Tuesday, March 18, 2014

An Exercise in Personal Values

Last week I had the opportunity to be a part of a group that was doing a trial run of an ethical decision making program.  It was created and hosted by one of my favorite leaders, a chaplain from the Reserves who is visiting from Texas.  Her presence is so neat because she is the first female military chaplain that I've ever met and she's also very awesome.  She created a program that was not only awesome, but it wasn't a death by PowerPoint that, well let's face it, most military briefings are like.  We sat down to do the trial run and were introduced to a personal values exercise and a choose-your-own-adventure exercise.  What what! Yeah, it was that fun.  I hadn't done a CYOA since I was like in 4th grade.  The personal values exercise was what I wanted to focus on in this post because it was not only fun, but it provided a point of clarity.
On a sheet of paper were several 20 values and a blank space to add your own.  The values had their own descriptions and the exercise involved putting a plus sign next to your top eight values that you feel are most important to you.

I live my life so others have a better quality of life

I express myself in a variety of ways

Security & Stability
I have a routine in my life; I make a plan and stick to it

I believe there is more to this life than just what we see

High Earnings
I like to be able to purchase essentials as well as splurge on things that I want

Knowledge and Wisdom
I like to learn new things and believe education helps solve many problems

I am true to myself and want others to be themselves around me

I strive to be the best at every task I encounter

Life is too short not to enjoy it as much as possible

Power & Authority
I have control over my surroundings and how people interact with me

I am proud of my achievements and want others to be aware of them

I keep faith with those around me

People appreciate the good work I do in my job/family

I fill my life with things that give me pleasure

I like things to constantly be changing in my life

I put the needs of my family/friends before most things

I like to have time to be by myself and recharge

I choose what I want to do when I want to do it

I put the needs of my job before other obligations

I try to get along with others and expect others to get along with me

Blank space to add your own.

Take a few minutes to select your top 8.

My top 8 included: service, creativity, spirituality/faith, knowledge and wisdom, happiness, adventure, relationships, and my fill-in-the-blank: compassion.

Service because I feel that it is everyone's responsibility to give back to their community.  Michael 25:35-36 says, "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me."  I feel a strong calling to serve others and I obtain a lot of happiness from that.

Creativity because it makes me immensely happy to create things, design, and think outside of the box.

Spirituality/faith is very important to me because God is always good.  Even when life blows, He is still good.  I have seen incredible things happen on a daily basis to make life easier on my friends and family.  I have seen someone taken off a deployment randomly and in doing so, he and his wife could adopt two children from Ukraine.  My faith gives me courage and in Jeremiah 20:11 it says, "But the LORD stands beside me like a great warrior. Before him my persecutors will stumble. They cannot defeat me. They will fail and be thoroughly humiliated. Their dishonor will never be forgotten."  I know, it's intense but when I go through difficult times, I know that God is my warrior and He will always fight for me.  Because of this, I really want to get a warrior tattoo with a Bible verse on the Lord being a warrior.

Knowledge and wisdom because education and the privilege of it have always been important to me.  There are so many fantastic things in this world and there are, of course, some awful things as well.  We need to know the truths about life and what's out there because it helps us make informed decisions on our life and our future.

Happiness because time and again, all of these components contribute to my happiness.  I serve people because it makes me happy to know that I'm helping someone.  I create things because I believe part of my existence is to create beautiful things.  Adventures always make me happy and so does awesome spontaneity!

Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God's gift to man.

Adventures make me happy because I like to explore and experience life.  There are opportunities around every corner- why not enjoy them all? 

Relationships are important to me because they are something I have to work at everyday.  I actively have to work harder at putting others before myself when it comes to friendships and my marriage.  Why do I do this?  Because I love these people with my heart and soul.  I consider relationships a blessing and it is so wonderful to have people in my life who are so open to loving me.  I am beyond blessed and so thankful.

Finally I chose compassion, because like service, I think we need more of it within our society.  We are so quick to judge others.  I have read horrible comments on articles and Instagram of people who say whatever they want and bully others.  It is far more than having a verbal filter, it's having compassion and empathy for those around us.

Out of your top 8, circle 3.

These will be your core values.

This was so tricky for me! I went with service, knowledge and wisdom, and happiness.  I wanted to go with so many from my top 8.  However,  my justification for these is that they overlap.  Service, knowledge and wisdom, and happiness contribute to my faith, my relationships, my creativity, and the adventures I seek out in my life.  I value all of them but it's important to break down what you prioritize in your life and whether that's a good thing or not.

Hope you enjoyed this little exercise and have fantastic week!

If you liked this post, share it with others! If you feel particularly moved by it, leave a comment because I love feedback and discussion. Social media links are provided below and thanks for reading!
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