What are you living for?  Why do you do the things that you do and refrain from doing so many of the things that you could?  What is at the top of your list of priorities and why is it there?

The answers to these questions are important because they add context and direction to our lives.  Understanding why we do the things that we do can help us to stop drifting and, instead, make clear decisions regarding how we will invest the moments that we have on this earth.

But here is the tricky thing: what we say, either to ourselves or others, is not the best indication of what we actually value. What we say indicates only what we believe we value. How we live, what we do, the decisions that we make, and what keeps us going reveal the truth.

So how do you live a life that reflects the things that you say you value?

1. Be honest with yourself.  Stop telling yourself that you do the things you do for a noble cause if the reason is less than noble.  If it is about the praise of others or the potential for personal gain, be honest enough to acknowledge that.

2. Be honest with those around you.  People will judge you primarily on the things that you do and not the things that you say.  If your actions and words do not match, no one is fooled but you.  You might think that others don’t see it, but they do.

3. Ask someone that you trust for help. Sit down with a person that knows you well and ask them to evaluate you based on what they see demonstrated in your life.  Don’t preface this conversation with a list of your values or defend yourself if the way that they see you is not the way that you want to be seen.

4. Stop defending and excusing yourself.  Those who succeed have all had reasons that they should have failed.

5. Understand that the only life worth living is one where the credit and praise of others is unnecessary.  While praise and credit for a job well done can be a great encouragement, you should be involved in something so big that this type of emotional motivation is unnecessary to keep you going. If the work that you are involved in is bigger than you, anything else that comes your way as a result of a job well done will be extra.

6. Spend more time working on yourself than on others.  It is amazing how much more grace we are able to give to those around us when we are able to take an honest look at ourselves.

This list is not all inclusive but I believe will help us to keep our lives in proper perspective.  We all want to live for a noble purpose.  We all want to make a difference in the world and live for something bigger than us.  Few actually do.

Refuse to drift and become the person that you want everyone else to believe that you are.  The world needs people who will do the right things at the right time for the right reasons.  Decide to be that person.

Jeremy Stalnecker is the Executive Director of the Mighty Oaks Foundation which is dedicated to helping America’s military warriors and their families who are suffering from the unseen wounds of combat. While growing up Jeremy’s only goal was to leave home and join the Marine Corps. This dream was finally realized with an active duty commission in 1999 which opened the door to serve as a Marine Infantry Officer during the opening days of the war in Iraq. One month after returning from Iraq, Jeremy entered full-time ministry and eventually accepted a senior pastor role. He later accepted a full-time position with the Mighty Oaks Foundation which brought together his ministry and military experience in a way that allows him to minister to hurting veterans, service members and their families. Along with his wife and their four children, Jeremy works to reach the hurting and provide healing found in Christ.

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