Following a Core Value to Establish Balance

June 10, 2014

Core Value

This statement “God. Family. Work. (In that order)” exists as the first stated core value for the company where my husband has worked for the past 22 years. Armstrong International encourages employees to honor God as their top priority, to establish and maintain a strong family life, and to work hard and do their best in their jobs. But their jobs come third.

The Armstrong family knows a strong business comes from employees with balanced lives, especially within core relationships. And this emphasis is likely why the company continues full steam ahead after 110 years.

Armstrong’s emphasis on God first, family second and work third creates a solid foundation for establishing and maintaining balance in life.

God First

Relationship with God creates a solid foundation for a balanced life. This core strength creates a stability out of which meaningful relationships with others can flow. Without relationship with the Father, you might as well give up on a balanced life because He is the scale providing accurate measure for balancing all areas of life.

Relationship with Christ through Holy Spirit fellowship and time in God’s Word makes truth the foundation on which a person can build a consistently stable life. The quality of every other area of life directly flows out of this relationship.

As we are obedient to the greatest commandments…love God above all and love others as self (Matthew 22:36-4)… we discover that balance not only happens consistently but even exists amidst chaos.

Family Second

Our relationships, especially with those closest to us, provide an outflow for the abundant love of Christ. In other words, relationship with Him makes relationship with others exist naturally. We can’t help but share His love.

Relationships provide input into our lives regarding balance. As we consider the quality of the connections we have with those closest to us, we know where to focus for more effectively living the love of Christ. At the same time, our close relationships also challenge our balance and ultimately strengthen us as we make the adjustments necessary for maintaining balance.

In fact, when making decisions about how to balance by…

  • Simplifying
  • Choosing to say “no” to good things to be able to say “yes” to better and best
  • Limiting commitments

…relationships provide a solid guide for specific choices.

Almost always, choosing what benefits relationships with those closest to us – Christ first and family second – presents the best choice for establishing and maintaining balance in our lives.

Work Third

With God as our top priority and with confident, stable, core relationships, our work life then becomes another extension of who we are in Christ. With that, our work becomes a way to…

Following the core value of “God. Family. Work. (In that order)” to establish balance won’t free our lives from trouble or stress, and it won’t always keep chaos and drama at bay. It will, however, provide a stability – a peace even – within our inner circle of existence that allows us to better function in all other areas of life.

DISCUSSION: How might this core value simplify your approach to achieving balance?

17 Responses to “Following a Core Value to Establish Balance”

  1. coachmbrown Says:

    Excellent! I am leading a small group study this summer sharing the Ten Commandments. This message is an excellent application of the Ten Commandments in summary (as you quoted Jesus' summary of the Law). Whenever we put anything first above God alone we enter idol worship. Family cannot be first, nor work commitments. Family is a blessing from God with a responsibility to demonstrate our limitless love and to teach by example our children each day. Work, ministry, church, and anything we choose to do that is an expression of our gifts and talents is merely a means to exercise the blessings God has bestowed upon us to praise Him alone, for His glory, not ours. I am so pleased to hear your husband has found a place to express his faith priorities while working to provide for your family. With your permission I will use your message as a testimony for my group tomorrow night.

    • Kari Scare Says:

      I hadn't thought of that application specifically, but it does fit for sure. You summarize it well too, Coach. Yes, you may use this testimony in your group tomorrow. We have certainly been blessed through this company. While it's not perfect (no company is), it certainly has a unique perspective we wouldn't find many other places. I believe it has shaped our approach to our priorities significantly over the past 21 years and really made a positive difference in our lives for helping us to learn to put God first.

  2. TC Avey Says:

    I've never heard of this company, but it sounds like a wonderful place to work. I wish/pray more places would take this approach to how life should be lived. I see far too many places think people live to work instead of work to enjoy life. Work and projects should NEVER replace relationships (God being #1).

    Great post.
    As you know, I struggle with over committing myself, but last week God gave me a brilliant idea. I don't know all the details yet, but I think it's going to help me manage my time better…as long as I step out of the way 🙂

    • Kari Scare Says:

      It's not perfect, but it is definitely something special. And, they truly have practiced and enforced their core values. It's a unique culture for sure. I'm intrigued about your "brilliant idea" from God. Looking forward to hearing more about it. And, I get the idea of stepping out of the way. Do your part, but don't hinder God's part from being done either.

  3. cycleguy Says:

    Even as a pastor this is excellent advice. If I get these out of order, the whole scheme of things is messed up.
    My recent post Truth

  4. Deb Wolf Says:

    Amen Kari, When our children were young Rev worked for a ministry that expected him to be at the office from 8-4:30 every workday (which is of course understandable) except for the fact that he had to travel for them every other weekend. Our children were growing up rarely seeing their dad. So, when he had an opportunity to begin his own consulting ministry, we jumped at it even though it initially meant a cut in salary. And we've never regretted it! The flexible schedule made it possible for him to be available for the kiddos and by God's grace He blessed the ministry as well.
    My recent post Pick Up a Pen and Write a Love Letter

    • Kari Scare Says:

      Great example of choosing God and family over work (and money). My husband has to travel a lot too, but he finds creative ways to make sure we have enough family time too. This balance takes constantly adjusting for the seasons of life, that's for sure.

  5. marymccauley Says:

    A great post again Kari. And I loved the comments. Very helpful. It is so easy to get out of balance and I have found if I do not keep God first the rest falls apart really fast. I am so glad for reminders like this to help me keep my balance. thanks

  6. Mark Allman Says:

    I do recognize the order is important but I think that what is also important is that you can not or should not separate these parts of your life. I don't think you move from one to the other; you weave them together. They all are such key parts of your life and I think as you focus on God you have to consider what you are gonna do with your family and work and likewise when my focus may be on work I acknowledge that my work decisions are driven by my relationship with God and my family.

    • Kari Scare Says:

      I agree, Mark, and I hope I didn't imply or show in any way that I though they should be separate. My point was to say that we do need to prioritize, and having a core value of "God. Family. Work." helps do that. The reason God is first, well one of many anyway, is that He is the scale the shows us the balance we need in all other areas of life. He shows us how to integrate the different parts of our lives. Thank you for bringing this up, Mark, and for helping to clarify this important point about balance.

      • Mark Allman Says:

        I did not think you implied otherwise. I just need to remind myself that it is all woven together. I can not do one and not consider the others.

        • Kari Scare Says:

          The reminder is an important one for all of us, Mark, myself included. We are not separate parts for sure, but we have many parts that work together to make up the whole.

  7. Caleb Says:

    I think I would also put those values in that order, However, I sometimes like to simplify it even more and just say, "God first everything else second". Why? Because honestly there will be times when work takes priority over family, there may be times when a friend's health issue takes priority over work and so on. Ultimately if we put God first then everything else in our life should come into it's proper place.
    My recent post Churches and Church Members Used By Separatists as a “Live Shield”

    • Kari Scare Says:

      Very true, Caleb. I really look at this as a core value that gives my overall life structure. Putting God first helps us determine how to prioritize everything else. Sure, sometimes work comes before family, but ultimately and in the big picture, it doesn't. If given a choice between the two… Your point fits well with what Mark said about the parts of our lives not really being able to be separated but woven together, don't you think?

  8. […] Focus… God. Family. Work. (In that order.) […]

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