It’s been so long since I posted! We went away to a remote farm in the middle of nowhere and the logistics of that trip have taken every spare ounce of thought processing power. I’ll dedicate a post to that some time soon, but this is more important.
Over the past few weeks I have been struck more and more by the idea of giving back in real, tangible ways that make an impact on the lives of those we know and love. As I so often find when our Lord is at work, this message has been coming at me from many angles and this past weekend was something of a melting pot in which everything arrived, boiled together and bubbled over into an Idea.
You see, before we moved seven years ago, we had Things. Steady jobs (with great salaries that we really did not appreciate). Cars (plural!). A house (which we owned). Friends, family, plans and all the rest. We gave a fixed monthly stipend to the Church but it certainly wouldn’t qualify as any kind of tithe. It wasn’t much more than a tithe of a tithe, in truth.
And we gave back.
Need new tyres for your car? Here we are. A place to stay? No problem. Food? Clothes? A home for your pets? Baby sitters? Money for movies? A lift to the movies? A night out? A lift home because your car broke down? A tow for your broken car? Fixing your broken car? Sure thing. We loved to give back and it was wonderful to be able to contribute to the lives of our friends and families in this real, tangible way. We never, ever even considered that this was a season in our lives, a time of blessing and learning and personal growth. In fact, we assumed that we were good, kind, generous, hard working and talented individuals who deserved what we had and would thus always have it.
Ha ha ha ha …
The past seven years have been sobering, to say the least. Having lost nearly everything we now mostly find ourselves on the flip side of that equation. Let me tell you about it: it sucks. You’d think it would be great to have people helping you out along the way, meeting your needs, caring for you. It is, and we appreciate it. But always being on the receiving end? Not so much of fun. We’re ill-equipped and we don’t enjoy it. Our pride has taken a serious knock and daily we have to learn a new lesson about faith in God’s provision. If we don’t have it, we don’t need it. Simple. It doesn’t matter what anyone says or thinks – not the banks, creditors, empty fridge … God said He’s meet our needs. He never lies nor breaks promises. Therefore, what we have is what we need.
I’ve started to notice a subtle mind shift in myself which is so insidious it’s almost diabolical. It cam disguised as a package deal of Faith + Humility. What it is, however, is greed and covetousness. Not only graciously accepting the gifts we’re given so many times by those around us, but actually looking for gifts, expecting help, support and more from those around us. Certainly, that attitude cannot honour God.
And so I’ve decided to start giving back. I’m looking for creative ways to outgive those who give to me. I am time-strapped and cash-strapped and sometimes stress and sleep-deprivation make me creativity-strapped too. But I’m praying for the ability to spot needs and to think of creative solutions to those needs that I can be a conduit of in some way – even if only in prayer (which is, after all, our most powerful asset).
I’ve challenged the ladies in our Church to join me in this blessing dare: let’s each try to outgive each other (and everyone else) this week! I even wrote the words:
“Who can I bless today, and how?”
on a piece of paper and stuck it to the ceiling above my bed, so that it’s the first thing I see each morning when I wake up, the last each night when I go to bed.
There’s more to this – so much more – but for now I challenge you to join me in the Blessing Dare: who can you bless today, and how?