It’s the time of year when light is a potent symbol across cultures. My family will celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah. You may observe others.
Whatever holidays you celebrate, it’s not hard to see why we need them at this time of year. The cold – and oh, the dark! I don’t know about you, but they drag me down.
At this time of year, we fundraising people are especially busy. People are in a giving mood, and that’s wonderful! This time of year certainly requires our best.
But here’s a confession. The sort I would be advised never to make. “Confidence is contagious! Show no fear! Move on through it!” I’m encouraged instead.
I’m often struck with crippling lack of self-confidence. It whispers, “You are not able. You aren’t. Don’t try.” It counsels comfort in limitations.
I know many of you wrestle with something similar. I’ve heard people whose gifts astound me downplay their talents, doubt themselves. And when we’re tasked with helping an organization raise money – the money so necessary to help people – the fear of failing can be overwhelming.
What if that letter is not good enough? Should I review that list one more time? Could I make another phone call? If we don’t raise the money, the consequences are scary. Maybe it’s better to play it safe.
But here’s the thing. These gifts we all have are real. And they’re not meant to be set aside.
I’m not suggesting you brag. Or make empty claims. Or do anything intended only to build your ego.
I’m suggesting that you (and I) owe the world. Without your gifts, we’re all lessened. When your talents are offered to the world – to make it a kinder place, or a more beautiful place, to make it more just or more understandable… It’s not a matter of puffing yourself up. It’s a matter of using what you’ve been given to use.
So be a little kinder to yourself. Expect to fail and be ready to forgive your failure, so long as you learn from it. Because, really, you’re needed.
I can’t preach to you. I’m feeling my way through myself. But like a young child proudly presenting her dollar store gift to mom… Let’s remember it’s the spirit of sharing that matters.
Think about using your gifts for good. Let’s allow ourselves to set fear aside in favor of generosity – to ourselves, to the world. Then let’s get to work, focused on what we can do to help.