Everyone has values. We live them out constantly; they are the water we swim in, the air we breathe. What everyone doesn't have is clearly articulated values. They're often tacit, subconscious, unknown. They can even be unhealthy and dysfunctional, but we still have 'em.
Marko gave us an exercise as part of the final process in the YMCP cohort to articulate personal and professional values (not that these can be completely compartmentalized, but it was helpful to come up with both). It took a lot of time, prayer, and silent contemplation to find these values embedded somewhere in my soul. Many are current values--these are how I strive to live right now. Some are aspirational--these are how I really want to live, but I'm not there yet.
I want to share both my personal and professional values for two reasons. 1) Maybe they'll inspire and help you articulate your own values, and 2) If I post these publicly, then I might actually have to live them out!
So here they are, my personal values (in no particular order, though the first one is first for a reason):
The Gospel is everything: My entire existence comes back to grace, new life, redemption in Christ, my brokenness and beauty in Jesus, and seeking His kingdom. I'm talking about a holistic Gospel that affects all of my person and all of reality, not just four bullet-points or a prayer one prayed at age 6.
Lifelong Learner: I will be teachable, humble, curious, and ever-listening. Every situation, conversation, and person I encounter is an opportunity for growth. I'll put aside time and finances for reading, writing, thinking, and further education.
Please God, not people: My heart is motivated by God’s calling and mission for me, not by my own agenda or desire to look good for others. This calling and mission go beyond job description or cultural expectations; this is about being obedient to the Lord before all other authorities.
Live a great story: Live my story as part of God’s Story. Develop my character. Choose difficult paths intentionally; take the harder-but-better path. Seek obstacles to overcome. Reject any activity or practice that won’t lead to a better story. Look at each season as a chapter in a greater story God is telling in and through me.
Communicate the truth: No lies, no insincerity, no b.s., and no deception. I will communicate clearly, honestly, and succinctly. I'll pursue authenticity, vulnerability, and self-awareness in all circumstances and relationships, especially with my wife and children. Ultimately, Truth is the reality found in Christ.
Embrace the tension: Live with a posture of open hands, holding two seemingly-opposing ideas, circumstances, or feelings in each hand--the present and future, suffering and hope, the kingdom being now and not yet, grace and justice, etc. Live into the paradox and mystery of our reality; grey-tinted discernment over black-and-white thinking.
Next up: professional values.