We make hundreds of choices everyday—some thoughtfully, some not. The best decisions, however, are intentional based on a set of core values.
I believe in making time for self-discovery and exercises that help reduce core beliefs and values to paper. You may not have done so formally and may feel you have a pretty good idea of what values guide your choices. But the more thought you put into such things, the more deliberate you become—and the better your chances for hitting the mark for which you were created.
I’ve spent a lot of time on this process of uncovering who God made me to be, what He wants me to do in this life. It’s an ongoing process. But I can easily say that most of my values can be summed up in two thoughts that provide overall guidance for my decisions each day:
- To hear these words when I stand before my Lord Jesus Christ, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”
To have those closest to me love and respect me the most.
Well Done, Good And Faithful Servant
For me, all of life flows from my conviction that we are created by God on purpose and shaped for a purpose. My response to that then is one of stewardship—my life is not my own. I belong to God and all my desires are subservient to His purpose for me. And everything I’ve been entrusted with is available for the fulfillment of that purpose.
How I spend my money, where I live, who I hang around, what I do as a vocation, how I treat others I come in contact with—all these things get filtered through my responsibility as a steward. Will my decisions and actions today push me closer to a favorable commendation on that day when I stand before my Creator?
I do better some days than others, but this is the all-encompassing thought that guides my choices each day.
To Have Those Closest To Me Love And Respect Me The Most
I heard this originally from John Maxwell, but I’ve long ago made it my definition of success.
Every person I come in contact with is important to me. I see them as valuable, precious to God, and worth being treated as I would like to be treated. Yet the reality is that much of our daily choices comes down to how we divide our time among those we know and the demands others place upon us.
I’ve had to learn the hard way how to make tough choices when it comes to people. I love people and I’m a sucker for helping others. But my greatest responsibility and potential for influence are those closest to me: my immediate family, extended family, and closest friends.
When push comes to shove, my wife and our kids and their families take ultimate priority. Not just in my time, but in building my relationships with them. If I sacrifice that in pursuit of my vocation or other personal goals, I lose—big-time.
I’ve worked hard over the years building the local church and helping as many people as I can to become who God created them to be. But my greatest potential for influence and legacy will come through my kids and their families.
As much as I appreciate hearing how I’ve impacted others and how well they think of me, it all pales in comparison to the opinion of my family. I govern my calendar, my mouth, my actions—everything—with the thought of how my choices will affect my relationship with my family. To live my life in such a way that those who really see me up close and still love and respect me the most—that’s the real win.
This is what guides me. What guides you and your choices? Think deeply about this if you haven’t before or recently. Life is choices, not chances. Get clear on your target, then determine what is going to guide you and guarantee that you’ll hit the mark.
Question: What overall thought guides and governs your decisions, words, and actions each day? Share your answer in the comments below.