Keep your eye on the umbrella – know your core values

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We are a beach vacation family! We plant our umbrella and chairs and head to the water. Body surfing and swimming in the waves are highlights of our recreation. While playing in the water, we often find ourselves drifting with the current down the beach. Therefore, it is always important to keep our eye on our umbrella.

Our umbrella serves as a marker to keep us from drifting too far out of sight from our family members who are keeping an eye on us.

In the same way, knowing our core values serves as a marker to keep us from drifting in our lives being swept away by the demands of the moment and helps us to live out what is truly important to us.

We don’t want to lose sight of our core values. If we do, we tend to make choices that are not aligned with what is important to us, we lack motivation and we become frustrated, aimless and dissatisfied with life.

But, when we keep our eye on our core values, we are energized for action, we find strength to resist the drift toward dissatisfying choices and we live purposeful, fulfilled, God-directed lives.

What are your top 5 core values? What is most important to you?

Here is how to clarify your values:

• With paper and pencil in hand, write down 10-12 values that express what is most important to you. If you would like help thinking of values, use this List of 100 Personal Values.

• Resist the temptation of choosing values that you think “should” be most important to you.

• Think of examples of how these values are reflected in your life.

• Weigh these values in accordance with God’s values.

• Ask a friend what values they see you living out in your life. We tend to naturally live out our values and a friend can confirm your thinking. Likewise, if a friend sees a value that does not resonate with you, then maybe you are living out of alignment with what is truly important to you.

• Narrow your values to your top 5. This is difficult but can be done. Keep asking the question, “What is most important to me?”

• Once you have your top 5 core values, test them for awhile. Imagine fully living those values. The thought should bring you a great sense of satisfaction and certainty.

Finally, keep your eye on your core values. Place them where you can see them daily. You may want to be creative and make a collage or a painting with your words.

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