While studying today at Starbucks, I overheard an interesting and partially frustrating conversation. I didn't join in because honestly, I was trying to stay would focused and I knew it cost me a good chunk of time if I were to get involved, so I will share my thoughts here instead. :)
Two men, probably somewhere around retirement age, were discussing their need to donate money for tax reasons, but their inability to find or trust an organization to do the right thing with the funds they receive.
Initially, because I judge without thinking often, I am frustrated with the position of these two men. "Wouldn't it be nice to have a conversation about all the money I need to donate?" or "How do you not know of all of the amazing organizations out there?". But then my heart catches up with my stubborn brain.
It's got to be hard. If you don't go to church somewhere and have a solid "default" monthly place to donate. Or, if you are not surrounded by solid non-profits and all you have to go off is news headlines, it would have to be frustrating knowing that you need to put your money somewhere to reap the tax benefits, but also put it in a place that it matters. Thus, this is a similar situation to where these two men found themselves in.
Because I am who I am and the type of people I surround myself in, my ignorance of people in these guys situation is much more vast than I want. It reminds me of a conversation I had recently when I was telling a group of women what I do and asking them if they would want to come out and serve others with me.
One woman responded, "Oh, I always give to the needy children at christmas time by choosing angel kids from the tree at the grocery store." My brain was like, "ok... but that's so distant."
[ At this point, I pretty much want to stop and delete everything I have written and just go to bed. But, I think God wants to teach me something entirely different than what I had planned.]
I love writing because it helps me hash out what I really feel about something vs. what I am feeling in the moment. Along the lines of being "slow to speak". Writing let's me practice this by experiencing something in my life, processing it in my head for a bit, and then hashing it out in vulnerability for whomever wants to read it.
Before I started writing this, the goal was to hash out those men's conversation, but also tell you about all the amazing people and/or organizations I know that would be worth your investment in - whether by way of really getting to know them and partnering with them in prayer and financials, or just really solid places for you to feel good about giving and getting tax benefits.
I will probably still list those out in some form, but, as I was writing, I found myself not liking how I was judging those women and really just how narrow minded I can be towards people who are just wired differently than myself.
Those women were so proud and excited to tell me about what they do to help those in need... and I completely missed it. I missed an opportunity to genuinely rejoice alongside of them because I was judging how God uses them. I judged them. Not to their face of course, I'm more self-aware than that... but man, I messed up. I need to fix that.
I am a doer. I get out there and serve people hands on. Cold, wet, sick, tired, no matter, I go out and physically embrace those that are poor, people that don't have a home, and generally people that no one else really wants to talk to or be near.
It's easy for me to judge and slip up thinking that if you don't do, then you are missing the full potential... but that's just not true.
That would be a true statement if it were being said to me. Because I am a doer, if I don't get out and do, I AM missing my full potential in a given situation. But, not everyone are doers. Some are encouragers, some are preparers, some are givers.
All of this I have known, spoken about, written about, ect.
But once again, I am learning it in a new way.
I will be reaching out to these women to apologize and ask for forgiveness for how I judged in that moment.
Even though I guarantee they didn't know those were my feelings and they may not even remember the conversation, it doesn't matter. This verse from James 5:16 jumps out at me: Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.
I need healing continually. I am messed up.
Only by being real with myself and with those around me can I truly be healed.
The cool thing is you can too. What is God trying to teach you right now? It might be something you have already learned, but just need to be re-taught in a different way.
Without people that have been equipped in different ways, ways just like these ladies, I couldn't do what I do. I am the doer, but I have a massive group of supporters making sure I can keep doing. So thankful for that and unexpected lessons along the way.
Love you all!