So here's November, coming at us full throttle, kicking off the season of the hustle and bustle of the last 60 days of 2011. 60 days from now we will all be celebrating the start of 2012, eating our cabbage, black eyed peas, watching parades and football. I hope and pray you're not looking at the end of 2011 and wondering why you didn't get this or that done. I hope you're able to look back on it as a job well done and with no regrets.
The beginning of the holidays is officially Thanksgiving. That of course is the time where we typically focus on being grateful for the blessings we've received, and well we should. For we have all experienced some amazing blessings in the past year most likely, even if it's only ("only") the gift of another year of life. I am personally continually amazed that I could be blessed with the life I've had for 46 years, and I grow more grateful for it daily. But I'd like to focus on another part of Thanksgiving, the 2nd half of the word: Giving.
I am currently reading a book called Radical by David Platt. He speaks in his book of the reason behind God's blessings. It's not so we can "oooh" and "ahhh" over how blessed we are. It's so we can be a conduit of His great love for us by sharing it with others. That makes perfect sense to me. We are blessed so that we can be a blessing to others. For those of you reading this that aren't Christ followers, stay with me here. You may not believe the in the same God I do, but the principle definitely still applies. We shouldn't just sit back and just say "look how blessed we are, I am so grateful". That is the equivalent of being the Dead Sea, which only receives and never contributes, thus it is "dead".
We are the same way. If all we do is receive, or to be more blunt about it, if all we do is take, we contribute nothing to the world. In essence, much like the Dead Sea, we are dead. We are not made to be receivers only, we are made to be a conduit through which others can experience blessings. I believe that for us to REALLY be grateful, we MUST give back. I also believe that if we care to fully experience life, we MUST be that conduit, we MUST share what we have been given.
Today is November 1st, so last night was Halloween. It's a night that for kids is typically about getting things (candy). Our church put a new, Radical spin on Halloween. Instead of focusing on getting candy from the houses, we had about 50+ people go out to the houses and ask for canned goods to give to a local pantry. I was with a group of high school boys doing this. It was very awe inspiring to watch them being counter-cultural as they went from door to door explaining what they were doing, taking a stand and actually caring more about what they can get for OTHERS, versus what they could get for themselves. It was even more impressive to see them truly having fun doing this, laughing and cutting up and experiencing the joy of being part of something bigger than them, that will benefit others, with no strings attached. It just seemed innately right.
I think joy is a key word here. When we give of ourselves, we may get tired, (I was last night after following these young men around from house to house), but we can experience joy. Joy is more than happiness. Happiness is a fleeting emotion, tied to an event or time. Joy is everlasting, and comes deep from within. It comes from being a receiver and a giver, being blessed and being a blessing.
So, if you want to be truly thankful and have more than you can imagine being thankful for, such as having true joy, be a giver. Be a blessing to others. It is part of the wellness lifestyle to give. Do it with regularity, and you'll have your own socks blessed off. You'll have joy that is unspeakable, and live a life that won't leave you filled with regrets.
Until next time...Be Well!