Have you ever wondered what it is that’s caused your life to take shape the way it has? What is it that has influenced where you live, how you live, how you do what you do, the lifestyle you’ve chosen, the way you relate to money, the vocation you’ve pursued, etc.? It’s curious, isn’t it, how each of our lives take shape in different ways and reflect different values. And that names the invisible, unconscious X-factor.
The primary underlying influence that shapes our lives is our values.
Values, though often unconscious, are the commitments we’ve inherited and adopted over our lives that affect the decisions we make each and every day. If you value sleep, you will do what it takes to get the coveted eight hours most adults need. If you value adventure, you will make travel a regular habit of your life. If you value relationships, you will orient your life around being with people. See how these deeply embedded commitments influence each decision we make and action we take?
What we value is deeply personal. The value itself is formed through experiences we’ve had and people we’ve met along the way. Sometimes the people and experiences were difficult ones, and so we learned to value something because we never wanted to be “like him” or ever let “that happen again.” I think of someone I know who grew up in poverty. The experience was so profoundly damaging that he has worked his entire adult life to make sure he and his family are financially secure.
Values are the ingredients in the recipe that make our life “our life.” And for David and me, we have identified seven shared values that have given shape to our life today, as well as to Fall Creek Abbey, our life work. We value quiet, vocation, beauty, presence, conversation, hospitality, and wholeness. Each of these commitments hold sway over us and guide us in the way we express our life purpose.
We also believe these values help us cultivate what we refer to as “the contemplative spirit—a way of seeing all of life as place to encounter God.” Each one helps us awaken to the presence and involvement of God within us and all around us. And because these values are so critical to us and the Abbey, we’ve featured them in a new book.
It’s a different kind of book. Only 52 pages in all. It’s a prayer book. A collection of liturgies, one for each day of the week, each one rooted in one of our values. Prayers at Twilight: Daily Liturgies for the In-between Times is an invitation to pray these values of quiet, vocation, beauty, presence, conversation, hospitality, and wholeness into our lives. Yes, praying our values helps them take root in us so that they can influence how we live our lives, helping us become contemplative activists in God’s Kingdom.
“So it is with great love that we offer this small book to the expanding community of Fall Creek Abbey, and to others unfamiliar with us but who are drawn to pray these values, with the hope that each would receive the gift of contemplative vision.” (from the Preface) We aim to have Prayers at Twilight available in early September. In the meanwhile, we are beginning a blog series exploring each of these seminal values, what they mean to us, and how they have shaped our lives.
We hope you will appreciate understanding a little more about “what makes us tick,” and that this series will encourage you to consider and reflect on your own values and the life that has taken shape because of them.
You can pre-order your copy of Prayers at Twilight here.
Warmly, Beth and David Booram