There is an ever-increasing need to cultivate a reflective mind - a mind that reflects on what's most important in life. I've noticed that when it comes to cultivating a reflective mind, there are internal and external barriers. The most often cited are fear, busyness, and noise.
It's become something of a tradition here. Each year I read quite a few books and while I don’t recommend everything I read, I thought there were some that might interest you. In no particular order, this is the list of books I read this past year that I found the most interesting, challenging, helpful, and/or inspiring.
I'm a firm believer that leaders are readers. According to a recent Inc.com article on the reading habits of leaders a survey by the National Endowment for the Arts found that only 43% of adults read something that wasn't required for work or school - the lowest average in decades. The blog post goes on to say that the habits of highly successful individuals suggests that leaders are in fact, readers.
I’m convinced you will find greater meaning, peace, and fulfillment when your calendar reflects what you value most. How you spend your time matters - a lot! It just does. It’s the one commodity that cannot be bought, traded, or sold. Perhaps the biggest reason we’re all so frazzled these days is because we’re forgetting what matters most to us and to God.
God calls us to do good work for His glory, so it’s not so much about abandoning our values, but aligning them with God’s priorities. Now that you’re better aware of where your time is spent, and have taken steps to identify what you value most, it’s time to make some adjustments.
When I first went through this exercise as a seminary student 10 years ago I had very different core values compared to today. Some have change drastically while others really haven't changed much at all. And that's okay. That's normal.
The challenge of this exercise isn't to come up with the perfect list of values or to "get it right." Your job is to name what you believe to be true about how your days should be lived. Identify the core values God has built in you and explain why. Conviction is the "why" behind the value.
If we agree that the highest priority for the New Testament Christian is to make disciples who make disciples, then what are the priorities that fulfill this overarching value? I’ve listed 6 key priorities of a disciple below. This list is not meant to be exhaustive. Rather it’s based on obvious behaviors and characteristics of Jesus and His disciples.