“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:37-40 NIV
Today’s devotion is going to be something more than just a moment to pause and read. I invite you to give yourself twenty to thirty minutes to walk with me through a process of connecting to yourself, the wisdom that resides within you, the wisdom of the Spirit that breathes life into you, and the ways we live out this wisdom by way of aligning our actions with our values.
It is so easy for us to go throughout our day disconnected and compartmentalizing ourselves. We may find ourselves relating to the world around us analytically and constantly in our heads, or maybe led by our feelings, fully aware of our emotions and the emotional energies of others, responding and reacting with a full heart. Sometimes, we may be led by our physical needs, relating to the world through our senses. The reality is we are created to live through the integration of all three of these aspects of ourselves. Our deepest wisdom and discernment comes when we reconnect to ourselves and pay attention to what our full self is saying.
Find some paper, writing utensil, and a quiet space and settle into a comfortable position. Listen to the following 7 minute guided meditation to begin connecting to the wisdom held within your body.
What emerged for you? What did your need and desired quality tell you about who you are and what matters to you? Write this down for yourself.
Use the following questions to begin clarifying your personal values. Take as much time as you need to write down what comes up for you. Don’t worry about finding the definitive words at this point. That is something you can do later on. These questions have been adapted from “7 Steps to Discovering Your Personal Values” by Scott Jeffries.
1) Consider a “Mountaintop Moment” from your life. What made it meaningful for you? Where were you? What was going on? What values were present in that situation?
2) Consider the opposite experience. Think of a time when you got angry, frustrated, or upset. What was going on? What were you feeling? Now flip those feelings around. What value was being suppressed?
3) What is most important in your life? Beyond your basic human needs, what must you have in your life to experience fulfillment? Examples might include creative self-expression, health and vitality, adventure, to be surrounded by beauty, or learning. What are the values you must honor or a part of you withers?
As you look over your list, you may notice that particular words share certain qualities. Begin creating groups together in a way that make sense for you. You can write them together in groups, or color-code them by underlining or highlighting the words that go together. Values like accountability, responsibility, and timeliness are related. Learning, growth, and development are also a group that relate to each other. Another grouping may include values like connection, belonging, and intimacy.
What wisdom is emerging from this activity for you? What is it teaching you about who you are, how you show up in the world, and what matters to you? What do these values tell you about your spiritual language, or the ways in which you know and connect to God? What do these values tell you about how God is leading you to embody your faith in the world?
Choose one of the most prominent values that emerged for you today. Write one concrete way you can enact this value today or this week. Find a bible verse that represents the value you hope to focus on. Read it at the beginning of each day, or throughout your day, to orient yourself around the value it represents and let it infuse your daily actions.
God of Wisdom, you created us to be more than just thinkers, feelers, or doers. We are more than souls trapped in a body. Our worth to you is not based on our productivity or perfection. Help us remember to listen for you within ourselves and the world you created. Guide us to live by the values you have instilled within us so that our lives may better reflect you. Amen.