As we hustle, bustle, and sometimes stumble through the Christmas season, it’s all too easy to think about all the ways in which we have fallen short over the past year. Now that it is time for New Year resolutions, there seem to be too many to count. This year, rather than making an endless list of all the things I should do, I am going to have just one resolution: Give More.
Everyone we meet is fighting a battle. They are struggling to make ends meet, grieving the loss of a loved one, overcoming addictions, and trying to hold their relationships together. I resolve to do my best to remember this, and to give everyone I encounter – family, coworkers, strangers on the street – a little compassion and more than a little leeway. While I’m at it, I am going to do my best to extend that grace to myself.
It occurs to me that everything is actually not about me. When a friend slights me, when my spouse is rude, when a funder rejects my proposal, it may be that it isn’t personal at all – that it isn’t a deliberate attempt to hurt me. A buzz phase we tend to overuse in our office is “Let’s look at this from 50,000 feet”. I resolve to take that to heart this year, and to give the people and the situations in my life the benefit of distance so that I may more clearly see and understand them.
Do you ever just feel so darn busy? Especially around the holidays, I begin to feel like life is just a quick succession of one deadline to the next. Both professionally and personally, I never seem to have enough time to do the things I want to do. Ironically, all that the people in my life – from my children to my coworkers in the field – want from me is my time. I reject the notion that time is finite, and I resolve to make more of it this year. By prioritizing and sweeping away the “busy work”, I will make time for what is most important. And why make more of something if you’re just going to keep it? I resolve to give my time to my family, my friends, and my passions. That means more time playing, more time volunteering, and more time working for affordable homeownership. I know, I know – no one ever regrets not working enough. But when you have the privilege of working with Habitat for Humanity, work is a gift and a blessing.
Let’s be honest – none of us likes to sacrifice. We spend a lot of energy making sure that we get what we deserve, that we are compensated fairly, that we are recognized. Sometimes we even resent those whom we feel receive something they haven’t earned. This can become a twisted sense of justice that serves only our smallest selves. Yet sacrifice has always been a way for us to honor our God. In the Old Testament that meant killing a lamb – giving up much needed food and currency. In the New Testament we are called to leave everything behind to follow Jesus, who of course, is the personification of sacrifice from His Father who loves us. I resolve to give until it hurts, and to set aside my pride so that I can feel the joy and peace that comes from that giving. This might mean a donation a bit larger than is comfortable, or a commitment that seems overwhelming. I resolve to be open to whatever opportunities for giving come my way.