Sunday, January 5, 2014

Straight On to Integrity!

Just days before my birthday last year I met Pat Williams, current SVP of the Orlando Magic, author, and motivational speaker.  I know it was right before my birthday because, in an effort to give away a copy of his newest devotional, Mr. Williams asked for anyone celebrating a birthday on that day.  No one.  I sat, holding my breath, hoping he make it to "anyone celebrating a birthday ten days from now," before he got discouraged and changed the criteria to "anyone who has recently adopted a turtle," or something like that.  I wanted that copy, A) because it is a book and I am a bibliophile, B) because I found Mr. Williams' prior discourse to be interesting and helpful, C) because the book was handsomely covered, and D) because I was hoping for an autograph.  True confessions over.  I got the book.

The Leadership Excellence Devotional, is established upon seven important principles of leadership.  Through anecdotes and biblical wisdom, Williams meditates on a select principle each day over the course of several weeks.  For instance, today's thought was "Character."  Specifically, "Integrity." 

If you haven't gone running back to Farmville or toggled to "Reality TV GIFS," and are still hanging with me, it is that word, "integrity" that has brought me to this place in time.  Typical definitions of integrity embody honesty, moral principles and ethics, moral uprightness, and code of conduct.  One definition says integrity is "the state of being whole or undivided."  Spencer Johnson, as quoted in Williams' book, says, "Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people."

Integrity has become my buzzword the last few months.  One of my children is recently incarcerated, the result of being less than honest with others, and viciously scornful of what he knows to be true.  Another is in the service, surrounded by lessons of character and conduct.  Two others have decided it is easier to accede to others' expectations, living a life of  little or no personal accountability, rather than respecting themselves and facing what is real.  Another has demonstrated wisdom and character beyond her years.  I long for my children to live lives of integrity -- wholeness and brutally honest self-awareness that manifests itself in their authentic communications and interactions with others.  I pray for my children to be struck with a desire to search their hearts regularly, examine their motives and goals, follow a path of truth and courage.  I have discovered the value of integrity -- the hard way.  I have learned -- the hard way -- what happens to those who try to please others, rather than seek the Truth.  But our children listen to our examples, not our lectures. 

Therefore, we too, must follow the path we wish for them.  Our society offers so little in the way of example -- the society in which they are forced to mature, earn a living, marry, raise children, love others.  I pray they will come to be leaders of integrity in this world, for there is no future in following or being of this world.

"Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out." ~ Proverbs 10:9

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