Being strong willed and independent is probably a very strong characteristic of each of us. Each of us have survived many oppositions in our days. There have been times when we were backed up to the wall and we pushed forward. We were determined, confident and resilient. There have also been those times when we to into a situation where we had to rely on someone else. Sometimes it might be a tow truck driver, an attorney, a dentist, a doctor, nurse or spouse.
The taste of receiving has not always been pleasant. It is difficult for me to accept the care of others. Many times it was out of reluctance, unfortunate circumstances, and definitely not situations we planned to be in.
Share some of the examples where you “had to” receive.
Whether we want to acknowledge it, accept it or talk about it, the fact is that we become physically and emotionally whole when we learn to receive care graciously. Our tendency may be that others need more attention than we do; that we are better off than others; that we need to give rather than receive, but the bible reveals some truthful facts that we can easily overlook or look around.
Throughout the Gospels we read about the miraculous acts of Jesus: healing, teaching, preaching. Yet in fact, some of his characteristics that are so difficult for us, such as humility and grace are most often demonstrated when He received. In the past I would often read about his actions and when it came to his receiving I just scurried on along to get to the next exciting action. Really, that approach to scripture is no different than reading the good parts and skipping over the challenging parts. See, to me, receiving is a big challenge. Even in my bible reading, I am quick to skip over the receiving examples that are included in Scripture.
The example of Jesus is so helpful in this time. I had always thought of Jesus as doing something – healing, teaching, preaching. But we must pause and realize there was more to his life than “doing”. He was a part of others lives. Even in our lives we enjoy giving and showing appreciation to people, but that cannot be done if the other person does not receive.
Since God is Love, there must be a way to learn to graciously receive God’s love and the love of others. Jesus was at times a dinner guest as well as a host. He knew how to receive a compliment or a gift graciously and to value the kindness of the giver.
I am learning new aspects of what it means to be a Christian, of what it means to give and to receive. So go ahead. Sit on the sofa at parties, enjoy interacting with the guests, and do the dishes later. Receiving good will not make you a bad Christian, a bad person, or a bad parent.
Love is a gift from God. Open your heart to receive it, and be blessed.
It has been noted that the secret to life here on earth is “giving and receiving”. We have all heard and probably lived by the notation of giving being the blessing. That it is better to give than to receive. To many of us, receiving is a taboo, a situation we avoid at all costs.
What is your view or approach to “receiving”?
Many times we can jump to the conclusion that the focus on giving and receiving is based on material things, gifts. But what about receiving the love, care and help of others? That’s more difficult for many of us. One explanation could be the reigning mythology of Western culture: It’s good to stand on our own two feet and never be dependent.
Even if we acknowledge how much we rely on others in our everyday activities, we may still hesitate to be on the receiving end when we are in trouble. We do not want to be a burden, we say. We can take care of ourselves. This attitude means that often the weakest and neediest among us don’t ask for help or resist it when it is offered.
Our reluctance to freely receive affects our relationships with others and limits our openness to God’s grace. Getting better at receiving, then, is an important intention of spiritual practice. Here are a few ways to do this:
- Make a practice of consciously acknowledging your vulnerability and dependence upon others. For example, think about all the service providers who make it possible for us to drive down the road, ride in elevators, make phone calls, surf the internet, read a book at night in a lighted room, and have food or supplies delivered. Too often, we take this support for granted.
- During a meal, choose one food item and try to list all the people who helped bring it to your table — the farmers, truckers, store managers, package makers, and even those who created the map that facilitated its movement from one place to your table. When you say grace, include a blessing for all those you depend on.
- Make a habit of acknowledging one free gift you have received at the end of each day. Then thank God for the presence in your life of the bearer of the gift.
- Take compliments and words of encouragement — gracefully. Resist any temptation to downplay or minimize positive things people say about you with phrases like “Oh, it was nothing.” Think about what it says to others and to God if you are always insisting that you are unworthy of their love.