What is on your inside is more important than what is on your outside.
This may not be how much of society functions on a daily basis, but don’t get caught up in the fakeness of external things! What you think and feel on the inside is so much more important! It is ultimately where our motivations and actions come from. This is what matters most to God, too. 2 Samuel demonstrates this by the statement from God to Samuel as he was trying to discern which of Jesse’s son would be chosen as future King, “Do not look on his face, or on the height of his stature; because I have rejected him. For man does not see as God sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
So how do we look at our hearts, evaluate what is there, and make changes? That seems like a very nebulous task.
Let me break it down for you through the lens of “values” and give you a practical way of looking at your heart and your actions.
Fact: You live your life by your values. Period. No ifs, ands, or buts. The challenge is that at any given time, you have competing values, and you are left to make the difficult decision of which competing value is going to win, a.k.a. which one is more “important”. This is the simple explanation for why, despite valuing something “good”, we make decisions to do something else.
My alarm goes off at 5am, and I wake up. The value I am trying to uphold is one of growth. I get up at 5am because I have a routine I do in the morning that sets my body and mind in the right direction, focused on the things I intentionally want to focus on. This all allows me to grow in an intentional direction. “Growth” is a major value to me. A competing value that creeps in could be labeled as “comfort“. I let my brain entertain the thought that I am still tired, and it would be better to stay in bed for another hour. I drift to thoughts of how extra sleep might help me keep from getting sick and then I can have more energy today as well (this is called rationalizing). Really, my mind is stuck on the value of comfort. If I choose to get up, I am honoring my value of growth. If I chose to go back to sleep, I am honoring the value of comfort.
I am a manager at work. A major value I have is “serving” others to the best of our ability. This means that I work hard at my tasks, I demonstrate mercy and compassion, and I am always open to feedback. Yet, I have a team member who constantly shows up late to work. The team member’s lateness interferes with the tasks of their peers, and it interferes with us serving the customer to our best abilities.
I also have a value of “harmony“. This causes me to be reluctant to bring up problems with my team members because I don’t want to cause a rift or invite negativity and conflict. I do not feel expertly skilled in having difficult conversations, and I worry that they end up causing dissension and hard feelings rather than growth and better service. I have competing values of delivering high quality service and maintaining harmony. In the moment, I have to make a choice of which will be honored. (Of course, you may already recognize that with a little learning on how to effectively have difficult conversations, these values don’t have to be competing)
We’d love to hear from you!
What is an example for you today (or yesterday) in which you had to navigate two competing values and make a decision? (Send us this as a blog comment, an email, or a fb message if you’d like- we’d love to hear!!)
And if you feel stuck in making decisions and acting out of the values you DON’T really want to live by, give us a call or email us at Mind Spa. We can help!
-Dr Sheri Fluellen