In the last year I’ve been asking some hard questions regarding many aspects of my life, and it’s been a good (and continuing) journey through many different books. I’ve read some books on unfolding my creative bents (some of which were so latent I had forgotten they were there), on the simplicity of walking with Christ (reminding me again that it’s not that complicated), and on the history and methods of education (making me regret once again the wimpy one I got in schools). The last book I just finished was From the Garden to the City, which was a riveting book on the theology of technology, and how technology (everything from light bulbs to Facebook) not only comes with its own inherent value system, but how these tools transform our own hearts and minds and actually shape us and our own value systems and culture. All of these books have been fascinating reads which have led me to question:
- what do I really value?
- what informs the values that I have? (in other words, why do I have those certain values)
- what in my life outflows from them?
- are any of those things in conflict with the kingdom of God?
Through this time, I’ve been keeping a little ongoing list of what I really value. It is interesting for me to note that folks that rub me wrong probably do so because our values conflict, in action and/or in truth. So far what I have listed is:
- a deep spiritual life
- reading to learn
- personal, real-time, face-to-face relationships (handwritten notes/letters are second, calls third…)
- quietness and peace
So now my questions from above can be applied to these, and of course, this takes #2 (contemplation), #3 (reading to learn), and #8 (a little peace and quiet).
So what are your values? Creating a list of values seems like a good marker to judge how a life is lived, what activities are done, which tools we use (and how), and so forth. Your values might be different (you might love a fast-paced action-packed day!), but at least thinking through these things means not being the victim of whichever way the wind blows, and marking what areas in your life might be in conflict with what you say you value.
I suppose the real question these days is, “Is there so much distraction in our lives that we cannot even take the time to ponder these things?” That, in my value system, would be a great sadness, indeed.