By Rev. Brandon Nagel, Senior Minister
In his Tony award winning Broadway hit, Hamilton, writer Lin Manuel Miranda has Alexander Hamilton say to Aaron Burr, “If you stand for nothing, what will you fall for?” Every time I listen to this soundtrack and I hear this line, I think of just how important it is not only to have a well-defined set of core values, but to live in integrity with what we have defined as our values.
We are in the midst of a series at Unity Church of Overland Park based on our community’s
core values of
So, if you’d like to learn more about what those values mean for us as a community and how you can increase your own ability to live life in alignment with any of those values, join us on Sunday morning either in person or on Facebook Live.
However, for now consider your own personal values. What do you stand for? If someone were to walk up to you right now and ask you what you stood for, could you tell them? And would it take less than one minute to rattle off what you stood for? If the answer to any of those questions was no, then I would encourage you to spend some time really exploring what your own personal values are. They may be similar to ours at Unity Church of Overland Park, they may not. You may find that you have three or four core values or more. There is no magic number, but keep in mind you don’t want so many values that you can’t keep track of them. Ultimately what you are looking for is the set of values that will help guide you through life. The values that you define for yourself help inform you as to who you are and who you have come here to be.
Living in integrity with those values helps to guide you in expressing the Christ that you are. We will get into what exactly it looks like when we define those values clearly in the coming weeks, but for now let’s just focus on what those values are for you and how you can identify them. One of the exercises that I often like to employ is what I call the ‘Why Game’. Start by asking yourself, "What is something that is important to me?" And once you have the answer to that question, ask yourself "Why? Why is this important to me?" As you continue to ask yourself why, eventually you get to a point where the core value emerges. You find that point where you ask the question and the answer that comes is ‘because it’s important for me to lead a life of joy’.
Taking the time to go through this exercise and realize what it is that you value is a wonderful first step on the path to living from your core values, but there is more to it than just knowing that you value attempting to live from a spirit-led perspective. An important part of having a well-defined set of core values is identifying the behaviors that go along with that particular value. Yes, the goal is to live our lives 100% of the time in alignment with those things that we value. But the truth of the matter is, that part of this journey is in learning to do that. This is why it becomes so important to know what you mean when you select love as one of your core values. How will you behave when you are living your life in integrity with that value? Next time, we’ll get into exactly how you can come up with those behaviors, but for now keep exploring your 'Why' and through it, your core values.