Giving and Receiving

…or so I thought. Turns out, though, I’ve had to re-think this of late.
A while back, I heard a message at church about how we are really good at giving, but need to learn how to receive. Of course, on the anniversary of the attack on our country September 11 twelve years ago, we all think back to how as a collective nation, we rallied and gave. We gave generously of our money, our time, our support and encouragement, and our hearts. When a need arises, especially a crisis of catastrophic proportions, we give.
But how are we at receiving? When the pastor said that, I remember my brush-off thought: “ooooh, I’m not good at receving. I would much rather give.” End of thought. End of subject. I kept listening and appreciated the entire message, but there wasn’t a real move inside my heart to get good at receiving. Why not?? Because of what’s written as my opening phrase. I believed with everything in me that it is, indeed, far better to give than receive. I’ve always been a giver. My love language is gifts ~ but I always clarify, giving gifts. I enjoy seeing a need and meeting it. I love to surprise people with something that will bless them, just because. I love to give.
Recently, though, for a variety of reasons, I’ve been on the receiving end. And I am a bit startled by how difficult it has been for me to receive. I’m not sure if the pastor’s words that Sunday set a cycle in motion, but my fleeting ‘I’m not good at receiving’ thought is no longer fleeting. I have been forced to get over my discomfort of receiving. Even seeing that last sentence in print seems so silly, but it’s true. I would imagine there are numerous psychological theories as to why I much prefer giving over receiving, but I’m not interested in all of that. I realized that once I heard the message, then proceeded to be faced with opportunities to graciously receive, I don’t really need to go digging for the how’s and why’s.
The premise of the message was that if we can’t receive from people, how will we receive from God? I never thought about that. We’ve experienced some divine miracles over the course of our lives, and I had no problem recognizing God’s hand in all of it. But I never realized when people try and bless me, and I fight with them or flat-out refuse, I’m ultimately resisting a blessing from God Himself.
So I started paying close attention to all of the giving and receiving that goes on around me. I regularly treat the person behind me in line at Starbucks. It’s my little ‘thing.’ And, while I am used to wrestling with them over receiving it, because I am paying closer attention, I can honestly say I can’t remember one person ever just saying ‘well, thank you!’ Or something of the sort. The other day the gentleman behind me finally said after looking around and leaning in to whisper, ‘my wife is here.’ Puzzled by that response, I dropped the matter. I thought, ‘Does he think I’m trying to hit on him?’ So much awkwardness in such a short period of time. So now, if I get shot down, I drop it. I no longer try to coax the person into receiving a blessing. The awareness of how many people pass up blessings can almost make me sad. Do they not think they’re worthy? It has been a wonderful eye-opening experience for me and I’m getting much more comfortable with receiving. Think about it … How are you at receiving?


  1. Barb Robb says:

    We just heard a similar message at our church this past Sunday Kim. The point was….how many blessings are we missing out on from God because we aren’t willing to receive them??? His desire is to give freely to us and all He asks in return is for us to receive them… strings attached!!!
    At one time Jim and I were on the receiving end of gifts and help because of circumstances in our lives and it was one of the hardest things to do—I much preferred to be on the giving end. But God had such a humbling blessing in store for us by the simple act of acceptance! The folks who gave were as blessed as we were!!!
    Thanks for the Soul Snippet Kim,

  2. Kim says:

    Exaaaaaactly!! I feel so blessed when I give, but I never thought about robbing someone of that blessing when I wouldn’t receive!

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