complicated giving

i experienced something really interesting this afternoon. well, it began earlier this week, probably monday. here’s the story. 

seeing as finals are upon college students, i thought of some small way to lighten the load of two. any two. i purchased two gift cards from a local eatery, typed up words of encouragement, put them in envelopes and set out to find two students. recipient criteria was simple: students i don’t know, students who need what i have to give & students God leads me to.

i set out on my giving journey. the weather was perfect for walking. this was going to be a great afternoon. until i sensed God say to me, “how will you know who i’m directing you to if you’re not spending enough time with me outside of this moment to know my voice? and with that, i took myself and my two envelops back to my office.

it’s true. i haven’t spent a lot of time hearing form God, lately. sure, i have sound reasons, i suppose, but it is what it is. we talked it over, God and i, and decided it was best to take this on the road later in the week, after doing some more listening.

today become the day and it turned out to be much more than i’d expected. no, neither student to whom i gave an envelope cried tears of joy and hugged the life out of me. in fact, i don’t know how they reacted. i simply handed them the envelope and walked away, hoping they weren’t so jaded by random freebees that they’d toss it fifty paces later.

here’s what i know happened:

  • God made it clear that asking Him to lead me to a particular student was actually my attempt at experiencing something magical and that i didn’t need to experience anything magical, i just needed to give.
  • God also made it clear to me that every single student could be blessed by that small gift not just those in need (whatever “need” means) and that trying to identify a student in need isn’t always wise. it does, however, unearth the stereotypes that i’ve been fed as to what need looks like. that’s hard to come to terms with but a valuable lesson, nonetheless.

the days are full. the lists of “to dos” are many. say a prayer for college students everywhere. encourage the ones you know with more than “you can do it.” and don’t be afraid to give sans magic.

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