I wanted to be generous, but . . .
Years ago I struggled with giving. When it was time to give, I worried about paying my bills. I worried we might run short. I worried about the hospital and doctor bills that overwhelmed our family during a particular season.
All of these are pretty normal feelings, but later I realized that I struggled to give even when things were going well. I wanted to hang on tight. I gave out of obedience, but there was little connection between my heart and giving.
On Day #14 of Living a Life of Thank You, we are going to learn how to step into generosity.
First, we’ll redefine generosity.
We usually associate generosity with how much we give, but generosity is defined by the attitude in which we give.
It’s not just about money. We can be cheap with words. We can mean-spirited with those we love the best. We can withhold affection or encouragement, pinching off tiny blooms of a hope that has the potential to burst into life.
Praying for a generous heart begins as we pray for a generous attitude.
You might find that God has some healing work to do, and that’s OK
When I prayed about living generously, the Lord began to strip away some old wounds.
At the age of 12, I babysat for several families. At the age of 14 I had a real job. In high school I worked 2 jobs. I left home at 17 and was completely on my own. This wasn’t by choice, but by necessity.
There was an ingrained message in me that said the only person who could take care of Suzie was Suzie. There was another ingrained message that said hold on tight because you might not have what you need tomorrow.
When we struggle to be generous (in money or in the way we love others), it’s wise to invite the Lord into the struggle without shame, and with total expectancy.We are often told that a person cannot change. That lie totally discounts who God is. #livingalifeofthankyou #ComeWithMe Click To Tweet
Began to give.
I remember when my heart started to change.
The first miracle was seeing generosity through the eyes of a faith-filled woman, instead of the broken child I once was.
Second, as I began to give — not just in the ordinary ways, but in giving a kind word, encouragement, or helping a friend during a hard time, I started to see the joy in giving. Rather than limiting giving to a weekly sum at church, I began to listen for the Lord’s direction.
We still had bills. We were doing our best to be wise, but the more I looked for ways to give, the more I discovered the joy of living open-hearted.
When I think about the miracles God has given me, and there are many, this is one of the greatest. He heard the cry of a daughter who once needed stability so bad that she “held tight” to feel safe.
He gently pried my hands off those things and placed them in his.
On page 126 of Come With Me: Discovering the Beauty of Following Where He Leads, it reads:
Living a life of thank you thwarts the enemy in a thousand different encounters. He dares to stir up discontentment in our deepest relationships, and we find the good in the heart of that person. He tries to stir up discontentment in our ministry, and we find the solutions in the problem instead. He tries to stir up discontentment in our faith, and we point to a bloodied cross and an open tomb. He means to rob you, distract you, knock you down by slipping in a seed of ingratitude, and he cannot help but slip away when he finds a heart of thank-you instead.
This is the beauty of living with a generous heart.
Give without expecting anything in return
Sometimes when we talk about giving, we tie it to the return. Yet true generosity isn’t seeking a return. Instead, we view what we have — great or small – as a gift.
A generous heart realizes that our stability isn’t found in stockpiling things, but living open-handed. That’s the gift we receive and it’s life changing.
Day #14 of 21 Days to Living a Life of Thank You
Q: We often associate generosity with the amount of money that is given. What did Jesus show us in Mark 12:38-44?
Q: In way way do you desire to be more generous?
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