Cheerful Giving and Thoughtful Living

There is a common wave of thought that I have come across in the past couple of years. I first found it in Lysa TerKeurst’s book “The Best Yes” and then again in “Present Over Perfect” by Shauna Niequist. But old habits die hard and habits of thought die even harder so it is always refreshing to get a reminder of past lessons. Here was mine today from the Well-Watered Women blog. (wellwateredwomen.com)

CHEERFUL GIVING and THOUGHTFUL LIVING

Do you ever notice your heart can have a tendency to put good before God?

Often I assume that something good is definitely what I am supposed to do, because it is good, after all! Then I jump in headfirst without even consulting God or prayerfully asking Him if this is His will for my life.

I can find my plate completely full, even overflowing, and all of a sudden I am unable to do anything with excellence. Instead, I find myself exhausted, cranky, treating my husband poorly because of my overcommitments, and doing everything half-heartedly. This is not holy or good!

What has God called you to do? Maybe it involves saying no to something so that you can say yes to what is best. Maybe it looks a lot simpler than the list He is giving your sister. When He calls you to follow Him, resist the temptation to ask, “But what about her?”

Instead, remember that you are called to be a disciple of Christ, to set your gaze on Him, and to chase after Him wholeheartedly. If you are simply saying ‘yes’ to something because your friend is or because it sounds fun or because it’s technically a good thing… Let me encourage you to pause, pray, and wait before you agree.

Scripture teaches that God loves a cheerful giver, which is frequently taught about in light of financial giving or tithing. While this truth absolutely applies to our monetary giving, I think God also enjoys someone who gives cheerfully of their time and commitment, and lives intentionally with a surrendered heart.

When we give of ourselves too freely, we find ourselves feeling burdened to fulfill those obligations. No longer can we give cheerfully because we are just so darn exhausted that we can’t think straight. Then the giving becomes about the obligation to do, and all of a sudden our heart has turned toward bitterness and frustration.

You may have the physical time, but does that mean that it is what God wants for you to be engaged in emotionally, mentally, and spiritually? Or maybe you find you have the mental capacity to commit to something, but it means your calendar would be so full that you would have no time with the Lord or margin in your week.

The Lord impressed this principle on my heart during college. I found that when I would intentionally schedule in free time and pray that the Lord would show me how to use it, He always did!

Sometimes this looked like a friend showing up at my door in tears and needing to talk. Because I had nothing pressing planned, I was able to invite her in for coffee and a Kleenex. Sometimes I would plan the week ahead and clear my schedule for the following Friday, with no way of knowing that I would catch a cold and be completely exhausted and need a nap. The Lord is not surprised by our schedule, so when we schedule in those free moments and ask Him to use them as He sees fit, He will do so. When we cheerfully give of our time and our margin, He will fill in the holes.

Don’t view overcommitment as what everyone is doing… View it as a challenge for your heart to evaluate what God has called you to do specifically. And if it means saying no to some things so that you can say yes to Him, I promise you will not regret it.

Sometimes we feel as if God is not speaking to us, but in reality it’s that we are not making any time to listen. Get still with Him today, ask Him what He has for you, and then be willing to actually listen to His answer and respond obediently!