Written by Dene Nidiffer
A few weeks ago I attended a business workshop called “Big But.” The premise was to eliminate the “buts” we have life with regard to conducting business:
but if I only had more time, I could be better at marketing;
but if I only had more money, I could buy that new $30,000 plotter we’ve been needing;
but if only the economy was better, I could have more work…
And as you can imagine the list goes on and on. Naturally, the “Big Buts” of my personal life began to creep into my thoughts and I began to take an important look at how these “buts” measured up against what I believe God wants me to do and be. So I boldly raised my hand, hoping the other attendees wouldn’t hate me [I was about to make it all about me], and I shared with the coach and the other ladies that I had attended what felt like a million of these workshops over the years and as ridiculous as it seemed, I was really still hoping for the “big idea or next big thing” that would change my life. They all laughed, mostly because many of them felt exactly the same way. But ultimately, choosing to open up and share from my heart made a significant impact on the remaining course of the day.
We all began to investigate what our core values were. I am sure many people have done this and maybe some just know it intuitively and even though I had gone through it before, I finally took to heart what I needed to understand. It boiled down to these being my top five:
You may look at this list and say, well duh! How could you not have known this? But I have taken great solace in really knowing this about myself – it just took 40+ years to see it clearly! Here’s what I know matters about these core values…
Accountability touches so much… me to my clients, me to family/friends, others to me, me to God. But what about that accountability I need with another Christian woman so that we can ensure our relationship with God is as tight as it can be? The list is nearly endless in the Word about all of these values. God doesn’t expect us to go it alone…
Ecclesiates 4:9-12 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
I am still searching officially for those two accountability partners that I know God has for me and I won’t give up! He has been speaking to me for a very long time and I wasn’t listening… until now.And by the way, the thought of three strands bound together makes me feel stronger already!
Faith seems obvious, right? My faith in God, faith in myself, faith in other people and others in me. I sometimes doubted my faith in God as I became a new Christian. I didn’t think I saw His work in me or my life. Once I started to listen, I understood and cannot imagine living life without the incredibly protected feeling I have in truly understanding my faith.
Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
Laughter is something that I just cannot live without. Laughter is the thing that makes hard stuff even a little tolerable. Laughter is joyful and laughter fills me up! Laughter sometimes makes a grown woman cry and pee her pants, too! (Just sayin’)
Proverbs 17:22 A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Love is the deepest of all the core values for me as it surrounds the very being of me – each of us – touching every belief and every relationship that I have and am in and everything I do. It also has to do with my passions and making sure they are met. I recently heard someone say to “always assume positive intent” and it will change the way you see the world. I know that God expects us to do everything in love…and I get it about “assuming positive intent.” It is much easier to assume the worst though, isn’t it?
1 Corinthians 16:14 Do everything in love.
Truth for me is about authenticity. I have long believed that most everything in life boils down to good or bad communication and when it isn’t the truth, relationships fall apart in every aspect of your life. This isn’t to imply that people lie, but many just cannot say it like it is. I am very much a “what you see is what you get person.” For years I struggled with being too authentic, often feeling misunderstood. As I aged, I started honing my intent and delivery and it has freed me to speak the truth. I welcome and encourage it from others!
John 16:13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
I truly believe God led me to the workshop to open my mind and heart to understanding my core values. Knowing and understanding them has drawn me to a closer relationship with Him. It was His way of saying, “Slow down, take a few hours to figure it out and then move on in the year and life ahead with these in mind!”
Since I began embracing these values, I have:
- began to seek an accountability relationship with two other women,
- started a Bible study for 7th grade moms so that we can focus on raising Godly daughters in an ungodly world,
- sought out ways of laughing more with friends and even in work settings on a regular basis [I especially thank our small group for this and Ignite Women leaders],
- pursued my passion of adoption by becoming a board member for Bethany Christian Services in Indianapolis [since my beautiful daughter is adopted],
- I have discussed authenticity with anyone who will listen hoping that I can influence others to speak and seek the truth in all things!
I am so thanking God for nudging me…I wish I could personally talk to each one of you who may read this to ask you, “What are your core values? How can they impact your relationship with God and others? How has God nudged you in your life to change you forever?”
You can read more about Dene here.