This is a confession.
I don’t receive well.
The curse of an insecure introvert, my sweet husband has been frustrated by this, perhaps more than anything else in our marriage. (Don’t ask him, though–I don’t really want to see a long list of other possibilities… :/)
I don’t think I even realized what I was doing to him and others when my own insecurities brought about an attitude that quite possibly seemed selfish. If you had told me that was what I was doing, I’m sure I would have been shocked and defended myself to a tee. The idea that I didn’t deserve any special gift or treatment was sending a very different message. And that saddens me.
In my selfishness, I was actually doing the opposite of what I thought:
I believed it was humility–they saw it as ungratefulness. Or worse, they thought that they couldn’t please me.
It wasn’t that I complained about what I was given–It was that I struggled to just say “thank you”. Instead of gratefulness, they received my usual,
“yeah, right“, to a compliment–or
“you shouldn’t have“, to a gift.
Before it sounds like I am justifying my position, please see my heart:
Giving gifts is one of my very favorite ways to show love– but I really struggle when I am the one receiving.
But that is not the proper response.
And I am trying to do better–making a conscious effort to recognize that when someone is giving me something–whether a physical gift or a word of encouragement–I honor them when I receive it well.
I have two friends in my life that epitomize the spiritual gift of generosity. They are constantly blessing me and others–and to be honest, have helped me to see that receiving their gifts is a blessing to them as well.
I certainly appreciated this perspective from one of these dear friends who put it this way in her recent Facebook post:
“This is my thought and something I have worked hard to get my children to think the same-I will perhaps always worry that they will get caught up in the way the world thinks and slip up occasionally:
That is, their humble gratitude of receiving a gift. I do not care that a gift is not your color, doesn’t fit, your forte, or cup of tea. To show disappointment, receiving even the worst gift, is one of the most rude, self-centered displays of one’s heart I can imagine. What really is a gift? It is something someone has taken the time and effort to give to YOU. Giving from one to another should always be praised, recognized, and appreciated. I’ve not only told my children but I’ve shown them in everything I’ve received–“if someone thinks enough of you to give you something, accept it and make that person believe it is the greatest gift you ever got!”
Gift-giving is always such a joy for me–why would I steal that joy from someone else?
Sometimes it actually feels good to get your hand slapped.
And today I am reveling in the sting of Truth. In this season of giving I have already had to put into practice this lesson of receiving. While I am still overwhelmed by it all, and while the struggle is real, I am determined to take this perspective through the holidays.
Christmas is coming, and God sent the GREATEST GIFT. What God has done is only a story of a baby in a manger until you realize why He came. Why He gave His life for yours. And accept His love and forgiveness and mercy. I urge you to receive HIM.
“Don’t be deceived, my dearly loved brothers. Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning.” James 1:16-17