Giving

What is your purpose of giving?

I heard once about a professional football player that while he was in college got into an argument with his professor about benevolence.  I believe that the player was Ricky Williams.  The argument was that the professor claimed that people do not give selflessly, they do so to make themselves feel good.  Mr. Williams stood his ground by saying that this was not true.  As is true in most arguments, it was never settled.

So what is your motivation for giving?  Not just money, I am talking about giving.  Is it inherent that you give to give yourself a good feeling or is it a sense of “the right thing to do”?

We give of ourselves, sometimes not knowing of the return but yet we give anyway.  Is it because we know that we will feel better about ourselves afterwards or that we have been convicted to do so and the “feeling better” is a sense of relief?

It probably differs in many cases, but what about in the case of giving where may never see the return even if it happens.  Our society is not able to see this.  They say “What does it matter?  I won’t be here anyway.  Live and let live.  Be wild, be free, it’s all about me”.  But what about your legacy?

I know, legacy, for some people is a strong word.  “Something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past”.  So really what does it matter.  It matters because our paradigm needs to shift beyond ourselves.  Truth is that you may be already seeing a return on things done previously.  The return from times of irresponsibility.  The return from days of selfishness.  The return of those “what does it matter?” days.  And even though we can look at those returns and wonder “what if I would have done that differently?”, we should look and say “what now?”

It is like a chess game.  Some people said that great chess players start a game, knowing exactly what moves they are going to make in each circumstance, knowing how their opponent will react to each of their moves.  But the beginning moves are the ones where things are volatile.  Each move that follows, corrals the opponent into their plan until finally victory is achieved.

This is how purpose works.  Direction, calling, destiny.  Each move keeps you moving in a certain direction until victory is achieved.

Giving has a purpose.  Giving of money, time, wisdom, even hugs.  They work towards the ultimate goal of a purpose.  And even though we may have a sense of necessity or a desire for fulfillment, what does that matter?

“Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”

It matters that you give.

GoalPray part 2

Concerning the term “GoalPray”…let’s take it a step further and make it an action.  “Goalpraying”.

You make a list of hopes, prayers, goals.  This list is constantly changing.  (One of my favorite sayings is “whoever invented the eraser, had the human race pretty well sized up”.  I guess that would be the “backspace” and “delete” keys now)

 

Let’s take an example of a few entries on the list (with fictional names):

 

Under the “Others” category

Terry:  Confidence and purpose.

 

Now this is a bit vague but it is at least on there.  Let’s take the GoalPray method and flesh it out a bit.

 

Terry:  Confidence for when she is dealing with her daughter and understanding the weight of her actions.  Purpose in life so that she can feel more dedicated to her work.

 

That is better.  Does Terry have other needs in her life?  Sure, but these are what has been brought to your attention.  Why?  God is pretty good at this.  Some people would call this burdened.  To me, that word is too religious and overused.  I prefer “selected” or “purposed”.  This issue has been selected or purposed for you to focus on.

 

Under the “Thankful” heading

My job

 

Now some of you are possibly saying “Why should I be thankful for that?  It’s a hellhole!”

Understood.  Duly noted.  It’s a hellhole.  Do you feel better now?

 

This list is not to make you feel better.  It is GoalPraying.  We want to get things accomplished.  So let’s take that entry and expand it.

 

My job:  Thankful for the ability to work and the skills I have been given to work.  Thankful for the money that I make from it.  Thankful for my co-workers (no matter if you like them or not) and the experiences that I will gain by working with them.

 

There is an entry that means so much more than “My job”.

 

One more…

Under the “Myself” column

My health

 

What about it?  Let’s write it out

My health that I will have adequate strength and be able to perform the duties that I have the responsibility to do.  That I will be able to resist the fiery arrows of the enemy that come in the form of pizza and Coke to tempt me.  That I will understand that fruits and vegetables are my friends.  (Okay, enough of that)

 

Is that much better?

 

What have I done in the last few lines? Have I just written out a bunch of words to fill a page or have I cemented a purpose in my life?

 

What is it that is important to you?  Is it important enough to write it down and GoalPray on it to make it happen?

 

Phillipians 4:6 says to not worry about things but in all circumstances, in the form of prayer and definite requests, while giving thanks, make your requests known to God.

Part 3 is developing…

How are you?

Are you working for your posterity or your posterior?  On Sunday, are you looking at getting to the week…or through the week?  Are you thinking CYA or JOY?

 

Much of how you get things done depends on how your attitude.  I think back to one of my previous posts, The Precedent, and the manager of the restaurant I spoke to.  He was truly grateful and the effect of praising him and his team had a replicating effect as well.  Speaking to him a few weeks later, he said that after I left, he stopped his whole team and told them about it.  He said that this is what they had been striving for…to consistently serve a good product, and he was delighted to share the experience of customer satisfaction.

 

We just do not realize how far our influence goes?  People talk about making a good first impression.  It is sooooooo important.  People form an impression of you before they ever speak to you, if they ever do speak to you.  If you are dressed outside of the norm, your expression and attitude usually have to work harder to maintain a good first impression.

 

Now you may say that you don’t care what other people think of you and to some degree, that may be true.  But….how hard do you want to make life for yourself?  And to change your “first impression rating”, it takes some preparation.

 

I used to listen to and read different authors telling you how to be happy.  It would be a bit comical at times when I would hear them talk about making yourself happy.  It sounded artificial and forced and actually it was.  But it was more like rubbing menthol on sore muscles.  It started on the outside and worked its way in.  Your attitude is affected either by you or your surroundings.

 

Robert D. Smith may not have coined this phrase but when he said it, I remembered it.  He said, “I don’t sing because I’m happy.  I am happy because I sing”.  Sounds kinda dumb, right?  Well that “dumb” habit may mean the difference getting good service and bad.  Having a nice conversation or negative?  Getting a kiss from your spouse or a look?

 

Preparation for life is a part of life.  It is a paradoxical thing that keeps feeding itself and determines really HOW you are…

So…HOW are you?

What are we thinking?

Have you ever said that?  “What was she thinking?” or better yet “Was he thinking at all?”  This is an interesting phrase but as we look at it, turn it around.  What am I thinking?  Many say that you can tell what people are thinking by their actions.  Well, that may be true but I think it goes deeper than that.

moreintelligentlife

Outward actions are determined by the habits you have formed which in turn are caused by your upbringing, experiences and some heredity as well.  Some people actually blame their heredity for their actions like it is something physically forcing them to do certain things when actually it is their mind.

You can experience a major change in your life and make it a good habit if you realize one thing:  failure is a part of succeeding.  You will fail.  Failing should be expected but succeeding is a decision.  Just like the baby steps that we talked about in a previous post, you must find that original desire that produces change and start over.

In the mornings when we get up at the last minute…our actions are saying “I got this handled” when in actuality, we need guidance.  You are worth investing a few quiet minutes into yourself and your purpose by giving time to Him for gratitude and direction.

After all, that world out there is much bigger than it seems and He is working in all of it.

So, what are you thinking?

GoalPraying

     Life is really a set of goals, if you can look at it that way.  You are born and as you learn new things, you challenge yourself to do new things.  Sometimes those new things are goals you shouldn’t accomplish, like testing the heat of a hot stove.  While others are good to achieve such as catching a ball headed for your face.

 

     You can look at goals as simple tasks to set and achieve throughout your life but at some points in your life, you are hit with rejection, discouragement and pain.  You learn that the stove is hot, glass breaks, baseballs are hard, and so on.  When learning these tenets of life, you still move forward with a mixed set of emotions about these experiences that inevitably form the person you are in the future.

 

     For example, you can take the experience of baseball.  When you join a baseball league, remember the first time you tried to play with a team.   Now if you say that you just went out there and started playing and learned as you went, you need to think back a little bit.  Think of what you did in preparation for it.  What about the first time that you caught a ball, was it on the baseball field?  The first time you ran as fast as you could to a certain point?  How about the first time you hit something with a stick?

 

     When playing on a baseball team for the first time, you get an idea of what you are supposed to do, but a coach and a few other experienced players guided you through the experience, using what you already learned to apply it to baseball.  You may or may not have done well but the experience shaped you.

 

     The process of succeeding in life is just the same.  You work at the basics, little by little, until you reach each goal that you set.  So why is it so hard to do goal setting?

 

     Sure, you can say “I am not going to stop until I make $10,000 per month!”  Yes, it sounds good but there needs to be a plan because that $10K/month is not usually going to happen in a short amount of time.

FootballGoalpost

     The art of setting goals is as much needed for success as it is to achieve them.  If you do not know how to set yourself up for success then when you fail, it will be more difficult to get up.  Each goal has to have some key ingredients and each one is important for its own reason:

 

1. Challenge

2. Interest

3. Definition

4. Finish Line

5. Believable

 

Challenge

     What would a goal be if it were not a challenge?  It would be a “motion” like turning off your alarm clock.  No achievement necessary, just do it because if you don’t, it will just annoy you.  Some people set goals to where the consequence of failure is painful.  Truth is that all goals cannot work this way.  There needs to be more.

 

Interest

 

     Compare this to eating when you are full.  God has ingrained in you certain interests that excite you and make you want to move but there are others that are necessary but not fun.  For example, what if your goal is to find everyone you have wronged in the last 12 months and ask for forgiveness.  Not fun, but you have to generate the drive inside of yourself to be able to accomplish the task.

 

Definition

 

     This is an area that you need to spell out clear and concise.  If you do not, it is just a direction or vague purpose.  So lets define it.  A goal is the result or achievement toward the effort is directed; aim; end.  It is what constitutes the end of that journey.  Define it.

 

Finish Line

     With the way society is today, if you did not put a time limit on goals, they would never get done.  If you set a goal to write for 30 days, how would you feel if it took you 6 months to complete it? What about if it took 40 days?  34 days?  30 days?  Yes we fail and would feel better if we did it perfectly, but it is better to fail at a goal than to never set one to achieve.

 

Believable

 

     This depends on your definition of believable.  Your idea of impossible is just that…impossible.  Take these words at face value.  Set yourself up for success.  Chop those big goals into small nuggets that will seem monstrous when they are done, but not while they are being done.

 

     Combine your goals with your prayer list.  Read through the list when you go to bed or early in the morning before you start your day.  Edit it, change it, tweak it.  Make it YOU.  It is for you.  Keep it on your computer, smartphone, tablet and/or notebook.  It is notes for you to steer your purpose.

 

Do you remember the first time you were supposed to memorize something?  A verse, a poem, a song.

After you were successful with the memorization, how long did you remember it?

Do you still remember it?

Do you think that if you read those words again today, it would all come back to you?

It has been proven that putting information to music helps the brain remember things.  Some cultures sing their prayers.  Do you think they are onto something?

 

     Your prayers are your heartfelt desires and requests.  Even if you really don’t FEEL the desire to “goalpray” for something when you put something on your list but feel that you need to, it still is beneficial.  Put someone on your list that you have a difficult time getting along with.  You may not want to but just the act of seeing it everyday will guide you.  Sometimes you will see that the problem was more of you and not of them.

 

Each goal is a prayer.

 

Edify

I have found that at times, I get a better understanding of things if I look up their definition in the dictionary and not depend on how my interpretation has caused the word to evolve into something that it is not.  When this does not give me clarity, I consider its opposite. Love/Hate. Rich/Poor.  Heaven/Hell.  Truth/Lie.  Forgiveness/Unforgiveness.  Edify/…

 

This was strange.  I looked up the word “Edify”. “Instruct or improve (someone) morally or intellectually. Educate”. The best the thesaurus could come up with is “Near Antonyms”.  Very weird. Some online dictionaries and thesauruses just left the Antonym area blank.  The closest I actually got to an actual antonym was “Learn”.

 

Did you expect that? I would have said “to tear down” or “destroy” but the truth of the matter is that you cannot make yourself or someone else dumber…and the scary part about it is that you really cannot “unlearn” something. People, will learn how to deal with life somewhere, either by being taught or formulating their own solution…this is one of the reasons why a parent’s responsibility is so important.
You can only build upon or drastically alter the learning path, but since we cannot turn back the hands of time, going backwards is not possible.

 

In case you have to seen it yet, the antonym is not negative but it is dangerous. Seeking wise counsel is preferred over formulating your own. Understand that your initial reaction to every circumstance may not be the wisest. We need direction and edification. Humility has its purpose.

 

Edify and be edified