Our culture may seem to be consumed by getting. However, giving first has always been and will always be a better approach to life, love, success, and happiness.
Giving is a fundamental part of living a meaningful life and doing God’s work on Earth. Not so deep inside, you know how important it is. But a huge crush of external sources would have you believe that giving is secondary. We’re told that once you get, only then can you give. This message comes from the media. It’s plastered in stores, on street signs, and is even heralded in songs. But this message is entirely backward.
Everyone struggles in life. When you are in the midst of your own personal pain, heartache or challenge, it can feel tough to give of yourself. Let’s face it, you already have so many demands on your time. From work and spouse and children to your community and extended family, it can feel like everyone wants a piece of you. Should you really take an always-giving approach on top of that load?
This get-first mentality is understandable; but again, backward. It’s tempting to chide people who think this way for being selfish, but a personality issue is really not the problem at all. After all, nearly everyone has moments when they think they would prefer to receive than give. That’s because each human being arrives in this world with a sense of self-preservation. It’s “us and ours” first, and we instinctively cling to this basic drive in the midst of challenge.
More importantly, sometimes people simply don’t have enough proof in their lives that the give-before-get mentality works. Maybe you grew up with trauma? Some people are in the grips of an addiction that rewired their brains to take whenever they can. Others are in relationships that seem hopelessly lopsided.
What are you supposed to do in these situations? How is giving possible?
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The proof of the pudding is in the eating, as they say. Addicts who work with other addicts will tell you that such selflessness is what got them sober for good. Multi-millionaires say it’s not until they started giving away their expertise that they built dedicated followings and powerful businesses. Those in loving relationships freely admit that when they took a “me-first” approach, love suffered. Taking an “others-first” path meant more love and satisfaction for all.
This works on a more personal level as well. For example:
Before you see weight loss results, you must sweat it out in the gym and live without the second helping of your favorite food.
Before you can find love, you must love yourself and lose the faithlessness that you’ll find it.
Long before your children will give to you, you must give to them.
Again, you know these things instinctively. But sometimes instincts take over, hoarding resources and fleeing perceived danger.
The good news? You truly are charitable at heart. You just have to learn to listen to yourself. Natural instincts can change with practice. If you want to grow a giving approach that will improve your own life as well as the world around you, it’s possible. You just need the right community to help you follow through. We at The Journey are here to help, so reach out to us today.
Before I went through The Journey Training I thought I had my life pretty “together”, not perfect by any means but better than a lot of people. I was, of course, in complete denial! I was broken, bruised, scarred, and hurting. I could write pages of all I received from the training but I’ll save that for another time. What I will address is the fact that The Journey Training is not over at the end of Threshold or Crossroads, or even Launch – which I just completed.
After the training weekends, I continued to realize things that God was speaking to my heart long after I got home. I think God was always trying to speak to me but I had stopped hearing Him and had given up on the dreams He had placed in my heart long ago! I knew, even as a young child, He wanted to use me. But over the years, I had let the weeds of my life choke out those dreams. My heart had been broken too many times and I had stopped going to the Father for comfort. When I returned home from Journey, I felt hopeful that I would possibly hear Him again and I told Him I was open to listen!
Yesterday, I was doing my grocery shopping at Walmart with my husband Beau. We both dislike shopping, especially Walmart shopping, so we are usually rushing to get our list knocked out and get out of there. We were getting bread when I saw a young black man, in his late teens or early twenties, looking down at a list that appeared to be typed out. As I looked away to select my bread, I heard that still small voice say, “Give him 40 dollars!” My husband started off to the next aisle and I quickly followed.
I thought – oh that’s just me… how awkward would that be… he would probably think I was trying to look down on him because I am an older white woman and he is a young black man… Isn’t that just like our stupid minds to get in the way? I then thought, do I even have $40 in cash? I looked in my wallet; and of course, the only cash I had was 2 crisp twenty dollar bills!
Well, I told my husband, “I just wanted you to know, because I told that still small voice: God if that’s you, that young man will need to cross my path again before we leave this store!” Beau just looked at me funny and continued on his mission to get out of the store!! We got all the way through Walmart and were headed up to the checkout line and I said to my husband, “Well I never saw him again, it must have just been me!” I was partially relieved and partly disappointed that I had missed it!
We arrive at our well selected line; the shortest one we could find that had the most competent looking cashier. We were putting our items on the belt when I looked up; and guess who was in the line checking out at the lane in front of us? YUP, the guy! I was surprised, then excited, then terrified! I looked over at Beau and he looked at me like, what up bro?! He had no idea that was the guy and I sure wasn’t going to say it; he might hear me!
I retrieved the $40 out of my purse and had it tightly gripped in my hand. My mind was racing as I was trying to decide how I would do this without it appearing that I thought he looked like a homeless person; because he didn’t! While the young man was checking out, I paced back and forth between the 2 lanes as I was putting my own bagged groceries into my cart. The cashier gave him his total of $3.43. The young man looked surprised and said, “Oh, I’m sorry I didn’t know it would cost anything, I’ll put one of the gallons of milk back.” He was using a WIC payment, which is assistance given to families with young children. As he was reaching for one of the gallons of milk, I stepped over, handed him the $40, and said, “Sir, here. I’m supposed to give this to you.” He said, “For real?” I said, “Yes!” He paid the man and as he was leaving said, “Thank you so much!” I just smiled and waved!
This seems like such a small thing but I’m crying as I’m typing this because it was a huge thing for me! It wasn’t about the money; God has blessed us. It was about being able to hear God’s voice again and walking it out! It was about Him showing me that He is still there and still wants to use me!
I am so thankful that someone saw something in me that I couldn’t see in myself and invited me to The Journey Training! I’m also glad they didn’t let it rest until I finally agreed to go! I have my peace back; I have my hope back; I have my joy back; and I am HEARING again!
Christmas! The most wonderful time of the year! A time filled with breaks from school, parties, shopping, pictures with Santa Claus, decorating the tree, hanging the stockings, family get-togethers, huge meals, cookies, and opening gifts. As children, we dream constantly about all the gifts we want and hope to get. As adults, we strive for finding the perfect gifts for everyone on our lists and the anticipation of watching the happy reactions of our loved ones and friends as the gifts are opened. What a wonderful time indeed!
The True Gift
The wonder of this holiday season and the gifts we give and receive can be so overwhelming that we often lose sight of the real reason for the season. God gave us the true gift of Christmas when He placed His love for all of us in the form of a baby named Jesus. “And when they came into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshipped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:11)
Our Gift to God
God came down to earth as a baby to ultimately show us how to love one another and to be in communion with Him. So what can we give God in return? I don’t think He’s looking for more gold, frankincense, or myrrh. It’s actually much simpler than that. We can give gifts back to God everyday by the way we live! When we choose to treat each other with kindness, mercy, grace, compassion, and love, God receives an incredible gift. That is what our Father would want more than anything and He gives us a way to do that in His word. It costs us nothing but our time and action. “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
In The Journey Training, we teach a simple tool for following God’s word. We call it “Giving Gifts”. Gifts are all positive words used to affirm the best things about another person. All you have to do is go to the person you want to give the gifts to, look them in the eyes, and say “The gifts I see in you are…” If I were doing this with my beautiful wife, Lisa, it might sound something like this: “Lisa, the gifts I see in you are unconditional love, patience, courage, a sweet, sweet spirit, a great mom, and captivating beauty.” That’s really all there is to it! You can do this with anyone at any time. You will make the other person feel better about themselves and you will feel better about yourself. It can completely change the dynamics of the relationships in your life and even change you!
I encourage you to try using this tool with your family and friends throughout this holiday season. You really have nothing to lose by trying, but you have everything to gain. The person receiving your gifts might just cherish your words more than any gift you could buy. Life is short and it is precious! How we live is our gift to God.
From the entire Journey Training team, we wish you a very
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Things in life are often a matter of perspective. We see this in mentality, actions, beliefs, and just about everything else! We read the bible and, if we take a scripture by itself, might get a perspective that was never intended – or maybe it was!
I always thought I needed to sow to reap. I mean, that’s what it says in the bible, right? What you get is inherently related to what you give, right? Well, if that’s the case, grace would have nothing to do with it.
I don’t always get what I deserve
At first, you might think of not getting what you deserve as a negative thing. I mean, you worked so hard at something, and you’ve never even gotten a “thank you.” Why wouldn’t I get what I deserve! Well, sometimes my perspective is “thank God!”
If we always got what we deserve, we’d probably be in big trouble! How many speeding tickets would you have, even for going 1 mph over the posted speed limit? I mean, your license might be revoked! And what about your thoughts. If every time you judged someone, you in turn were literally judged, where would you be? I don’t know about you, but I’m glad I don’t always get what I deserve!
Investments don’t always have a direct return
I know people who view every relationship as an investment – something that they will someday get a return for. They tend to give with an expectation that you will give back and they will reap the benefits of their gift. To me, this is a sad perspective on giving.
If I choose to give only to those that I will receive from, I am limiting the influence that God gave me to have. Instead, let’s try something different. Let’s look at a different perspective of the sowing and reaping principle.
Johnny Appleseed’s way to give
The legend of Johnny Appleseed suggests a different view on giving. What if instead of giving to get, we decided to get to give? Do you think that outlook may be different? If everything you give is an investment to acquire a return from, you might be disappointed. But if everything you get makes a new way you can give, whether you see the return or not, you might find disappointment of not getting what you deserve a little differently.
When I was told of the legend of Johnny Appleseed, I heard of a man with a bag of apple seeds traveling the countryside and planting apple trees everywhere he went. My first thought was “Why would he plant a tree and leave it behind, never even tasting the apples of so many of the trees he planted?” Then I thought of it differently. He reaped his reward with every seed he planted. It was the satisfaction he received when he did what he felt he was called to do – plant his seeds, and in turn, allow others to taste the fruit of his labors.
Can you get to give and receive for only self-satisfaction?
When I and the other facilitators of The Journey Training give of ourselves, we don’t give to get. Many may believe that we have gotten paid salaries to facilitate the training we created. That is not the case. We have received something, and in turn we feel a calling to plant seeds that others will taste the fruits from. When a trainee walks out from the training room and back into their world, we know that there will be many people who will benefit from what they have learned, including themselves. That satisfaction – that we are making a difference one life at a time – is a fruit we don’t have to see to taste. And I am here to tell you that it tastes sweet!
What is The Journey Training?
The Journey Training is an experiential learning process that is packed with tools you can use for your life. We have found that the traditional seminar doesn’t often result in sustainable change for most people. At The Journey Training, we give usable tools to facilitate lasting change.
Most people go to seminars and receive great information, but leave with very little application. They have been given many new truths, but unfortunately often leave with questions like “how do I implement this in my life?”
With our experiential learning environment, people get both awareness and tools that they can return home and immediately begin to implement into their lives; tools that affect change. We believe for something to change, simple teaching is not the answer, but rather having the tools that lead to new ways of thinking is.
Enroll in The Journey Training today, and begin to see success in a different way.
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In the days leading up to Easter we often hear about what people are giving up for Lent, but when Holy Week is over, we tend to fall back into our old lives. Often these things end up being somewhat superficial. What if rather than thinking about giving things up, we started looking for things we can give away? This type of thinking involves our hearts, and giving from our hearts always leads somewhere good. If we can somehow separate ourselves from the busyness and distractions of our messy and complicated lives, we often discover things of far greater value.
Giving from the heart helps us do just that.
Many of us may be living with purpose, but are we purposely living? Each week that goes by, I learn more about what this really means. Probably the biggest principle I’ve learned lately is that the more my heart loves to give, the more opportunities I will have to receive. Let that sink in…
The more my heart loves to give, the more opportunities I will have to receive.
I am a mentor for Thrive15.com, the world’s premier online education platform that helps entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs, and “in-trepreneurs” (entrepreneurial-minded people who work within an organization). Thrive15.com created “1 for 1 HandUp Movement.” With every new Thrive15 membership given away, they give a free subscription to a U.S. Veteran or active-duty service member and their spouse. That’s what I call, “giving from the heart.”
When a farmer plants a lot of good seed, he gets a good harvest in return. When giving from the heart becomes part of our daily thinking, we will be on the lookout for opportunities to give. Chances to give may include simple things like:
Opening the door for someone.
Letting a car in front of you in traffic – and smiling.
Saying “thank you” to your children’s teachers (especially when the kids are older and we don’t know the teachers quite as well).
Connecting with a friend or co-worker that may need assistance or help, mentoring.
If a farmer plants cheap vegetable seeds, he gets cheap vegetables. If he plants premium seeds, he gets premium vegetables.If you want to take giving from the heart a step further, try including a small amount of money. The opportunities to bless others financially are endless. Here are just a few:
Get some $2 bills and give them to a homeless person or the person in front of you in line at Walmart.
Pay for the person behind you in a drive-thru.
Pick up a tray of cookies from Chick-fil-A and take them to work.
I can guarantee when you look back, you will have gained far more than you invested. Giving from the heart changes the giver as well as the receiver. What can you do this week to give to others?
At the time of this post, the video below has had over 9 million views. That’s 9 million people it may have inspired to give from the heart. What does it inspire you to do?
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