I can’t believe the season for giving is right around the corner. Even though all year long, we should be giving – the holidays dawn a special time where we feel extra generous.
I’ve noticed the subject of true giving everywhere lately and furthermore, I’ve really seen when true giving isn’t present. It has made me take a closer look at my heart and the intentions I have when giving.
We’ve always heard, “It is the thought that counts.” It really is. It is the heart and what we are thinking when we give that shows on the outside.
Are we giving so that we can get something in return? Are we giving because we feel like we have to? Are we giving to boast about ourselves (i.e. how much money we have or how nice we are)? If we are giving out of these selfish reasons, you might as well not give at all.
The definition of the verb, “giving” :
- Freely transfer the possession of (something) to (someone); hand over to
- Bestow (love, affection, or other emotional support)
To freely transfer and bestow would be to give without selfish remorse or regret. It would be giving it simply because you want that other person’s happiness more than your own.
Something we all want, right? Happiness. The act of true giving will make you feel happiness. Making another person happy despite how much work it was for you, how much money it cost or what you are losing out of it, makes giving all worth it.
Author and researcher of The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin, found that giving time, energy, money, etc… proves to boost happiness, lead to healthier lifestyles having fewer aches and pains and even living longer.
But hold on, there is more to it. That doesn’t mean moaning about your change and closing your eyes while you put it in the bell ringer’s bucket is going to immediately give you a “happiness high.” It only works when your heart is in the right place.
“One man gives freely, yet gains even more;
another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” (Proverbs 11: 24-25)
The more you give, the happier you are, and the happier you are, the more you give, explained Rubin.
“Happy people spend more time helping others and are more likely to volunteer and to give away money. They have stronger relationships with their families, friends, and co-workers. They’re healthier, and they have healthier habits,” said Rubin.
“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” (Acts 20:35)
I’ve had to sit back and really think about this. There are countless relationships in my family and friendships that are, let’s say a “one road.” We’ve all been there. We give dinners, time, money, gifts, cards, phone calls, etc… and we see nothing in return.
Most of us will then cross them off the list, cut them off. “I’m not inviting them anymore,” or “I’m not going to put anymore effort into the relationship!”
I think there has to be a balance. I’ve thought about some of the relationships and asked, “Why do I give to them?” In some cases, I feel like I have to. In other cases, it is simply because I enjoy it even if they don’t return the gesture.
I enjoy the time with them, I enjoy their smile when I give or I simply just love them.
We don’t want to be taken advantage of, but if we are giving with the right heart – we are never taken advantage of, right? Because we give to give and don’t expect anything in return.
So, giving is good if we are giving for the right reasons and not expecting anything in return.
Most of us too struggle a little bit with caring about what people think of us. (Come on, you can admit it!) Here, we see a lot of boasting about what we gave. We all know these people and sorry to break it to you, but we’ve all probably done it too.
The ones always telling you how much they spent throwing you a shower or how much they spent on that gift. The ones bragging about how much they give to charity or how much work it was making that dinner or pie.
Remember that the happiness we feel is because we are giving with our heart and not to show-off.
One of my favorite quotes is: “Our character is what we do when we think no one is looking.” – H. Jackson Brown.
HE is always looking and that is who we give for. We give to glorify God. We give to make others happy. We give because worldly possessions and money don’t matter – we can’t take them with us. We give because it makes us feel good. We give because we love, and love is wanting others to have happiness before your own. We give because we want to give not because we feel we have to give. We give and never expect anything in return.
Think about why are you giving.
“But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” (Luke 6:35)
The smallest, sometimes not even detectable ways that we give, can change someones life. As a mom and dealing with sick children during this season, aren’t we blessed to have the provisions of medical aid? Many are not. $35 will provide $385 worth of medicines to thousands of children that will most likely die without it.
Go to WORLD VISION, a seriously wonderful organization taking even the smallest donations and changing lives.
It kind of stings when you know your Starbucks coffee or Netflix account can instead give seeds to a whole family to eat or clean water.