It’s the Saturday morning after Thanksgiving, and my heart is full with so many thoughts and feelings. One of the biggest things on my mind is that in just a few weeks, I’ll be turning the big 25 years old. I’m halfway through my twenties now. The reality hit me like a brick recently, as I thought about my life so far, and what I hope for the future.
Feeling like time is racing by, wondering when or if you’re becoming the person you always wanted to be? Have you wasted years? Have you let time pass without putting goals into action?
I feel it often, and I have since I was a teenager. Something in me has always wanted to do more and be more than the word expected of me. And then life happens, and things don’t always look exactly as you dreamed. Or you underestimate yourself and the things you have accomplished and are too hard on yourself.
But this year, I want things to be different. I want it to stand out. I have a dream to make an impact on those around me, to give back to the community, and to serve others rather than celebrate ‘just another’ birthday.
The year 2016 has been an incredibly hard one. Probably the hardest yet. We faced loss, heartbreak, tragedy, and more loss. But we also have gained so much in the last few months, thanks to family and a new community and place to call home. I don’t want the year 2016 to only be defined by the bad and ugly. I want to end it with good. In fact, I want to finish out 2016 with a life-changing attitude and action that stands out above the bad.
Because I believe in redemption, and hope, and new beginnings.
Because I don’t believe that we’re defined by the hard times in our life.
And because I understand that so many people around me are going through their own struggles, and they need love, too.
That’s where my personal birthday wish and challenge comes in. For the 25 days leading up to Christmas, I’ve decided to put a spin on the typical advent calendar, and challenge myself (and you!) to spend time each day serving others in small ways.
I know your first thought is that it probably seems weird to have my name there, like it seems all about me. But it’s really the opposite. See, the English word charity comes from the Latin word “caritas,” meaning Christian love. Charity is also traced back to the Greek word “agape,” which means “brotherly love, affection, good will, love, benevolence” (Thayer’s Greek Definitions). Today, many people associate the word charity with giving money or helping others, but as you can see the meaning really goes a lot deeper than that. It is a virtue. It is selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love.
I’ve always felt a big responsibility to live out the meaning of my name, knowing how much deeper it truly goes. So not only is this challenge personal to me, but it’s also an expression of true charity. And how fitting of a time to rise to this challenge, than during the season of giving?
It’s easy really. All you have to do is sign up below so 1) I know you’re on board with me and we can keep each other accountable, and 2) so I can send you a guide to get you inspired and started off with some ideas!
We’ll use the hashtag #25daysofcharity throughout the month. I’ll be sharing stories, images I take of people I meet, or any other updates. I would love to hear from everyone else too, as we do this together!
It’s one thing to *say* we’re going to do something, but it’s another to actually put it into action.
It’s also important to know that this challenge doesn’t have to include any money at all.
Do you know that sometimes more than anything, people just want to feel like they matter and are cared about? Even something as simple as a random note of encouragement, or a task like running an errand for someone, can make their day. You never know who needs to be reminded that they are worth caring for. So as you join me for #25daysofcharity, remember that you don’t have to spend a lot of money (after all, I know we’re all strapped during this season). Remember that by helping the old gentleman to the car, raking your neighbors leaves, or baking cookies for a sick friend, you’re making a difference in someone’s life.
That’s one of the most precious gifts in life, I think.
Let’s spread the love together.
Your free guide (which will get you started with 25 different ways to give back) will be delivered to your email.
I hope to see you at the hashtag! 😉