Creating Space through a Spirit of Giving

Discipleship Journal’s Online News e-mail came with an interesting article today, one on creating margins in your life (read it here, and subscribe to DJ’s newsletter:
This is an issue I’ve wrestled with over the years, both from being too busy in years past, to where I am today—fighting feelings of guilt that I am not working harder, making more money, doing more. I am pretty sure the guilt is false guilt, especially since God totally created this space in my life by first uprooting me from Delaware and my job there and then with this autoimmune disease that incapacitated me for most of the summer.

I am trying to be more intentional about how I fill my time (not that I don’t still waste too much of it, trust me). Things that focus on my health have to be high on the priority list so I don’t end up in another flare-up or in pain.

Ministry opportunities that I am passionate about are also a top priority. That includes my speaking ministry and my volunteer work and an idea that is germinating from that (which I will share in weeks ahead; I am SO excited). I am also finding myself enjoying more time for Bible study, more time for prayer for specific needs and individuals and my community, and time for a new thing I am trying (we’ll see how long it lasts) of using the Book of Common Prayer to do the Daily Office morning and evening.

As I said in last week’s post, I also want to intentionally see myself as a steward of God’s money and resources, not as the owner of the things I’ve got. To that end, I am trying to spend less on myself and to pray about my spending.

I have also made a decision (a resolution? I shudder at that word) to try to give away something every day from the things I own. I imagine this will be fairly easy at first—clothes that never fit right anyway, books I didn’t like, curtains without a window—why do we hold on to these things—but if I follow it through, it will get harder. And I’ve decided to insist that I give away an additional thing for every new thing I bring into the house. That way I don’t buy something simply to give it away so it doesn’t hurt me. (I so know how I think!) Nor can I simply replace the things I gave away. And while some things may just go to Goodwill, mostly I am trying to target the gift to a person or organization that could use it.

So far this is what I’ve given:
1/1 A Beth Moore devotional book I finished with
1/2 A brand-new robe I don’t need
1/3 Nail polish in a color I won’t wear
1/4 A toy I bought 2 years ago as a gift but the child moved away before I gave it
1/5 Three solid color t-shirts that I found in a sweater box under the bed that will never fit my post-menopausal body again

I know it doesn’t sound very sacrificial, but I hope I am clearing up some space and time in my life. In the DJ article I mentioned above, Richard Swenson says this:

Everything we own owns us. It takes time to use it, dust it, paint it, maintain it, build space in the house for it, and work to pay for it. Experts say we use 20 percent of what we own and maintain 100 percent of what we own. We’re surrounded by all these things that drain our time.

Want to join me in getting rid of some things that own you?

3 thoughts on “Creating Space through a Spirit of Giving”

  1. Love the idea about giving things away you do not need. I would encourage you to give to a local thrift store instead of Goodwill. The Community Closet in Quarryville where I work has the money all going back to our community.
    Carol, I would also encourage you in your season of not being able to "do" as much. Prayer is the work that is most important. We Americans have a hard time allowing prayer to be what we do. We want something that will define who we are and prayer is too often not the thing to make us look and feel like productive people.

  2. Thanks, Deb, I appreciate the encouragement. I am excited about the way my heart is already being excited by prayer in this season.

    1/6 giveaway: Veggie Tale napkins (don't ask)

  3. Carol, if you have used Christian books in good condition that you want to give away CLC will see that they get to shops overseas so that they can offer a better selection at a low price or for free. Let me know if you are interested.

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