A number of years ago I adopted a family motto for Julie, the kids and I. The motto included the characteristics I consider to be of paramount importance and I have tried to live my life by them. The motto is: Wisdom, Integrity & Courage. I have reminded my family of it often through toasts at weddings and such, as well as regular reminders in conversation and texts.
Wisdom is something I started seeking when I accepted a call to the ministry. I was seventeen years old and knew for me to be able to accomplish anything at all in this life, especially something as important as advancing the Kingdom of God, I would need a supernatural endowment of wisdom in my life. I knew what the Bible said about God giving wisdom to anyone who asks (James 1:5). So I did, and God has repeatedly honored his word in my life.
Courage was instilled in me by the men in my life. My Dad and my Grandfather did a lot to give me the confidence to believe I could do anything if I set my mind to it. I’ve always viewed life as one big adventure. I relish new challenges and jump at the chance to tackle new opportunities. On those occasions when my confidence might not be what I would like it to be, the words of “The Duke” (John Wayne for those who might be culturally deprived) ring in my ear, “Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway.”
But then there is that integrity thing. Don’t get me wrong, I seriously don’t like thieves and liars and I will go the extra mile to avoid any appearance of those things in my life. What I have struggled with at times is rule bending for the good of the project I am working on. For me, rules can sometimes come across as simple suggestions to be evaluated and interpreted in light of my own best interest. It can be as simple as going in the “out” door because walking to the other side of the building is a waste of my precious time. Although not a big deal, what I have learned about this is twofold. First, I must keep my arrogance in check. (Man, being transparent is tough sometimes.) I have watched one to many talented people crash and burn because they didn’t think the rules applied to them. Which leads to the second lesson. I must beware of the “slippery slope” syndrome. You know, you violate your conscience once and it just gets easier the next time.
I absolutely do not want my story to become one of what could have been. I want to live my life guided by wisdom, protected by integrity and motivated by courage.