Monday, 6 January 2014

New Year's Resolution.. in January!?

So those of you who started following this blog when it first started know that I usually make my new year's resolutions on 1st October rather than 1st January. Strange, I know, but that date held a lot of significance for me in the past. This year, when 1st October came round, I found myself with the inclination towards two new year's resolutions: (1) to stop letting 1st October remain so significant, and (2) to be more active and practical in bringing about change in the world (rather than focussing more on raising awareness). So here I am, keeping these two resolutions, particularly the first, by publishing them more specifically in January, rather than in October. 

Towards the end of 2013, I posted a lot about Samaritan's Purse's Operation Christmas Child initiative. I got involved personally and encouraged others at the school where I work, at my church and in my family and friendship circles to get involved. In the span of 3 weeks, we managed to collect 96 boxes, which I was incredibly pleased with! 

Ever since Operation Christmas Child's collection dates ended (mid/end November), I have been walking around and feeling drawn to things that I feel like I need to buy, but just reminding myself that it is over now! Then it hit me, I can buy bits and pieces every month so that I am able to reach my target of 12 boxes (2 per gender and age category) for Christmas 2014. Well, I'm pleased to announce that I started today! Initially, I just wanted to take as much advantage as possible of the January sales, but then realised that if I intend to do this properly, I need to be careful and prayerful about each purchase (something I am beginning to learn for my whole life!). I am really pleased with what I ended up buying today and know that each of those gifts will be perfect for the boy/girl who receives it.

I have started giving of myself more practically and using my love of giving gifts/ making up personalised gift boxes. To allow for this financially, I have certainly had to cut back on what I spend on myself, but I have also started selling things I no longer need/want to help fund this (e.g. clothes, bags, shoes, belts & bedding to Cash4Clothes, or selling items on ebay or amazon). I also try to buy gifts that give back (e.g. fairtrade, or from online stores like Sevenly who support causes), so that they are double blessings!

It's really amazing how little you are prepared to spend on yourself when you weigh each purchase against what a blessing that money could be to someone else.. it is equally amazing how over-indulgent you become the minute you slip back into old habits and focus on yourself again...

So I encourage you to include in your list of resolutions for 2014 one that you actually intend to keep: to be less self-focussed and more outward-focussed. Give and love sacrificially, not just when it is easy because really, then there is no sacrifice at all.

I hope that you had a beautiful Christmas (I spent mine with my family in South Africa) and that 2014 will be a year filled with joy, blessings and surprises.


Ronell x

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