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Values: A Paradigm Shift

May 26, 2010

Every so often I find myself thinking about priorities, values, and goals. Sometimes it is due to a conversation with someone, but often it comes up because of some shift in the priorities in my life.

How do you determine priorities?

Many of us would say that God is first, family is second, and then we add things like career, ministry, friends, home, recreation, etc. I find very few people actually would list self-care on their list of priorities, but think about how much time you spend daily take care of cleaning, preparing, feeding, resting, and recreating.

We tend to think of priorities as a stack of items like this.  

Or maybe it is more of a pyramid like this.

As we all are facing many demands on our time, looking at priorities like this can communicate that anything below the top few priorities can seem like they are unimportant.

Also, sometimes career and ministry may be the same thing, or some may see ministry lumped together with God which gives it a higher priority than how others might view it.

No matter how you look at priorities, it can be difficult to balance how we spend time, energy, and resources.

Lately I have struggled with priorities, but I this time I haven’t struggled with the aspect of time in conjunction with priorities. Often they are directly linked.

This time, my struggle with priorities comes from a change in heart, a change in views, a paradigm shift that has altered the values in my life.

Lately I find myself awakening every day and feeling inspired to live with different values. My heart has been breaking open for needs such as orphans, the poor, good health/water/food for all in the world, firm value foundations for the young, the abused, the deceived/disillusioned, and disunity in The Church.

What if we thought of priorities more as values. There are times that they may have more importance, and other seasons where they need to take the back seat to something else that is taking center stage.

I am in a season where my focus is not on me and my life, but on others. Every day the majority of my thoughts focus on how I can live differently, impact others, and make a difference in this world.

My values have shifted because I experienced a paradigm shift. What is most important in my life is now about touching the lives of others.

A paradigm shift affects everything: how we think, communicate, and act. I daily find myself rethinking how to spend my time, where I work, what I eat, how I care for myself, who I spend time with, what I communicate, how I spend money, etc. This paradigm shift came not from a work of man, but from moving deeper in my relationship with Christ. As we move closer to him, he changes our hearts, our priorities, our thoughts, and our values.

I have heard that what you awake thinking of every day and can not get off of your mind is what you should be doing in life. If that is true, then some things in my life need to change.

Have you ever experienced a paradigm shift that changed how you view something?

How would viewing priorities as cyclical and seasonal rather than hierarchical and linear change your thinking?

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