Post-Retreat Sneak Peak: $5 Challenge

$5 Challenge It was the last morning of the weekend women’s retreat.

The theme? Desires & Longings – embedded in the message that unpacked the stages from sleeping through our dreams, facing our fear of the unknown, and into active participation with the Lord that produces desires and longings fulfilled.

What became apparent in my preparation for the retreat was something near and dear to my Skinny Pig heart. The idea that true change occurs often by the smallest actions, doing something different, and identifying what is in your hand rather than lamenting (aka griping) over what isn’t.

In that mental awareness came the idea for the $5 Challenge as a parting gift to my retreat attendees.

The $5 Challenge came with a stipulation (because how well I know – and write about – our human nature in The Art of…  blog post series). Very much aware that the ‘best practices for bloggers’ people tell me I am not to tell folks what they should NOT do (gotta love the irony), I cut to the chase anyway when I passed around the tin in the retreat’s closing session.

Nestled inside my favorite grape tin were tightly rolled crisp $5 bills tied with a narrow shiny gold ribbon. As the tin circulated each woman took a $5 scroll (made change, retied the gold ribbon, and … no, not really! though efficiency and ingenuity are some women’s hallmarks 🙂 ) and I gave the following instructions and caveats:

  • The $5 was to be viewed as seed money, given that bigger things can grow from little seeds
  • By the end of the retreat each one surely had something rolling around inside related to desire
  • The $5 was to be used in one of two ways: either for seeding into that personal desire in some way that they were asked to identify and would help them take a step forward toward its reality – OR – use it to pay the blessing forward by seeding into someone else’s life at a relational level
  • The $5 might be used fully for one tiny step forward, or used as a first deposit and added to regularly until there was a sufficient sum for a small step forward
  • As for what NOT to do with it: the $5 was not to be used to buy themselves a latte, handed over to a spouse or teen for gas money, or placed in their wallet among other bills where it would be absorbed and spent without thought
  • Instead, I suggested they keep their $5 bill rolled up and tied until they had determined how they wished to put it to use; it would be hard to not remember the $5 Challenge every time they saw that gold ribboned rolled up fiver!
  • Last but not least, I asked them to commit to the challenge and pray over the $5 while holding it in their hand and asking God to inspire them or ignite a creative idea in keeping with their desire

I am proud of my group of retreat ladies. Some ideas were popping then and others were emailed to me post-retreat. Not everyone immediately knew how they would use it. Others did. Still others knew what they needed to do to protect the $5 Challenge commitment until such time as they were ready to use it.

Here are some of their ideas and plans that came from simply being given a $5 bill and asked “what can you do with what’s in your hand?”

  • One woman loves to play her sax in worship sets at local churches and gatherings. She decided to put her $5 toward designing and ordering business cards as a freelance saxophonist.
  • Another is a vocal musician who wants to record and produce complimentary CDs for the women who attend her ‘story and music’ offerings. Her $5 will help pay for supplies to put together creative packets with handouts and a music CD for each attendee.
  • One woman knew how easy it would be to spend the $5, so she mentioned giving it to a trusted friend to hold for her until its use – a friend who wouldn’t spend it AND wouldn’t give it to her if she begged because she was broke and needed the five bucks (sometimes we need a friend like that because our desire is important to them!)
  • Still another was considering a couple options: buying stamps with her $5 to mail note cards of encouragement to ones who need to know someone sees and cares, or buy stock photos for the ministry blog she facilitates that reaches a number of readers
  • Yet another has a passion for crafting and dreams of joining the Etsy online marketplace to sell her handmade, creative expressions. All kinds of ways to use her $5 to advance that desire.

You and I are witness to the many dreams and longings that may come to pass with a $5 bill and a small advance in the desired direction. The best part is when the Lord adds Himself to what He has placed in our heart. When invited, He takes us on an adventure we could not have crafted on our own.

Whether it’s $5 or $50k in our hand is not the determiner of our success. God is as we stay attuned and in step with Him.

Most stories of impact for good and for God begin with a desire, a first step forward and whatever is in one’s hand. You may be surprised at what you already have. Trust me, God isn’t.

In this Post-Retreat Sneak Peak: $5 Challenge, what desire is in your heart and “what’s in your hand?”

Always reachable here helping others live life forward!

~ Nancy

Photo Credit: Pixabay Free Images │ PicMonkey Enhancements

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  1. Awesome! Blessings to every one of your retreat ladies and their $5.00 seed!
    Bless the planting, bless the watering and bless the rich harvest!

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