I love to plan. I am a goal setting, objective identifying, activity planning fool. Where others roll their eyes at mission statements and shared declarations of values posted on the wall, I relish these things. Both in my personal life and the organizations I support, I look for these signs of purpose and culture.
Last week, I spent several days in orientation for a new job and I was quite impressed with their Mission and Values. But I have been around long enough to know that the colorful framed decree does not necessarily indicate how things actually work in an organization. The distance between the declaration and the day to day is often the space where frustration and conflict appear. Saying these things matter, doesn’t make them matter. It takes commitment and discipline to actually align an organizational culture to the vision and values on the wall.
I think that’s true in my life too. If my declaration of mission and values doesn’t actually align with my day to day, it can create discord that’s hard for me to manage. I know what I want to be true in my life, but am I making the decisions and commitments on a daily basis? I am most grounded when I have a clear sense of what I want to be true in my life and then daily make decisions that align with that vision.
As I consider this next season of my life, I’m thinking a lot about what I value and what I want to be true in my life. It is not enough to say that people matter, I want to follow through and make time and space in my life to attend to people. If I say that peace and order are elements I value, then I need to arrange my life to reflect these things.
So, I am pondering the values I hold most dear and thinking about how to live them out most fully. I think I’ve done a good job of living out care in community over the years, but I’ve failed to ensure that I have the time and solitude necessary to tend my own inner life. One of the things I found to be most astonishing over the past couple of months is how much more patience I have in relationship with others. I think there is a direct correlation between the solitude and quiet in my life and my patience and grace with others. I need to be sure I don’t overlook this in my calendar.
If I’m serious about rebuilding my life from the inside out, I will do well to prioritize the quiet, unseen disciplines that support my heart and soul. When I allow myself to run on empty, it is often those closest to me that feel the effect. When life gets out of hand, I rarely step back from a commitment, but sometimes I don’t have the reserves I need to handle the hustle and rumble of life with others. I can’t give what I don’t have.
What is true on the inside of my life will eventually overflow toward the people around me. If I am filled with insecurity and fear, that will splash on those I hold most dear. If I am overcome with anxiety, it will inhabit my relationships. If my life is overwhelmed by the pace and needs, those closest to me will see the lack. But it is also true when I know my worth I am most able to give myself away on behalf of others. When I am grounded in love, I am most able to sacrifice for others. When I am filled with joy, I splash gratitude and love for life on those I come in contact with. My life simply overflows from the inside out.
So, my calendar, my to-do list, and my planner all need to hold space for these values. I am committed to living from a place of wholeness and vitality rather than running on empty, and that will take some changes. As I move forward, I am committing to tending the inside of my life, knowing that tending my soul will always result in a cascade of blessing for those around me.
This is part of the Write 31 Days challenge. Click here to follow along.