Okay, for those of you who have followed my blog at all know one thing – I LOVE words! They make me happy! When written down, they are the way I most preferred to express myself. They are my friends. Now imagine this: 373 words on a list. I am told to circle any word that stands out to me. This means I make friends with 176 of them.
Now I have to take my list done to 50…then 25…12…10…8…7!!! At this point, I’m almost crying! I’m kind of joking, but not really. It was like killing friends. Each one hurt to cross off my list. This was one of the hardest things I’ve done in a long time. The bright spot was I was allowed to add one word back on to my list. Thus, my seven! My words! These words define my core values! Ready for them?
- Acceptance – I’ve always felt a little different. I often feel on the outside (for various reasons). I have a strong desire for acceptance – to be seen as me and accepted for me. I’m also a strong advocate for acceptance in my ministry. I want the environments I create to be one of acceptance.
- Compassion – This is my heart for ministry right here. I know I have been called by God to serve the church and the world. Through compassion I see my calling. I love people and I want to make a difference in their life. I am moved by their struggles and their pain. I was told you can’t have compassion without passion. I am passionate about loving people and doing something about it!
- Courage – Now if you look at me, I’m not sure you would say “She’s one courageous lady”, but let me tell you, my life hasn’t turned out the way I thought it would. In a lot of ways, God has set me on a different path than I expected. Each step in accepting this calling involved lots of courage. God still has dreams awaking in my heart and I know they will involve courage.
- Encouragement – Back to the spiritual gifts I mentioned yesterday, this is up there for me. I want to be source of encouragement to people. I want to strengthen them and help them through life. I want to be a place people can turn to for support.
- Integrity – Thanks to great leaders in my life at a young age, I’ve been told the importance of integrity. I have been poured into by people of integrity and I want to live up their legacy. Integrity is essential! It’s so core – thus, it’s one of my core value. Integrity isn’t just important to me, but I hold high standards for those I love. I want to help call out integrity in those around me.
- Joy – I crave joy! One prayer that I seem to come back to is – Lord, give me more joy! I want to be a joyful person. I worry that the weight of the world will squelch my joy. I get so overwhelmed that I have to fight for my joy. I have also learned that I am the biggest killer of my joy. I am making changes in my thinking so that way my joy doesn’t leave. I need joy!
- Vision – I know that I have not arrived. I will never be perfect or complete on this side of heaven. While I’m not a visionary, I know that I need to have a vision for my future. I need to know what I’m working towards – what is the vision and how am I making it happen? Without vision life is not worth living. Honestly, life without vision is just movement. I’m always seeking God for what’s next! He is my vision supplier and I will courageously follow him. Wherever He leads!
The word that I got to add back was balance. Marshall Snider (our conference speaker, along with his wife, Lesley) told us this wasn’t necessarily a part of our core value words, but it was more a word we aspire to. I can see how that truly fits with balance. I’m so worried that my ministry lifestyle will lead to a lifestyle that isn’t balanced. How do I balance my calling and my passion with my marriage and future family? I often worry about my future children and if they’ll resent parents in ministry. Balance has always been so important to me. I desire healthy boundaries. Balance – just like joy, I crave it.
Marshall said that people would be able to see our core values in us. He also said that stories will be attached them. People will see me living my values and be able to tell me stories about how they see it in me. I can already see my own stories fitting into these values. If you know me and one of these values sparks a story, do you mind sharing it with me? I’m really solidifying these words in my life and stories will help do that. I love these words. They mean a lot to me. I’m excited to build them into my core and to be me through them. I hope they shed some light on how I work and what means a lot to me.
PS – Does anyone else think it’s cool that Marshall had us choose seven words? Seven seems to be following me! I’m warming up to the number even though it is odd (I am strange and only like even numbers).