So we are simplifying it all down into bite-sized life change, calling it 30 days of "thanks/giving."
What would happen if instead of waking up each day wondering how the world was going to serve you there was instead a decision to let your focus be less demanding? What might it look like to take intentional steps of thankfulness and find ways to become more giving? It doesn't have to be an extreme version - even a small, practical version that has extreme ripples... would you be game?
I took that on myself this month, and have (like some in our church) been keeping track of my efforts. I'm almost halfway through the month and thought it was time to share an update:
- November 1: Tonight I was in the middle of some personal spiritual feeding time and got a phone call that someone I'd hung out with needed me to run an errand for him. We just met (knew each other via the internet beforehand) - but hey, the perfect opportunity to be "giving" sometimes comes by surprise.
- November 2: Today I get to have lunch with some good friends that I don't get to see that often. I will find a place where we can sit down, eat well (on a budget), laugh long, and speak honest words of encouragement and challenge into each other.
- November 3: Shelly (the gal who serves the needs for seminar folks like myself) has gone above and beyond the call of duty. Today I want to sit down and listen to figure out what's going on in her life - a gift of time - so that I can pray for her this week. More than the usual prayer that Christians say they'll do - the real stuff. And when I get home I will give my family a long, long, long hug and lots of kisses.
- November 4: I fell short of my goal today - I wasn't able to give my family the kind of time I'd hope to give them. This is horrible considering how I was gone over the weekend
- November 5: I'm in need of a new groove with God, which means I've grown out of some habits that I need to grow back into. But this needs to be more than just adding stuff to my spiritual to-do list - this is about jabbing at my faith from a fresh angle, even if it's an angle I'm familiar with. And so today I want to give God the gift of my attention - I want to do my best to hit slow-mo on everything I see and process today, constantly checking in with Him for perspective, guidance, and wisdom. When He says "do this," I want to start doing it in between the "do" and the "this." Oh, may I be as giving to Him today as I hope.
- November 6: I found out one of my neighbors can't go to Women's Connection tomorrow night due to no one to watch her kids. Now she has someone to do it.
- November 7: I was asked to share some insights with a group of pastors, but instead I want to give them the steering wheel. Granted, I'm responsible to get the ball rolling but I really want to serve their questions versus sound off my own agenda the whole time.
- November 8: Today I am giving encouragement all day long to anyone I connect with via email, phone, TXT, or in person. A little extra touch that hopefully matters. Not because I have to, but because I want to. Especially the kids I'm watching tonight for LIFE Group - another joy of giving.
- November 9: I am thankful for baptisms today. So thankful that I am writing this while I sit here in the building at 4am while the pool fills. Another all-nighter.
- November 10: This is family week... to kick things off, I'm going to be on the same schedule as my family. I'm normally a late night guy, but this next week is one where I try to rub shoulders with them more. It paid off right away - Joshua said, "Yay! We get to all have breakfast together!"
- November 11: I am determined on this day off to be fully present with my family. Meaning, I won't sleep in like I normally do... I'll be up as best as I can.
- November 12: Today I've chosen to say "yes" to whenever my kids ask me to do something with them. From playing cars to wrestling, I'm in.
- November 13: Somewhere today, I want to spend time thanking God. It needs to be an overflow, and so I don't want to force it out. But I just want to spend time thanking Him from a genuine place. Which means I need to get to that place somehow.
Perhaps this is the first you're hearing of this, or maybe you've been trying to figure out how to do it. In any event, you still have half a month left. Consider all that God has done and is doing in our lives, and let your heart be motivated to be thankful and giving, like a great big IOU to God.
Maybe it’s time to talk about your faith out loud, give someone who annoys you a gift of time, forgive someone who doesn’t deserve it, sing a praise song with gusto, surrender your wallet to God, or write out a praise and read it to others. Celebrate at least one thing you do each day and find a way to track it - or download one of our cards HERE.
“All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.” (1 Cor 4:15)