A New Year’s Values

I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, but I am one who puts myself through a very strong filter for self-evaluation. I’m only half-joking when I say that no one’s critique of me rises to the level of my own self-critique. It’s probably more true than anyone realizes.

It’s good to be your own worst critic. Dan Collins, in his book Good To Great, did a study of the CEOs of companies that went from Good To Great over the 15 years of his research and he noticed that none of those CEOs were narcissists. They went to work every day as if they were still interviewing for the position. They were always seeking to become better and that doesn’t happen without a significant amount of self-critique. It seems to me that this is an excellent way to live and to work.

So every year my practice has been to isolate nouns/adjectives which will serve as this year’s “core values,” the things that will keep me working hard in 2014. Here are they are.

Family–working through stressful situations (of which there were not a few this past year) nearly always means my family takes it on the chin. With tears, I can only confess my sins of neglect, lack of attentiveness, lack of concern and care for all my loved ones. I owe them so much and I am hoping that all of this past year’s hard work pays dividends for them, the number one dividend being time with them.

Transparency–The ministry can never be totally transparent. Many situations in the not-perfect church (see the previous post) involve behavior that simply cannot be broadcasted for the sake of reputations. Nevertheless, I have always striven to be as open and as honest as I can be with the information I can share, information which doesn’t hurt reputations in any way. Ask me what I think. I’ll tell you. I mean no offense. I just want you to know the truth. What you see is what you get.

Creativity–This is a holdover from last year’s values. I ended up not always having the time to flex my creative juices, but I got a lot of stored up “stuff” right now which could lead to a burst of creativity this year. I’m actually thinking of going to the piano and writing something, perhaps a psalm setting, and getting back into my muse. I hope to write more this year too. What good’s a blog you haven’t been contributing to?

Witness–Sounds strange, doesn’t it? It’s one thing to go up and preach a sermon to the crowd. It’s quite another to witness one-on-one. I have blown many opportunities to do so over the years. I’m working toward becoming someone who is as transparent about his faith as can possibly be. The world wants us Christians to treat the gift of faith like “bedroom politics,” something for behind closed doors. I’m not satisfied with that in my own life. Time to testify to the hope that is in my by grace.

So what are YOUR core values?

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