“Gimme a dolla!’”
Anyone who has traveled to developing countries or walked the sidewalks of their own town has probably heard that familiar request. There are real needs everywhere! But there is a story hiding behind every demand. Sometimes people see themselves as helpless victims, expecting another person or another organization or another country to take care of them. They find it hard to focus on what is “right” in their life when so much “wrong” is bubbling up.
Years ago I had a young man in Cap Haitian, Haiti come up to me on the street and begged for a dollar. I wasn’t unwilling to help but I wanted to know his story. So instead of dismissing him with a dollar, I boldly asked, “What have YOU given to someone today?”
He looked at me like I had three heads! “Why is this white woman asking me this?” he seemed to be thinking. Apparently he saw himself as helpless unless somebody whom he believed had what he needed would it give to him.
But I saw an able-bodied, strong young man so I pushed a little more and asked if he had helped carry a load for an old woman or maybe fetched water for a thirsty old man from the town square’s water pump. Clearly these were within his realm of possibility. It would cost him nothing but would put him into the position of giving rather than just expecting to receive from others. He walked away shaking his head in confusion.
I was sad because he had missed the principle of reciprocity. He had failed to see that unimaginable resources to meet your legitimate needs will open up when you look to resourcing others first. Every one of us has the ability to choose! When a real need is staring you in the face, it is easy to become fearfully fixated on that need and become oblivious to the needs around you. When you obsess on your must-haves, you will miss the freedom that comes from choosing to live in the place of love rather than fear.
I talk a lot about Grace M. in Kenya, but she is so inspiring to me, and I have learned so much from her. As a budding entrepreneur she has a young daughter to raise alone. Obstacle after obstacle has slowed the vision of her own creative business but she keeps encouraging the women she oversees as they build their businesses. In all the time I have known her I have never heard her complain. I have never seen her become bitter. Instead she stands strong in her belief that God loves her and will not abandon her. When her circumstances seem threatening, she turns within, asks God to show her how to meet those needs with creative solutions and then chooses to believe that WILL happen in perfect timing. Then when she meets with the Mwangatu women or she and I talk, she asks how she can pray for US. She has chosen love rather than fear!
I want to live like that today. I want to trust the Resource within and choose love rather than fear! I know it is there I will find freedom.