3 Types of Giving
Affirmation: I Give Freely
Why is it important to give? In what ways does it bring joy in your life? How does it make life more enriching for you? What do you feel as you give to others? What does it mean to give freely and why would you want to? What kind of person gives freely?
Take a moment to think about these questions and feel free to write them down.
When we give to others, we are showing that we care. We are telling them that they matter. As we give to someone else our gratitude for what we already have increases, we find a greater sense of fulfillment because the act of giving is a way of moving forward with purpose in life. When we give freely it means that we see where we can give, assess whether it’s beneficial for the person we are giving to, and then we do so without holding back for any selfish reasons. Giving freely is not about enabling another person, but seeking a need that will help them to more forward in a productive way.
What are some things that might hold you back from giving freely? For some it might be that you are concerned about others taking advantage of you. This is not what is meant about giving freely. Your physical and emotional needs are important, make sure that they are taken care of. Perhaps you hold back because you are worried about enabling another person? Which makes sense, enabling someone can do more harm than good. In this case it’s a matter of assessing whether the way you are giving is enabling or if it is a healing balm that will then strengthen a person to get through a difficult time. In the case of enabling someone, it does not mean that you shouldn’t give to them, but perhaps instead come up with a different way to give freely to them.
Here are three different ways that we can give:
- Gift Giving
Gift giving is perhaps the first thing that that comes to mind when we think of giving. We give presents or money to those who are in need. We bring gifts of food when someone is recovering from surgery or if they just had a baby. We donate gifts of money to charity so that the charity can further help those that they serve. We drop off cookies at a neighbor’s house as a way of letting them know that we care about them or that we are thinking about them. Gift giving can be beautiful because it is a tangible thing and we can often see the results of our efforts.
What are some gifts that you enjoy giving to others?
The next way to give is by giving of your time. When we give of our time, we are making the act of service our priority in that moment. Maybe bringing gifts of food is not one of your strong suits, but giving of your time to watch kids for another or going to their house to help clean or do laundry are ways that you can give of your time. Time is important because only so much can be done with money, time is needed to put the money into action. When working hand in hand, time and gift giving, can be a great way for people to work together. One person donates money for a family of 4 to have a Christmas, the other person gives of their time to go and buy food and presents for that family. Both are needed and just as important.
What are some ways you can give of your time? What skills do you have that will benefit someone else?
- Emotional Support
Emotional support is a way that we can give that helps another person to find strength and connection. Emotional support can range from sending a text to a friend to let them know that you are thinking about them to sitting down with someone and just listening to their pain. It can be hard to sit with someone in their pain but there is healing that can be found for both people as you do so. The act of being there, even when it is hard, is a healing balm for both people.
When I was 15 my younger brother passed away. I remember one Sunday being at church and memories of him were really overwhelming. I found a secluded spot and started to cry. One of my leaders in the church’s young women program found me. I don’t remember her saying anything, I just remember her sitting with me, letting me take the time that I needed to just cry. She was willing to sit with me in my pain. And years later I still remember that kind and loving emotional support that she gave me.
What are some ways that you can give emotional support to another person?
The last way to give that I want to focus on today is giving mercy. Giving people the benefit of the doubt, seeking to not judge others and also seeking to forgive. Sometimes the best gift that we can give another is to let go of their past mistakes and accept them for who they are. Be merciful and loving and remember that we are all on this journey of life together.
Sharon Eubank recently said, “Let’s not judge each other or let our words bite. Let’s keep each other’s names safe and give the gift of mercy.” As we move forward with mercy in our hearts for one another, we will put aside cutting remarks and seek to lift each other up.
How can you show more mercy to those around you?
One thing that you may have found in answering the questions in each section, is that some of the ways that we give overlap. Giving someone a thoughtful note is both a gift as well as emotional support or even taking the time to have written it is a way you gave to them. Making a dinner for someone else is both a physical gift and the gift of your time. The beauty of these four ways of giving is that they allow us to serve and love others through using our strengths and talents. They also allow us to work in tandem with others, giving in ways that we are strong and allowing others to step in in those ways that we need more help with. Each way of giving is unique and needed just as each person is unique and needed.
I GIVE FREELY
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