People who have an abundant life not only know what they want to do, they know why they want to do it. They have figured out what is really important – valuable – to them. You will never GET A LIFE until your core values support what you really want in life. Life’s simply pretend.
GET A LIFE
By Pastor Delbert Young
What is Really Important to me?
What is Really Important to me?
Scriptures: John 10:10; 1 Timothy 4:8; Matthew 6:21; Mark 12:43
Kenney Chesney sings, “Don’t Blink. Life goes faster than you think.” The thought is don’t blink – don’t lose focus on what is really important. If you do, you will miss what is really important to you.
If you ever GET A LIFE, you must know what is really important to you. “Duh!” right? It sounds like a dumb statement, but many people do not know what really matters the most to them. They say they want success, i.e. a life, but the way they do life does not match what they say they want.
See if any of these areas relate to you:
You have great ideas about what you want to accomplish, but the way you live doesn’t get you there.
It doesn’t seem the people closest to you understand you very well.
You have a difficult time prioritizing how to spend your time and money.
You feel lost or overwhelmed by the shuffle of life.
You struggle with major decisions.
You wonder to yourself who you really are.
We all go through these areas some, but if any of these nail you for the majority of time, YOU HAVE A PROBLEM. You do not know your personal core values – what is really important to you.
You may have a vision and know the answer to “WHY AM I HERE,” but unless your values support your vision, it will always remain and always be only a vision and a dream. It will never happen. Many people go through life depressed, feeling a failure, and feeling unsuccessful because their personal core values do not support their vision, not because the vision was too difficult. Today, let’s talk about discovering what is really important to you. But first, let’s watch the rest of Kenny.
John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they MIGHT HAVE LIFE, and that they might have it more abundantly.
THE THIEF STEALS LIFE FROM US. One way the thief steals life from you is through your values. People do not realize how important their core values are in their quest to GET A LIFE. Jesus came that we might (don’t have to) GET A LIFE. You can squander your life or GET A LIFE. Today let’s talk about WHAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT (VALUABLE) TO ME and how your values direct and drive your life.
1 Timothy 4:8 For physical training is of some VALUE, but godliness has VALUE for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
Values affect you in all things. Your values affect every area – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. Values greatly affect your present life and your future. In fact, what you value now will even affect you after you die. Values are a big deal.
The mention of values conjures up all sorts of thoughts. For some, it is only the reason why the nation has depreciated, or why the values at the public school system have declined, or the positions of the candidates for president. That is not what I am after here. I am not talking about what you think the values should be for everyone else. What are your real personal values? I don’t mean what you think they should be. You cannot discover WHAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT TO YOU until you know what you value – what is “really valuable” to you.
WHAT ARE VALUES AND HOW DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOURS ARE? The answer lies in your behavior. Values are beliefs in action. Values are not what you say you believe, or what you say are the most important things to you. Your real values are what you live out day after day. Values are the things you “hold most dear.” VALUES ARE SO DEAR TO YOU THAT YOU LIVE YOUR LIFE ACCORDING TO THEM. Let me give you a list: respect, integrity, trust, relationships, travel, fun, leisure, work, acquisition, adventure, image, service, security, financial gain, faith, family loyalty, health, comfort, risk, education. Those are a list of several values. However, you actually only have a few real core values.
Many people think values are beliefs. That definition does not go far enough. Values are actually behavior examined. In other words, if I examine your behavior, I will see your true values. What we do is what we value. Sometimes we confuse what we say with what we value. Sometimes it is wishful- thinking, self-deception, or maybe parroting what someone else said is a value. It’s a pretend life.
Years ago, I was asked to help a couple work through some marital problems they were experiencing. I talked to the man and asked him what he wanted his marriage to be. He said he wanted to have some good quality family time. He wanted to have a great relationship with his son. He wanted his wife to love him and for them to have time alone. Upon further conversation, I found he left for work before his wife or his son awoke. His wife slept in a different room (with her son) so she would not disturb the husband’s rest. He came home from work late. So, I figured they would spend a lot of time together on weekends to make up for the deficiency during the week. Instead, I found, he was off in a room alone working with a computer on a personal business he operated. I learned that his walk did not match his talk. The amazing thing was he seemed oblivious to the fact that the way he was doing life could not promote what he said was valuable to him. I told him this and, of course, he argued with me that he had to work like that to be successful. He was probably right. So, I pointed out to him that his success was more valuable to him than his family. He didn’t appreciate my frankness. Nonetheless, his life did not reflect what he said he valued. He was living a “pretend” life.
What are your values? What do you say they are? What does your life say they are? Do you really want to know what they are? Ask the people closest to you. Allow them to be honest. Ask your spouse. Ask your children. Ask your sibling(s). Ask a close friend. Ask a coworker.
What happens if you don’t like the answer(s)? Don’t be shocked. Most people find they don’t come out exactly as they wish. I didn’t and still do not. We will talk about working on this later. As for now, I simply want to help you discover your values.
If you skip this discovery, you will only be living a “pretend” life (like the man mentioned previously). Do you want a real, abundant life, or a pretend life? Go back and ask your spouse, children, sibling(s), close friend, and coworker what they feel you value. Now you have something with which to begin working.
HOW DO VALUES IMPACT YOUR LIFE? We all operate from values. The only difference is we use different values to operate. Let’s look at some ways values direct how we do life.
DECISION MAKING. THE DECISIONS YOU MAKE ARE YOUR SIGNATURE TO LIFEAND DISPLAY WHAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT TO YOU. Let’s say you value peacefulness. Then every decision you make will be from the standpoint of keeping life peaceful. If you are a control freak, then every decision you make will come from your perspective to control.
I can read your values by your decisions. (Think about this in terms of a political candidate. Their personal historical values are exactly what you can expect as a signature to their election. It is absurd to think it would be any other way. [Obama picture] You have a “value engine.” DECISIONS YOU MAKE ARE POWERED BY YOUR VALUE ENGINE. So, if a person frequently makes bad decisions, the reason is their values.
What was your last big decision? What values determined that decision?
TIME. HOW YOU SPEND YOUR TIME IS HOW YOU SPEND YOUR LIFE. Look at your calendar and you will see your values. Values greatly impact your time. What gets your time? Who gets your time? There you find your values. Time is a premium.
Frequently, I become frustrated and even angry when something I had to do did not work or took longer than I thought and I have to do it again. Upon investigation, it is not that it didn’t work that frustrated me. It is I feel I “wasted” precious time doing something that probably did not really matter to me. TIME IS A PREMIUM to me. Hours are precious to me. I don’t sleep a lot because it’s like wasting time to me. I find peace and fulfillment doing the things that matter most to me. I know what makes me tick and anything that interrupts my ticking aggravates me.
I have learned when I say, “No” to something, it is usually because what I am saying no to is attempting to interfere with my time to GET A LIFE. I know what I love doing and I absolutely love doing what I do. I try my best to refuse doing things that take time from my doing what gives me life. We all do. It’s a big clue to your values.
Think about this past week. Review your “calendar.” What you did is what you value and how you do life. What values showed up? What did you do Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday? There is your life, your values, and WHAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT TO YOU.
MONEY. IN DISCOVERING VALUES, NEXT TO HOW YOU SPEND YOUR TIME IS HOW YOU MAKE AND SPEND YOUR MONEY. Your values influence both. For example, if you value adventure then you take risks. You will be more inclined to be an entrepreneur. People who value security will have salaried, predictable income.
If your image is a high value to you then you spend money on the latest brand, clothes, automobile, etc. If “having it now” is a value to you, you will spend to the limit and then some, while a person who values their future will save. Jesus spoke of this value this way.
Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure [core value] is, there will your heart be also.
In other words, you put your money into what is a treasure to you. The Bible tells of Jesus watching people give. A widow put in two little mites.
Mark 12:43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.”
What does that tell you the widow valued? Obviously, the kingdom of God was important to her. Your giving habits are very revealing concerning your values. The way some “Christians” give concerns me about how they really value church and the kingdom of God.
Education is a high value to my son-in-law. He has had his two sons in private school since they were three years old. He spends a lot of money every year on their education because education is a very high value to him.
What does the way you make your income say about your values? What do your spending habits and giving habits reveal about your values? What are you teaching your children is important by how you treat your money?
RELATIONSHIPS. YOUR VALUES DETERMINE YOUR CLOSE FRIENDS. Your close friends are people who think and act much like you. If you want to see what you value then look at your close friends. What do they value? Who are your closest friends? What do they value?
CONFLICT. THE CONFLICTS YOU EXPERIENCE IN LIFE ARE DIRECTLY CONNECTED TO YOUR KEY VALUES BEING CHALLENGED. Understanding this will help you manage your anger and temper. Knowing that the other person(s) does not have the same values as you gives insight into the conflict and solution. For example, when a husband and wife have conflict, look at the values of each. There, in values, you will find the cause of the conflict.
Values are a big deal. Your values influence every decision, every minute, every dollar you make and spend, every close relationship you have, and every argument/conflict. YOU ORDER YOUR LIFE AROUND YOUR VALUES.
HOW DO YOU CHANGE YOUR VALUES? Perhaps you see some values you have and do not like them. What do you do to change that? Allow me to give you three things that must happen to change your values.
REALIZE HOW YOU GOT YOUR VALUES. This is important. You were not born with values. Values are not genetic. You acquired your values by years of choices. So, to change your values, you must change your choices. That is much easier said than done.
Let me use a simple illustration. A drug addict makes the choice to value his or her drug addiction. Before the addiction will change, the choice must change, which will quickly change the value. When you chose the value, it directed your life to where you are now. Choose a different direction by choosing a different value.
PRACTICE THE VALUE YOU DESIRE. Remember, a value is not a value because we simply say it is. A value is what we do – behavior examined. A value did not become a value overnight. It took years of “choosing it” to become a value. As you begin “practicing” the value you want, it will eventually become a core value in your life. For example, a person who wants to save money must begin the “practice” of saving money. Begin by saving a little. Eventually, it will become a value and a way of life. Perhaps you want to be a better dad. Schedule time to be with your children and practice doing it until you become a great dad. You want to be a more loving and kinder person. Then practice doing three acts of kindness a day until it becomes you. Whatever you are good at doing, you practiced until you were good at doing it and it came “natural.” It is now a value to you. Think about that. That is how it happens.
BE ACCOUNTABLE. Let’s be honest. You will not change unless you are accountable. Write down your values and how you plan to live them out. Place what you wrote where you will constantly see it. Share it with your family, close friends, spiritual leaders, etc. Tell them you want them to help you acquire these values in your life. Give them permission to tell you when you drop the ball. With whom will you do that? When will you begin?
People who have an abundant life not only know what they want to do, they know why they want to do it. They have figured out what is “really important” – “valuable” – to them. You will never GET A LIFE until your core values support what you really want in life. It’s just pretend.
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