Friday, January 8, 2010

The New Year... The New Ambition

A coworker asked me the other day, "What resolutions are you making this year?" I told her I have resolved to make no resolutions. The irony was lost on her.

I've long since decided to stop promising to join the gym, eat better, or any number of other failures we tend to set ourselves up for. I find that the excitement of wanting to see a new me wanes when the effort remains the same (or gets harder) and the results start to flatline and eventually fall off. Call me lazy. Meh!

However soon after my resolution denial, I began to hear that intimate whisper in my heart of hearts, "... but are you really being the best YOU that I created you to be?" Sadly, I could not answer in the affirmative.

I've never really been motivated by money. Getting used to not having much of it tends to keep it from becoming a huge priority. Yes, I know I fall into the top 4% of the richest people on the planet. The convicting part of it is, I earn just enough to keep my family fed in a tiny apartment with one working vehicle and that's just fine. Except, I am called to be a giver.

I have been created in the image of my Father in Heaven who gives of His abundance graciously. It is His joy to give us every blessing from His overflowing storehouses. It is this same joy of giving that has been instilled in me by His Spirit that resides in me.

So, I give what I have to give. I give a lot of my time between leading and discipling middle schoolers, leading and teaching choir members, volunteering at every church function I attend, getting involved with the boys' sports at the community center, giving rides to my neighbor, etc. Time, I have plenty to give... but I want to give more.

So I began exploring ways to increase my earning potential to give more. I could hire myself out to a part time job but, honestly, I would be miserable with just another job. An old friend told me that in order to create wealth, you had to create streams of income, preferably passive income. So I looked at passive income streams which led to all sorts of investment strategies. Unfortunately, God has not graced me with a savvy financial mind and I soon became overwhelmed with the variety of financial vehicles available.

Then I saw a website that recommended turning your hobbies, the things you love to do, into streams of income instead of a money pit. Immediately, I couldn't think how I could get someone to pay me to play World of Warcraft, but I was willing to give it a shot if a financial backer presented him/herself. Still looking if anyone is interested!

I began thinking that God has blessed me with a mind and passion for computers. There isn't a whole lot that I can't do with them. I have long been a resource for various friends and family members over the years for maintaining, repairing, and consulting on their computers. Why not print up some cheap business cards and pass them around? That could get a small trickle started.

I also enjoy photography a lot and have taken a few good ones in my time. Why not dust off the camera I use for special occassions and use it to make some prints to sell at trade shows and online?

Well I didn't say it was a great plan, but it is one that excites me, won't completely monopolize my time, and will allow me to give back more than I currently am. I do not anticipate achieving what Americans consider "excessive wealth," but I feel that God has laid it on my heart to use the talents He has given me to bring glory to His name. If He can use these mustard seeds to be glorified, then I am willing to be humiliated for Him.

Already, I am under spiritual attack. The "other" voice is here, telling me I will fail and I'm not good enough. I can't argue with that. I have a proven track record. However my prayer is "if it will bring You great glory, whether through me or in spite of me, then here am I."

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

"Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." 2 Corinthians 9:7

"A gift opens the way for the giver and ushers him into the presence of the great." Proverbs 18:16

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