Living generously changes everything – for the better.
Thanksgiving Day is just a few days away so this naturally sounds like a good time to write a blog about being thankful. I’ve always enjoyed this holiday and would spend it being thankful for my many blessings – you know, the usual stuff … family, health, home, job, and all the things I enjoyed. That’s where it ended. This doesn’t mean I wasn’t grateful other times of the year. I was thankful, but it always stopped there … I was grateful for what I had … but never gave a thought to why I was so blessed or what I was expected to do with it all.
Then came a season of life called Halftime when I started to understand that perhaps I am on this planet to do more than just live a life of consumerism and toss up an occasional prayer of thanks. During this season, I met the Halftime Institute and they helped me think about my core and my purpose.
As it turns out, I was missing one of the most important characteristics of being thankful – living a life of generosity.
Now I realize that all that I am and all I have is meant to be shared with others rather than horded for myself and my family. In our new book, Who Are the Joneses Anyway?, my wife, Susan, and I share that “generosity is the best antidote we know of to treat materialism” and “when you live a life of generosity, a fuller, richer life awaits you”.
Scripture has been an incredible teacher in this journey of understanding generosity and gratitude. Psalm 9:1-2 says, “I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell o all your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.
I now give of myself in ways I never thought possible. I’m giving through living out my calling to help others discover how to live the awesome lives they were created for.
As a Certified Halftime Coach I have the daily opportunity to share what I’ve learned with Halftimers throughout the country.
In part, I share some tricks I’ve learned in leading a life of generosity. Here are four of my favorites:
1. Reflect – Set aside some quiet time to reflect on how many different ways you can count yourself blessed. Be thorough and journal your thoughts …even if everything this year hasn’t gone as well as you hoped for. Take enough time to include as much as you can think of. Then prayerfully give thanks for each item on your list to the One that makes all things possible. This can be a very humbling exercise.
2. Encourage – Think of someone in your family or social circle that has had a rough year. If you can’t think of anyone, widen your circle – in today’s economy you won’t have to look far. Then, do something encouraging for them … something that makes their life a little better. This doesn’t have to be big or expensive. Remember, time and a listening ear can be the most treasured gifts we ever give to someone. The Golden Rule may be a good one to focus on if you’re stuck looking for ideas.
3. Give – Do something generous. We can all find someone that is worse off than we are. Do you have anything you really don’t need or can go without this month that would be a big blessing to someone else? Or, how about inviting someone over to share the Thanksgiving Day festivities with your family … food, football, fellowship … all of it? Again, your idea here doesn’t have to be gigantic.
4. Practice – Take these ideas with you into the coming holiday months and the New Year. In other words, don’t wait until next Thanksgiving to do thankful things. Commit to leading a thankful life as a big part of who you are and the way you live. They say “practice makes perfect”, so why not be perfect at giving thanks?
I hope you’ll try on these tips, and if you would like to learn more about moving towards living generously, drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.