I recently had a conversation with a friend about how I found my values.
I decided to give this blog post for many years ago an update and a repost!
Several years ago my Pastor gave me an assignment, to write out my core values. It had taken me 3 1/2 weeks to do. This was not an easy task. First I wrote out my life timeline – every good, bad, and ugly experience that was emotionally impactful to my life. Then I was to think about what I learned (what did I come to value) underneath the experiences, when did they became important, and how do they workout in my life. It had been an eye opening experience for me.
I set out to find somewhere between 6-8 core values.
These are things that are ‘bottom of your gut’ necessary to who you are.
These are the things that are powerful drivers in your life that move you to action.
How do you find these core values?
Look at your check book, what do you spend money on?
Look at your calendar, what do you spend your time on?
Look at your conversations, what are you talking about?
Look at what you think about? What angers you? What joys you?
Just for the sake of clarity – what do I mean by values – A value is something of importance, that is unique to it’s holder. It also can be a standard for behavior and a quality of great worth.
TRUST – I found this value by looking at my struggles! I struggle with fear. The opposite of fear for me is trust.
TRUST: Without trust there is no point. Trusting in God and His goodwill toward me will take me through anything this life holds. Trusting in people is not wise but if those people also trust in God, I can have a measurable amount of success in my relationships and dealings as we walk together in Christ. With this type of trust I can have faith to be open and honest with who I am, believing that God is my defender when pain comes my way. With this type of trust I also can overcome hurt and forgive others. Trust first became a value from enduring a few negative situations that caused me to crave trust. The need for trust became so important that I spent much of my waking hours testing and looking for evidence of mistrust in the faces, words and body language of the people around me, making me a very suspicious person. When I came to know the Lord I began to walk through many situations that have required me to actively rely on God in trust. This has lessened my fears and has grounded me in the fact that Jesus is steadfast. I have also come to know when I have left this trust and started walking about in fear. I can hear it in the words I use and see it in the way that I behave. Having trust in GOD has made me free to be me.
SECURITY/CONFIDENCE – I found this value by looking at the ways that I protect myself.
SECURITY/CONFIDENCE: is important to me because security/confidence means that I am safe and free from intentional harm. It means that I can relax and enjoy my surroundings. It means I can share myself and partake of who others are without fear, not hiding who I am, or running from situations to find mental/emotional safety. I have been in many instances where I did not feel safe with others. I came to see security/ confidence as a need through enduring emotional abuse, accusation, physical harm and many threating situations. No one ought to feel that way. Jesus is a strong tower of safety high above the evil and pain of this world. I may encounter it but I know in whom I trust. In the mean time I endeavor to be a safe place for others to be who they are and be honest about where they are.
RESPONSIBILITY: This value I found by examining how I see myself.
RESPONSIBILITY: What I do and what I say are expressions of who I am. Who I am is hidden in Christ. These things are an expression or the fruit of who Christ is in me. I believe, If I say I will do something, I do it. If I agree, then I follow through. If I mess up, I own it, learn, and move forward. Words have meaning! What I say, I am responsible for. When I was about 13, I found out that my dad was not my dad. The way I found out was through my dad sending a request for paternity. He took me on as his responsibility. My parents never planned on telling me. When they split up that changed. I was crushed by their lies. God never did that to me, instead He took me on and even sent Christ to pay for my sin.
Exploration/Discovery – this value came through looking at what brings me joy and excitement.
Exploration/Discovery: When I was a kid my Grammy took me on little trips. We never went to the same place twice. It was always an adventure in discovering what was just around the bend. I remember she would say “which way should we go?” and someone in the van would yell out “left or right.” These little trips developed a love of the unknown. I am a little more planned out than that now that I have grown up but I still love finding little places, coffee shops, nooks and crannies or finding what is behind a laugh, a smile, a sentence, a feeling, a friendship, or anything really. I want to understand what I call the backstory. I want to know what is going on underneath the veneer that we put out into the word. I want to know what’s and why’s. This is also how I overcome myself (flesh) and its sabotage. What I am not willing to look at I cannot understand and overcome. Walking into the dark places and letting Christ speak to me there, looking at my ways and wanderings with me in friendship has helped me see where I am invested in self-effort and pride rather than walking in love and truth. Without this process I stuff my emotions. I disconnect from life and live half alive. Exploration and discovery bring to me interest in my life, color, joy, captivating things, words, quotes, poetry, music, things to share, beauty to see and life to live!
Independence – this value I found through where pride can slip me up if I am do not remain humble.
Independence: I do not depend on other people to tell me what is or isn’t. I search out the matter myself. Sometimes this takes years but I will have a solid base rather than the reason of “someone said so.” I don’t allow people to coerce me. I will stand my ground for what I believe is right. I had many instances of being made to sit and listen to what a certain person had to say. I could not question or search out an idea or topic. The conversation was for me to hear and adhere to. I sat quietly but I did not adhere nor listen if I found the information to be nonsense. When I first became a Christian the pastor at the church I attended told me that I was a Berean. I looked it up, of course! I believe it is important to look into what is said, what is common, what is normal, to see if it holds up under a close examination. God does this to us within our hearts and I believe we ought to do that too so that we are not following blindly.
Worship – This value is from how I am moved by God and would like to touch others.
Worship: Music has always been a part of me. When I was in Junior high I joined the choir and it changed me. I continued choir all through high school. I saw how the presence of voices or absence of voices added to the ambiance of the song. I noticed that the way a song is presented had a way of reaching me or repelling me. I was told a time or two that I couldn’t sing and to just be quiet. I was determined to sing and I practiced until I knew the music inside out. I couldn’t stop. Music moved me. I have always known that singing was a major connection for me to feel my emotions and connect with a deeper place than I can get to without it. When I worship God with song I can feel it, I can get inside the meaning, let the emotion pour through me and out to God and people. When I worship it is a place that my mind stops spinning on what is going on and I fully focus on God. The world is still in that place. I want to create a moment for people to open their hearts to God. I want them to feel lifted into His presence, to know just how near He really is. If they have seen Him and found rest from their lives in Him and released their selves to be moved to worship Him too then I have done what I came to do.
Journal/Blogging/Writing – this value was found by look at how I learn and grow.
Journal/Blogging/Writing: These are the ways that I connect with myself, talk to myself, find myself and vent to myself. Without it I am disconnected and bury my emotions, lost in my thoughts and emotions without clarity. If I don’t take the time to write I move on too quickly and I don’t learn my lessons. I discovered a love of writing from Mr. Brower who was my English teacher in high school. I found great joy and amazing passion when I write. I have found that I respect and care for myself when I write what is going on in my life. Writing creates a safe place for me to deal with my struggles and weaknesses. It also allows me to count my blessings and remember moments, keeping track of time in journal books. These books are the place that I work out truth and understanding of who God says that I am. I feel more confident about who I am in Christ when I am writing. I have found that when I am confused or unsure writing helps me to know what I think, what I need, what I want, or do not want. It is a place that I speak to God and it is also one of the ways that God uses to speak to me. I am dry and lifeless without it.
Truth – this value was found by looking at the repeated theme that I experience as a child.
Truth: A repeated theme that I endured as a child was being accused of lying when I was telling the truth. On one occasion man broke into my home and tried to take me out of it. He didnt succeed and when the cops came the investigator asked me if I was sure that I didnt just have my boyfriend over and things got a little loud. He thought I made the whole story up. I was devastated. He looked at my mom and said, “you have quite the little actress here!” She threw him out of the house. In several other situations a similar line was taken, for whatever reason, I wasnt believed when I told the truth. I came to highly value truth above most things. Even to the point that truth is far more valuable that was I feel. Feelings lie. Truth is reality. When I met the Lord, I found truth writting in His word. I prize it and love it. I’ve memorized it.
ITS AMAZING WHAT GOD CAN BUILD FROM ALL YOUR POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE EXPERIENCES. Maybe now that you have heard how i did it – you can find your own values. Knowing them in this way – is so powerful – because you are able to see when you are not living in them. This gift of awareness allows us the choice to move, grow, change, and shift when we find ourselves living outside of our values.
All is grace,