The Joy of Receiving

I’m a giver. My mother was a giver. I learned it from her and I heard about it in church. Giving is good—it blesses others. Over the years I have found great joy in seeing someone else light up because of a gift they received. I admit I have even had some pride when I have given to someone in need. Giving is good.

On-the-other-hand, I am not so great on the receiving end. Probably pride there too. I hate to admit when I am in need. I hate to ask for help. I am meek about seeking opportunities that I think I am qualified for because then I have to receive the opportunity and my humility side kicks in.

I watched my mother as a giver. She would sneak a little money in someone’s purse on Sunday if she knew they were having a rough patch. She would pick up something extra and give it to a neighbor telling them she got it by mistake and didn’t want to return it. She did without so her children could have things. She was such a quiet giver that there were people whose lives she touched we didn’t know about until she died. I want to be that kind of giver.

She also would never ask for anything. The few times she did, I think she was mostly rejected. She settled a lot and probably suffered for not seeking help. She waited to ask for help for her marriage, her drinking, and even her health. In her pride and her shame she hid the truth about her pain. If she had only been willing to ask and receive the blessing, her life could have been lived with such joy.

I gave away most of my household possessions when I moved last fall. It was so much fun to empty the clutter out of our lives and to see others benefit from the things I didn’t need. I had to ask for help in the process. I was so embarrassed that I couldn’t do these things on my own. I was terrified that no one would see how desperately I needed help. Yet, when I asked my friends and my church family they came out of the woodwork to help me. I even had a friend show up at my door in the middle of the night with Advil when she read on Facebook how tired and sore I was.

I discovered an unbelievable joy in their giving. I was so amazed by their love. I was so blessed.

As I rebuild my household, still keeping it pretty basic, my friends continue to bless me. I have new vacuum, new living room furniture, and now a new bed. I am learning to ask when I need something and to allow someone to experience their gift of giving without my feeling shame. As I think on these moments my heart swells with overwhelming warmth and joy.

I also realize that the asking and receiving fear in my life was a stumbling block to healing the wounded areas in my life. I held back from receiving the love of God and the healing grace of Jesus because I didn’t think I deserved it. I held back from admitting that my way of living was destructive because I didn’t want to tell anyone what was really going on. I kept my pain a secret as I smiled and moved forward—except I didn’t really move forward because I was trapped in my past. I thought my sins and mistakes were just too overwhelming to let anyone get too close to me. I put up a wall because I thought once you get to know me you will be out of here.

When I became willing to receive help and forgiveness for myself; my whole world changed. If you are sitting in pain or sitting with needs, don’t let your shame trap you another minute. Start on your knees asking for God’s forgiveness and help. Then get up off the floor and reach out to that one person you think you can trust and tell them the truth. Let the healing begin by letting someone know you are ready to receive their help. Do it today. Your blessings of new life are waiting for you.

This post is dedicated to the wonderful givers at http://www.thehardmanteam.com/

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When I Forget to Pray

I have days, sometimes many days, in which I rush out the door and I forget to take the time to pray. It shows in everything I do, from not writing here to a less than gracious attitude with people. I have to feed my heart and soul everyday with the truth or I find myself living the lies again.

Praying for me begins with a reading from the Bible—usually Psalm 25 and something from the New Testament. I like the so-called “red letter words,” or those words spoken by Jesus. I also like to read other scriptures that remind me I will always be on a road of transformation because no matter how deep my faith runs, I can always be better. I can always learn more and be more for others. I can never be satisfied that God turned my life around because I know without digging into the words and praying regularly, I am just as capable of slipping into poor behavior as the next guy.

In Matthew 26:41 Jesus said to the disciples: “Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give into temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!” (NLT) Temptation comes to us all. We are foolish to think that we are immune to it or somehow set apart because we are believers in Jesus Christ. We all want to remain faithful. None of us wants to walk on the dark side, especially if we have been there before. Watch and pray—be guarded and ask for the strength to do the next right thing when you feel pulled in a different direction. Our spirit may want to stay on the path set before us, but as humans our bodies can fail us. Our body—including our minds—can overtake us if we are not careful. If we want to avoid making the same mistakes of the past, or finding new mistakes to make, we must be diligent and feed the spirit with positive words that our actions may follow along.

My new commitment is rather simple. Before the feet hit the floor, I will take time to think about the day ahead. I will take time to ask for God’s blessing on my life and on those who come to mind. I will ask that the next hour or so be focused on his word and dedicated to sharing what God reveals in the morning hours. Before I walk out the door, I will make sure that I am spiritually fed and better equipped to face the challenges of the day. And as the day progresses, I will pray for guidance and wisdom in all my activities. Starting my day with God, even if it is only the prayers in bed, I know I am better positioned to make the right choices I desire to make.

How do you keep a prayerful life? Do you have suggestions you can share that might inspire others? Click on LEAVE A REPLY below – We would love to hear from you.