Life-giver

20140713-003219-1939942.jpg

Here is an exercise and idea that one of my college mentors, Michael Brown developed that changed the way I interacted with people….

If you could spend 24 hours straight with one person you know in the world, who would it be?

If you were really sad and lonely, who would you want to call right away…simply to hear his or her voice?

Think of one person, someone that you totally admire, that you would want to be just like…who would that be?

What are some of the qualities of the people you thought of?

Michael proposed to us that these people we would think of would all possess characteristics of what he would call a “lifegiver.”

So what is a lifegiver?? I’m so glad you asked…

Life-Giver (not Life-Robber)

Loving
Intentional
Fun-Loving
Expressive
Giving
Inquisitive
Vigorous
Enthusiastic
Responsive

Best Qualities and Practices of a LIFEGIVER

Loving an individual means accepting them unconditionally, regardless of their behavior or beliefs.
Loving an individual means serving them and meeting their needs tangibly.
Loving an individual means caring about them, putting down your guard and letting your heart feel.
Loving an individual means showing love to them.
Being intentional with an individual means going to them, and not waiting for them to come to you.
Being intentional with an individual means hanging out in their world and on their turf.
Being intentional with an individual means moving close, making eye contact and engaging.
Being intentional with an individual means making that phone call, setting up that hang out time and stopping by their home.
Having fun with an individual means doing fun stuff with them, without an agenda.
Having fun with an individual means being their friend, just because.
Having fun with an individual involves spontaneity.
Having fun with an individual means laughing at their jokes, enjoying their quirks and celebrating their joys and successes.
Having fun with an individual means diving headfirst into their world of interests – taking risks and trying new things with them.
Being expressive with an individual is encouraging their strengths and unique contributions.
Being expressive with an individual is telling them how you feel about life – both the good and bad.
Being expressive with an individual is telling then how you feel about them and their friendship.
Being expressive with an individual is letting them see the emotions that flow from your pain and pleasure.
Being expressive with an individual means sharing life-words, with no expectation of verbal feedback.
Being generous with an individual means sacrificing your time to be with them.
Being generous with an individual means sharing your prized and precious possessions with them.
Being generous with an individual means being generous with your money.
Being generous with an individual means seeking out opportunities to meet tangible needs in their lives.
Being generous with an individual means mostly the willingness to give your heart away…with no safety nets in place.
Being inquisitive with an individual means being sincerely interested in other people.
Being inquisitive with an individual means rejecting passivity in conversations.
Being inquisitive with an individual infers a willingness to carry most of a conversation, until a certain level of comfortability is achieved.
Being inquisitive with an individual means not giving up on the quiet or socially awkward person.
Being inquisitive with an individual means taking risks to explore with them the deeper issues of life; talking about things that matter.
Being inquisitive with an individual means courageously asking very personal questions in a caring way.
Being inquisitive with an individual means understanding the importance of timing and tact.
Being inquisitive with an individual means asking intelligent, open-ended questions.
Being vigorous with an individual means persistence despite relational barriers.
Being vigorous with an individual means asking probing questions to uncover the root issues.
Being vigorous with an individual means responding to relational distance with expressive love.
Being vigorous with an individual means not shrinking back when conversations get tense.
Being vigorous with an individual means forging ahead even when friendship is not reciprocated.
Being vigorous with an individual means being the first to pursue resolving conflict or acknowledging relational tension.
Being enthusiastic with an individual means approaching each day with an optimistic outlook.
Being enthusiastic with an individual means running after them with your heart, not just your feet.
Being enthusiastic with an individual means being energetic and excitable when with them.
Being enthusiastic with an individual means laughing hard with them.
Being enthusiastic with an individual means giving your friendship with them your all.
Being responsive with an individual means being fully engaged when they are sharing with you.
Being responsive with an individual means learning to use the power of touch as relational glue.
Being responsive with an individual means maintaining great eye contact in conversation.
Being responsive with an individual means responding quickly to their initiative – either by phone, email or in person.
Being responsive with an individual means replacing that blank stare with an expressive and interested face.
Being responsive with an individual involves verbal and non-verbal responses – when they are speaking.
Being responsive with an individual means becoming a student of your friend…seeking to know and understand their ways.
Being responsive with an individual means picking up on their cues for help – and doing something about it.
Being responsive with an individual involves “rejoicing with those who rejoice and mourning with those who mourn.”

This kind of thinking totally revolutionized the way I saw myself and who I wanted to be. Here’s some more of his thoughts that are a bit challenging and could be hard to swallow…

Why Lifetakers aren’t often Lifegivers:

You may be preoccupied with what other people think about you.
You care about people, but only to the degree that you get something out of them for your benefit.
Men: You may be insecure about your sense of masculinity.
Women: You may be trapped by comparison to other women.
You are self-absorbed, making life all about you!
You may have never seen lifegiving modeled in your upbringing and present-day experience.
You have the leaky bucket syndrome: your own heart may be so starving for love attention, that you have little to give others!

Now this idea of being a lifegiver actually comes from scripture.

In Matthew 10:39 Jesus says “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (NIV) or “If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me” (Message).

See Jesus was the ultimate lifegiver. And if I am to follow after Him…then that’s the kind of person He is shaping me to be. As I reflect again on this idea, I am challenged by the kind of person I’ve been recently. Have I been giving life?? Hmmmm.

One thing Michael challenged us to do in college is this…be really bold and ask 3 people in your life who know you really well if you are more of a lifegiver or a lifetaker. Yikes! Could we be bold enough to hear the honest answer to that question.

Be encouraged. Be challenged. Join me in seeking out the lifegiver lifestyle??

Thanks Michael Brown for your thoughts!

Advertisements

2 responses »

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s