This year, my word is integrity.
Over the past few years I’ve selected a word to be my guiding principle for the year. In 2015, my word was freedom. As I applied walking in freedom to my life I realized that freedom really isn’t free. Everything comes at a price. So whether I choose to be free or not, I’m giving up something. Thankfully, I finally saw that I was living in bondage. When chains are broken, it is do or die lest you find yourself back in prison.
I didn’t want to go back to living attached to the wrong things. So during last year’s third quarter, I started praying about my word for this year. Believe it or not, the word integrity stated coming up in conversations, my daily devotions and even during a conversation about building design.
Initially, I didn’t know why. When I looked up the word, I only read the first definition. I am honest. I have strong moral principles. And, I believe in moral uprightness. So, I kind off left the word out there thinking it wasn’t for me.
Then, it came up again. So, I looked it up again and had an aha moment.
The State of Being Whole and Undivided
When the meaning dawned on me, I decided that I had it wrong. Over the course of my life I’ve viewed integrity just the way it is defined:
the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.
The sentiment is great. While I do (did) believe that I walk(ed) in integrity, learning the second definition made be realize that although I had those values, I could not walk in them because I was living a broken and divided life. My heart was in the right place but I wasn’t exercising integrity completely because my heart was broken. I had so many personal failures and external disappointments until I could barely think straight. I was functioning. Unfortunately, I was a functioning mess. I knew what I wanted to do and how I wanted to live. No matter how hard I tried, I found myself failing. I found myself struggling.
A broken heart will betray your body. Mine betrayed me.
How can your heart be right and broken at the same time?
I can’t explain how. However, I can give you proof that it is possible.
In I Corinthians 9:27 (my scripture for the year), Paul wrote “No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize” (NIV). Imagine being Paul and yet struggling with doing what is right? The struggle was not comfortable for him. He was proactive about his turmoil and worked to ensure that he didn’t fall short. The New Living Translation drives his point home:
I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.
Have you ever watched an athlete work out? I have. Being married to a strength and conditioning coach has allowed me to see the discipline first hand. The student-athletes he trains must be disciplined in the weight room and in the classroom as well as on their field of play. As student-athletes they know their purpose and do what they need to do to compete: get good grades, stay out of trouble, show up to weights/conditioning, work hard at their sport, don’t do drugs. If they fail in any of those areas they will be disqualified.
Knowing and accepting your purpose makes you whole and undivided. Just like athletes, we must first understand our purpose and then discipline ourselves to walk in it.
Integrity: The Value of Being Whole and Undivided
The value of being whole and undivided is two-fold.
Value as in personal values. This is what drives culture—the shared beliefs about what is good and right to do. Having integrity is a good thing. It lets others know that you are dependable—that you do what you say you will do.
Value as in worth. While you can’t quantify a person’s overall monetary worth, you can value others and yourself. When you are whole and undivided, you can focus. This means that you can be a better wife, mother, employee, business owner, sister, friend… Your contribution to those around you is greater because you unequivocally know who you are and why you are standing. You gain a sense of peace because you are clear about your focus, not being torn here and there. Not being tossed too and fro.
The value of being whole and undivided is knowing that you can choose to have control over yourself and your thoughts. You can make clear decisions because you know what your goals are. Where you are going.
If Paul had the ability to do it, so do you.
Know your value so you can exercise your value—integrity.