The reason I thought of this Gratitude to Giving Challenge was because it’s the season of giving. I celebrate this season of giving in my heart because I believe God gave the ultimate gift of His Son, but no matter what your beliefs are and reasons for celebrating Christmas, I believe deep inside all of us we want to give, too. And giving is purpose. We realize as we simply hold a door open for someone, make eye contact and say “hello” to them, that our kindness is infectious. Or we put our talents to good use by stepping out on a limb and believing in them and sharing them in some way. Or we get in on a group gift for an underprivileged family in the office or at school and our heart is warmed by sneaking up and leaving it without their knowing from where it came. Or we volunteer time at a homeless shelter or retirement home and we look in the eyes, hug, listen to and appreciate people who believe they are forgotten. We carol through neighborhoods to spread Christmas cheer. We volunteer and walk dogs waiting for forever homes. We send gifts to children overseas in shoeboxes who have nothing compared to our own children. Ahh, the joy of filling the treasured Toys for Tots boxes or choosing an angel off a tree or writing a letter of gratitude for those overseas serving our country.
Whether there is monetary attachment to our giving or not, we give of our grateful hearts and of ourselves and talents or passions and in the process, we feel almost magically, inside, like the Grinch, that our hearts grow. Our hearts individually grow for others and – get this – I believe our hearts grow for ourselves. We realize in the process of becoming a grateful giver that we are not our thighs. We are not our baby abs. We are not our aging skin or grey hairs! We are not our flaws, our lash-outs, our hormones amiss, or our mistakes. We begin, as we embrace our growing grateful giving, to realize that there is no need to be perfect because grace is embraced. Grace for others and grace for ourselves. Perfection loses its grip. Magazine and TV ads are seen as acrid and unreal and almost comical. We see the seduction and we do not believe it anymore. I believe we begin to see truth.
And the truth is that you were made to be uniquely you. You have so much to give this world. And my hope and prayer is that you are able to become more fit, aware, and awake through movement, more alive and joyful through gratitude, and ultimately more convinced about just how important you are through giving. Not “working” and “striving” but through giving out of your heart. Your true you. Because this world that we live in- this stressed out, perfectionist, deceived, and hungry world- needs YOU!
So, here is the question. Are you ready to be your best you? Are you ready to be you? What are you going to do this season? I am looking forward to sharing things that I am doing and that my family is doing both for Christmas and as we travel abroad next year. As I have been much more blessed to give than to receive, I know just how purposeful giving is for my heart and identity. And let’s all face it… it just plain feels good!
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