I had a wonderful coaching client, we will call her Bethany. One of Bethany’s goals was to live more authentically in her relationships. (I just love that.)
When she would describe a particular situation with someone in her life, I would ask, What are you hoping for here? or when she would recount a difficult dynamic, I’d inquire, “What is it that you want from this person?
To each of these questions and others like them, Bethany would always reply,
“God’s will. I want God’s will.”
Now that’s a great answer for any Christian because our life is about following Christ and letting Him rule and reign, but in this case, it seemed like a smoke screen. Sometimes the right answer is a cover for a deeper problem we don’t know how to address.
I suspected that something else was going on because nothing ever seemed to change for Bethany. She never knew if she should speak up, stay silent, or set a boundary, and if so, what that would look like. Bethany was not growing authentically, as she had originally wanted, so I decided to try something new.
A NEW QUESTION
After listening to Bethany’s report about a frustrating encounter with her mother and her confusion as to how to respond, I jumped in.
“Bethany, in the past when we have discussed the dynamic between you and your mom, you’ve said that you want God’s will for your relationship. Is that still the case?”
“Yes, for sure,” she replied.
“Great,” I said. “What if God’s will is that you choose your next step?”
She was quiet for a very long time and when she finally spoke, she said this,
“Then I have absolutely no idea what to do.”
NOT KNOWING YOURSELF
Bethany could not be authentic because she didn’t know what she wanted or needed. She wasn’t able to articulate what was most important to her, so she couldn’t act, speak or choose authentically.
Wanting the elusive “God’s will” but never knowing what it was, kept her safe—safe from being different from others, safe from their disapproval or disappointment, safe from losing their love.
I asked Bethany, “Would you like some help figuring out what it is that you want?”
“If it will help me to be more authentic and still obey God, then yes, I most certainly would.”
On her next coaching call, we began to create a values list for Bethany. This would be a list of her authentic desires, given by God, that she hadn’t been able to articulate before.
Psalm 37:4 tells us to delight ourselves in the Lord, and He will give us the desires of our hearts.
When lined up with scripture and surrendered to God, your values are those desires.
WHAT ARE VALUES?
Values are the WHY behind most of your activity.
In his bestselling book, Start with Why, Simon Sinek describes the Golden Circle, a naturally occurring pattern in business.
Most businesses are known for WHAT product or service they sell, maybe even HOW they do that, but what is most important, he touts, is WHY they produce that product in the first place. As a business coach, he believes that companies are most likely to succeed when they start with and articulate their unique WHY.
“Companies and organizations with a clear sense of WHY never worry about it (differentiating themselves). They don’t think of themselves as being like anyone else and they don’t have to “convince” anyone of their value.”
Our WHYS, our values, make us authentically us. They help us to see where others stop and we begin. They not only provide clarity, purpose, and direction, but they also free us from the need to convince anyone of our value.
VALUES ARE HIDDEN
Your core values are the driving force behind all your decisions and choices. You may not have known it, but there is a reason for everything that you have said or done.
The value behind Bethany’s inaction with her family was CONNECTION. She valued a strong connection with her family so she didn’t want to rock the boat by asserting her opinions. The problem for Bethany emerged when her emerging value of AUTHENTICITY bumped into her value for CONNECTION.
Values form the hidden rudder of your heart. They steer you without you knowing it, until they are given a name.
NAMING YOUR VALUES
Once Bethany realized that she wanted CONNECTION (because we gave it a name), she was able to act in healthy ways to honor that value. She no longer needed to react to an unknown urge for CONNECTION by silencing herself, she could now proactively, pursue CONNECTION alongside with her other value of AUTHENTICITY by speaking and acting in honest and loving ways.
Naming your values allows you to take the wheel. Knowing what they are provides you with self-control over your words, actions, and choices.
You will never achieve a life to the full (John 10:10) without knowing and aligning your life with your values.
COME BACK FOR MORE
In the next post, I will show you how to uncover your Top Ten Core Values so they can guide you into a more abundant, authentic, and God-honoring life.