Ah, it’s that time of year. You know what I’m talking about… When our email inboxes and social media feeds are flooded with appeals to take advantage of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, etc., etc. I don’t know about you but, it seems to me like every day after Thanksgiving has been assigned some sort of clever name to get people to spend. Today is no different. Well, a little. If you haven’t already noticed, today, November 27th, is officially Giving Tuesday. Instead of the barrage of emails, ads, and posts to buy stuff, we are being asked, seemingly everywhere, to consider what we might give to make a difference. What we give does indeed have the possibility of making a significant impact. Pretty cool, right? It has me thinking though… What do you and I have to give that will make the most impact, not just on one globally conscious day, but potentially every day?
A number of years ago, I came across an amazing quote, while reading a book titled Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. In one section, the author Pete Scazzero, writes: “We are called to lay down our lives for others. But remember, you first need a “self” to lay down. Parker Palmer said, ‘Self-care is never a selfish act – it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift of what I was put on earth to offer others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do it not only for ourselves, but for the many others whose lives we touch.’” (insert mic drop)
In case you didn’t catch it… If you are looking for the perfect gift to give this season (or day), one that has the potential to continue giving even beyond this season (or single day), turn on your cell phone, go to your camera, put it in reverse mode and you’ll find exactly what it is – YOU. That’s right. The one who is in all your selfies (that is, if you do that sort of thing), is a gift to the “many others whose lives [you] touch.” Woah. You might want to read that again.
But, there’s a catch. The quality of your touch, your impact, is determined by how you steward… YOU. Side note: In case you are wondering, steward is fancy word for “manage or look after.” Ok, back to the subject. So, how are you doing in that department, caring for you? While you are thinking about that, allow me to share a little of where I am at…
Lately (and historically), I have struggled with depression. I’ve also found that the way I communicate with my spouse and kids is often marked with an intensity and tone that is confusing (at the very least) and/or hurtful. I’ve noticed, too, that my sense of optimism and joy has really waned in recent days. That lens affects nearly everything I do. So, I decided to see a counselor. My first session was last week and my next one is this coming Monday. Change is going to take time. But I’ve gotta work on me… in order for me to be a better me, for me, and then for others.
On the physical health side of things, I have had a history of high cholesterol. Yup. I might be slender, but don’t let that fool you. Looks can be deceiving. In the past, I was able to bring it down to a healthy level, by eating right and regularly exercising (4+ times a week). Notice they key word – past. That past is about one and half years ago. Fact is, I am 45 years old and I work a job that often includes a high amount of stress (yes, as a pastor I don’t just work Sundays) and has me sitting at a desk sedentary more often than not. Add in some not-so-wise food choices and you have it – a recipe for heart attack. Did I mention that I have a family? Four beautiful women… my smokin’ hot wife that I want to grow old with and three daughters (one in college, one in high school and one in kindergarten) that have soooo many milestones in front of them (school, careers, marriage, kids, to name a few). I want to be around for it all. THEY want me around for it all. So, last Wednesday, I used $400 from my personal stash of money (that I have been carefully holding onto – funds that have nothing to do with leading my household), to buy a replacement treadmill for the one that died a couple months back (gotta brag… I got an amazing deal on an older model Sole F85!!!). Well, last night, I fired her up and walked 2 miles and did a handful of crunches and push-ups. I’d love to tell you that I loved it. Not really. I’m very out of shape. However, if I truly love my family, I need… they need me… to do what I don’t necessarily love now, for what I say I want later (a long and healthy life with them).
That’s a little about me.
How about you? Where do you find yourself right now?
I’m all about what Giving Tuesday represents. While you consider ministries, organizations and causes, would you also pause and consider YOU. What changes are needed in your life to enable you to give, and keep on giving, the best version of you?
I submit… today is the day to start.
But you, O Lord, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high. I cried out to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy mountain. – Psalm 3:3-4 (NLT)
Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again – my Savior and my God! – Psalm 42:11 (NLT)
For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)
Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecy spoken over you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you. Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress. Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you. – 1 Timothy 4:14-16 (NLT)