Impart as much as you can of your spiritual being to those who are on the road with you, and accept as something precious what comes back to you from them. --Albert Schweitzer
One thing I have been thinking a lot about lately is graceful receiving. I have written about this topic before, but I find that it is still something I struggle with.
As an inhabitant of the 1st world, I have been taught to do for myself and not accept hand-outs. While this has allowed me and my husband to live a life of independence, I believe it also sometimes leads to a feeling of self-righteousness. As in, we believe we are doing all of this ourselves, so we have the right to pat ourselves on the back for it all. Never mind that God graciously provides us with all the provisions we have, above and beyond our actual needs. Never mind that we had no part is deciding to be born into the 1st world and receiving all the benefits thereof. Never mind that the story of Job teaches us that God can just as swiftly take away as he can give.
This lack of humility reaches not just to the Lord, but also to those around me. I love being the one to give and to help others, but it is not so easy to be the one to ask for and accept help from others. In this 1st world mindset, where we believe we can do everything for and by ourselves, we often lack the humility it takes to graciously receive love and works from those around us. It takes a lot of humility to admit that you could use a helping hand when you are so used to doing for yourself. Why is it that we would rather hire someone to do something for us that stoop to asking those around us to help for free, even when we know they would gladly do it?
I have realized recently that just as much as we are supposed to pour our love and spiritual gifts out onto the world, we also need to be humble enough to accept the world pouring such things onto us. We need to give others the opportunity to feel the joy of giving to us.
This is an especially difficult concept for me to grasp right now, as I have had to accept quite a bit of help recently to get ready for the baby. I am also going to be on the receiving end of baby shower gifts soon. And while that is exciting, it also is a very humbling experience. I need to be humble enough to graciously allow those around me to pour love on me and my husband and our little one.
How about you? Have you struggled with graciously receiving? Why is it so easy to give, and then so difficult to receive sometimes?