Helping Myself by Giving to Others by Nicole

My whole life I had considered myself to be Christian, but I never really practiced my faith or had a relationship with God until about two years ago. Throughout college I desired to become stronger in my faith, but I wasn’t ready to make it a priority at that time. Immediately after graduating, I moved to a different state where I told myself things would be different. I searched for a church to attend and after only a few visits to two different churches in my area, I picked the second one to be my church home. Little did I know then how the messages and people from that church would impact my life now.

Like many girls and women out there, I struggle with loving my genuine and true self. Often as a result of failing at loving myself comes negativity towards others in terms of jealousy. I sometimes spend more time than I’d like to admit on social media scrolling through pictures of women who I wish I looked like. I eventually learned that this habit was self-destruction. I was being much meaner to myself with social comparison than anyone else had ever been to me.

One of the most important things I’ve learned while becoming stronger in my faith the past two years and try to apply to my life every day is the power of giving. I used to get extremely anxious and stressed when having to discuss money with anyone because I was always broke. I wanted to fit in and appear as cool as everyone else, so I would spend any money I made or received on material things. Meanwhile, my mental health was at stake because I was constantly trying to gain approval from others. A lot changed for me when I spent four short months in Salt Lake City, Utah to complete a practicum for my graduate program just last year! The home I stayed in (rent-free) belongs to two of the kindest people I have ever met and the parents of a friend I met at church… funny how everything simply fell into place for me.

I would have never thought so much could change in only four months and was shocked by how much I didn’t know about myself yet. I discovered three main things that changed my whole outlook on life… how beautiful and incredible our world truly is, my love for adventure, and God’s grace. The couple I lived with demonstrated a life led by God every day and I desired to be like them one day. I began tithing, meaning giving 10% of the money I earned away to others who need it more than me. Meanwhile, I didn’t have a steady job when I lived in Utah, I just babysat here and there and the little money I did have was running out. In fact, by the time I left Utah and went back home, I was nearly $500 in credit card debt.

Fast forward only a couple of WEEKS, I got a serving job. Only a couple of weeks after that, that same serving job also helped me get a nannying job and I was able to pay off my credit card within a month. I continue to tithe every week, giving some money to my church and some to a jar kept in my bedroom which I call my “give jar.” I suddenly stopped caring about material things, have more money saved than I’ve ever had in my life, and my anxiety decreased dramatically.

I had no idea what God wanted me to do with the money I had saved in my give jar, but I knew it was going to have a purpose eventually. That time came sooner rather than later when I found out a girl I used to work with at my serving job and her two daughters resorted to sleeping in a homeless shelter. I invited her  to stay at my house and that one night turned into a few weeks thanks to the generous hearts of my mom and stepdad whose house I currently live in. The three of them quickly became part of our family and I received the sisterly relationship that I had been praying for for a long time. Although we had given her some things to help her get back on her feet, she has helped us by putting God’s vision in our home and our hearts.

It is impossible for us to see the big picture of life, no matter how much we think we know what’s going to happen next. However, there is a higher power that has a plan for every person and He will take care of you if you have a little faith.

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