This past year I embarked on two new things. The first one was to plan out our generosity. What a joy it has been to remind ourselves to let our finances live with purpose. Planning has helped me give without strings attached, instead of hoping to receive a reward for giving. Because, why do we give? If we give much, don’t we think we will be entrusted with much in return? If I’m not careful, when we entrust God with our giving, we expect God will return the blessings with more finances. If we live a big life in our culture’s standard, we should have more to give for our charities as well, right? “If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that’s charity?” Luke 6:34.
The second thing I did was to start a new job. After ten years in one place I thought a new job would bring grand new/easy challenges. I was at the top of my game at my old position so this would only elevate my abilities. I could coast to retirement in this simple job. Not so much. What was I thinking? This year as been more refining and more defining for me as a person. Just before the “live generously” verse in Luke 6, it talks about allowing others, who want your shirt, to give your best coat gift wrapped instead. So many times this year I feel as if I had to wrap up my best talent and humbly hand the gift over to someone who didn’t understand the sacrifice.
As I process these two adventures I realize they go hand in hand. The giving of oneself, whether financially or personally, requires a strong dose of humility. I needed some fire refining which hasn’t necessarily left me more purified, just smaller. I have seen what true generosity of spirit can produce by learning to give without expecting a return. I have seen real gratitude because if it and it only fuels the desire to live more generously. I have been knocked down to size and am so grateful for the view from down here. We are rich. We are most likely all in the top 3% of the world’s wealth if you are reading this on a computer and have internet. But we are also rich in spirit as the Holy Spirit lives in us, convicting us and bring us to a better understanding of who God is.
There is one thing I am left with at the end of this year and that is this: life isn’t about the things or the position we find ourselves in. It isn’t about how many “likes” we have or how many posts get the most views on social media. It’s not about what we achieve or how much we fail. Life is the progression of learning to “live out a God-created identity”. (Luke 6:35) Sometimes it’s face-in-the-mud refining. Sometimes it’s a quiet movement of generosity. And sometimes it’s just learning to sit still in the glory of God as we trust him for another day.
I’m eager for another year to start. Not because I need a new start, but because I like how actively God is working on me. I am grateful for the challenges God has allowed me to walk into. Because of this I am more defined in my God-created identity. I’m still exhausted from this year, but I am also excited for what God has for me next.
I hope you are expectant in your own life for 2020! I am planning to embark on a journey to find peace over anxiety and find ways to greatly reduce hurry from my life. I can’t wait to share it with you.