The Math of Values

Last Wednesday, I blogged about how Carla and I have values that clash, but because we both have the higher value of loving each other, we can get along. When you talk about values, these aren’t just nice-sounding words that you put on a poster. Those are worthless because anyone can make a motivational poster from anything!

case in point
case in point

So values aren’t things you say you care about. Values are things you really care about. When something isn’t a Value, you can put a little bit of effort into it and not worry about it again.

  • Food isn’t a value to Carla. She can eat the same thing every day for a month.
  • Fashion isn’t a value to me. I just wear whatever is on top of my pile of clothes.
  • Cars aren’t a value to both of us. We had to research to know what kind of car to pray for.

On the other hand, when something is a Value, you can’t stop putting effort into it. You might be happy with the current state of it, but you will not stop improving it, analyzing it, and perfecting it because you care about it so much.

  • Learning is a value to both of us. Whether it was planning our wedding, having a baby, or raising a child, no one has to tell us to start studying about it. And once we start, we can’t stop.
  • Our families are valuable to us. We don’t just see our family members to fulfill a requirement, we want to really spend time and hang out.
  • Quality time is valuable to us. We instinctively know when we’ve over committed ourselves and we both work hard at finding time just for the two of us.

There’s a mathematical term that describes this process of pursuing your values. It’s the Asymptote. In the simplest way I can explain it (meaning, the only way I understand it) it’s a curve that’s always approaching, but never arriving on a line.

Does the picture help? No? Yeah, me neither.
Does the picture help? No? Yeah, me neither.

That’s what pursuing your value looks like.

  • You’re always approaching constantly working on it, constantly improving, wanting to get better at it.
  • But you’re never arriving. You never settle with where you are. You never think, “This is enough,” and just stop. There’s always more room to grow.

With that in mind, what would you say your values are? Next week, I’ll share about one value that’s important to me and our church. The value of Lordship.

Join the discussion

More blog posts

Our National Purpose

I’m posting something I wrote for one of our discussion forums in Asbury Seminary. (I’m in seminary, by the way.) I just wanted to...

Connect with Joe