The very first post on my blog in 2015 explained how my word of the year was generosity. I wrote how I wanted to be generous in my finances, home, and time. I wanted to reflect on how this goal had gone so far, and share it here on the blog. This post is not in any way meant as a bragging post, but as a post that allows you all to keep me accountable over the next 6 months.
So far in 2015, we've opened up our table to more friends and family than we did in 2014. We've had game nights with couple friends that have been so fun, and have housed 6 people (at once, not total) in our 600 square foot apartment. These times have been highlights of my year. I've always been one to take joy in knowing that there is no more room at my table and that every single sleeping space is being used. We've been able to tip waiters and waitresses more than the cost of our bill, and donate to a couple of charities near and dear to our hearts. I reiterate: these things have been so fun. But, they've also been comfortable. I know that things don't always have to be uncomfortable to be effective, but in my heart of hearts, when I wrote that post back in January, I wanted to be so generous that it would make me uncomfortable.
To date, I have only done one thing that felt uncomfortable. After hearing a little baby's cry from our neighbor's apartment, I walked across the breezeway one night and knocked on the door and introduced myself. This was our first time meeting, and I asked if they had recently welcomed a bundle of joy (to which they said yes), and I proceeded to ask if I could bring them dinner one night (to which they agreed). This doesn't seem like a big deal now, but I was sweating buckets you guys. I was more nervous for that than I had been for anything in a really long time! What would they think of me? Would they think I was weird or trying to poison them? Or since we live in Colorado, did they think I was going to give them pot-laced brownies? I especially didn't want them to think that their baby was bothering us ( because he wasn't). All these things ran through my mind as I debated whether or not I should walk across the breezeway and introduce myself. Thankfully, my power thought of the week, was "do not fear", and because of this thought, I pushed my fear aside and knocked on their door. This act of generosity, though seriously uncomfortable,worked out beautifully as they enjoyed their homemade lasagna and banana bread, giving us a sweet thank you note a few weeks later.
In the next six months, I want generosity to push me out of my comfort zone. I recently read a book called "Bread and Wine" by Shauna Niequist that spoke directly to my heart. It talks about bringing people together over a meal, and the connections and life events that happen because of good food. She describes how early in her marriage, her and her husband's living room was full of people sitting on their floor sharing a meal off of paper plates while getting to know each other.
This is my dream. I want my living room floor covered with friends, I want food spilled on my carpet because someone ran into someone else, and I want my sink full of dishes that aren't just mine and Alex's. But then the fear sets in... who would I invite? If I invite people who don't know each other will it be awkward? What if we decide to break out the board games and people don't like board games? What if conversation slows? What if people don't like the food? What if?
Let these next six months be a period where I throw the "what ifs" out the window. I've let my fear stop me from being so uncomfortably generous. I really want to stop caring about what people think, and instead show them love. Show them good food, show them homely love, and create an environment where people feel like they can be real.
In the next six months, I also need to be more generous with my time. It is so easy to throw money at something and feel good about it. It's much harder to spend precious days off waking up early to go serve at the soup kitchen, or come home early from camping to teach Sunday school. I have yet to stop and share a meal with the men I see begging on the corner, and have yet to start consistently volunteering somewhere. I've looked and thought about these things, but haven't taken action. Selfishness, greed, and busyness win over every time. I want these next six months to be a period of time where I slow down, take time to buy that man a cold soda and hear his story. I want the next six months to be a period where I give up control of my time, and let God use it how He pleases.
I actually got a little anxious writing this post you guys.
A lot Most of this stuff isn't easy for me. I'd much rather sit behind anonymous donations and comfortable dinners with friends I know. But I know that I am called to do more. And because of that I pray for the ability to slow down and to yield my heart and goals to Jesus. And more importantly, I pray for the courage to follow how the Lord leads, even if it's hard, scary, and makes my palms sweat.
How are you doing with your word of the year? Any thoughts on how to be generous with time, money, and/or home?