Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The New Arms Race!

No, not that one -- it’s not the one where we stockpile our defenses to mount an offense. And it’s not one where we disarm -- where we lay our arms down. No, this is one where we each use the two arms God has given us to help lighten the loads of others. This week we salute volunteers. I’m totally inspired by the men and women in our Woman to Woman® “Volunteer Passion and Payoff” show currently running here and around the country on 290 stations. It has me thinking about creative ways to reach out with help where it’s needed. Plenty of needs are obvious -- from supporting friends and family laid off from work to visiting elderly shut-ins with little or no contact with the outside world to picking up litter in the parks where our kids play. You just need to pick a need and decide to address it.

Once it’s in your mind that you can do something without getting paid for it, you’re ready to go! You don’t have to train for it -- just go with your natural inclinations and abilities. Give up a few minutes and get back a few good feelings. Even when I'm busy, I set aside time to use my gifts in ways no one else notices but the receiver. Last week it was simply doubling the recipe for my “Eggs Baked In Casserole” and delivering it to someone who needed a boost. It's another way of hugging you when I put my arms to work on your behalf. I fight the tendency to play “poor me” and whine about all I have to do when I think of what someone else needs done. I serve a God who's doing for me all day and night. It's the least I can do to pass it on. Plus, I love the way volunteering boomerangs back to me. It always enhances my life, every single time, whether anyone knows about it or not!

I love the story Dana Anzalone tells about how she discovered her love for volunteering. As you read where her boundless enthusiasm took her, you’ll probably think how you can encourage that energy in yourself and your kids. Right now, someone is waiting, hoping, and praying for a “reach out,” not a handout, but someone to help carry some of their burdens, even for a few minutes of much longed-for relief. Now that’s an arms race we can all win!

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