I recently took the StrengthFinders assessment and discovered my top character trait is—achievement.
I must confess, it fits. I have a strange love of tests and filling out forms. A deadline is an invitation to tackle a project and wrestle it into submission at least a week before it’s due. And I never meet a to-do list without instantly strategizing how to multitask and conquer.
Now, we’re in the midst of a month of Generosity, so that virtue has been high on my list. Comparison shopping for gifts online and in store. Planning Christmas parties and dinners. Wrapping the gifts. Sending invitations and cards and Christmas letters. I’ve made great headway at checking everyone off my list.
Except: the people in my life should never be relegated to a list. Generosity is not about me handing over a carefully wrapped gift or a slice of perfect homemade fudge while my mind is busy sorting items to pack for our Christmas trip. It’s not about me blocking out an hour for peppermint mochas with a friend while I’m mentally plotting out the script I need to finish by week’s end.
At the core, Generosity is about me giving my full, complete presence to the people in my life.
That doesn’t mean burying myself by saying “Yes” to everything. But it does mean offering the gift of my undivided attention in every interaction—no matter how brief.
It’s a safe guess that like me, you’ll be wrangling dozens, if not hundreds of interactions in the next week or so: volunteers, leaders, kids, coworkers, immediate and extended family members. The post office clerk and the gal at the grocery store and your child’s dance teacher.
There’s no way to give every single one a wrapped gift or a dinner party invitation. But even when my time is limited and the to-do list calls, my goal is, offer my full presence to each person—even if it’s just five seconds for a warm smile and a “Merry Christmas.”