What affect did The Generosity Project have in my life? What did it not affect is more like it.
Now I have their faces burned in my mind and I’m familiar with some aspect of their life. I could pick them out in a crowd. I pray for them and I love them. My heart is open to people that I never in my life would have talked with otherwise. And that is a change I want to continue to fight for in my life. I want to know the people in my community that are different from me. I want to open myself to love more people in the same place over a long period of time.
I want to give when there is NOTHING in it for me. I want to be inconvenienced for the betterment of another.
I’ll tell you one thing—pouring yourself out for the sake of others is quite the noble task when you first start out…until you actually have to pour yourself out. I never realized that at my most “empty” I’m typically still operating with a half full tank. Even with half a tank it’s still hard to tell how much of that is Jesus’ abundant grace that I’m being fueled by and how much is grace severely diluted by Katy. Well when you pour and pour and pour, when you give and give and give—you can tell REAL quick what the ‘go to’ fuel of the heart truly is. Starting at empty and trying to live off of whatever I can muster up for myself…it’s ugly and rude and tired and judgmental—That’s what comes out when it’s just me that’s feeding my heart. It doesn’t work well.
Pouring myself out during The Generosity Project was a constant plaguing reminder that I’m not as awesome as I think I am. What I’ve got to work with as raw materials go, sucks. And come on…you know where I’m going with this. When I stopped white knuckling my own heart, when I let Jesus’ grace upon grace reign over me through the Bible, service, worship, prayer, and accountability…it was like jet fuel for my soul.
The Generosity Project opened my eyes to the beauty and the ugliness of living generously. Standing with my arms open often left me amazed as my arms were filled with every need. I found myself having to guard my heart and imagination as people stepped up to donate stuff, time, and efforts. It felt great—so warm and fuzzy when humanity shows you they are made of more than you thought, but it also left me (ironically) greedy. I wanted more. MORE. More love, more impact, more depth, more life change, more grace, more people, more gospel sharing, more unity—I just found myself wanting it all, because “it all” is really really beautiful. Nothing I wanted was bad and even my motives were right—but I found that God even wanted that desire (for more of the good stuff) given to Him with stretched out palms.
Dreaming for “the good stuff” is a delicate thing because if you never stop to be content and satisfied as you work toward your dream…you’ll miss the whole thing.
Like most hard earned moments in life, there were people who fell beneath my expectations and those who rose higher than it occurred to me to even expect. Here are some of the lessons I learned about sharing your dream with the world:
1. You can’t MAKE anyone take your dream on as their own
2. You have to see your dream with humility and act on it with grace
3. You have to love people more than your dream
4. You have to see this dream in the reality of the big picture, not letting good things crowd out best things
Cultivating and carrying out The Generosity Project was a privilege. It took so much work, of which I had many helpers whom I appreciate more than words could say. I was absolutely overwhelmed and humbled to be in a position to both give and receive in so many ways. I was pushed to the limits of my comfort zone at times and now the “comfort zone” seems to hold less and less for me. I learned that without people, without relationships, without love…stuff has no meaning, and yet letting go of our stuff can sometimes be one of the most difficult tasks. The impact I carry with me from meeting people like Shanae and Ashely and Tanya is greater than I could ever express. I think it is very rare that a person look back on their original dream, the hard work, and the reality of the experience with joy in every area of the process, so I count myself immensely blessed.