Do not just accept, but go delight in the gifts you’ve been given. It brings joy to the giver.
I’ve been pondering something.
During the last year, Mitch and I have consistently found ourselves to be recipients of unbelievable gifts and overwhelming support. The generosity of our cities and friends has blown our minds to the point that we don’t even know how to feel about it anymore; it has gone beyond the scope of our imaginations. At the same time, though, it’s forced us to think bigger. We’ve seen and felt and learned something new about gifts and grace: they shouldn’t just be accepted, but should be embraced.
Since we’ve been on the receiving end of such generosity, it has taken a while to adjust. Personally, I’ve had to reexamine my ideas of generosity and humility. Independence has long lived in my bones and accepting help has been a learned behavior.
My first reaction to generosity was to feel guilty. I didn’t like that the people I love were spending their time worrying about us and their money on our bills. After several weeks of unbelief and feeling undeserving, I realized something…guilt is a misplaced emotion. It’s a distractor. Useless. The gifts we were receiving were being given out of love, not out of duty. Guilt is not the same as conviction. Conviction, I believe, is the movement of the Spirit in your soul guiding you in one direction or the other. Guilt simply shifts your focus to that which you cannot control. It keeps you in a rut when you could be moving forward. Feeling guilty about the generosity I receive isn’t being humble, it’s being ridiculous.
I had a conversation recently that helped me understand humility. My idea of being humble was being sure to always say “Thank you,” or “Oh, you shouldn’t have” or even not accepting the gift/compliment at all. But really, that’s not humble; it’s full of pride. It says, “I don’t need your help.” I should have been thinking from the other side – the side of the giver.
Imagine, you’ve hand-picked the perfect Christmas gift for your love. You spent days contemplating the perfect color. You wrapped it oh-so-carefully and hand-curled the ribbon for the bow. You cheerfully hand it to him, he opens it and says, “aw, thanks!” and then sets it aside…how crushed would you be? How much more fulfilling is it to see his eyes light up, and immediately put it to use? How much more do you like seeing the gift you gave a child worn to shreds because they’ve toted it everywhere, and played with it completely rather than one that’s on the shelf, or worse, in the box?
I don’t think this applies only to physical gifts. My God has given me a chance to flourish in a talent-gift and has given me a story to tell. I have my husband, healthy and strong. I have my perspective; the fog that once clouded my vision is clearing. It’s like nothing else. He’s said, “Look. Look at what can happen in a year. Look what you can overcome with me. Look at what we’ve pulled through. How much more scary is life than this? Why should you be afraid to write? To love? To cry in public? Go live. Go and live WELL.”
So, friends, here I go. I want to live well, in health and in abundance. I’m accepting the gift of peace, just as we have accepted the gifts of money, time, prayers. Just as we accepted the gift of rescue.
That still hasn’t sunken in…
We were rescued.
We are free.
You are free.
You are free and all you have to do is let yourself have it. Accept your gifts. Accept your freedom. I urge you.
Don’t stand and stare out into the day, soak it in. Absorb it. Let it sink into your bones. Shed your defenses and genuinely embrace those you love (none of this side-hug business.) Allow yourself to cry at the thought of how intricately precious and filled with beauty this life is. Today isn’t just any day. It’s the difference in light and dark, between love and rejection. Breathe slowly. Live fully.
Sacrifice, in any form, is something you cannot repay. But, it wasn’t meant to be repaid; it was meant to be accepted, embraced. Take your Gift. Delight in it.
You have Help. You have Hope.
Spread some joy.