I first started this post with the intention of posting it during the month of December. What better time to talk about giving right? Except that life happened and the post didn’t. But maybe that was a good thing because it’s easy to feel generous in December but harder when the bills comes due in January. When you don’t know when or if there will be annual cost of living increases in paychecks or whether the insurance rates will go up (ours certainly did).
This wasn’t what I had planned for the first post of the New Year, but maybe it’s a good place to start. Because if I want to live braver this year, then generosity needs to be part of that.
We would like to serve others with our time, but we have so much to do this time of year. We want to give our money to worthy causes, but it’s the end of the year, budgets are tight and there are so many holiday expenses like travel and gifts.
All of that is true, and I can feel the struggle in myself. But as far as stuff goes, I often find that this is an ideal time of year to part with items. If I haven’t used it since last year at this time, and I probably won’t need it in the near future, then it probably can go.
One of the good things about living in a small house is that we are constantly being forced to make hard choices about our stuff. If it doesn’t serve a purpose or bring joy to our lives in some way, it has to go. But the harder items to part with are the ones that do still mean something and it’s easy to overlook how they might bless someone else.
‘“When we give in any area, we make a mental declaration that we already have an abundant life.”
“Confident living begins with choosing to give in every area.”
This is the time of year when I want to get ready to reset. To decide what matters most to me as we prepare for a new year. This includes how I hold onto my things. I want to declutter my life. Not necessarily because I have too much stuff or because I want to replace it with better stuff, but because I don’t want my things to own me.
I also don’t want my overloaded calendar keep me from being generous with my time. I need to leave a margin that will allow me to more easily be generous. As the primary budgeter in the family, I find myself wanting to be generous far beyond what we can afford. So I need to develop discernment about when and how to give and what I am willing to sacrifice to do it.
As we proceed into 2015, I encourage you to be mindful about your time, your money and your stuff. Be intentional. Decide how you can best use the resources you have and better yet, ask God how he would have you serve others with them.