Give To Feel Better

One of the most recent lessons I read by John Maxwell talks about overcoming mental illness by giving. People are typically so self-absorbed that they’re in a mental rut and develop negative thinking and poor mental health. They’re too insecure to give anything away because they think they’re missing something and they’re trying to get it back. Dr. Karl Menninger, a psychiatrist, suggests that people feeling a nervous breakdown should find someone in need and do something to help them, and by developing a giving spirit they will help themselves overcome feelings of deficiency in a positive way.

Reading all this makes me think of the holiday season and all the “giving” that we all do. I know I’m not the only one who has felt a little inadequate when it comes to giving gifts at Christmas time. I’m talking about the gifts we give to family and friends – the people who don’t NEED anything. It is nice to exchange gifts. I’m not gonna say we shouldn’t show love to one another by giving gifts. But should we make it as big a deal as we do?

I’m not rich and what money I do have I try to spend wisely. A couple of years ago I was letting my “inadequacy” get to me real bad. I felt like crap because I couldn’t afford to get much for my family and friends. Then Shawna and I felt lead to volunteer at a ministry feeding the needy and handing out donated gifts to needy children. Any thought of what I “needed” left my mind as I served people who don’t even have the kind of stuff that I take for granted. I look back on that experience now and realize that I could have spent a million dollars on my family and friends and it wouldn’t have been as fulfilling as just serving food and toys to people who are really in need. From then on I would rather serve some people with real needs than give a single gift to family and friends. Of course I still try to do both, but I know which one is more important and I look forward to it the most.

So I encourage everyone to do something for someone other than yourself (which means someone other than your family too). I’m so proud of our church home group. They have really stepped up and taken initiative to serve others. I’ll go in to more detail about that on a later post. I hope they are all blessed at least with tremendous fulfillment for their generosity.

If you’re dreading Christmas coming up because you know you can’t afford to exchange gifts with the same ole family and friends please try something different. Take a stand and tell your family you want to do something different. Give gifts to the needy, volunteer at a ministry that feeds people, get creative and do something… Trust me. I know first hand that whatever you give will make you feel better.

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