5 Advantages of Having a Creed
photo: 1918 Swearing in Marine Corps Women's Marine Reserve
In our do-what-feels-good society, having a creed sounds so old-fashioned and strict.
That's why I like it.
I definitely lean old-school in many respects. But aside from being old-school, there are many practical benefits and advantages to having and living by a creed.
Here are five of them.
And after those five, what I've got planned for the blog in the weeks ahead.
Five Advantages of Having a Creed
1. Clarify Your Values
Having to think about and choose or write a creed forces you to think about your values. What's really important to you? What's really a priority? This is a chance to hone your focus on your target. What are the goals you want to hit, not in the outward material world, but what are the goals you want to hit in terms of character and virtues. What do you want your motivations to be? What kind of person do you want to be and become?
2. Train Your Brain
A great exercise to keep your brain in shape, especially after graduating from formal schooling, is to memorize great words that edify and uplift. When you have a creed you can feel good about, it's a great idea to commit it to memory. Bring it to mind throughout the day. Recite it silently to yourself while you shower or drive to work. Really think about the words as you memorize and recite. Claim it and stand in it. This is your stake in the ground.
3. Honor a Tradition
Creeds have been around for longer than anyone can remember. According to medieval legend, the most famous, The Apostles' Creed, was inspired at Pentecost. The United States Army's oath of enlistment was written in 1789, the Creed of the U.S. Marine, during World War II. The Boy Scout's Creed was born even earlier than that, in 1914. And the Sailor's Creed of the U.S. Navy is surprisingly recent, written in 1993. The word creed comes from the Latin 'credo,' which means 'I believe.' It's the word that begins The Apostles Creed. Although originally a declaration of religious beliefs, creeds now encompass beliefs in the sense of values, virtues, and aspects of character. Expressed through mottos, slogans, pledges or oaths, creeds have been used throughout the ages. It's a great tradition because it's a great practice.
4. Coach Yourself
Having a creed that you memorize and keep as central to your life helps you be a better person. We have moments of truth every day. Do you give in to laziness or push yourself to come through? Do you make time for the small but important things, or procrastinate? Do you forget something because you didn't bother writing it down? When you have a creed, you have a higher standard. You'll be a better spouse, girlfriend or boyfriend; a better parent, a better child; a better boss, employee, teammate, and friend. A creed is like an on-the-spot coach and mentor in times of stress. And like a ballast on a ship, it will help keep you upright and steady.
5. Find Your People
One of the great things about a public or group creed is that it helps identify people who share your values and convictions. We all need support. And the fellowship of like-minded people is rich soil in which to cultivate a rewarding and fruitful life. This band of brothers and sisters is where you can share your challenges and triumphs, and serve and be served by others. Before you join a group, you find out what it stands for. What are its values? What is its mission? A creed makes these important things plain as day. It conveys the flavor and sensibility of a group's culture. And it helps to give you and the members of your group an identity.
The Firekeepers Creed - Blog Series
For over a decade, I struggled to work within the teachings of the standard spiritual-not-religious movement. But I needed more.
I needed something that suited my heart and sensibilities.
And I needed a creed that spoke to my spirit, that expressed a different tone than the standard spiritual-not-religious teachings.
So I wrote one.
I call it The Firekeepers Creed.
In the following weeks, I'll be starting a new blog series.
A new article covering an aspect of The Firekeepers Creed will be posted every Friday.
I encourage you to join us.
P.S. You can find more backstory on The Firekeepers Creed here.