People who have not thought about their values are more easily swayed by circumstances, fads, and the opinions of others. In contrast, people who live in harmony with their basic life-governing values sense greater inner peace and usually feel that their lives are on target, more fulfilled, and less out of control.Gary R. Collins, Phd, Christian Coaching
To align your life with your values, you have to know what your values are. So many mothers operate from a space of emotional overwhelm, mental exhaustion, and physical fatigue, it’s no wonder that chaos and conflict rule their hearts and homes.
Look, I’ve been there. In fact, I think it was just last week that I threw in the towel on trying (once again and unsuccessfully) to change my toddler’s obvious addiction to sweets. I realize that makes me a terrible mom, but I made my peace long ago on never winning any awards in the impressive mothering category.
In this context, I aligned my values with my life rather than aligning my life with my values. I allowed external circumstances (ahem, an external circumstance named Finnley) to dictate an internal guidepost. I relented my own core conviction that too much sugar is indeed too much sugar, and decided that “peace in my home value” trumped “toddler eating healthy value.”
But that’s not how this is supposed to work!
And the opening quote? I don’t know a stay at home mom among us who isn’t chorusing “sign me up for that!”
A value is a person’s principles or standard of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life.
I could tell you until I’m blue in the face that eating the right things, and feeding my children healthy and nutritious foods, is a value of mine… but my actions in allowing my sweet daughter to eat sweet foods would suggest otherwise.
And here’s the kicker: show me your habits/hobbies/daily actions and I’ll show you your values.
Don’t know what your values are? Look at the way you’re spending your everyday.
I think we can agree that it is far more beneficial to align your life with your values than it is to align your values with your life. I once read a story of a goldfish who swam in the same small, round fishbowl day after day.
That’s a pretty common story among goldfish, isn’t it?
So the story goes, that on the day that the owner decided to change the water, she dropped her fish into a bathtub to wait it out. When she returned, she found her fish still swimming in circles the size of the fishbowl in which he’d spent his life.
What does a goldfish have to do with you? If we allow our lives to dictate what we believe or are convicted by, we’ll end up swimming in circles whether or not those circles actually benefit us or our families.
The best way to align your life with your values is to decide what your values are. Check out this post for a list to get your gears turning!
I don’t know about you, Mama, but by 4 pm my kids can pretty much do anything short of setting the house on fire, if they ask. Because decision fatigue is real and I have a curious, eager to ask eight year old who helps me to reach that place on the daily.
If values represent a standard of behavior, then I don’t really need to even think about if she can watch four hours of television every afternoon. When I consider that I have a value of creativity, I know that the tv isn’t going to draw that out of her.
Someone please remind me of this concept when my toddler is tantrum-ing over a second muffin.
As a Christian mom, my overarching value is to be more like Christ. That is the center of my life, my greatest goal, my main drive. It is the value which governs all other values.
Because this is true, I know that I’m growing. I’m in progress. I’m moving forward. And my children are moving forward with me. The more Christlike I am, the more that overflows from me, the more my children are impacted by His presence in me.
If I were not clear on this value, I wouldn’t be moving toward it. Exemplifying the fruit of the Spirit is my value, Christlikeness is my goal, and my pursuit of both things dictates my actions.
I’m not perfect, so perhaps not every action is dictated by this. But many of them. And trust me, when my actions don’t line up with this value, the next point on this post is lived out in my being.
Aligning your life with your values will create so much more peace internally and externally. When you have a value, but your actions suggest otherwise, it isn’t just everyone else who can sense it.
You know it. I mean, you know it.
You feel off. Icky. Strangely restless and, for lack of better words, out of alignment. That’s because you are!
When you know your values, and you align your life to honor those values, you can feel good- peaceful- about every decision you make.
When I give into my toddler, I don’t feel good about myself. I’m communicating that compliance and comfort outweigh the benefits of obedience and filling up on good stuff, and that doesn’t sit well with me. That’s because compliancy is not my value. Comfort is not my core conviction.
So even though sticking to my value guns (and I do value the 2nd amendment ;)) will likely result in lack of peace for a little while, it will ultimately give me inner peace.
And a mom with inner peace is a home with harmony, am I right?
As a mother in today’s culture, it can be hard to know- to stand by- who you inherently are. Now, I’m not talking about who you are in Christ. Being redeemed and covered by the precious blood of Christ means not having to prove anything.
Hallelujah and amen!
But God did create you to be you. And there are many ands which make up your make up.
Who are you? What do you want to say to the world? To your kids? How do you want your life to be remembered? What matters to you? What’s important to your family? What do you want to see repeated in the lives of your children?
These can feel impossibly heavy to answer.
Why not try to journal it out or do a brain dump to get to the heart of what makes you you.
For me, personally, honesty is a core value of mine. I know this because there is nothing that shakes me more, triggers my anger more acutely, than being lied to. It’s also what I consistently refer to when I’m faced with the decision to tell a little white lie to spare someone’s feelings or to tell the truth in love.
Honesty is a core value of mine and it has helped me to be an honest person.
If you list out all of your pet peeves, you may find your values– there’s a reason some things tick you off more than they do me and vice versa.
For example, my husband is highly annoyed by procrastination. He values action, leading, getting things done when they need to get done because they need to get done. So when I get a phone call telling me that there’s been an issue with my card, and I write it on my planner to take care of next Thursday, it’s very likely he’ll pick up the phone and take care of it on my behalf.
I’d like to say that this in no way influences whether or not I procrastinate, as I very much dislike talking on the phone in any capacity, but again, honesty is important to me.
Listen, I am not the biggest advocate for New Year’s Resolutions… mostly because I never truly keep them. I might spend the next 12 months striving for the heart behind the resolution (lose ten pounds because I want to be healthy enough to do all of the things with my kiddos becomes do all of the things with my kiddos), but I rarely stick to the goal itself.
Because waking up on January first doesn’t really change the fact that I love food and don’t love exercising, so there’s that to contend with.
Ultimately, though, I do value a good goal. And I do believe that they’re important to have. And I do think that anything which sets you up to live out your values instead of just stating them, to be an example for your children instead of just a nagging voice in their ears, is an admirable aspiration.
Get clear on what you value, and allow those values to help you make life changes.
Values aren’t hard and fast rules, but more like guide rails along a highway. It isn’t that you won’t veer but hopefully- prayerfully– they will bounce you back on course.
You are a good mom and there’s no reason why you should be spending your …September 12, 2023