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  • Writer's pictureKara Chatham

Spilling is Filling

I was having a conversation with someone about what it means to be an RA. The person made a comment about how I am more outgoing because I enjoy my job. A big part of my job is meeting new people. Meeting new people terrifies me. I would much rather spend time by myself creating things for the internet or working on my novel or something. I am not one who opens up very easily, but I will listen.

The main reason why I love my job is the opportunity it provides to invest in others. Investing in other people is really a lot of fun (which sounds a little weird coming from an introvert, but I promise it is one of my favorite things). It does not mean that I have to be one hundred percent open with another person (because I am never that open with anyone). A big part of investing in another person is listening. Such a simple task that most people over look, but it speaks volumes when it happens. I do not necessarily remember everyone who gave me advice on whatever has got me to the point that I am at today, but I do remember who took the time to listen to what I had to say.

My home church has this idea that kind of fuels the volunteer role – Spilling is filling. Spilling a bit of your life – time mostly – into the life of another. By giving that little gift of time can change someone’s life drastically. It shows them that they are important. This phrase characterizes what it is like to volunteer. It is an idea that spending time helping other people will fill a person up more joy than just taking what someone has given to her with her time. Even though one would think that giving time to another person would take away energy, it is quite the opposite. It is a trade of energy for joy. Taking the time to invest in another person can turn out to be beneficial for the person who is doing the investing. I have experienced this phenomenon on both sides of the matter, being invested in by someone and taking a moment to spend time with others. While having someone take a moment to spend some quality time with me is great because it brings the feeling of being accepted and having a sense of worth, nothing can compare to the feeling that I feel when I take the time to invest in other people.

I began volunteering with children when I was ten years old. My volunteering started off as helping out with crowd control, but when I was thirteen I was given the opportunity to become a small group leader for fourth and fifth grade girls at my church. This was the moment I saw the impact spending time with another can make on her life. I had been receiving this kind of investment since I was in my first small group in middle school. I invested so much time into this group of eight girls that I was leading. I had them over for a sleep over and we would play games and just enjoy each other’s company. I did not realize how much of an influence I had on these girls until they entered their freshman year of high school and started volunteering. I still talk to these girls and provide a listening ear for them when they need it. It is possible to see the results of investing sooner than what I experienced with the first small group that I led.

In the setting of summer camp, certain parts of life tend to happen faster than they do at any other point in the year. Relationships develop at light speed in the camp atmosphere. As a camp counselor, I saw more of an instant impact in the lives of the girls in my care. Making connections and sharing moments that these girls will remember forever is what drives me to continue to be involved in organizations like WinShape or my church. The amount of joy and excitement that wells within me is something that I cannot begin to explain. It fills my heart up so much that I do not know what to do with all of the happiness that I have. The only thing that I know to do with those emotions is to share them. Spilling into more people and watching their live also become full of what has filled my life is better than any tangible reward that could be given. Time is a precious gift and can make such a difference in a person’s life if someone takes a moment and spends time with her. It certainly has made a difference in my life.

I get ridiculously excited about this idea when I talk about it. This is one of those topics that I will most definitely nerd out about. I find it hard to contain my excitement about this topic when I talk about it. I really cannot help myself at all.

What this all boils down to is loving on other people. As Christians, that is what we are called to do.

Let all that you do be done in love.

1 Corinthians 16:14 ESV

Taking time to spill into another person’s life is a way that you can love on someone. It proves that they matter and that they are worthy of love. Everyone is worthy of love because God said “That one! I love her/him, therefore I am going to send My son to take her/his place so she/he does not have to die.” We are all beloved children of God and He thinks that we are worthy – in the midst of our messy, broken lives – of having a relationship with Him. If that isn’t reason to give someone some of our time, I’m not sure what is a reason.

Until next time… Kara

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