“I am not this hair. I am not this skin. I am the soul that lives within.” – RumiThis post is dedicated to April Langston… my friend and sister – my role model for Living Love Today, especially when the road is difficult.
My Dearest Children,
Everyone wants to feel valued, appreciated, and comfortable within themselves, but our image-focused culture yells from the highest mountain that our value comes from how we look and what we have. The problem is that we know we can’t measure up to the standard that’s set before us, and that makes us feel inadequate, unconfident, and incomplete, which impacts how we live our lives, and that’s just plain wrong, because our True value comes from within, and we deserve to be able to walk in that Truth and find Peace throughout our days.
I get it. It’s hard being told how you should look in order to feel good about who you are. I’ve been walking this road of mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual striving and unrest for years, and I would like to share three things that, if you’ll do them consistently, will allow you to find both Peace and Life-Value:
- Define Your Values.
- Live Your Values.
- Enjoy Your Life.
Defining Your Values
Values are the guardrails on Life’s winding highway through a high mountain range. Without them, you will drive off the road only to experience a lot of pain and misery 4,000 feet below where you intended to be. Values are literally what is most important to you, and they’re intended to set direction for your life, fuel your passion, and protect you from distractions that lead to regret over wasted time and other resources. I encourage you to define that which is most important to you. If you need some ideas, I’ll share my Values:
- Love, Faith, Hope, and Grace. These are the foundations of how I Keep Life Simple. Without these I can’t Love God and People (Matthew 22:36-40). Life Application Question: How well am I receiving these from God so I can reflect them to those around me? (I can’t give that which I don’t receive)
- Truth and Freedom. The Truth of God’s Heart that’s found in His Word and Jesus’ Life frees me to Live Love Today (John 8:31-32). Life Question: Do I accept the Truth God gives me, so I can freely Love those around me? (If I’m accepting the truth of this selfish world, then I’ll be more concerned about me than those around me)
- Awareness and Generosity. Awareness allows me to see needs and opportunities to be Generous, seeing where I can be Jesus’ Hands, Feet, and Mouth by allowing God to provide healing to the hurting through me (1st Timothy 6:17-19 & 1st John 3:17). Life Application Question: Am I seeing and seizing the opportunities to Generously Live Love Today?
- Fitness and Capacity. Fitness is about being spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically, financially, and schedule capable of being Generous. That looks like living life intentionally so I’m not drained in any of these areas or lacking the time required to show Generosity. I want to intentionally build Capacity into my Life, because I have a tendency to jam-pack my schedule so much that I lose the ability to live in the moment and see the opportunities to show Generosity to those God brings into my Life. Life Application Question: Am I taking care of myself and leaving room for Generosity?
- Courage and Bravery. Here is where the rubber meets the road on this journey of finding True value in Life. I encourage you to read my previous post on Courage and Bravery (Joshua 1:9). Without Courage and Bravery, I won’t risk rejection, overcome fear of failure, or pay the dues that Love requires in tough situations. Life Application Question: How courageous and brave am I Living for the sake of those around me?
Living Your Values
Life is full of options, because God has given us Free Will to chose our path. Here’s how that relates to our discussion today: The degree to which I Live in alignment with my Values determines the amount of Peace I find in within, because Living in Truth (aligning choices and Values) drives my self-image. If I walk in Truth, my heart and mind finds Peace and Rest in knowing that I am living my best life now, and my actions will impact others long after I breathe my last. If I choose to chase the image-focused lies this broken world offers up – lies that I’ll never live up to, then I’ll feel inadequate, unconfident, and incomplete, which leads to all sorts of internal messes that spill over into the lives of those around me and negatively impacts the very ones I am Called to and want to Love.
You get to choose your Values and how you walk in Life. Choose a life that leads to Peace by Living Love Today. – Dad
Enjoy Your Life
Chasing unattainable lies leads to stress, anxiety, and depression. Choosing to live within your Values allows you to enjoy the Good Life God intended, and as your Joy increases, so will your understanding of God’s Love and His Calling within you and around you. As Jesus said, His ways are not burdensome, and He continually invites those who are worn and weary come find Rest in Him (Matthew 11:28-30). The really cool thing here is that invitation often goes out to those around me through me as I Live out the Values He has placed within me.
My Children, I Hope and Pray you will Know that your value doesn’t come from your hair and skin but the soul that lies within and in the Peace that comes from that you will confidently go out to Live Love Today.