not more but how

Things always get strange when money comes into it. I don`t know why but it just does.

The idea for this week was to take the money you would spend on yourself and spend it on others. I did that but it was far from a perfect science.

Ultimately I found that I’m still fairly selfish. I’m happy to be generous with others and to give, but when it comes to money I still want for myself.

Here’s what I mean.

There were all kinds of opportunities to be generous and I took a bunch of them. No problem. A couple times I thought, I’m going to get a coffee, then didn’t and spent the money on someone else. Good it worked.

But when I checked my wallet at the end of the week I spent more than I usually do. Great right? More generous than I usually would be.

Well, sort of.

I just spent more. I was generous with other people and gave money away. But in the end I probably only didn’t spend the money on myself twice. 2 coffee’s I didn’t get. In all the other instances I spent the money I wanted to spend on myself and then also made a point of being generous too.

Kind of an odd response, especially considering it was my idea.

I suppose it’s a good first step. I was more generous with the people I my life than I normally would be. But I still felt like I needed to spend money on myself. I couldn’t just for one week leave myself totally out of it and be entirely generous.

I have no idea if it’s good or bad but it’s something for me to think and reflect on. If in the end I only had $10.00 would it go to me or someone else? Or would I try to rationalize why I should split it?

I don’t know.

So we’ll call this week a successful failure. I did it and I was more generous, but I’m not sure I ended up in the space or mindset I was hoping for. I’m going to ponder it some more and hope that I can really start to put others before my need for coffee or whatever else I bought. It’s not about spending more but how I spent what I have.

So many baby steps.

growth can happen

A lot of these challenges are things I’ve tried before. Stuff my wife and I have done to try in some small way to get better a living this other centred life. Practical things we can do as a start.

While this time wasn’t the first time I’d tried this challenge it was different.

This week we were trying to give a compliment once a day. As I noted on Monday, it’s more than a little sad that this works as a challenge for week. It’s sad on a societal level but more so, and I didn’t touch on this on Monday, sad that it works on a personal level.

It’s a sober reminder of how far I have to go when it comes to living a live marked my love and grace.

It’s sad for those of us who identify as Christians that this could be considered a challenge. That edifying and building up those in our lives isn’t a calling card of who we are.

But as I said earlier, this time was different.

It wasn’t weird.

Every other time I’d done this it was weird. Weird for me and I think at least unexpected for the people I was complimenting. It wasn’t how they saw me.

Not this time.

This time it felt natural. This time it wasn’t a struggle. This time it happened without so much effort and intention to seek it out. I’d reflect on the challenge and think if I’d gotten there and find there were more than just the one compliment I was challenged to pass along.

I often talk about how hard reflection is. We see our brokenness and shortcomings. We see all the gaps and how far we are form where we want to be.

But every now and again it’s invigorating. Every now and again it’s exciting to step back and see that all the hard work and effort and intent have led to some actually change in how I see and approach the world and how people in my world see and expect me to be.

If this is truly a journey then we should see change and growth.

Who knows, maybe all this effort might actually help me be the person I hoped I’d be.