Here in the United States, we’re consumed by our love of money and status. We think bigger is better, and if we can just get that promotion, all will be well with our souls. There’s one fatal flaw to this mindset: it’s all smoke and mirrors. Once we reach our goal, we immediately feel compelled to set a higher goal. We’re left in a vacuum of unfulfillment. Maybe, getting more isn’t the answer to life. Maybe, it’s giving.

There’s something profoundly liberating about giving, yet we don’t do it often enough. It begs the question: why not? For some of us, our demanding schedules overtake our time to volunteer. For others, our fear of economic instability manifests a mindset dominated by pernicious lies like, You can’t afford to give and If you give, you won’t have enough. However, the truth of the matter is that we simply cannot afford to not give back!

When we give of ourselves, our time, and our money, we’re also giving up control. As a control freak myself, I know that sounds scary, but I’ve learned that the momentary lack of control forces me to look at what I do have and truly count my blessings. I have clean drinking water. I have food on my table. I have a roof over my head and clothes on my back. Suddenly, my panic-stricken mindset is replaced with gratitude. Gratitude not only encourages our hearts, it produces peace. And we can all use a little more peace these days. The benefits of giving don’t stop there! Giving opens up avenues for abundance.

Let’s take a moment and consider the Dead Sea. Fresh water flows into it, but nothing flows out of it, rendering everything in and around it lifeless. When anxiety drives our decisions, we cannot grow spiritually, emotionally, or mentally. When we open up our hearts and give to others, we give ourselves room to grow and thrive!

I beseech you to open your hearts and give back! Your own neighborhood desperately needs your help. Somewhere near you, there’s a single mom who needs a helping hand or a coworker whose home was damaged by one of the many natural disasters the United States encountered this year. Give your time, services, money, support, encouragement, or love! Give whatever you can! If ever there was a proverbial truth, it’s that, “The more you give, the more you get.” Give, and start experiencing a life of fulfillment!

In the glass half full/half empty debate, actress Jen Lilley (The Artist, General Hospital) takes a good look and declares, “The glass is completely full!” Even before her success, Jen decided that no matter what, half of her earnings will go to charity. Known for advocating charities that help stop child abuse here in the United States, Jen is an avid supporter of both Childhelp and The Innocent Justice Foundation. She is also dedicated to solving the world water crisis and has funded several wells with Charity: Water and Generosity Water.

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