Sunday, October 19, 2014

Being generous, being enough

I'm planning our November Neoga MOPS meeting. I've been watching the theme videos, and one about being generous captures my attention. After all, the holidays are quickly approaching and our desires to be generous with our money, time, and our very selves are about to come to a crescendo.The holidays are also a time where our biggest doubts as moms can get the better of us. I think I know why.

We constantly compare. And our conclusion is always the same: we aren't enough. Someone else is always thinner, richer, more put together, more patient, better at that thing than we are. And it's true.  But no one is as uniquely gifted as you are. You are God's creation, and you are awesome.  

Perfect, no. But awesome? Yes.

If we stepped back just a little we'd see that no one else compares us the way we compare ourselves to others. To the people we love we are everything. Imperfect, but unselfish.

We focus on the scarcity in our lives and forget about the abundance. If we're feeling tired, we focus on our lack of sleep instead of the abundance of health and energy from our kids. 

I say this even as a consistently sleep-deprived mom. At nearly 12 months-old, Harper is still struggling with both day and nighttime sleep. But she's healthy, passing new milestones every day, and becoming her own little person. Instead of focusing on the scarcity of sleep, I could try and be thankful for an otherwise normal and healthy baby. Some days I grumpily snap at her or anyone else nearby. And I need to learn to take better care of myself to avoid that, it's true. But when I'm able to wrap my hands around a warm cup of coffee, sit down for a hot minute, say a quick prayer and adjust my attitude, I am usually able to smile, breathe, and try again.

I have a scarcity of space in my house. But when guests come to stay or we have people over for dinner, there is no shortage of laughs, stories, or warmth. I hope what we lack in space we make up for in heart and hospitality.  

We can turn the scarcity, which is sometimes just in our own heads, into abundance when we bravely decide to offer ourselves--no more, no less, just us. We are enough. We are worthy.  

Being generous is just giving of yourself. Imperfect, messy, but from the heart. It's not always wrapped up neatly with a bow. No one can give what we can give in the way we can give it. Being generous is brave.  

What is one thing you can do this week to be generous with your money, time, or talent?  

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Fifty shades of brave

As I've blogged about before, the MOPS theme this year is "Be you, Bravely. 

In preparation for our first Neoga MOPS meeting this Thursday, I asked my leadership team to tell me the bravest thing they've ever done.  Tough question, I know, because there are so many shades of bravery.

Brave is defined as, "ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage."  What I find most compelling about this definition is that bravery is just the willingness to face the fear, it has nothing to do with the outcome or follow through.  It's what Glennon Melton from calls "showing up". 

Bravery might be showing up every day to a job you dislike because you need the income. Bravery doesn't make you like the job any more; bravery gives you the wherewithal to do what needs to be done.

Brave is hearing the word cancer for the second time and still showing up for your treatments, even though you know exactly what you're in for.  

Brave is holding your child's hand through that scary doctor's appointment he is dreading, even though you're dreading it, too.

Brave is hopping in the car with the kids and setting off for a secret adventure.  

Brave is reading out loud to your kids even though you aren't a strong reader and you are afraid you'll mess up. 

Brave is dropping your child off at a babysitter's house for the first time so you can have some space to work on yourself or your marriage. 

Any of these scenarios could end in hurt, heartache, loss, disappointment, or vulnerability. But the brave among us are willing to take a risk for even the slight hope that something awesome might happen. 

Brave is not reserved just for the biggest and strongest.  Someone climbing a mountain is no more brave than someone initiating a difficult conversation with their elderly parent.

There are so many more than 50 shades of brave.  And maybe if we began to recognize those shades in our lives and the lives of others we might be more compassionate towards people different from ourselves.  Like that mom at school pick up that's still in her pjs.  Or the guy at work that keeps to himself.  Or the neighbor with an opposing candidate's yard sign on his lawn.  

What is the bravest thing you've ever done?

What's the bravest thing you've done today?