Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Receiving as a Form of Giving

You know what drives me crazy? People who can't receive. I know that we are to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. I know we are to lay down our lives for others and that it is better to give than to receive. But I think there is also merit in knowing when to allow others to give back.

For example, I have recently had guests to stay at my house for the weekend. While they were here, they wanted to take us out to dinner for almost every meal. They raked all our leaves. They washed my dishes. They wanted to cook all the meals we ate at home. While this was all very kind, I felt frustrated by the end of the weekend. Why? Because I had wanted to be able to host my guests -- to make meals for them and clean up while they visited and allow them to enjoy spending time with my son. I felt like I was not allowed to do anything for these people without them recompensing me.

There are times when we all have needs, and we can not fill them ourselves. There are times when we have what it takes to meet others needs. If we do not admit our needs and allow others to give to us, we will burn out and run dry. If we never get to use our gifts to help others we will feel useless, frustrated and unappreciated. What we need to do is find the humility to accept kindnesses from others.

Being a gracious receiver is also a form of giving. It allows the giver to feel as though their gift mattered to you. I allows you to build a give and take relationship with the person. If you are a gracious receiver, it makes it easier for that person to ask you for something later, because they do not feel like you will be doing it out of "obligation", nor that you are "keeping score". Mutual giving and taking is the basis for any really good friendship or marriage.

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