The conversation began about a piano. And misplaced values.
A couple of weeks ago, my husband texted me from work and asked me to see if friends of ours wanted a free piano from one of his co-workers. They declined due to a lack of space. I relayed the message and mentioned if we had room, I’d consider taking it because I’ve always wanted to learn how to play the piano. He replied, “Honey, you have your plate double-stacked already.”
That evening, we took a walk in the park after dinner. During the course of our conversation, I mentioned his comment from earlier in the day and told him how much I appreciated the way he watched out for me. Then, my husband said something that really made me think, “You’re so quick to help others, but your generosity affects the time you need to get your writing and your work done. Then that means you’re working or writing in the evenings, which cuts into our time.”
My husband—my partner in life and my best voice of reason—helped me to see I had fallen out of the habit of living by my values.
While faith, family, and friendships have been my core values for nearly three decades, I learned about living a values-based life a couple of years ago from Susan May Warren, and it changed my life for the better.I learned about living a values-based life a couple of years ago from @susanmaywarren, and it changed my life for the better. #TellHisStory #ValuesBasedLiving Click To Tweet
As do all of you who are reading this post, I lead a busy life. From the moment my hand shuts off the 6 AM alarm, I’m busy until I reset that alarm for the next morning. Caring for my family, walking with the Lord, maintaining my health, meeting book deadlines, deepening relationships, and getting my work done each day, it’s a lot to stay on top of. And that’s why values-based planning has helped me to stay focused and able to prioritize what needs to be done. The greatest tools in my values-based living arsenal are my Bible and my brilliant writing planner.
A value is someone’s standard of behavior that causes us to act in one way or another. When we live according to our values, we are living according to Philippians 4:8 (NIV):
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Discovering Your Values
Do you know what your values are? Do you know how to find them? Look at your life. How do you spend your time? When you have downtime, who do you want to spend it with? How do you spend your money? What about your goals and dreams? When you’re facing life’s challenges, how do you react? What brings you joy?
Taking time to answer these questions will help you to discover your values, Like I mentioned previously, I value faith, family, and friendships. But I also value my writing, my health, my job, and being creative.
Living Out Your Values
Knowing my values, I’m able to plan my time accordingly in order to live a more peaceful, impactful life. I choose to get out of bed and make breakfast for my husband while he gets ready for work. I make his lunch, and when he returns home, dinner is nearly ready. These speak to my value of family. I can break that value of family down by label–wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt.Knowing my values, I'm able to plan my time accordingly in order to live a more peaceful, impactful life. #TellHisStory #Valuesbasedliving Click To Tweet
Once he heads off to work, I spend time with the Lord, which speaks to my value of faith. When I don’t surrender my day and to-do list to the Lord, then I’m not allowing Him to work in my life. I do my daily workout, which speaks to my value of health and self-care. Then I tidy our home, which speaks again to my value of family. I spend two hours working on my current book, which speaks to my value of writing. I check in with friends, which speaks to my value of friendship. After lunch, I begin my day job, which speaks to my value of work, and then I close my computer when my husband calls on his way home from work. Our conversation during his commute is one of my favorite parts of the day. Then there’s dinner and free time when I can do card making or some other creative activity. By the time I crawl into bed, I’ve lived according to my values. And I can sleep with peace in my heart.
However, life doesn’t always follow a neatly written to-do list, does it? So how do we live within our values when our lives are falling apart? Lean into Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV):
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Balancing Our Values
There are days when we need to shuffle our time to order to handle challenges or life emergencies. And those changes can leave us feeling unsettled. However, we can still live by our values even when life turns us on our heads. Because it’s not about a to-do list. It’s about living a life ordained by the One who gave us life. Sometimes we have to balance relationships with productivity. Sometimes we have to set deadlines aside to meet with a grieving friend. Sometimes we have to let the dishes in the sink pile up in order to take a parent to the doctor…again.
As I contemplate my values-based living, I needed to ensure I protected my time with my husband in the evenings. While I do have a few monthly commitments that take place after dinner, for the most part, I make sure my writing and work are done by the time he heads home from work. And I do that because I value my relationship with him.
God has created us for relationships with Him and with others. He also gave us gifts and talents and has a plan and a purpose for each one of us. When we lean into Him and allow Him to order our steps, then living a values-based life draws us deeper into His embrace. We are able to reflect His life and His love, giving Him the glory. And that’s what living a values-based life is all about.
(This is an overview, and I’ll dive deeper into living by your values in my next post.)Are you living by your values? #TellHisStory #Valuesbasedliving Click To Tweet
What about you? How do you live by your values?