This week we have a post from our Florida woman, Brooklyn Lindsey! She parallels your hearts for giving with Jesus’ ministry and shares a few tasks she implemented in her own life for more generous living. Read more below:
I think most of us would rather give than take. Even during those rare cruddy days when there’s a Backpfeifengesicht in close proximity (that’s a German word meaning “a face that cries out for a fist in it”). Even then, youth workers can be pretty generous with forgiveness and self-control. So, I don’t think we need much convincing when it comes to generosity.
People who work with teenagers seem to have generosity-encrypted DNA. Who else would sacrifice vacation time to get three hours of sleep every night at camp for a week? Why would anyone want to spend time preparing a Bible study that 9.5 times out of 10 gets ditched for the conversation of the moment?
Your generosity wells are deep. They parallel the generous wells that Jesus lived by:
You’re here, so I’ll wash your feet.
I’ve got something you need, I’ll give it to you.
This water will refresh more than your thirst, and you can have it.
I see you worried about a need you have. Please don’t worry. There is a promise, and I can teach it to you, if you’d like to hear it.
What I feel youth workers need to hear about generosity isn’t that they need to be more generous toward others. I feel that they need to be more generous with themselves.
It’s different from selfishness. And being generous with oneself isn’t always quantifiable in money spent or by taking extravagant vacations. It’s measured out in the value you let yourself place on being well in order for others to be able to be generous in a way that doesn’t ultimately wreck you.
Here are some ways I’m learning to be more generous with myself. These are tasks I’ve tried in the last six weeks. You can try them too.
1. When was the last time you affirmed the positive about yourself? Make list of creative affirmations about yourself. List ten things. (For example: You might write, “Through the use of my creativity, I serve God.” Implicitly giving yourself permission to take time to be creative. Or, “I am fun.” Setting your mind to think on things that you like to do and experience.)
2. Write a letter to your 75 year old self. Talk to him or her about all that you have accomplished. Talk to him or her about what the most important things are in your life. Give him or her permission to spend time with what matters more often.
3. Ask yourself who or what the crazy-makers are in your life. Give yourself permission to take a break from them or break up with it or them all together.
4. List words or images that identify ways that you are mean to yourself. These are the self-sabotaging things that end up hurting instead of helping you. They are our negative go-to’s. The purpose isn’t to dwell on them, but in making them known, you’ll be able to make them gone.
5. Give yourself the gift of time. Be generous with yourself. Block out an hour instead of 10 minutes for praying, cooking, resting, or exercising. You may be a book lover. Let yourself read. When I’m on a writing deadline, I find it absolutely necessary to bake, clean, sort, and organize (everything but write). I feel strapped for time. In turn, I rebel against the deadline and do all of the things I really want to do (if I had more time). Gifting myself time to tinker around the house helps me to stay focused at work.
6. Take the clothing from your closet that makes you feel less than. Pass on, hand down, or donate it to make room for things that make you feel YOU.
What’s the payoff for being stingy with yourself? For blocking good things like rest and ridiculous amounts of coffee/ chocolate/ adrenaline from your life?
It keeps you from getting to experience the fullness of life that you hope others get to experience as you offer it to them.
That fullness was meant for you too.
*You can get Brooklyn’s perspective as well as other women in youth ministry every Thursday when you sign up for the SYM Today Newsletter!*