POD #16: What’s your offering?
Try this mindset on today, in your writing: what if you did your work, built your creative dream, or started your coursework or launched your business or whatever, as a pure offering to the people you envision serving, and decided to leave outcomes out of your thinking for now?
Write about what the work would be, if you can envision it purely as an offering?
For now, impose a rule that you’re not even allowed to think about who will buy it. Or if the customers will come. Or who will edit it. Or how you’ll get it on Amazon or in stores. Or how you’ll make the connections or find the money, time, or other resources you’ll need to make it happen.
Just purely: what would you offer to the world, from your creator’s heart?
I recently heard about a man who set out for rejection. He was trying to get used to being rejected so the sting would be taken out. He did crazy things to get the no, made unreasonable requests. Quiet to his surprise sometimes he was not met with rejection, but given the opportunity to do something he would have never dared to try. I don’t remember what the outcome of his experiment was, only that sometimes he was met with a “yes” when he expected a resounding “no.”
As I think about today’s prompt, that is where my mind goes. What if I stopped allowing the concern of “no” keep me from giving my offering to the world around me? What if instead of a no, regardless of the fact that is what I expect to get, I get a yes. What if I just decided that my offering is worth giving regardless of the outcome.
When I started blogging, I didn’t do it in hopes that anyone would read it. I just love to write, and was filling up so many journals online entries seemed an easy way to get the same release I find on paper. I have no pretense that others care at all about what I have to say, I just want to put it on paper. If it blesses someone else, great. If someone disagrees with my thoughts, that’s okay. I am even open to hearing their argument. I don’t mind the challenge, that is how I grow. My blog is just one example of an offering, I write regardless of the outcome.
Outcome. It is a big word in the non-profit world and social work field in general where I have spent the last eighteen years of my life. How do you know something is effective – the outcome. It is true, but there is another side to that coin. Sometimes it is a seed planted that changes the terrain, something that is left to grow and reproduce without any interruption. I think about run down houses where I used to live that had vines and weeds growing rampant. It just happens over time because of the original seed that was produced.
Everyday I help people, hoping for the best but having no guarantee of the outcome. Some days things work out and immediate needs are met, but most days it is a diversion of a bigger problem or something that may happen in the near future. I don’t always see the outcome. Often, I can not see the result of my work immediately. The outcomes in the short-run are nothing compared to the long-term results that will happen because of the seeds planted. There is a scripture in the Bible that says:
Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building. I Corinthians 3:5-9
Some people plant, some water, others reap the harvest. The person who plants may not see the outcome of their effort. Sometimes, it can be years down the road before the true outcome is seen. My life is a perfect example of it.
When I was a child, I was raised in church, yet from twelve to twenty-one I kinda did my own thing. I did the exact opposite f everything that I knew to be right. If anyone had looked at my life during those years they certainly would have second guessed the outcome of ten years of Biblical teaching.
Yet those seeds that were planted in my life, created vines that pulled me back to where I needed to be. When I came back to God, it was a slow process but ultimately I have been able to pour into more lives because of that nine-year period where there was no sign of a positive outcome. God took my crazy and used it for His glory. It wouldn’t have happened with out the early seeds.
What if I lived my own life, like I do in helping others? What if I stopped putting things on hold waiting for a “no” that could really be a “yes” or a perfect outcome that may not be immediate and just put my hand to what I am called to do? What if I say, “Sink or swim, I’m gonna give it a whirl.”?
There are two things I would offer to the world 1) Writing – there are several works in me – a play, a devotional, a children’s book and two books. They are all Christian inspired. I just need to put my fingers to the keys and do it. Block off time daily, at least weekly to just writing on these.
2) Connecting – A big dream inside of me is to see the church meeting the needs in the community. It would likely start with group outreach, as most people are not secure enough to step out alone and volunteer. They need to find a connection that inspires them to give the time needed to build relationships and make the commitment when others step away. My dream is not at a church to organization level, but on a person to person basis.
I do this individually right now, and people know. I am a resource person. I can identify needs. I can connect with the resource in the community. I want to do more, and I want it to be Christian based – not community based. I have to start somewhere and honestly, have felt like local missions at the church was the next step. Helping to arrange, organize and set up local connections. Maybe instead of waiting around for someone to ask me to fill this offering, and to offer to create it.
This post is prompted by Tara-Nicholle Nelson’s 30 Day Writing Challenge for Conscious Leaders.