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January 2020

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For the last, oh I don't know, ten years, I'd committed to reading through the entire Bible. I'd get excited, open the Bible daily and read a chapter or two, but as with many goals, by the time I read through Genesis, fifty other books stole my attention and the remainder of the year, reading through the Bible was hit or miss. 

I'd failed miserably.

In 2019, I set a rule for myself. The first activity I would do in the morning would be to read a devotional and the Bible. Temptations of social media, email, television, and any other distraction use to steal my mornings but no more, because I'd set a boundary and I wanted to stay within the bounds.

I missed a couple of days here and there, mainly when I was traveling. I'm almost through the entire Bible and it's amazing how God speaks to us when we are in his word and listening to his ever guiding voice.

On December 28th, God turned on a facet of writing ideas that hasn't shutoff.  What he is given me is good. There is no way on Earth I could have come up with what is flowing through me onto paper. 

I share this story of commitment because as I was chatting with my friend/personal trainer Zach and it hit me, that if we want to see change, results, or difference in our life, it doesn't happen overnight. 

We reflected on my weight loss journey. For three months, as I trained with him, eating healthy and working out, I saw almost zero results. The lack of evidence of my hard work frustrated me, but he kept telling me to stay on the course. I trusted his expertise and continued to do as he instructed. And sure enough, after the three-month mark hit, still staying faithful to the plan, the pounds started to melt off.

I share both stories to say, if you've been working toward a goal but aren't seeing the results you expected, keep going, even if you stumble, move forward.

Yesterday as I read my devotional, the verse Proverbs 16:3 smacked me in the face, "Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed."

The verse doesn't state commit your good intentions, it says, "commit your actions."

I believe the good book has given us all we need to be successful if life, but at the end of the day we have free will and we must act to succeed.

Blessings,

Stephanie

Inspirational Speaker and Award-Winning Author of “The Giving Challenge: 40 Days to a More Generous Life” and "The Gratitude Challenge: 41 Days to a Happier, Healthier, & More Content Life"

This past Sunday at church, the speaker mentioned his wife was working on a book proposal.

My ears perked up and I initially thought, "Oh I should go introduce myself. Maybe there is a way I can help her."

Within moments of that thought, doubt crept in.

Oh, I hate going up to strangers. It's awkward.

What if she doesn't need my assistance?

Maybe I don't have as much insight as I think.

As the negative thoughts crashed down, I had to stop myself.

Sure, introducing yourself to strangers is a bit difficult, but I've done it hundreds of times during my giving journey.

And maybe she doesn't need help, but what if she does? It's better to offer and she not need it then to not offer and she did need it.

And I do have a tremendous amount of knowledge to share with someone writing a book.

In fact, I'm coaching others on writing their own books.

I'm not a fraud.

I proceeded to go down the list of all my writing and publishing experience.

After church ended, I walked, against the flow of people exiting, down the aisle and introduced myself.

And I'm so glad I did. I had nothing to worry about it. She was so kind.

Offering our experience and our talents to others is a great gift we can give.

Maybe your children are grown, and you can give a little advice to a new mom.

Or did you recently lose weight and have a friend that's struggling in this area? Share a few tips what worked for you.

We all have gifts to share with others but often we feel like a fraud. We might downplay our knowledge and experience, or think there is someone better.

If you feel a tug, to share your knowledge, have the confidence to push past fear and doubt and help someone, you may be the difference in their failure or success.

Blessings,

Stephanie

Inspirational Speaker and Award-Winning Author of "The Giving Challenge: 40 Days to a More Generous Life" and “The Gratitude Challenge: 41 Days to a Happier, Healthier, & More Content Life”

The beginning of the new year is always emotional for me.  I tear up thinking about how one goal to give a gift every day for a year changed my life. That goal was set on January 1, 2011 and I haven't looked back.

If you don't know my story, I gave a gift for 522 consecutive days, missed a day on a business trip, took a break, but intentional giving had become a lifestyle so I started my daily giving again and I've pretty much given a gift every day since 2013. If you are interested in the 522 gifts, check out the list here.

I honestly can't tell you why I tracked in the first place, or why I started a little blog. The only thing I can think is that God gave me a nudge, and instead of ignoring doing something that was uncomfortable, I jumped in, even though fearful, and didn't look back. At the time, I hated writing and had no clue what I was doing.

There is something you may not know about that original year of giving. I almost quit. I almost shut the whole thing down. Why? A couple of negative people that attacked me through FB.

What if I would have quit?

What if I would have let a couple of negative Nancy's kill all the good and positivity other and I were spreading?

My life would be extremely different. 

First, I believe it was giving that pulled me out of many depressing days. There wouldn't be a book, The Giving Challenge, or inspirational speaking, or a second book, The Gratitude Challenge. But more importantly, thousands of people would not have received gifts. Days wouldn't have been brightened. Children wouldn't have been fed. Did you know every book I sell provides three meals to a child in need? To date, we've given close to 30,000 meals (that's with the help of a corporate match).

None of this goodness is from me. Sure, I'm the vessel, but I'm just doing what God called me to do.

It saddens me to think how many people have set a goal for the new year, and within a couple of months, someone will squash that goal. I think about all the books that were supposed to be written, to inspire someone, that are buried in a notebook in a closet. Or what about the weight someone wanted to lose so they could take better care of their children or grandchildren, but they gave up on themselves and now they are watching life on the sidelines instead of actively engaged. 

I don't know your goal for the new year, maybe you have one and maybe you don't. But I challenge you to think about what's been bugging you. What is something in your life that you can't shake? What is the little desire burning in you, but you've already given up because maybe people will think your goal is stupid, or right now you don't see a path forward to accomplish the goal?

Well friend, follow that nudge. I don't think God puts empty, unfulfilling dreams in our heart. At the end of the day, where we end up may not be what we had in mind, and may even be better? I know my goal for giving ended up way more incredible than I could have ever imagined. I’d dreamed small.

What's the one thing that is weighing you down? What's the one goal that you don't want to start another new year thinking about? Share it with me.  Let's hold each other accountable.

In my last post I talked about reflecting on 2019. If you haven't done that, take some time this week to do so, as it will help gain clarity for 2020 and help you steer around obstacles. This is also an exercise you can do with your team at work.

Friends, let my 2011 goal of giving a gift every day for a year be an inspiration to you. To motivate you to see what happens when we set a goal and stick with it. It's your choice of what you do now, choose wisely.

Stephanie

Inspirational Speaker and Award-Winning Author of "The Giving Challenge: 40 Days to a More Generous Life" and “The Gratitude Challenge: 41 Days to a Happier, Healthier, & More Content Life”