Have you caught yourself saying, “Oh, someone else will do it.”? We all know volunteering is essential for our charities, religious organizations, pancake breakfasts, environmental cleanups, and schools to name a few. And we all know we SHOULD volunteer for something, right? But why at times (not all the time) do we see volunteering as a daunting task?
Let’s say you’re at…a magic show. The stage backdrop is black, the fog machine creates mystery, the magician stands with a power pose and says, “I need a volunteer!” Eyebrows rise. Hands pop up. Voices chirp, ‘pick me, pick me’!
Let’s say you’re at…church. The stage backdrop is black, the fog machine softens the ambiance, the Pastor stands with a power pose and says, “I need volunteers”. No one moves, some eyeballs roll, and then…there’s a cough.
A little different isn’t it? Many people use the excuse of time. “I don’t have time”. I’ve used it, I’m guilty. But is that really the case? I wish it was…but if there’s something you REALLY want to do, you’ll make time for it. So what gives? Let’s start with the logical answer: Interest. If you’re not attracted to the task at hand; you’re not going to raise your hand for it.
Fix #1: Just Say ‘No’?
My last blog post was about saying ‘No’. Well friends, this is when you can practice it. Say what? I’m not encouraging you to NOT volunteer for stuff; I’m cheering you on to volunteer for stuff you ENJOY. Let me explain: if you don’t like the outdoors, then don’t volunteer to plant trees. If you aren’t a toddler-time kind of person, then don’t volunteer in the kid’s wing. If you hate the smell of pancakes, then don’t volunteer at the pancake breakfast. It’s okay! They don’t want you there. No one likes a grumpy volunteer or worse yet to hear how much you hated it.
When you enjoy a task at hand you do a better job, you have fun, and you make in difference in more ways than one. Now that’s rocket science people. Having an interest in what you’re giving your time and attention to creates joy. BUT WAIT, there’s an exception to this ‘no’ thing: if you don’t know if you’ll like it, then totally do it! What a great way to test it out.
Fix #2: Getting There
Do you ever say, ‘when I’m there, I’m good”? I have had dozens of experiences where I didn’t want to go but was grateful after I got there. But even when I’m volunteering for something I know I’ll enjoy, I STILL have to make an effort to hurdle the couch, forgo the beach, and ignore the ‘to-do’ list. How to fix this obstacle? Think about the end first. Ask yourself, “How am I going to feel when I’m done?” Then focus on that.
Fix #3: But I’ll be all alone…
I have a hard time pampering this one because I’m an advocate for embarking on the unknown without knowing anyone. Why? Because you learn a tremendous amount about your character when alone. Questions like ‘who am I?’ and ‘who do I want to become?’ get an opportunity to plant a seed in you. It’s like searching for a piece to a puzzle. You know the piece is somewhere on the table; the hard part is finding it. But when you do find it, a small flutter happens and you get to see a little bit more of the big picture. So here it goes friends, “Suck it up and go.” Who cares if you go solo, there are people there in the same boat.
“Okay Christy, geesh, I get it; so why is it so important to volunteer?”
There are a number of reasons with a bunch of explanations behind them, let’s check some out:
- Assist those who need it…the less fortunate, the disabled, the elderly, the young.
- Create connections. Network.
- Experience wellness. Studies have shown that volunteering helps boost self-confidence, personal satisfaction, and even help combat anxiety.
- Career enhancement. Want to try a new career path before jumping headfirst? Volunteering gives you a taste without any waste. It’s a way to get your foot in the door.
To sum all this up, without volunteers we DO get divided, we do fall. Think about those events at church, school, or the community center. It’s the volunteers who are the real Musketeers. Next time you hear the word ‘volunteer’, stay tuned to your instincts and pay attention to what you enjoy. Say ‘no’ when you need to and ‘yes’ when you want to. You’ll make an impact on not only the people you’re serving, but on the bigger picture.
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By CT Copyright © 2018 More Than Existence All Rights Reserved.
Okay, so right now on Netflix, my husband and I are watching the remake of the 1965 TV series “Lost in Space”. It’s about the Robinson family who goes on a space adventure to find a better planet to live on…earth is dying. Well, they crash on this alien planet, which is incredibly beautiful but has a whole bunch of mess with it. To top it off they have a ridiculously dishonest Dr. Smith and a bipolar robot. The crew battles crazy challenges that are stupidly entertaining and unrealistic, but I love to watch them play the game of survival.
Earth and survival go hand in hand. Everything we need to survive is outdoors; the sun, vegetation, clean air, water, resources, and the beauty to entertain. Our Heavenly Father created us to live on His creation, but let’s face it, we are slowly destroying it. What do you think God thinks of this? In “Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren he expresses, “You were created to add to life on earth, not just take from it”. I think he meant this in a purposeful way, but you can also look at this with a physical sense.
I recently heard about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP). The pristine Pacific Ocean that is life blood to our planet is slowly but steadily being filled with garbage. Right now the patch has more than doubled the size of Texas! Whoa, say what?
I understand everyone is not into nature, but you’re still a person who drinks clean water, who breathes air, and who likes to go to the beach for vacation. Our existence impacts the earth’s existence, and if the earth dies, so do we.
Most of us have taken initiatives to do our part to help preserve and protect our back yards. Thank you! But some of us just don’t get it, or frankly, don’t care. We have big trash bins and no recyclable bin, we use chemicals on our grass, and we keep the car running while sitting in a parking lot. I’m not asking for people to give-up toilet paper, I’m just asking for awareness…your personal wakefulness on the subject. If we don’t take notice of our actions in this matter, our future grandchildren just may be called the Garbage Pail Kids.
What is space?
John Muir answers that question pretty straight forward: “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.”
Whether you are a city slicker or a country folk, the outdoors is a necessity in life; it’s our peacekeeper for mind, body, and even relationships. So what can you do? Here are 3 survival steps to start with:
- Connect with nature. Develop a relationship with her.
- Go barefoot, roll in the leaves, swim in a lake or ocean, exercise outdoors, have a picnic, start a garden, or simply let her entertain you. Make time to do this.
- Put a picture of the GPGP or any garbage dump on your refrigerator.
- Seeing is believing. Be proud of how much you recycle. Measure how much you do. Your actions will influence your neighbors or at least get them thinking!
- Plant a tree. Trees do a whole for us, like helping us breathe!
- Trees are easy to take care of and they bring personality to your yard. Heck you can name them if you want! I named my Blue Spruce “Bruce”. J
- Need a tree? If you’re local, contact me, I have a little tree farm. Live in the city or don’t have space to plant? Go to the Arbor Day Foundation. You can have them plant a tree for you where it’s needed most! Now is the time.
We may not be lost in space, but we may just lose space on our planet. Cue the robot, “Danger, Will Robinson.” Find your ‘earth thing’, then own it.
We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.- Mother Teresa.
Best regards, CT
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By CT Copyright © 2018 More Than Existence All Rights Reserved.
Ready? Try and guess this small thing that has a big impact:
- I planted a garden and depended on this to see my first flower bloom.
- I had no energy, no appetite, no hope, all due to a rare disease that hindered me of this.
- My husband left for a two week venture to Nepal, his bravery and drive brought him there because of this for the people.
Have you guessed it? I bet it’s on your desk right now. It’s something so simple yet filled with power. If you take notice you too will see where this small thing has made a big impact on your life. I know I’m not the only one.
We moved into our new home. The best part…a backyard. A garden was definitely in order. My dirt filled fingernails delicately pushed the seed into the ground. Joy filled my soul with anticipation of what color would bloom. After some of this, life poked through the manure and dirt. Have you guess it yet?
Exhausted and debilitated from nonstop nausea and uncontrolled vomiting I clenched my cross desperate for relief. Eight months of day-in and day-out sick; this must be what it feels like to die. IV’s pierced my collapsed veins. Fourteen pounds fleeted my bones. My body was present but ME was gone; all from a rare pregnancy disease. Seriously? Never had my lips been so dry so desperate for just a drop of this…
My husband’s heart beat towards a little village in Nepal near the epicenter where an 8.1 earthquake hit in 2015. The earthquake killed at least 9000 people; it flattened villages, triggered avalanches, landslides, not to mention destroying watersheds.* Never being on a mission trip he chose to go clear across the globe, to camp on the ground, to ride on a treacherous road for 10 hours, to have land leaches eat at his feet. While he was there he took noticed of what the people needed most…and acted on it. One year later with the help of Genesis Waters, two huge water filtration systems were installed in the village. Now, hundreds of people are currently using them, they are feeling better, stronger, and cared for because of this…
If you guessed H2O (water) you’re right; if you guessed God’s Love you are more than right. Try inserting God’s Love into the bold words above and reread that sentence. Interesting, eh?
Water is a symbol of God’s Word. This is no coincidence. Humans can’t survive more than three days without water. Our spirit can’t survive without God’s Word…His Love for us.
Here are some small ideas of how we can make a big impact with simply water:
- Drink it for good health, a clearer mind, and cleaner body.
- Conserve it but use it to do your part in helping the environment. Plant trees or a garden and water it. Get a rain barrel. Shower less. Flush less.
- Help support organizations like Genesis Waters who can bring clean water to people in third world counties. Trust me, you don’t ever want to experience dehydration via disease or lack of water…neither do they or their precious babies.
- Minister with it for others.
Together we can make a difference in this world if we just focus on water. Simple, yet powerful.
“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.” Psalm 42:1
Thirsty? I am.
By CT Copyright © 2017 More Than Existence All Rights Reserved.
Twenty some years ago in Southern Indiana, my friend and I were hiking in the Charles C. Deam Wilderness. Who knew my “big picture” on life was about to develop and my passion was to ignite.
We spotted the fire tower on our map. “Let’s go! I’ve never been up a fire tower,” I said. My heart raced and stomach fluttered. Step by step my quads burned from the climb. Above the canopy my heavy breathing from the physical ascent immediately quieted from the awe of the vast sea of autumn tree tops. Not a sight of human impact was seen; it was pure wilderness and in that moment I was part of this big picture. It was a sight I’ll never forget and a feeling I’ll yearn for years to come.
So what is the BIG Picture? Is it a destination? Goal? Event? Feeling? In that moment in the fire tower it was a vision. I could see far. I felt free, yet energized, and wanted to show someone else.
I can’t speak for everyone on what the big picture is, but I do know it’s about using our talents, bringing value to a cause, and passing on the goodness.
In the article ‘The Power of Connecting Passion with Purpose’, Karl Moore summarizes a survey performed over a three year span. With 500+ talented Millennials from 15 countries the survey revealed that employees in this generation have a deep desire to connect with the big picture. Meaningful work is being sought after. In conclusion to the survey, if you align people with what they are passionate about, they will create value.
How can you be a part of the big picture today?
- First and foremost, understand yourself. What are you passionate about (you can have more than one)?
- Be aware of your surroundings. Where do you see a need that aligns with your passion?
- Research organizations, companies, courses, or books that teach you more about your passion or how to find your niche.
- Get started on it. “Perfect timing” doesn’t exist. Just start. In fact give your time and volunteer.
For me, the big picture is a bird’s eye view of how we use our gifts, talents, and passions to move people to be driven on a cause; to save souls in mind, body, and spirit; and to nurture our natural resources so future generations can climb the fire towers and be in awe.
By CT Copyright © 2016 More Than Existence All Rights Reserved.
When some people hear the word “volunteer” they raise their eyebrows and get that look of possibility. When others hear it they roll their eyes and say to themselves, “I’m too busy” or “work for free?”.
At some point in my life, I have been both those people. I’m not sure when my attitude changed about it, but I’m really glad it changed. Some of my fondest, most personal growing experiences haven’t been when I got paid to do stuff or when I said “no, I’m too busy”, but when I have volunteered. There is just something magical that happens to the heart when working on a special project or helping out for free.
My definition of volunteering comes from the Bible: Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” That verse energizes me. Knowing that I am working/living for a higher power than man. Think about that for a minute.
With me knowing that I did ‘this or that’ to help a community be better, an organization grow more awareness, a family rebuild their home, take care of babies in the nursery at church, or help my neighbor with something it makes me feel alive. It’s those moments when I feel like I’m living beyond my existence.
Men/Women pay money for other people to work for them. God pays people a much bigger reward if we work for Him.
Here are acouple websites that might help get your juices flowing about volunteers, although there are many opportunties in your communities, schools, churches, and local organizations:
Do More than Exist
So you want to do more than exist starting today? That’s awesome! Starting is the hardest part.
I could go on to say, “wake up really early, go for a five mile jog, enroll yourself into some classes, go buy a bunch of ‘green’ light bulbs, start sewing your own clothes, and buy a ticket to a 3rd world country so you can go there and help….do it now and today!”
Now really….there are some people out there that DO say that kind of stuff. Probably some highly paid ones. But guess what, I’m not one of those people.
If you want to start to do more than your existence today starting right now, I have two solution ideas, one is a Thinker, the other a Doer.
For the Thinker suggestion I would first slow down and absorb what my heart and mind are trying to say to me. I would take a time-out and go somewhere where I can think clearly. And for me I would also pray about it without ceasing. Over the next few days or couple weeks I would try to define what do more than exist means to me, I would put together a list of what I want to accomplish; then I would write down how I’m going to do it….breaking it down into do-able bites makes it do-able. Having everything written down makes it real. You see it, you can reference it, and you can build on it.
- take a time-out
- write down what do more than exist means to me
- write down what I want to accomplish,
- write out a plan of how to do it
As for the Doer suggestion. If I wanted to do something that I could see results from right away and do the thinker part later, I would start recycling. Uh? No matter where you are or who you are, everyone can recycle. It’s amazing how much recyclable material we throw away. I challenge you if you aren’t already recycling to try it for a week. Grab a box or storage bin and see what a difference you can make.
The other idea you could do to see results is to clean out your closet or dresser with unwanted clothes or shoes. This is a Win-Win task that gives you instant gratification, a clearer mind, and a heart to pass it on to others.
One last quick idea. If you have a yard, use it. Many people long for a place to send the kids out to play, to have a space for their dog, or to have their own slice of nature. Don’t take your yard for granted. Yard work is good for the body, soul, and neighborhood, not to mention another great instant gratification event!