Friday, March 12, 2010

Bolder Giving (and receiving)

Jo Hunter Adams

About a year ago, Eug and I were inspired by Tom and Bree Hsieh's story, featured on Bolder Giving. We were doing the Lazarus at the Gate (LATG) curriculum at the time, and trying to figure out how to give, which is one of the central themes of the curriculum (Live more simply to give more generously). The curriculum even inspired me to write an e-book!

Yet recently I've felt anxiety, and a need to engineer a sense of financial certainty. So I went back to Tom Hsieh's story to get inspired, and was reminded of what provision could mean. The Hsieh's live on the median U.S. income (in L.A., an expensive city) and give away everything beyond that.

There's a definite seasonality to our finances, which seems good-- financial priorities should shift to stay in line with our other priorities. When we did the LATG curriculum the first time, we had a ton of student loan debt and were living primarily on Eug's income; the second time, we had more almost eliminated our debt and had two incomes; now, we're free of student loan debt, our income is unpredictable and we're turning into a family of three. Through these changing seasons, I've felt a sense of God's provision (though I'm totally not pushing the prosperity gospel, because that's just shady).

Rather, looking back affirms my sense that living in the uncertainty (rather than trying to engineer certainty) is a good thing: That feeling of euphoria that we could buy a house in Obs after very little planning; the offer, this past weekend, of a (an amazing) car from a virtual stranger. Both things that we don't technically need. Giving seems a pretty safe "risk" when we have so much.

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