Regular readers of my blog (hello mum) will know that my New Year’s Resolution was to undertake 52 weekly challenges in an effort to get a bit closer to God. Since making it, the shape has changed somewhat – lots of people wanted to join in, so I’ve launched this separate site which is full of blogs from other people.
The first challenge was to ‘commit an act of radical generosity.’ I deliberately started with something that I personally would find difficult; we have three children and a fairly modest income, and in the context of that, generosity hasn’t always come naturally to me (my wife is wonderfully generous). Still, I thought one radical act would be perfectly doable, even if I then went back to watching the pennies.
So I started to look for the opportunity for that one act of generosity. In the meantime, other people started to write humbling blogs on how they’d been given a car, or in one case, a house. I began to wonder what on earth I could do to compete. Could we cope without our car, I considered briefly? Probably wouldn’t have been wise…
A couple of days passed, and I was starting to think about generosity all the time. I went for a beer with a friend and made sure I bought all the drinks. Hardly radical, that. I did various nice things for my wife. But surely that’s part of what I should be doing as a half-decent husband anyway. I bought someone a coffee. Big deal. I became frustrated by my apparent inability to give radically, and wished I’d used a less challenging word in the first place.
Eventually I settled on something which didn’t involve financial generosity, but did mean committing to giving an awful lot of time away (and I have even less of that). Challenge completed.
But then I had an epiphany (funnily enough, on the actual day of Epiphany): I realised that while those various un-radical acts of generosity had been small, there had been a lot of them, and I’d enjoyed myself at the same time. In fact, more than that, I’d felt a little shift in my default settings. This week, generosity has begun to feel natural, rather than forced. In searching for that one big radical act of generosity, I’d become predisposed to committing lots of little ones. And perhaps a change of heart is actually much more radical than one big action.
This week I feel like I’ve tiptoed just a little way towards the heart and character of God. But it’s only week one. If I can keep going – and crucially, if challenges like this make a lasting, rather than a temporary change – then maybe by the end of 2013 maybe I’ll have made a few bigger strides toward Him.