"The only way you can truly get more out of life for yourself is to give part of yourself away."
"One of the key principles in giving, however, is that the gift must be yours to give- either something you earned or created or maybe, simply, part of yourself."
As I've said before, I meet monthly with my friends to discuss a book we've read and to watch the movie of it, if possible. This is one of my favorite activities that I take part in. It's such a great opportunity to have that time to look forward to.
In May we were given the challenge of reading, The Ultimate Gift by Jim Stovall. It is a very motivating book. If you haven't read it yet, I would highly recommend it to you. And to top it all off, there is a corresponding movie to watch. Movies don't normally live up to the expectations I set after reading a book, but this one does a more than adequate job.
When we got back together to discuss our book, I challenged the rest of the ladies to follow in Jason's footsteps. Each month Jason was given 30 days to complete his task. The month I wanted us to focus on was the Gift of Giving.
For the entire month, until we met again, we were challenged to give of ourselves each and every day. I printed off calendars for everyone to keep track of this on. It could be something as simple as letting someone go in front of you at the grocery store, to giving up your close parking spot. It could be costly as well, as long as you were giving from your heart and in some kind of sacrificial way. It could be babysitting for a friend, or writing a letter of encouragement. The ideas are endless.
We met together a week ago and shared how our month went. It was so uplifting! I loved hearing about the time these ladies gave to others and the creativeness that they showed. I want to challenge you to do the same. Spend the next 30 days giving of yourself. See what happens! I guarantee you will be blessed.
If you're already familiar with The Ultimate Gift, you might also have heard of The Ultimate Life. It takes it one step further for Jason. In the first book he must learn how to apply the gift of giving to his own life. In book two he figures out how to share that gift with others and teaches them to give.
I tried to get my family and kids involved as much as possible in this challenge. For the first month of summer vacation we practiced giving to others. We were richly rewarded.
Just to inspire you, I thought I would share a few highlights from our 30 days of giving.
On Memorial Day we bought a bouquet of flowers and went to the cemetery near our home. We each took turns picking out a grave to leave them on. For each person we chose, we said a prayer for the families that have been left behind. You could do this any time of year.
One of our favorite things we did was writing encouraging notes and leaving them on cars anonymously. We wrote the letters before we left our home, and then we purchased more flowers. The kids each had two notes to leave. They were very excited about this!
I loved how seriously they put thought into where and whom would receive them. Prayers would go up and God would show them what parking lot we were to drive to, and what car we should stop at. If the people who received them were half as blessed as my children who were giving them away, they were in for a treat. The kids thought this was the most exciting thing to do! Gabe requested we do it every week. He can't wait to be a grownup and be able to drive around delivering secret gifts.
One of Ariel's notes: You are a lion or lioness of God. He handcrafted and made you unique. He loves you so much. Even if other people don't, God thinks your a very cool person. God loves you so much he gave up his life for you.
One of Zech's notes: God loves you very much and he will never forget how he loves you. You are special. He made you happy, and strong and courageous.
I believe each of them had a word from God for some very special individual. All I told them was to write from their heart what they wish someone might say to them. I was blown away with their words. I think each of them showed great maturity. It was an unbelievable afternoon... to say the least.
On another day we left a gift of mini chocolate bars and a thank you note for our mail carrier to find.
The kids baked some chocolate chip cookies and made thank you cards for our neighborhood firemen. This was another one of those things the kids really enjoyed doing, and the firemen were so receptive. They let the kids play around on the fire trucks and showed us around the station. It was an equally rewarding experience!
"Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which He has given you." Deuteronomy 16:17
I challenge you for the next 30 days to give of yourself. You will receive back far more than you ever hoped to give!