I’ve always been generous in the minimal-amount-required kind of way. You know what I’m talking about- I’m the kind of giver that doesn’t mind giving if it doesn’t put me out or disturb my daily life too much.
I can offer you endless examples of this kind of half-hearted giving. If I happen to have extra food, I will offer to make a meal for a new mom. If I’m already planning on going to church on Sunday, I will volunteer in Kids Church. If I have extra cash, I don’t mind writing a check to a family member or friend in need. If I can work outside and not speak too much about my faith, I enjoy participating in local civic activities.
Yuck. I don’t like being an if-it’s-convenient-for-me kind of giver. I don’t want to think about me, me, me, and me, me, me. Wait, what were we talking about again? Oh, yes, me.
I want to change, but change is tricky. Change calls sweetly to me, and then scurries away before I have the opportunity to get a good look.
I pray sincerely for a giving heart, and then I wait for the earth to shake and my giving heart to arrive.
However, I’m too Type-A and not very good with downtime. So while I’m just sitting here, I decide to get involved in a few things. Not big things. Easy things.
I listen, really listen to my friend’s worries.
I spend an afternoon with an organization that is trying to improve local rivers.
I absorb the stories of a girl and her family working at an orphanage in Thailand.
I make time to go over and talk to my elderly neighbor about her beautiful flowers.
Hmmm…still no giving heart.
I read accounts of people working to end human trafficking.
I make that call when I just don’t feel like it.
I search out stories of giving in the Bible.
I start being more thankful.
Giving heart? Not yet.
I wonder daily about the things that break God’s heart.
I buy less.
I hear about a cool organization, and I look it up online.
I read about hate in Sudan, and I make a point of finding Sudan on a map.
Giving heart? Uh, come on God! Can’t we speed this process up?
Then something funny happens. I start thinking of myself less. Does that mean I’m thinking of others more? Sometimes. Does that mean my giving heart has finally been delivered? Sorry, I must report not yet.
But, come close, and I will tell you something. Change is no longer running away from me. I see change walking right beside me, and although I can’t make out all the details, I’m pretty sure God is going to introduce us soon.
by Amy L. Sullivan, What Consumes You?Leave a Comment
I think we must be a lot alike…
And I think you’re right. We keep walking and looking — and we don’t give in to the “me, me, me.” When we’re walking close to the Giver, He can’t help but rub off on us!
I’m reading the most fascinating book, The Narcissism Epidemic. Interesting…
Thy Hand says
I can relate to this. Sometimes I blame it on this stage of life- being home with small kids- as to why I’m not doing more. I think you’re right, though, it’s a gradual change and we need God to make it happen. He IS in the business of changing hearts after all:-).
Beautiful in Him says
Change is hard no matter what the area that needs to be worked on…but if we are persistant and truly desire it in our lives…then He’ll bring it!
Isn’t this the truth? We give when it’s convenient for us. It’s time to dig a little deeper and stretch ourselves and get a little uncomfortable.
Are you sure you weren’t describing ME? Sigh. I really get this post.
Holley Gerth says
Oh, I can relate to this too. Sometimes it’s like I’ve got station KHOL in my head–all Holley, all the time! 🙂 Thanks for this reminder that God can change any willing heart, teach us to give, and that in doing so we actually end up receiving too. So glad your words are with us today!
Debbie Maxwell Allen says
Beautiful post, Amy. You’ve got my name written all over this!
Sounds like you know Laura Parker in Thailand. My daughter just did a mission trip with the Parkers this summer, and can’t wait to go back.
Jen Ferguson says
Change. I am its antithesis most of the time. But, thankfully, we serve a God that is really good at knocking down walls. And when that wall has been demolished, even part of the way, we begin to see more clearly the world around us. We begin to discern God’s call and what our role is to make it just a bit different.
I love giving , but as you shared most likely not enough. I need to give to others in more ways that are sacrificial. I love to PRAY for others and that I try to do that with a right heart. Prayer is something I BELIEVE in and in it I draw closer to God and hear Him teach me. So Prayer is the giving that consumes me. For now I am consumed with praying for prodigals and their families. I have a prodigal still out there and it has consumed me , but God is more and more consuming me with HIS working in me. I am consumed by my children, and one being my son who just got hurt in an accident. But God is helping me to see I must be consumed in Faith that God will work it all out. See I am not with my son and can’t be for a short while , so it is hurting my heart. My husband and I are consumed right now with how to know direction in many areas of our life. I am wanting to be consumed with God’s power of showing us and the faith of ” being still” and watching God fight all these battles and me just seeing the ” salvation of the LORD”!
Yes, I believe , as you said, God is walking with me and showing me change, a little at a time. He is strengthening me through these trials and will show me such beauty on the other side soon.
Thanks for this post. I needed it this morning. God sent it!
As for the me me me, I just wanted to say that is a problem at this time too!!!
Right now , even though I am worried because of my son’s accident. I want him to see the doctor that I want him to see! He is 23 and in another state with some friends for a little while. That is a me thing in some ways, but in my heart I am just worried that he see the best! He wants me to let him choose . I find it hard to let go when it is his health!
So if you would pray for me in this , I would appreciate it so much.
I am waiting , praying for God to show me and him what is best. A 23 yr old son needs mama sometimes!!! But in this one time, he seems to think not! And it hurts alot. It is normal I am told for me to feel hurt, yet I am praying too, knowing that it can be me me me too in both of us. I ask God for intervention and teaching us both something that draws us closer to HIM and each other.
Thanks again, this post was needed so much today.
I love how honest you are about not “feeling” it. Maybe that’s why we are so consumed with ourselves in America – because we wait to “feel” something good about giving. Maybe we should take your cue and “do” before the “feeling” comes. And, maybe just by stepping out that will bring more of an extrinsic few to our worlds. Love it!
I feel this to, especially when I am tired and really dont fancy attending church meetings. I know i have to change and repriotise x
Amy Sullivan says
Can I tell you how much I love logging on and seeing all of the discussion? Thank you to everyone for reading, and thanks to (in)courage for allowing guests to share our voices here.
The beach house is truly a unique place…I’ve yet to find another site with so much talent and heart and love for God seeping through the pages.
Lisa-Jo @thegypsymama says
Girl, we are just thrilled to have you! 🙂
Sharon Cohen says
Beautiful observations and a list that should be printed and hung in a prominent place by those who are learning to expand their creative solutions to the “Me, Me, Me, Me, Me” disease.
I am a recovering alcoholic. Me, Me, Me, Me, Me is our way of thinking, of interacting, of behaving and, yes, even our way of giving. Me, Me, Me, Me, Me is a trap that ensnares the wisest of the fools and the most foolish of the wise.
Me, Me, Me, Me, Me is the slimy goo that sucks me in and traps me in a pity puddle where I might wallow like a pig from time to time. The only way out of the puddle is by providing service for others. I’ve lived long enough to know this for a truth. I’ve not lived long enough to avoid the Me, Me, Me, Me, Me Pity Puddles.
Wonderful post – and a timely call to attention.
Oh you are so much like me. *sigh*
Thank you for sharing your heart and be open here. I love this place and I love even more how I really felt like part of the community while being at the Beach House Party at Relevant. I truly feel at home here. (Despite the fact that I AM at home right now…oh, never mind. lol)
Love this post and the above comment that “When we’re walking close to the Giver, He can’t help but rub off on us!”~ so true! I think in the last few years I’ve come closer as well, but amazingly each day I find some dark, desperate corner of myself that I’m clinging to… so i then release that and wait for light to fill its spot. God is so good!
Mel's Goin Goin Gone says
I can relate to this but more so in the fact that I feel like I give and others just take. Sometimes, just once in a while, I’d like a little giving back 🙂 But it is all about me in other areas of my life! I am the giver in friendships but my husband says I am a taker in our marriage. Hmmmm… 🙂 Something I need to think about and work on.
Kristine McGuire says
Wow, talk about cutting right to the heart of the matter! Great post with a lot of food for thought.
Amy, I hope it’s not too weird for a guy to post a Christian guy’s perspective here! This post reminds me of what I thought when you posted the Just Start video:
Although I love the message of the Just Start video, I’m afraid that this is just the sort of Christianity that many men want and are satisfied with. I help a nameless, faceless someone once. I don’t have to engage. I don’t have to carry on a relationship. It’s a clean, I’m in, I’m out and on my way sort of expression of faith. Many “believing” husband/fathers ignore their leadership roles at home to practice just this sort of “Christian ministry” outside the home and feel great about their Christian walk. All the while, the wife and children are abandoned and think the husband/father is a big hypocrite for “practicing” his “ministry” away from home while being absent at home.
Don’t mean to rain on that parade, I’m just saying what you sound like you’re saying here. As JFK said back in 1962 we choose to do these things “not because they are easy, but because they are hard…” Blessings!
Laura@Life Overseas says
Amy–fantastic piece! Again, I love how you take the big desires and make them honestly practical. Love how you start with the small, but the important–like finding Sudan on a map. I love your heart and your ability to connect to us all.
Excellent job, as always!
it has truly taken a stripping process to get me to think about giving. i know God is at work in this area of my life and will continue to be until eternity. thank you for sharing your precious heart!
Alisa Hope Wagner says
This article really spoke to me! Thank you for being so transparent with us!
Susan DiMickele says
This hits home hard. I am on a similar journey — I’m just about 5 steps behind you. My heart is hurting for the needs I see around me, and that’s a good place for me to start. It’ so overwhelming, so I’ve just decided to pray that God would change my heart.
Thanks for breaking this into steps. It’s such a long but necessary process. I want a quick fix. Please keep encouraging me not to give up. OK?
Excellent message Amy and thanks for sharing. I hope I can become more invested in giving as well.
If you’re looking for a way to selflessly give, try going on a mission trip through your church or other christian organization. Donating a week of your life, traveling to a disaster area to see with your own eyes and doing something really worthwhile will put you on the receiving end of gifts you never imagined. You will meet people so pure of heart and even though they have just lost everything they own. You will see faith so strong in the face of adversity that it makes you question your own. You will discover qualities about yourself you didn’t know you possessed. You will be gracious without batting an eye. You will smile more often. You will be infinitely more grateful for what you have. You will see people and life more clearly. Opportunities will open up for you because you are more open. You will become more bold in your faith. You will eat home made food from the locals that never tasted so good after 10 hours of slinging power tools. (Who knew those darn things were so heavy?!?) You will learn skills that you never thought would come in handy in the future. You will feel God’s hand in your life and the lives of those you touch. You will make friends for life.
There is something for everyone to do on these trips so don’t feel like you won’t fit in. Even if you can’t do something physical, there is a very real need for people to document the event with pics, websites, or just talking to the survivors and praying with them. We even need shoppers to help decorate new homes or additions.
There are way too many to list, but one of the best gifts in the world is seeing the tears of gratitude in a mother’s eyes when she gets to move her family into a brand new home. A home better than anything she’s ever seen, let alone slept in or lived in. No more sleeping on the floor of a tiny, mold-ridden, leaky trailer. No more drafty windows, cockroaches or faulty wiring posing a fire hazard. No more wondering where the next meal will come from. No more showering in public facilities. No more communal living. No more feeling like she’s in limbo. No more waiting.
She’s home now. Her home. And she’s thinking…God is good and thank God He sent you. She will never forget you or your giving heart. She will be able to sleep at night with her children next to her, knowing they are safe and warm. She will be able to welcome them home after school and cook dinner while they do homework. Her kids will be able to play in their own yard and have sleep overs again (or maybe for the first time). There will be bath time and bedtime stories. Saturday mornings watching cartoons. There will be a home to come home to.
Several years ago I was praying for God to give me the opportunity to serve Him by using my hands, feet, gift of gab…pretty much anything. Not long after these urgent requests, one of my brothers called and asked if I wanted to build for Katrina survivors in Mississippi. Of course, I said yes. I remember being choked up when he called because I had just been thinking about it and wondering how and when God would show me a sign. I was new at communicating with God the right way and still wondering what it meant to have God reveal His plan to me. Well, He did and I’ve had the bug ever since.
It was better than any vacation I’ve ever been on and it was the coolest thing I’ve ever done. Being a thrill seeker, I go on some pretty cool adventures like skydiving and scuba diving. It was weird coming home. I felt like I had nothing to do and began finding fulfilling projects all around me. I feel my thirst for serving the Lord will never be slaked. I’ve gone on 3 mission trips so far and plan on continuing as long as I am able. God willing, I plan to see the world with my own eyes and bring help, hope and good news.
While at the church of my first trip, there was a flyer lying around that stuck with me. It said, “A person can go a week without water, 3 weeks without food, but barely a second without hope.”
Will you help someone in need today?
Michelle DeRusha says
Amy, This is a great post — I love your raw honestly. I love how it doesn’t end all neatly wrapped up. I love how it’s unfinished, a work in progress. Because isn’t that life, really? Isn’t that how God works sometimes?
Larry Schlesser says
I guess I do not check your blog enough and it seems when I do I am just ‘blown away’
with how PROUD I am of you and the thoughts that I had a small part in influencing what a spectacular person you have become! (yeah, yeah, don’t let your head get too big).
Always remember my little teacher… showing a man how to fish is always better than just giving him one.
Love – DAD
Natalie at Mommy on Fire says
Beautiful and so true about the flesh – you are not alone. I can very much relate to your words!
Change is slow. If you try to do too much at once, it will all be abandoned. I believe lasting change only comes from slow, gradual change that is filled with grace.
So honest and so lovely!
Kara at The Chuppies says
This is such an ongoing battle for me…
But I see so much encouragement and hope in this post–not to expect immediate results, but to trust Him for a gradual transformation.
I want to serve and give from a desire to please Him, not others.
Sometimes it all gets muddled together.
Trying to cling to His sacrifice as my motivation for being sacrificial–
But also knowing that at times what He really want me to do is slow down and pause.
I tend to think that activity = progress.
But at times the sacrifice might be to just stop, wait on Him and pray.
Which–for a “doer”–(that’s me…I want a plan…and then action)…waiting is such a struggle.
I love the description next to your photo Amy…fighting the me, mine, must-have attitude.
This is all so good. Thank you!