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May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, Lord, is in you.
The idea of integrity is found explicitly only a couple dozen times in the Bible, yet it is implied throughout. A person who has integrity might be known for moral strength. A building with integrity is strong and safe. Integrity in a person includes the idea of wholeness, completeness, and—I would suggest—coherence.
My mathematics background included studying theories and applying methods that demanded coherence. Math insisted upon logic and consistency. I believe God values coherence (integrity) of his followers as they express God’s goodness in their work and lives. The most logical thing for the Christian is for their leadership to express love for God and love for others, leading to a joyful life that is deeply coherent.
Yesterday, I shared my own experience in writing down my workview and lifeview as outlined in Dave Evans and Bill Burnett’s book, Designing Your Life. The point of the book is to help you “build a well-lived, joyful life,” and the authors are convinced that finding coherence between your workview and lifeview are foundational for this end. You’ll experience less joy, for example, if your workview includes a high value on mentoring and coaching people but your actual job has you stuck working 60 hours a week creating spreadsheets and reports. Joy is hard to maintain if your lifeview highly values quality time with family and friends but your job requires a 90-minute commute each way or lots of travel away from home. I know these struggles are a reality for many, yet we can still move toward better coherence.
Moving toward coherence as a Christian leader might mean you realize there is already a great overlap in your workview and lifeview, and you’ll strive to keep boundaries in place so that coherence won’t fade. Perhaps, even if you were offered a promotion, you’d realize that you wouldn’t be able to spend time on the things at work you really enjoy and are skilled at doing. Or, upon further reflection, you might sense God asking you to take a risk towards greater leadership, thus aligning with a lifeview that includes making sacrifices for the greater good.
I know many things in our respective workviews and lifeviews might or might not be unique to us personally. Others may be like us. Others may be different from us. But stating where there is already great coherence, where is there tension, and how this combination drives your overall life can help you be a leader with integrity, who influences others towards integrity as well.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
Burnett and Evans ask: Where do your views on work and life complement one another? Where do they clash? Does one drive the other? How?
We as leaders have the opportunity to influence others through our own self-awareness. As you think about your workview and lifeview, are you aware of a way to pursue more coherence?
Think of a time when you experienced great joy. How does this experience relate to your workview and lifeview reflection?
How can you experience joy even when you aren’t able to practice your ideal workview and lifeview? How could you transform, for example, a dreadful 90-minute commute into something life-giving? How could a leader pursue more mentoring relationships if her job requires significant isolated administrative work?
Father, show me where you want me to adjust my beliefs and behaviors so that I might experience the kind of coherence that honors you. Help me to experience the joy you intend for me as my work and life align with your desires. May your Spirit help me become aware of any incoherence in my life and make the changes necessary to become a better leader, friend, family member, and neighbor. Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary: God’s guidance in our work (Psalm 25)
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