How to Have a Life (and Faith) Built on YOUR Core Values (by Rachelle Mee-Chapman)
These are my core values. All the jobs that I’ve held, all the causes I’ve been passionate about, all the people I admire have had these 8Things in common.
When I work on projects that are closely connected to these core values, I experience satisfaction, motivation and clarity. When I put my efforts towards things that do not embody these core values, I feel lost, dissatisfied, and just plain old pissy.
Sometimes I wish I had different values. For instance, let’s take “Security.” I need to know where the money is coming from. I need to be sure the rent is covered. I need a steady paycheck. These things used to seem wimpy to me—needy, weak and shallow. Why couldn’t I take more risks? Why couldn’t I be more daring?
Then I realized that being financially secure, being in place of stability and constancy – this allowed me to live in community and to practice hospitality. Security allowed me to work on innovative projects and causes. Security allowed me to be a patron of the arts and to support beauty. Of course some people do all of those things without financial or relational security. But me, I need that value to feed all the other values-based work I engage in. One feeds the other.
When you feel lost. When you feel crabby. When your faith no longer fits – look to your core values. Don’t know what yours are? Try one of these exercises.
> Your Resume: Think back on all the jobs (paid or voluntary) that you’ve held. (Don’t forget parenting!) Which parts of those jobs were energizing to you? What values did those tasks encompass? What parts did you dislike? What values were missing from those tasks?
> Models and Mentors: Who are your role models and mentors? What character traits to do you admire most about them? What values do those traits reflect?
> The Funeral: If someone was describing you at your memorial, what adjectives would you like them to describe you?
> Then and Now: As you look for your core values, remember that they flux somewhat over the course of your life. Some rise to the top. Others fade into the distance. What did you once hold in high value that now carries less importance to you? What has come to live in its place? (Example: When I was younger I valued obedience. Now I value self-authority.)
As you do these exercises, see if you can narrow your list down to 8 core values. It helps to have a small enough number that you can rattle them off by heart. Then narrow it down to 3 super-core values. As you create your custom fit faith, as you curate your belief system, make sure the things you give your time to represent those 3 core values. And look for the other 5 in as many aspects of your life as possible.
What about you? What are your core values? Which of them are you living-out regularly in your life? Which aren’t getting enough attention?
Rachelle Mee-Chapman is a spiritual director specializing in “care for creative souls”. She works with visual artists, writers, musicians, chefs, and other folks who are unlocking their creative core. Join her Flock or follow her at www.magpie-girl.com.