The time between the CREST Encounters is designed to be a time of reflection as well as preparation for the next Encounter, and between Encounter 2 and 3 is no different. The assignments coming out of Encounter 2 are to identify our deep core values and purpose statement, which is no easy task. CREST is about finding direction so we can flourish in the second half, and identifying values and purpose begins to give us a map.

Defining my values and my purpose is an exercise I have undertaken in the past, so the process was fairly familiar to me. Even though I had already done this, the exercise proved helpful by giving me an opportunity to reevaluate them. Values and purpose can shift over time, especially at mid-life, which is why periodic reevaluation of values is part of this journey we are on. By taking the opportunity to review my values and purpose, it gave me more clarity than I had before. Some of the values I had didn’t change, though I was better able to define them. There were also others that became values because I was more aware of the need for it in my life. We need to take every opportunity to ensure we have clarity with who we are, and to ensure our values and purpose don’t get lost in a world where it can be so easy to drift away from them.

By clarifying our values and purpose, it makes it a lot easier to make decisions around life. I can see using them as evaluation criteria in making future decisions to ensure I’m living out my values and purpose. And as we move to identify our strengths in the next Encounter, I believe direction will begin to emerge in how each of us can flourish in our second half. I also think we will start to see how all of this will play a role in what God’s plan is for our lives.

The hope I have for myself is to get my purpose and values ingrained in what I do, and that takes a conscious effort to review them. If I don’t consciously bring them to mind on a consistent basis I know it can be remarkably easy to drift from my purpose and core values. I’ve begun to declare my purpose and values each day as part of my devotional time. If I believe God has given me this purpose and core values, then I need to live it out on a daily basis.

I also realize there’s an intended progression to the CREST program. Each Encounter and the time between, is building on the previous. In Encounter 1 the focus is more on where I have been, and now reflecting on Encounter 2, its beginning to be about where I am now. Going through my values and purpose help to define who I am, and as I look ahead to Encounter 3, the focus is shifting to strengths and energy management.

I look forward to Encounter 3, as we tighten a grip on our strengths and learn about managing energy and not time!