to trust God’s plan for my son and remain steadfast in the way I raise him, regardless how painful.

If only they came with instructions.

Lord, bless our future generations and all that they are exposed to. Let the evil in the world fall off of their shoulders and bring them closer to your protection. In your name, I pray. Amen.

Sweet child, live free.

Love, D