January 19 – Integrity
Read: Philippians 4:8-9
My family and I have been encountering quite a bit of change in our lives recently. As a result, the subject of integrity has been in the front of my mind for several months. How do we navigate and find our way in such different and ever-changing circumstances and not be buffeted by the stress? This question takes regular attention. The dictionary defines integrity as “possession of firm principles,” “completeness,” and “wholeness.” It doesn't say what those principles are – I am left to figure that part out on my own.
My religious education as a child encouraged ambiguousness rather than clear and defined boundaries. When I became a Christian my feet shifted, but the thing I noticed the most was the firmness of the ground – the integrity of my position. It soon became clear that the guidance of scripture coupled with the counsel of my pastor provided even more solid footing.
Without a clearly defined set of guidelines and boundaries it is difficult for individuals or a community to assess integrity because there is nothing to measure against. This is often presented as a benefit: you can't come up short when there is nothing to compare. In reality it creates an unattainable goal because the target is always changing, moving and redefining itself.
With Christ, the goal may still be unattainable, but I'm not judged for failing to meet the standard of the day. While I probably won't hit a bull's eye, I do have a chance at getting within range of the target because I know exactly what I'm aiming for. When I miss I can course-correct, knowing the goal hasn't changed. Slowly but surely our family is regaining our footing and determining next steps. There are still some things I have to just figure out by trial and error, and that's okay. Guided by the integrity of what I can count on it is much easier to chart a course through the unknowns.
Am I considering the whole of all the parts when I aim for integrity in all my actions? What measure am I comparing against in judging integrity?