You know those morning people? The ones who jump out of bed, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at the crack of dawn full of wit and cheer ready to conquer the world? Well, I am not one of those people. In fact, I’m more the kind of person who wants to punch any overly-cheerful morning person I might come across in the (when else?) morning. As the joke goes, ‘I could be a morning person, if mornings happened around noon’! My only thought when the alarm rings is that I need five more minutes of sleep (I convince myself that I will somehow feel less tiered after that!). By the time I’m finally awake, the 5 minutes have stretched into 35 and it’s the inevitable mad rush to get going for the day.
That’s not the way I want it to be though. Every night (that’s right, EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT.) before I go to bed, I plan on waking up earlier than the rest of the family to spend some quality time alone with God. I have every intention and desire to spend time reading the Bible and praying. However, in the fight between my good intentions and my desire to sleep some more, sleep wins 9 out of 10 times. After listening to this week’s sermon on values, I found myself examining if my battle with the alarm clock was a question of values. Do I value sleep over the presence of God? I’m a little scared to answer my own question, but if what you do reveals what you value, then it’s clear that at the very least, I don’t value the presence of God enough.
Whether they know it or not, every person, team and organization has values (read Skyline’s core values here) and those values determine what and how you do things. You do what’s important to you. Intent is all well and good, but when it comes to a matter of choice, interest almost always wins over intent. You tend to spend more time on what you value, rather than on your good intentions. I can plan to wake up early all I want, but come morning when I am enjoying my heavenly slumber, I fight those plans I made earlier until the bitter end. if I want to see my intent translate into action on a consistent basis, then I must first learn to value that action more. When my values align with what’s important, the right activities fall into place. More importantly, my values must align with that of God’s.
Why is it so important to have our values match those of God? Values help us achieve the vision that God has given us for our lives. At Skyline, one of our core values is developing close relationships. It’s why we take a coffee break in the middle of the service and focus so heavily on small groups. It’s why the Skyline ladies meet once a month for dinner. That and our other core values makes us the kind of church we are and helps move us forward in our God-given vision of a multicultural, multigenerational church. Values help us distinguish between what’s important and what’s not.
So how do we realign our values with those of God’s? Unfortunately, I’m not a biblical scholar and I don’t have a magic formula.
Maybe the first step is identifying what your values are and how they fit into what God wants for you. If you’re not on the same page there, then some reevaluating is in order. One good way of identifying is to check if your current values push you to become a better disciple of Jesus or not. If they don’t, then they are probably not the right values for you.
The second step is to take action. For me, I know it means taking some intentional steps. Maybe it means making a commitment to go to bed earlier or making myself accountable to someone else. Maybe it’s just a step as simple as placing my alarm clock on the other end of the room! I’m not exactly sure what those action steps are yet, but I know I need to do SOMETHING if I want the life that God wants for me. And I know that his plans will bring me more joy and rest than that extra 5-going-on-35 minutes of sleep will give me.
This is not meant to condemn you. It’s easy to feel guilty about something like this. Trust me, I had to uncondemn myself a few times over the last few days. That’s not what God wants. It a loving call to reevaluate what’s important in your life. When you do redefine your values, your actions will begin to align with them and if those actions push you towards God and His people, then you are on the right track.
Betsy Sony is a stay-at-home mom who has the full-time job of looking after 4 beautiful girls. She came to the United States from India along with her husband Sony about 4 years ago and loves all things Skyline, reading, being outdoors, and experiencing new cultures and cuisines.