I am praying over these words as I type them. My heart is burdened, but I don't want anything I say to come out as just a rant. I can guarantee that no one wants that. Besides that rants rarely get anything positive done other than helping the ranter to feel better. I can't preach that I am all about love and grace then come blast people and gripe about things I don't like. I don't want this blog to be about me just getting stuff off of my chest. I want it to be about learning how to build better relationships with people and in turn letting them know they are loved by people here right now, but even more so by God....the Creator of the Universe.
I am a relational person. I LOVE to talk to people. You learn how to help them, how to pray for them. Maybe that's why what I'm writing about is so heavy on my heart.
Up until about 4 years ago Christmas was all about me and my family. Making sure they had everything they wanted. Making sure I had everything I wanted.
House perfectly decorated=check
Perfect gifts bought=check
Perfect amount of cookies baked=check
Perfect Christmas outfits=check
Christmas story read on Christmas morning (to make sure we got Jesus into "our" plans)=check
Then it happened.....I got out of my bubble.
I learned how things worked outside of my nice, happy, perfect bubble. Four years later, I'm still learning how things work outside of the bubble. In the circle that I have been in all of my adult life everyone had everything they needed and just about everything they wanted. We're all living that nice, comfortable American Christian life. We don't worry about having food in our fridge's (when we don't have food it's because we're so busy we haven't had time to go to the grocery store, so we make a quick run to McDonald's). We have a house with a two car garage. We have the cars to go into the garages. We gave to people to ease our conscience. Not because we actually cared about the people. This right here is how I lived my life.
I AM NOT PERFECT. I DO NOT HAVE THIS THING FIGURED OUT. But I have learned a thing or two on this journey God has sent me on. These things I have learned are accurate for every day, but they seem more to be more in my face during the holiday season.
1. Not all people have all they need. It's not just during the holiday's that they don't have all that they need. It's also from January-November that they need some help.
2. Food Baskets, Food Pantry's, Clothing Give A Ways are AWESOME, but they should just be a tool. Meeting physical needs is a necessity, but they shouldn't be the end. They should be the beginning. The way to form a relationship with the people you are helping.
3. Relationships are the key. Lots of people are trying to ease their conscience by doing something good (I can say that because I have been that person). But not a lot of people are on the streets trying to get to know they people they are helping. I think this part is key......we gripe because people don't/won't change their lives. What are we doing to help them? Are we spending more than just our money on them? Are we spending our time with them? Building a relationship is KEY! Being a friend is KEY! Not looking at others as a project is KEY!
So, let's keep helping people through the Christmas season, but remember they will need help as well when January rolls around. Keep doing those food and clothing give a ways, but use them as a tool, a way to connect. Don't just give your money, as a director of a non-profit we greatly appreciate the money, but lives are changed because relationships are built!