The other day I was sitting with my husband having dinner. We were talking about how much our lives have changed in ways we hadn’t even anticipated. We have always been givers. My husband feels prompted to give in ways I don’t and vice versa. I like to personalize my giving. My desire is that the person on the other end receiving feels like what was given was meant specifically for them. My heart just explodes at the thought of making someone’s day with something that really touched them or made them feel better. While I have always loved giving, there was a part of me that held back from the fear of running out. Often times I let fear talk me out of doing something that I knew would either bless someone else or make them feel loved. There are so many times I wish I could take back those moments of not doing what God was telling me to do.
As I was talking to my husband I began to explain to him why recently I have just been giving randomly and then letting him know after the fact. That is typically not how we do things. Sometimes, yes, I give without his knowledge but anything big is usually something we discuss. But I took that moment to be honest with him and transparent about where my thoughts were so he would better understand where I was coming from. For a long time I lived where I had either not enough or just enough, as a single mom. I am not complaining. Financially God always met my needs. He always filled in the gaps. My kids were blessed, I was blessed. I was attached to awesome people who poured into my life and my kids lives emotionally, mentally and financially. But because I felt like I always had to be on top of my finances and control what went were and how much, I didn’t freely give as much as I wanted to or when I felt pulled to do so.
I’ll never forget this moment when I was at a women’s conference. The conference had ended for the day and a group of us went to eat lunch at a restaurant. I paid my bill, tip and all but for some reason I felt this tug to give $20 to the waitress. I don’t know why. Maybe she was having a bad day. Maybe she needed it. We don’t always know why God is telling us to do what He’s telling us to do. Well I left and didn’t do it. Even when I was driving in my car I had moments where I felt like I should turn back but didn’t. That one moment gnawed at me for several days. Especially because I let fear talk me out of it. I had the $20 and it wasn’t going to break the bank. But in always planning and thinking about my future I would let the amount deter me. (Let me just slide in here and say it’s not always about the amount it’s mostly about obedience.) I was always afraid of flat out running out of money. If I had taken just a moment to let God’s voice be louder than the other voices I was hearing I would have been reminded that never in my life has God allowed me to just run out of, well, anything! And I’m fortunate to say that because I know many people who have had the opposite experience. Have I had moments when I didn’t quite have enough? Sure. Have I had moments when I didn’t know where the money for something was going to come from? Absolutely. But it all eventually worked out some how. I let myself forget that in that moment.
So I had some changes that I had to make. Those changes initially started with my husband and I seeking God for a plan to get out of debt. I came into the marriage with debt still from my previous marriage. My husband had some debt too coming into the marriage and between what we already had and what we added to it we really had to do something different if we wanted to meet the goals we had for our lives. I had things that I personally knew God had put inside of me but those things couldn’t happen if I didn’t learn to really surrender the fear of lack and enhance my giving, our giving. I also had to release control and stop trying to always plan each and every thing without seeking God for His plan. We prayed and sought God for a plan on many different things and of course God came through but what really changed things was our obedience to the change. Once we both got on the same page about our goals (and we talked extensively about our goals), our future, what we wanted for our children, and the plan for our finances it became much easier to manage life moving forward. God started doing new things in us and through us. Our giving increased because our finances started to increase. We were making smart decisions. I’m sure you’ve heard people tell stories of random checks coming in the mail. That started happening and we were like ok what is going on?! Things with my husbands work also changed where he had opportunities to make more money, which we continued to put towards our debt. The choice to really submit this areas of our lives to God and allow Him to help us maneuver through our bad decisions really opened the door to more.
And this is not just more in our finances. God really liberated me more so in the effort of giving and not just finances but of my time. While I love encouraging others through conversation and even through my social media pages, I wanted to do more. I wanted to personally reach out to individuals to encourage and bless them. He opened my eyes and allowed me to find a different way of sowing into others. When I started mailing out cards with scripture and encouragement every month I became more and more passionate about giving. One month was sending gift cards to people another month cool journals and every month that I think about just making someone’s day with something simple I feel more and more liberated. Which brings me back to that conversation I was having with my husband about why I’m giving and then telling him about it after the fact. Because I let fear control me for so long and God has helped me break free of that, I now do what I feel right when I feel prompted to do so. I never want to feel like I felt that day when I didn’t give the $20 to the waitress. There is freedom in truly trusting God and what He is doing in you. There is freedom in following His lead even when you don’t know initially where the road is leading you to.
This road I’m on of letting Him lead has lead me to more peace, more joy, more excitement, more vision, more of recognizing that the dreams that I have in my heart can come true. What I am feeling is real and there is nothing that I want to do more than to spend my time listening to who God says I should spend time talking to or listening to or helping or giving to. I truly sit down some days and go “Ok God who should I be praying for? Who’s on your mind?” There is no way to describe how much happiness I feel inside from spending time doing more for someone else than I do for myself. I was shopping the other day and found myself putting stuff for myself back! Not because I didn’t want it (Honestly, I probably didn’t need it) but because I wanted to put my money towards things to give to someone else. I am excited even typing this y’all!
The road to more is not limited to finances but it’s what we tend to focus on sometimes. We think having financial freedom or more money solves a slew of issues, which in some instances it does! Don’t be afraid to talk about wanting more money. It’s ok to want more for yourselves and for your family. But don’t limit wanting more of it just to being able to spend freely. Think about ways that more can help someone else. And then think past the more of finances and more into mental, spiritual and emotional growth. What have you done for someone else lately? Who have you checked on? Who have you prayed for? Who have you given your time to? A small gift to? Who have you thought about more, yourself or someone else? One of the best pieces of advice I have ever received and acted on is when you are feeling sad, lonely, depressed, like you don’t matter…..serve. Helping someone else and giving to someone else during a time when you need additional care or love changes something in you. It leads to a place of abundance that is more valuable than anything else. Start that journey to more today! You will not regret it.