Alyssa Robinson shares where she is currently with her giving and how she wants to grow. You can learn more about living generously at TMUMC.ORG/pledge.
In 2019 along with all the other Netflix bingers, I was fascinated, and borderline obsessed, with the Netflix original series “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo." It was a classic makeover show, but it felt a little different. Marie Kondo would come into a disorganized home, help the family clean out the clutter by guiding them to only keep items that “sparked joy,” and the show would end with a beautiful, clean, minimalistic space that felt like a breath of fresh air.
The message was clear… decluttering your space will declutter your mind. That was a message I was so ready to embrace because I was going through a divorce in 2019. I was willing to try anything that would declutter my mind and spark joy. And apparently, I wasn’t the only one! Within weeks after the Netflix series launched, donation-based organizations like Goodwill and Salvation Army saw a huge uptick in material donations. Donations to Goodwill stores in the Washington D.C. area were up by 66% for the first week of January, an effect attributed to the show encouraging people to tidy their houses.
I was donating multiple garbage bags worth of clothes, kitchen items, shoes, books, etc. to the local women’s shelter. I organized my drawers and shelves to be more minimalistic and meaningful. After my divorce I moved from a 4-bedroom, 3-bathroom house to renting a single bedroom from a friend. I had successfully transitioned into my version of minimalistic living and my joy was sparked! I felt new, fresh, and decluttered. I was living simply and loving it.
But the feeling didn’t last. Life got complicated again in 2020. I’m sure you can guess why.
The world around me stopped, and I came to the awful realization when life was suddenly unbusy that I had been taking care of my physical health, and even my mental health, with exercise, decluttering, and spending time with friends. But I had completely ignored my spiritual health.
In 2020 I stopped going to church, I stopped reading my Bible, I stopped volunteering, and I stopped praying. The only spiritual practice I didn’t stop was giving. I’d love to tell you that it was because I made the decision to keep giving because of my faith, but it was because my giving was on auto draft and I actually had a little more money than usual. I was just sitting at home all day since all businesses were closed. There was no spirituality tied in with my giving.
My giving was not generous.
The definition of generous is “showing a readiness to give more of something, as money or time, than is strictly necessary or expected.” I wasn’t “showing a readiness” to give above and beyond. My giving was simply on autopilot, and it has been for a long time. I could argue that something is better than nothing or that the church gets the money whether I have a generous heart or not, but Pastor Daniel has taught me that generosity isn’t about money at all. Giving is a spiritual practice because it’s about relationship with God.
Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. – 2 Corinthians 9:7
This verse makes me wonder… what would it look like to "Marie Kondo" my financial giving? Instead of just giving on autopilot, finding ways to spark joy! Maybe I could set aside $20 each month and let God guide me where that money should go. This is an idea I want to explore, and I invite you to explore with me. What are some ideas to focus on God and turn my giving into generosity? Let’s spark joy with our gifts through relationship!
Want to hear more on Alyssa's journey to generosity? Check out the latest episode of the Life+God Podcast.