Receiving

I’ve never been very good at receiving.  Complements, gifts, and thanks are nice, but it’s hard for me to just receive them. I enjoy being the giver so much more – knowing I’ve helped someone, made the load a little lighter for them…and yes, it makes me feel good about myself.  Receiving feels vulnerable.

Recently, my husband and I found ourselves with a large, unexpected bill with no way to pay it. Since my husband lost his job, we’ve struggled financially and this bill felt like another boulder on our shoulders. Close friends of ours suggested that we talk to our church.  I tentatively sent an email to our benevolence fund team. I struggled with feeling shame, failure, defeat, and fear.  Would they tell us what we know we deserve: “You made your bed and now you have to lie in it.”  I dreaded getting a response to my email – at times hoping they would say no and other times praying they would say yes.  Amazingly, after a grace-filled conversation with the benevolence fund team, we were given some money to pay our bill. I vacillated between waves of shame, relief, embarrassment, gratitude, tears, and laughter.

After this humbling and amazing generosity, I’ve been pondering receiving.  What does it look like to swim freely in the joy of receiving a gift of generosity?  I don’t deserve any of it.  But, what a beautiful, tangible, in-my-face demonstration of God’s grace and mercy toward me!  In this season, I feel like God is teaching me to just let go and bask in the love, care, generosity, and support of His people. And I’m beginning to wonder if it isn’t a kind of offense to the giver to not enjoy the gift?

What about you? Do you struggle with receiving?