Wouldn’t it be nice if hindsight could be foresight! How often do we find ourselves in situations in which we “see the wisdom” after the fact? Or discover the purpose after we ignored the warning sign? Or recognize our mistakes after the mishap? Oh yes, hindsight is a powerful teaching tool for next time. But what about right now?
Is there anything we can do to make wiser choices in the face of difficult decisions?
Yes, there is — it’s the simple process of identifying core values and making a habit of keeping them front and center when it comes to ordering priorities and making life-changing decisions.
As I share in Meet the New You: A 21-Day Plan for Embracing Fresh Attitudes and Focused Habits for Real Life Change, “Core values are the silent partner guiding your decision making.” Yes, values determine actions! While “your values are so deeply rooted in your belief system, you may not even know what they are,” there is great potential to establish values on purpose and return to them as a guide when it comes time to making decisions.
For example, not long after launching my new brand for my coaching and leadership development company, complete with a long-term vision for the next three years, I found myself at a crossroads. An opportunity came my way that tugged deep on my heart-strings. It was the type of job in which I resonated with the mission of the organization 100% and could see all my giftings and skill-sets being well used. But it meant giving up everything I had been working toward as an entrepreneur.
I was willing to be willing before the Lord, and told him I would lay it all down to join Him in this new work.
My heart was fully surrendered, and yet I knew I needed to be wise and not fall into the trap of emotional decision-making. When the job description arrived in my inbox, reality took over as I read through each responsibility carefully. I could feel the conflict in my soul rise.
While the job looked perfectly suited for me when we were in the concept and theory stage, the facts proved otherwise. Facts like, it was a hat-juggling, emotionally-intensive, 65-hour a week job. Yes, it would also be tremendously rewarding and an ideal fit for my passions, gifting, experiences, and sense of calling. But, I’d come home at the end of the day totally empty and unable to give to my family, and that would lead to misery all around. That’s because it’s a core value conflict rooted in the value of being emotionally and physically able to serve my family and the value of working at all I do with all my heart.
It wasn’t a conflict of should I be a “work-outside-the-home” or “work-from-home” mom, which at face value may be what’s perceived. Rather it was an issue of my core values in regards to my roles as mom, wife, and keeper of our home in light of my God-given, high-strung, driven, and all-in personality. While someone else could roll with the demand of the job and balancing life at home, I would be like a square log making a thunderous thump, thump, thump, down the hill. I know my own capacity because I’ve owned my wiring and understand my values, which is a huge asset in make a decision.
To be true to what I say I value means I have to give up certain opportunities that seem perfect, usually for someone else, and just not the right fit for me.
But getting to that place of making a decision doesn’t always happen smoothly. It requires honest reflection with the Lord and a weighing of motives along with values while seeking His wisdom and godly counsel. I had to ask questions like:
God, can I cultivate a stable, peace-filled home in which I am available to serve well, and still do this job?
God, can I be emotionally present for my husband and children, while carrying the load of this position?
God, as I compare this opportunity to my current responsibilities, which one requires me to fulfill it? Which can be fulfilled in other ways?
God, are you asking me to lay down my values? Change my values? Stick to my values?
So, back to the original question: Is it possible to using something other than hindsight to make wise decisions? Yes!
By prayerfully establishing personalized core values before the heat of moment, you’ll have a way to approach God around a vision He’s already established in you. It will enable you to have steady-laser focus around your values while being “willing to be willing” to see life from a different, Holy Spirit led perspective.
Have you done the work of identifying your values? If so, list one (or more) of them in the comments below for a chance to win a FREE copy of Meet the New You! Or, if you simply want to share the post to encourage someone in your circle, you can also be entered to win.
Also, if you need to go deeper in determining your values, head over to download the Core Values worksheet available in the resources page at the Kaleo Agency for some help. I promise it will be an eye-opening exercise!