For some reason, I can get a little nervous when it comes to giving. I don’t know if it’s because I second-guess my intentions, or if I’m afraid of people’s reactions. I love to give, I really do, I’m just uneasy about it at times.
A prime example was last year. I was at Safeway, waiting in the check-out line. I felt the urge to buy the groceries for the lady behind me. I get those urges here and there. So I started strategizing. How should I go about telling her that I’m buying her groceries? Should I use cash or card? Should I smile? How do I explain this to the checker without making a scene? I started to get anxious for some reason. It was silly.
So, I decided to pay for my own groceries and get cash back. I would pay for her groceries that way. So I proceeded with my plan. My heart began to race as the cashier handed me the cash….with money in hand, I laid the cash on the counter, looked at the gal behind me and said “Merry Christmas”……I then proceeded rapidly to the exit…until I heard a loud voice shouting “sir, you forgot your groceries!” I then had to go back, kind of embarrassed (I was obviously a novice giver) and blushing…..I made a joke of it, wished them all a good night and I was on my way. It didn’t go quite as smoothly as I would have liked, but that’s ok. It shouldn’t be about giving the “right” way anyways. I just hope I made her smile….
Why in the world did I make that experience more complicated than it should have been? Maybe it’s because giving isn’t really a natural thing. We are all selfish people at the root of it. It takes effort and discipline to look outside our own little “fortresses of me” that we’ve built. Sure, some of us are more inclined to give than others, but it still takes the effort of listening to that still small voice nudging you to step outside yourself.
Another thing….I wonder if sometimes, giving isn’t as much about the person receiving as it is the person giving. For me, I feel connected to somebody when I give outside of my comfort zone. It’s like I’m taking a shallow step into another person’s mud puddle….just enough to make it ripple a bit. Just that simple interaction can bring life into focus. It’s also energizing to make people happy. It’s a beautiful thing.
So next time this whole giving thing comes up again, I’m gonna try to keep it simple. I’ll work on trusting my intentions and just sharing what resources the good Lord has placed in my life. After all, the whole giving thing isn’t about me anyways. It’s just a mere reflection of what Christ did for each and every one of us.
Have you ever been called to give something outside of your comfort zone?