Why we should plan for giving in our living

I spend a lot of time on Facebook. No, let me rephrase that – I spend WAY TOO MUCH TIME on Facebook. I’m not interested in cute pics of puppies (OK, I like some puppies but definitely not cats) or reading people’s irritations disguised as an open letter to a stranger (you know what I mean, “Dear jerk who cut me off on the highway….”). My passion is connecting genuinely, profoundly and usefully with people and ideas. During many months spent bedridden I developed a habit of surfing Facebook. It became where I could connect with the world. Now I’m kind of stuck with that habit (including the lots of time in bed part if I’m being totally honest). Recently, while surfing the social media giant, my brain was prodded enough to put it in a blog post.

Before typing a “status update” Facebook asks, “What’s on your mind?” So friendly. There’s a LOT on my mind! (My job title is ‘Chief Daydreamer’ for a reason.) Lately I’m thinking about money…and how we relate to it. Facebook is the prime driver of GoFundMe and other giving campaigns. In my own life over $54,000 was donated in less than two weeks on my behalf because of strong relationships and social media. My community stepped up mightily!! And cemented my commitment to giving.

In our modern consumerism culture we have an odd relationship with money. We fear lack of it, try to buy happiness with it, interpret value with it, and express approval with it. But ultimately, in its most basic and essential form, we trade time for it. We all know the expression “Time is money.” In fact time is all we really ever have. (Yes I know this is getting ridiculously deep but I’m on a roll.) Whenever we give or spend money what we’re really trading is a piece of our life. 

Less than two months before the collision, I announced through newsletters and Facebook that my company would be tithing (giving 10%) from profits in every community where we worked and encouraging supporters to join us by giving as little as the price of a cup of coffee. In fact, while I was on vacation in Paris a week before the crash I was emailing with my client at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo coordinating a collaboration involving them, us, and a local charity that benefits mothers and children. It was a beautiful plan! Then everything fell through…and I became the charity case in need of help. Time for a new plan.

After I was out of the hospital I faced medical bills for the rest of my life. I had a profound choice about how I would relate to money, as we all do. Saving my life came at a very high price (over $2.5million and counting), but I have chosen to live in gratitude not fear. I give money because it’s giving a piece of my life to others. 

I grew up hearing my daddy say, “If you can’t live on 90% of your income you’re livin’ too high on the hog!” He was talking about savings, which we do, but I also apply it to giving. Every month we budget for giving globally, locally, and individually. I take seriously the idea of community in the biggest sense. Giving internationally and locally is done through planned charitable contributions. Giving individually happens because of Facebook. When I see the GoFundMe posts I don’t cringe with guilt. I have a budgeted line item for individual needs. I know people will need help, just as I have, and I happily give a piece of my life with gratitude.  I made it a plan. 

Questions to ponder if you’re the pondering sort – What’s your relationship with money? What’s the ROI (Return On Investment) of giving for you ? What, or who, are you giving your life to?

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