I don’t know about you, but I’m great at giving and not the best at receiving.
A few weeks ago I had coffee with a new friend. It was our second time meeting. At our previous coffee date, I bought her drink with a gift card I had recently received. This most recent time we met, she wanted to pay for my chai latte. I said, “Oh no! Are you sure?”
What I should have said was, “Wow, thank you so much!”
Why is it so hard to receive?
As Christian women, we know we’re supposed to be givers and we do that extremely well. But it can get to an unhealthy level when we neglect our own well-being in the name of serving others.
I also believe we’ve heard so many times and in so many ways that to receive is to be weak—especially if it’s help or somehow tied to money. We tell ourselves things like, “I should be able to handle this on my own.” Or “I have to pay my own way in life.” Or we feel like we’re indebted to the giver and must pay them back.
But to refuse an offer of help, whether it’s financial or an act of service, robs someone else of the blessing of giving. It also exposes our pride.
Thoughts we have, like the ones above, can prevent us from connection with people and from receiving the help we need and long for.
When my daughter was a newborn, she was colicky and also had gastric reflux, which we didn’t know until she was about six weeks old. Before that diagnosis and medicine to help, she would cry for hours at a time.
My husband was finishing his degree and had class from 6-10 PM on Thursdays. This meant that I was alone with her ALL day. One Thursday, she cried and cried and cried. I took her on a drive to see if she would fall asleep. It didn’t work.
Desperate for a break from the crying, I thought of calling my friend Anne-Marie. She had always said to call if I needed anything. I had the phone in my hand, but just couldn’t do it. Shouldn’t I be able to do this on my own? I thought. What is wrong with me?
I put the phone down and started crying myself.
About 15 minutes later, the phone rang. The caller ID showed that it was Anne-Marie!
But do you know what I did? I didn’t pick up the phone. I was too ashamed that I couldn’t handle my own baby. I was too prideful to ask for help.
So I missed out on the help I longed for and Anne-Marie missed out on being able to hold my baby (which she loved) and blessing a desperate mom with a sanity break.
If you’re like me and aren’t the best at receiving, here are two things we can do:
- Humble ourselves and ask for help when we need it: we ALL need help from time to do. Think of asking for help as giving someone else permission to do the same. It creates a beautiful cycle of giving and receiving.
- Receive with gratitude: if someone gives you a compliment or offers to treat you to a meal, just say, “Thank you!” Don’t refuse or try to insist on paying your own way. Allow them to bless you and receive with a thankful heart.
I recently received a thank-you card that says, “Blessed are the givers, and grateful are the receivers.” Let’s continue to be givers, but let’s be grateful receivers too.
P.S. Check out my Freebies page, I just uploaded a little gift just for you!