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The 30 Day Challenge That May Stun You

on Jan 5, 2016 |

The Independent News Column – DEC 2015

I have a challenge for you.  For your mind and for your physical space.  And you are going to think it can’t be done and that I am nuts.  I’ll get to that in a minute.

First, I would like to discuss generosity.  Being a generous person is not something that comes naturally.  We have work at it from the moment our Mothers tell us to share.  We learn that to be generous we have to think about the needs of others and see how that fits into our lives, or resources, and our ability to serve.

I heard in church a few weeks back that if you have a change of clothes, a few coins in your pocket, fairly reliable transportation, and a house that keeps most of the weather out, you are considered part of the wealthy of the world.  The Pastor said we often do not consider ourselves wealthy as we feel we are just getting by, but we really are.  Look at us.

A person I know just had to clean out her Mom’s home after her passing.  She was stunned by how many things were tucked away, unused, that could have been given away long ago to someone who could have gratefully used it.

In the exploration of generosity a hard hitting concept ricocheted off the inside of my skull.  When you give, you should give from your best, not the worst.  Your first, not the last.  Your Heart, not your head.

An example is this:  When the Scouts come around collecting canned food, do you look at this as a way to clean out the cabinets of food you will never use, or do you donate the meal components you were about to prepare for that nights dinner?  Whoa.  Give from the best is not always convenient.

It is hard isn’t it?  Generosity has many faces and ways of going about it.   I think most of us want to be more generous.  It is right to give.

The challenge I am about to drop on you is not new.  I did not invent this.  For the next 30 days, give something away every day.  That is it.  BOOM.

No rules, no appropriate monetary value, no size, shape, or quantity.  You decide.   Personally, I know that what I give away should be of “significance”.  Giving away one fork out of the drawer does not count.  But if I can donate a complete set of silverware to a refugee getting into their first housing, that could make a difference.

In my research of people doing this and posting their results, this challenge can go three ways.  The first is that it becomes a burden, a task, a thoughtless mechanical exercise that you are glad when it is over.  The second way is that it becomes a fun event to declutter and reduce the excess stuff in our homes.   But the third outcome can become magical.    The third way, the person struggles for the first week thinking each day of something that they have that can be of benefit to others.  Opportunities begin to unveil themselves and in the second week, they are excited to get up each day and see what they can come up with.  By the third week, they want to do more than one thing!  They realize they can give of their time, their prayer, their support or service.  And at the end of the fourth week, they realize how much more they have in all aspects of their lives and how it feels to be a more giving, generous person.  They change their culture, their outlook, and want to develop this giving as standard practice,  not just a silly 30 day challenge.

What do you think?  Is Joe crazy?  I want to be that third person.  It starts now with Day One.