The generous man will be prosperous, And he who waters will himself be watered. Proverbs 11:25
Don’t we all want to be considered generous? And isn’t it lovely to think that we can be one who “waters”–that when we enter a room, we can give a “drink” to the one who’s parched and in need of encouragement. Consistently living like this takes intentionality. A good starting point is to ask, “How do I show up to an event? Who is on my mind? What am I hoping for?” These are some great probing questions to ask before spending time with anyone. Getting into the habit of asking these questions can have some pretty significant results. Every social context we are in, every interaction we have, can hold the potential for something to spark and develop. Seeds are planted. We never know what God will grow from those seeds– might be a relationship that leads to marriage, or might be a dear friend for life. But we’ve got to show up with a heart to give.
We know to be “others-centered.” Yes, we know that! But I can get tripped up pretty easily and show up “me-centered.” My own flavor of being “me-centered” usually comes in the form of self doubt. Harassing questions can plague me and weigh me down. Questions like, “Does my friend really want me here, or was she merely being polite to invite?” Generally, these kinds of image-deflating questions are not obvious to us. The Bible says “little foxes spoil the vineyard.” We get hit with these insidious thoughts that undermine us before we’ve had a chance to realize it; before we were able to implement damage control. That’s why we need to be intentional about developing a habit of asking ourselves the probing questions above before arriving at any event. This is how we hold the mirror up to our heart.
I was struggling in a relationship recently and trying to ascertain what had gone wrong. Slowly I began to realize that I’d be entertaining all kinds of doubts about my value to this person. So when we were together, I was living out of this doubt and therefore not really being myself–my true self. If you do this long enough, the “you” you really are will be absent too long and relationships don’t thrive in this kind of environment!
In direct contradiction to that, we can show up “others-centered.” When we feel confident we have something of value to give to others, we naturally bless them. But that stems from an underlying belief that we do, in fact, have valuable things to give. So before leaving home to be with anybody, take a good look in the mirror at your heart. What do you see? Are you confident in your standing with God–that your are His beloved and He’s imbued you with precious gifts like no one else. Seriously–like NO ONE else. You were molded to be a gift to those whose lives you touch. You were meant to be one who waters. You’ve got a treasure chest of gifts from which to generously pour out God’s goodness on others. Don’t leave home without this conscious awareness. Be a fountain!
Join the conversation! How can we be more “others-centered” or what struck you from Proverbs 11?
Hi! I have a passion for bridging the social gap between singles and married individuals. I have a vision for seeing singles obtain positions of leadership in the church. And I love all things outdoors, especially biking, skiing, and kayaking!
Virginia McInerney is the author of Single Not Separate: How to Make the Church a Family.