When God made you, He planted within your heart certain things you value deeply. They’re hardwired into your heart. They’re the values that, if you were to follow the path God has for you, would become the driving forces of your life. They’re the things you’d be willing to die for. Call these your core values.
Some common core values come to mind: the need for security, a love of adventure, loyalty to home and family, a passion for justice, pleasure in caring for others. When you are in touch with your God-given core values, it will rearrange and direct your energies, your time, and your thoughts. If you ignore them, sooner or later you’ll be miserable. If you identify and pursue them, you’ll unleash your potential and set yourself up for fulfillment and success.
What is most important in your life? Where do you refuse to bend? Your answer is a core value. It’s a driving desire or priority—perhaps different from anyone else you know—that God has placed inside of you to help you know where to aim your life. What’s unusual about you? What do you value? How do you uncover your core values?
You may want to begin by identifying some biblical values that apply to everyone. Honesty, compassion, diligence, patience, humility—these moral virtues and many others aren’t optional. They’re God’s way, and they lead to God’s best for everyone. For more on what the Bible has to say on these universally recognized virtues, read the book of Proverbs, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, or the book of James. And remember: biblical values are not right because they’re in the Bible; they’re in the Bible because they’re right.
Let’s get specific. Keep asking God, “What values and passions did You place in me? What is the custom blueprint You engraved on my heart?” As you pray, ask yourself, “What makes me angry with a righteous anger?” and “What do I absolutely love, more than anything else?” Give yourself some time to think about these. When an idea comes to mind, write it down. You can spread this exercise over several days or do it in a single sitting. When you’ve listed several possible values, narrow it down to between five and ten core values, and then write them in your journal.