Engaging Each Day with Action Words

Need. — Who Am I To Decide?

on December 11, 2013

At this time of year, we are often compelled to give.

Give to others.

Others in need.

We give canned goods for the local food pantry.

We buy presents for children on Angel trees.

We tip better and make lists of gifts to buy for others.

We put together baskets of holiday meals for local families.

I have participated in these collections, in these canned food drives, in these angel trees, in these many acts of gift giving.

And every now and then, I have discovered that someone, some family, some child seems to be found on more than one list for giving.

I discover that they are receiving a basket of food from the school and a bag of gifts from the local church.

They are getting to go to the community center party and getting new clothes and shoes from the local Rotary club.

And I’m a little ashamed to think that I have probably thought  at some point or another, and maybe I’ve even said things out loud like, “See, that is what really bothers me … when people take advantage.”

But here’s the thing I have learned recently.

Who am I to judge?

Who am I to decide?

Who am I to have anything at all to say about who is really in need and who is only kind of in need?

Statistics show that the majority of us are really only six months away from poverty at any given moment …  if a tragic, devastating event were to occur in our lives. (Many of these start with the letter ‘D’.)

Death. Divorce. Disease. Deployment. Destruction. Disaster. Debt. Deceit.

We are all just a few bad choices or one act of very bad luck away from being …there.

And if we ever find ourselves…there…in need. In need of help. In need of the local food pantry. In need of help at Christmas.

If we ever find that we have to show up and get in line and look at others and ask for help. If we ever find that we have to put ourselves and our families on any and every list for help that is available. Then…

We wouldn’t want others judging us; deciding if we are really in need or only kind of in need?

Would we?


Because if we are … there; if we’ve made the decision to ask, to seek out help … then we are indeed in need.

Need is relative. And it is also personal.

So when people seek out help for their needs, it is not up to me whether or not to provide help. It is not up to me to judge whether the need is really needed.

It is up to me to give with a joyful heart.

And do what I can to meet needs and fill wants.

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

P.S. I continue to be overwhelmed by the amount of generosity of people everywhere. We are still collecting donations for the families of the local food pantry to provide a present for each child and grandchild. If you would like to help, we are getting closer to meeting needs and filling wants…only need about $1100 more dollars to make it happen. If you are able to help, you can make a donation online:

The Giving Tree Angel Tree


3 responses to “Need. — Who Am I To Decide?

  1. Yes, I love this!! About a year or two ago, the same realization struck me–who am I to judge who is in need of food, money, grace, forgiveness, kindness… I try so hard to remember that, thank you for the reminder!!

    • MommyVerbs says:

      It is hard. I’ve talked to so many people about this exact topic. Who is really in need? Who is taking advantage? Several folks have decided that they just can’t help others like they used to because of different bad experiences and I get that. But at the end of the day, I have to ask myself who is this for. It was ultimately for the children, who had zero control over the choices that are impacting their lives. If someone has different motives or ulterior agendas, I can’t control that. I just needed to do what felt like the right thing at the time. With lots of help, too.

      • Yes, I don’t think there are any right answers to this, and everyone needs to do what feels right for him/herself. I used to be very firm with my boundaries based on my experience working with my clients, and knowing how many do take advantage, or make unwise decisions, or other decisions based on values that I do not agree with. For myself, I’ve decided everyone has their own stories, much of which I’m not privvy to, and I can only control what I do, and what feels right for me. That’s enough for me now. But I’m also well aware all things change too! I hope you’ve had a really wonderful Christmas filled with love and peace!

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