I love giving.

I love it so much in fact, let me write it again. This time in bold…

I love giving!

But here’s the tricky part: a lot of people, myself included, have a hard time receiving.

Why is that? Were we taught in kindergarten to believe “It’s better to give than to receive” and therefore, now as adults, with our college degrees and paychecks, we are expert givers but awful receivers?

Granted, receiving a gift and then saying “thank you” can seem insufficient. If the gift has been handmade or crafted, well, forget about it. Prepare to search ten times more for that non-awkward, completely-sincere “thank you.” We respond as if we are meant to reimburse them.

So what’s with that? Why are we so resistant, awkward, and clumsy at receiving? Why is our first response often, “No, really. You shouldn’t have.” Even in the “small” things like a 3-dollar, grande, extra hot, non-fat, vanilla latte, why is the immediate response, “No, you don’t have to?”

If you know me well, or if you just read this blog, you know I have about 8.2 million theories about life. So, my newest theory about receiving: we don’t believe Scripture.

God’s grace? Lavished.

His plan? Chosen.

His affection? Boundless.

His Son? Given.

And my inheritance? Received.

Words that seem to fill us with delight about God, but make us squirm with each other. “Thank you” never seems enough, and perhaps that’s the whole point. When we turn inward, trying to compile the “right” thing to say, we make it about us, rather than the giver.

So the next time you receive a gift ask something like, “how fun was this for you to make/buy for me?”

See, that’s uncomfortable, right? But let’s be honest – the giver did have fun! Someone thought of you, and the expressed, lived-out, carried-from-start-to-finish result? A gift. Not a burden. Not a chore. Not a to-do item on a checklist. A GIFT.

So here’s my idea: let’s act like 5-year-olds. Jump up and down. Be full of excitement and cheer.

If you do, you’ll resemble your giver. And the Giver.


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