Goal #2-Be Generous
Sometimes I hear people say that they don’t get involved in non-profits or charities because they just can’t afford it. Or they say things like, “I just don’t have anything to give.” I think we can all feel that way from time to time but I am going to challenge that belief because everyone has something to give. Whether it’s to a lonely neighbor, a troubled teen, or an organization that feeds and shelters the homeless; giving back is critical to our well being. Being generous with the gifts that God has given you will make you a healthier person in emotionally, spiritually, and physically. It will create in you a more grateful heart as you learn of the unique plights of those in your own neighborhood. Giving of your time and your talents is very helpful for others but just as critical for you. Even a smile or a kind word can make a huge difference in the life of another. It's also important to remember this: it’s not all about the giving of your finances, although not valuing our money over human need is an important attitude to live by. I like the saying, “use money and love people but never use people and love money.” At the end of the day it’s all about love.
“The emotional benefits [of generosity] are that we cultivate an internal sense of plenitude, enjoy positive feelings from those within our community, and experience an improved self-esteem. This goes for time, love, and attention just as much — if not more — than for money,” says psychologist Chloe Carmichael, PhD, who has a private practice in New York City.
The benefits of giving back don’t just apply to adults. A 2013 study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics examined how volunteering might affect the physical health of adolescents. Researchers divided 106 tenth graders into two groups — one group regularly volunteered one hour a week for 10 weeks, and the other group didn’t volunteer at all. After 10 weeks, the students in the volunteer group had lower levels of cholesterol and inflammation, and lower BMIs than the other group.
Generosity improves our self-image, lowers our blood pressure, gives us better heart health, and improves our outlook, empathy, and intimacy towards others. Over and over we read about the many benefits of volunteering so make sure you put that towards the top of your list of goals for 2017. Your children, grandchildren, and anyone in your sphere of influence will also benefit as they witness your example.
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38
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