The way we think about charity is dead wrong

For this month’s Young Professionals Ted talks lunch, I chose the talk. The talk I chose is called The Way We Think About Charity is Dead Wrong by Dan Pallotta.

Here were the prompting questions I came up with to lead our groups discussion:

“These social problems are massive in scale, our organizations are tiny up against them, and we have a belief system that keeps them tiny.” Do you think that if enough people change their beliefs, organizations can grow big enough to actually do things like cure cancer and end homelessness?

He talked about the hypothetical Stanford MBA grad who makes $400k/yr and who donates $100k to charity. Which role would you choose for yourself: that one or the role of CEO of the charity?

If a Disney movie flops, no problem; but if a charity tries a new endeavor and it doesn’t produce the results, their character is called into question. Do you think this is the right perspective to have? Should charities be more careful when it comes to risk taking with donations?

People often wonder what percentage of their donation goes to the cause vs. overhead.
Have you ever reconsidered donating to a charity because of the fear your donation will be misused? Have you had the belief that overhead is not part of the cause? What do you tend to assume overhead means?

LOL, blast from the past (videos)

Something reminded me of these videos my classmates and I made a few years back, so I looked them up on YouTube, and just had to share them.

These were made during one of our Creative Film Making classes in college.  The assignment was to film a “happening” – which from what I remember, is basically like a weird public performance thing that fools people (well we chose to have ours fool people).  We did a hypnosis, and a celebrity sighting.

So I think it was 11 of us, who piled into cars one Saturday and drove an hour north to Iowa City (our town is smaller and full of weird people already, not to mention people who would recognize us), so we figured the nearby college town would be the perfect setting.

We got to use the fancy camera equipment from our school’s Media department, had a few days to plan out the project, and edited it in the lab using Final Cut Pro.  Here it is, for your viewing pleasure.  (Note: I have a small role in this as “Gregory”‘s fiancee.)

We got the idea for this project from this video.  And like in that video, our pair who was made to fall in love and kiss was actually a real couple (whereas “Gregory” and I were just classmates :))

 

For the second happening, one Lady Gaga-obsessed classmate became Lady Susu, the latest pop sensation from France.  (I absolutely love Jared as her “euro-looking” entourage.)  I played the role of obsessed fan #2.  (Lawl.)

I hope you enjoyed these!  Its crazy to think this was two years ago!!  But it was so much fun scheming something crazy and then following it to fruition with a group of friends.  I would definitely recommend it!

Have you ever done anything like this?

Joyce Meyer – Moving Beyond Worry and Anxiety

Watched another Joyce Meyer video today.

Joyce says, “You can choose your own thoughts; you don’t have to just think whatever falls in your head.  You can cast out wrong things and choose right things.”

That reminded me of something I saw on Twitter yesterday: @Leyla_N tweeted, “Thoughts come & go, you don’t have to believe them all. Choose empowering thoughts… take empowering actions.”

Its important to heed this advice because, as Joyce goes on to say, our thoughts are the place where worry really starts.

When faced with a problem, we can either worry or we can choose to trust God.

At this point in the video, Joyce said, “Worry, anxiety, reasoning – three major torments in our life.”  I don’t think I fully understand what she means there.  I really value reasoning as I think it can be an extremely powerful life guide.  Is she suggesting that we forfeit all reason in favor of complete trust in God?  Or was she simply saying that reasoning is one of our bigger problems – which I agree it is can be.  Reasoning is a powerful tool but too often in my own life I use it ultimately against myself.  I try and reason my way in or out of things rather than follow my heart or my intuition.  This goes hand in hand with over analyzing.  In fact, this is one of the tougher balances for me to achieve in my life.

Joyce uses the word “violent” in reference to how we should cast out our negative thoughts.   And I liked that because sometimes that’s how intense it needs to be!  To think to yourself “I’ll probably fail” or “I can’t”… is there any room for those thoughts in your mind?  There shouldn’t be.  And when you find yourself thinking them, you should cast them out with force.

I read a piece of advice awhile back (I think it was in Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker – which, by the way, is an excellent book and one that I think everyone – literally everyone – should read!) that relates to this.  It says that every time you have a negative thought, you should think (or even say aloud) “CANCEL.”  And the theory is that this will help you to break the habit of negativity.

Next in the video, Joyce talks about being passive – which has been a real topic of interest for my lately.  More and more I’m seeing how being passive is one of the worst things to do.  Its so inefficient – nothing gets done.  And when something does get done, its all you can do to hope it turned out how you would have wanted it.  Being passive means not taking control of your own life.  It involves sitting around, waiting, wishing.  And as Joyce says, it requires no backbone.  You think someone else should solve the problem.

Instead, Joyce suggests we be “aggressive against the enemy” (and here she’s referring to Satan, but we can also consider it to be any negative influence in our lives – such as my lack of motivation and passive behavior.)  Stand up for yourself – there doesn’t have to be someone to stand up against, just take action and make change and accomplish something.

Now she makes a distinction here: “Worry sees the problem but faith sees the God who can handle the problem.”  She says its not wrong to look at the problem – we need to look at it so that we can analyze it and figure out where it stands.  But its a slippery slope to worrying and over analyzing.

She commented on the interesting social norm that some people feel like they aren’t being a good parent if they don’t worry about their kids.  It made me think about the other areas of life where we’re encouraged to worry.  I myself have been conditioned to feel pressure to worry about my future.  Everything from getting good grades to getting into college, (you know the cycle) to picking a “realistic” major, getting a good job, paying your bills, etc.  Basically: not messing up.  These are great things to be aware of, and to keep in mind when making decisions and planning your life.  And by no means am I suggesting you should ignore them or just completely wing it and hope for the best.

But the amount of pressure we can feel just causes us to have FEAR.  Fear of messing up.  Do you know anyone who has never messed up and who won’t continue to mess up?  Its unavoidable, and that’s why this is a completely, completely irrational fear, and that is what’s unrealistic.  (For some wise words on being realistic, check out this Will Smith video, at 5:49 in.)

What may be worse is the irony at play – I’m way less likely to take chances to better my life because of this fear of failure that I have, because of the fear of messing up my life, which stems from worry.  But the likely outcome is that I will just create more to worry about!  Whereas if I just trust in God (or trust in myself and my intelligence and my abilities, or whatever) then chances are, things would work out for me.

Joyce says that when we have trust, we can enjoy the journey.  She also says, “When you pray and then you worry, the worry nullifies your prayer.  Prayer is something you do instead of worry.  Its not something you do with worry, its what you do instead of worry.  …  If we pray and then worry, we’re saying with our mouth that we’re depending on God but we’re saying with our actions that we don’t really believe that God’s going to come through so we’re going to worry and have a backup plan just in case he doesn’t.”

This makes me wonder how to find the balance between responsibility, avoidance, and trust.  Is it safe to perhaps deny our seemingly bad situation under the trust that it will work out?  Is it irresponsible to allow things to stay the same and not actively change them ourselves?  And if we decide to make a change, how will we know when we are acting from ourselves (ie the backup plan) or acting from God?  When our problem gets solved, was it us or was it God?  How long do we trust God before giving up and trying to solve it ourselves?

But perhaps there isn’t some spiritual equilibrium to find.  Perhaps no balance is required at all.  Perhaps all we need is to trust in God.  Maybe what’s unbalanced is when we decide to trust ourselves, because we are not nearly as deserving of trust as God is.  (I guess then its a question of credibility.)

Having complete trust in God requires a huge level of surrender.  Not only is that scary, but if it turns out to be a bad idea, then in hindsight it was pretty irresponsible and potentially dangerous.  This worries me.

For me, I find that the subject of faith and worry is a catch 22.  I worry about something, then wonder if I should just trust God.  But as I’m not a religious person and thus not strong in any faith, I worry that trusting God might not be the correct solution.  So now I’m not only worried about my initial problem but also about whether or not I should be worried.  (And I do see the humor in this.)

It seems to me, that for someone who has faith that God exists and that He is good, then trusting Him completely is obviously the way to go.  Why would you ever not trust Him?  And if you trust Him, then it would make sense to also trust His timing.  (I like this pin on Pinterest.)  I see the logical progression here but what I am waiting on is that first acceptance.  The acceptance that God exists.  When/If I come to that conclusion, then I have a whole line of beliefs that will come with it.  But its that first one, which determines the validity of the others.

That’s where my interest in Christianity lies, I suppose.  In learning more and finding out more about God.  And in the hopes that I will learn more about myself in the process.

I’ll conclude with a few lines that I particularly enjoyed from the video:

“God is greater than any problem that you have.”

“You’re talkin’ to yourself anyway, you might as well start saying something that makes sense!”

Do you have complete trust in God?  How do you balance having faith and taking personal responsibility for the course of your life?

 

Things About Asia (Thailand and China)

Interestingly enough, I came across a few Asia-related things all in the same day or two.

Thailand

Heath and I are thinking of going to Thailand.  We’d be there for at least a month, maybe more like 3 if we like it.  My biggest concern is that it will be hot and humid.  And I kind of hate hot, humid weather.  Like, a lot.  (I’ve spoken with multiple friends who have gone and they haven’t been able to convince me otherwise.  So if anyone reading this can, please feel free to chime in, as I really would like to go.)

Anyway, I took interest in this post by Cody McKibben.

Which led me to this – always good stuff to know beforehand.

I’ll also share this guy‘s videos, which I find hilarious and packed with real info.

China

My new friend over at HealthyFrenchie directed me to this informative and humorous article.

And @IrishPolyglot also posted this incredible video the other day, proving his insane language learning progress.  Seriously.  You have to check this guy out.

Have any of you been to Thailand and have any tips for me?

Joyce Meyer – Leaving the City of Guilt, Part II

In Part 2, Joyce makes gives commentary on how we do something wrong and hold on to that guilt, and then do something else wrong and hold on to that guilt on top of the other guilt, and continue in this pattern until we’re dragging so much guilt behind us where ever we go.  What a burden.  What a waste of time and energy.  It wastes our time because we spend time thinking out it, and worrying about it, and what does it accomplish?  Nothing.  We expend all this effort, trying to sort it out in our heads to make sense of it and get some sort of closure so we can move on from it, but yet it never happens.  This is not the way I want to live anymore.

“Perfection involves growing.  I’ve not arrived but thank God I’m on my way… So stop thinking about what you’re not, and think about the progress you’re making.”  This could probably be applied to everyone.  We all spend time thinking about what we’re not.  A little of this is a good thing, because self-awareness is important if we ever expect to grow – we need to first know where we are and what we are and what we are not.  Its only when we dwell on this and acquire guilt from this that leads us to problems.  So instead, think about the progress you’re making.  Think of where you were a year ago – are you in the same place?  Some of us may be tempted to answer yes – I still live in the same town, I’m still at the same job, I still live with my parents, I’m still the same person.  But if you look harder, you will probably see that you’ve grown.  Well, I did learn a few new skills.  And I’m more compassionate now than I was then.  Being in the same place on the outside is not the same as being in the same place on the inside.

After reading Romans 6:10-11, Joyce says that we should put aside our lists of what we think we are and aren’t allowed to do – ie that which we fear God will get angry with us for doing – and that the closer you are to God, the more you’re going to instinctively know what is right and what is wrong, and, the more strength He will give you to do the right thing.  This, she says, is how to be victorious over sin.  So basically, don’t dwell on sin itself but rather live a holy life through God, thus getting the strength to overcome sin in the first place.  And you will grow.

When Joyce was living in guilt, she not only worried about her past but also what sins she might keep doing.  I really related to that because I have a lot of fear about potential future mistakes I might make.  I feel like I for some reason wont be in control of myself later in my life.  Like somehow I’ll make a decision I know I shouldn’t make, yet I wont be able to help myself when the time comes.  I don’t know.  Its not a very rational fear, but then, most fears are irrational.

Here are some of my favorite lines and concepts from part 2:

“When we go to God in prayer, we don’t go in our name, we go in Jesus’ name.”

Pray confidently, fearlessly, and boldly in your time of need.

The Bible says that we shouldn’t sin, but that just in case we do, Jesus has covered it.

To Paul: “You need some of my tapes.”  LOL.

And again she reminded me that God wanted to form a relationship with me despite already knowing everything about me.  Which is always encouraging to hear.

What did you think of this two part video?  In what ways have you grown in the last year?  In the last 5 years?

Joyce Meyer – Leaving the City of Guilt, Part I

This video was immediately appealing to me because I often find myself feeling guilty, which is often accompanied by depression.  Its not that I’ve done anything particularly horrible –  I just feel really, really badly whenever I do something even remotely horrible.  And I don’t let myself forget it.  It keeps coming back.  This is due in large part to the fact that I don’t control my thoughts (something that I’ve been researching more lately and trying to work on, as I think it is one of the biggest benefits I can give myself right now.)

I don’t know much about Christianity and have never been a religious person, but there is something undeniably appealing to me about Christians and their faith.  In the last 6 months or so I have been researching Christianity and reading blogs and articles by Christians, especially women.  I like what I read but there is so much more to learn.  I’m currently reading the Bible (do you know how big that thing is?!) and I’m following Joyce Meyer on twitter which is how I found this video today.

For me, my guilt isn’t so much because I feel I’ve disappointed God; its more that I’ve disappointed myself.  Or my parents.  (Which feeling is worse?  I couldn’t tell you.)  But I still found tremendous benefit in this video with respect to guilt, and also just to learning more about God and the Bible.

“God is not the least bit surprised by you or your behavior…  He knew everything about you when he invited you to come into a relationship with Him.”  This thought is comforting because having a relationship with God seems like a big deal and like something that should be earned or deserved.  And if we aren’t perfect (but who is?) then we can feel like we’re a disappointment to Him or not worthy of a connection.  I’m not sure if that’s how I feel or not, quite honestly, but it’s nice to know that He already knows everything about me, because in that is a sense of acceptance.  Because He knows me, and yet still chose to form a relationship with me, He must accept who I am and what I’ve done and where I’ve come from.

Joyce points out that if we keep the burden of guilt, we have no energy to learn and grow and serve God.  Now, even for those who aren’t religious, this can apply.  We have no energy to grow and learn, and do what we should be doing (whether its serving God or serving yourself or serving others).  The feeling of guilt holds us back from living our lives and accomplishing goals and experiencing joy.

Joyce goes on to share a humorous story about going on a “guilt trip”, which is a pretty universal experience.  The author went on this trip knowing it wouldn’t do any good.  How many of us actually think feeling guilt will do some good in our lives?  Yet does that stop us from doing it?

“Jesus has done everything for us that he’s gunna do – he’s waiting for us to believe it.”  This line really spoke to me because it made me realize that I’m waiting on something more to happen before I cement my feelings on Christianity.  What am I waiting for?  Jesus has already done all that he’s going to do.  And yes, there is much more of the Bible that I can read, and I can continue to form opinions as I do so.  But this line really calls people to action, which I love.  There comes a time – and the time is now – to make the decision to change your life.  The Bible is right there. If you want to go with it and change your life in that way because it will bring you positivity, then what are you waiting for?  If you want to go in a different direction, then what are you waiting for?  The point is, pick something and take action.  Stop wasting your time feeling guilty or doing whatever else it is that’s holding you back from being awesome.  Fear?  Fear of failure or rejection?  If its depression, that can be hard to kick.  But fear can be just as hard to kick.

“Guilt enters as a thought, creates a feeling, and we live by that feeling… If you’re smart you’ll say, ‘I don’t care how I feel, this is what I know’.”  That right there is the key, I think.  Right now I am letting myself be controlled by my feelings.  I need to change what I know so that I can have something better to stick with instead of getting stuck in a bad mood when negative thoughts come up.  And that is why I need to finish reading the Bible.  Hopefully it will have some answers for me :).

I also liked the point about asking and receiving forgiveness.  It’s easy to ask for it, but the real strength in that kind of prayer comes from trusting God enough to actually receive His forgiveness.  Because in that, you are completely letting go.

Note: This video was part 1 of a 4 part series.  Look forward to her other videos on fear, insecurity, and worry – which I plan to watch and write about soon.

Now, here’s some non-Christian-related words that I feel convey the same message to stop holding yourself back with guilt:

Believe in yourself.

Ready.  Fire.  Aim.

Whether you think you can or think you can’t – you’re right.

The only thing that makes it a part of your life is that you keep thinking about it.

*A few of those came from the pins I have collected on pinterest – feel free to check them out and many, many more that relate to this very subject.  And please share in the comments some of your most inspiring!