Ever since a friend introduced me to the "One Little Word" challenge, I've found it a simple but powerful way to focus on an aspect of my character I wish to improve upon over the course of a year.
In 2010, my word was tenacity. Last year I didn't really choose a word, but over the course of the year one was given to me. Generosity. In ways that continually stretched me, I had choices and opportunities to be generous with my time, my space, my finances...with many things. I'll have to write more about those sometime. It's amazing, but consciously looking for ways to be generous (and being obedient to that little voice that tells you to give when you don't think you have anything to spare) will reveal just how much you have.
I'll be honest. Being generous feels great! And I was beginning to feel a little proud of myself. But at the end of year when I was looking at my finances, I realized that some of my "generosity" was simply mislabeled obedience. (After all, supporting my spiritual family by tithing isn't generosity. It's what I do with the 90% that matters.) I also realized that for as "generous" as I was, I was also pretty selfish too. When I sat there and looked at how much money I spent on frivolous things -- on movies, on amazon.com impulse buys, on eating out, heck, just on fountain sodas -- I was disappointed in myself.