Tuesday, September 3, 2013

We are What We Value

"You are what you eat!"

I can remember watching late night infomercials while in college that were attempting to sell me some new high fibre crash-diet miracle fat burner. For only three easy payments of 59.95 you can create the body shape you've always wanted!! These commercials were mildly entertaining at 3am as you are working on some sort of study paper due the next morning.

What I learned from these infomercials is that we not only have an over-fascination with dieting, but we also crave instant gratification and change.

The truth about life (that no one wants to market) is that it can be difficult. Many people on our planet face an everyday struggle for survival. Those of us who are blessed enough to live in places where our challenges aren't as severe may think differently at times, but we too struggle with making the most of the time we've been given to live.

If life is a gift we've been given, how might we invest what we've been given? Here are 3 thoughts I'm discovering about life and values.

1. We are what we value. At my daughter's elementary school their theme for the year is identity. Their hope is to help their community discover who they are through scholastic education. Different activities, events, and teaching styles are being integrated throughout the year in order to help this theme take root as a value in the lives of their students.

It's one thing so that that we value something and another to live it. Over the years I've witnessed far too many examples of people who say good things but struggle to implement them in their daily lives. The truth about life and about values is that we are what we value. If you want to know what someone values in life, observe where they spend their time and their money. What you see and what they say can sometimes be two different things. It takes great courage to be honest about what we value based on how we are currently investing our lives. Find a community that will help you uncover your values.

2. The expression of our values can shift over time. One of my favourite activities to do with my kids is to have tickle fights. I love hearing their squeals of joy fill our house and leave my ears ringing. While this activity is meant to show them that I value our relationship, I realize that how I express the value of relationship will need to shift over time. Tickle fights work with young children, but are less effective and appropriate with teens or adults. As my children grow, my expression of relational value must also grow. I need to challenge myself and find the courage to admit that what I've always done in the way I've done things isn't going to last. The way I choose to express what I value has to change with the passing of time.

3. Values and character are interrelated. I've heard it said that a season of testing reveals character, but what I'm discovering is that the character we possess is directly correlated to the values that govern our lives. If we desire to be a trustworthy person, we will value honesty & integrity. Life's challenges can be used as mirrors, reflecting what sort of character is being developed in us while inviting us to great depth through what we value.

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A Little Something from Psalm 8

 Had a lot of fun with this one.