Why It’s Hard to Be a Gracious Receiver

At the convenience store tucked along a corridor of the Atlanta airport, I am next in line to pay for my bottles of water and packages of string cheese.

I un-tuck the water from my arms and hand her my credit card. She swipes the card.

“Denied,” she says.

She swipes it again.

“I’m sorry,” she says, handing me the card. “It’s been denied twice.”

My mind races. My purse with other cards is back at the gate.

“Does it say why?” I ask.

“No.”

Then I remember how we are headed out of the country. “Must be because of the travel notification I placed on the card saying we would be out of the country starting today,” I say. Trying to explain it to myself and her.

I mumble, embarrassed, that I will return with another card.

But when I arrive at the gate, the plane is beginning to board.

“Forget the water,” my husband says, “we will be boarding soon.”

I gather my backpack and wait for our section to be called.

I notice a lady is standing nearby, handing me a plastic bag. “This is yours,” she says.

I glance at her and the bag. I’ve seen neither before. And I must look confused.

“It’s your water,” she says, holding the bag closer. “We are on the same flight. I heard about your card and got it for you.”

I smile and thank her. Then she is gone, gathering her own items for boarding.

My son steps up. “Mom, what’s in the bag?”

I tell him about trying to buy the water, my card being denied, and the lady paying for my purchases and bringing them to me.

“That’s so nice,” he says.

And it is. She didn’t need to do it. But what a blessing that she did. Her kindness lifts my spirits and I feel taken care of. Seen.

But I also feel a bit weird. Like maybe I need to rush over and hand her cash to refund her.

Or find something to do for her.

For a second, I wonder what I did to deserve this.

Why is it harder to receive gifts, than give gifts. Stop being critical of them or yourself. Receiving gifts graciously is a gift we can give the giver.Why is it harder to receive gifts, than give gifts. Stop being critical of them or yourself. Receiving gifts graciously is a gift we can give the giver.Why is it harder to receive gifts, than give gifts. Stop being critical of them or yourself. Receiving gifts graciously is a gift we can give the giver.

What are your internal thoughts when receiving?

 

Probably something similar has happened to you.

Someone passing on a little kindness.

Blessing your day.

Seeing you need help.

Stopping to notice you for a moment.

And I am sure you do, and have done, random act of kindness for others.

But what are your thoughts and how do you feel when someone gives you something?

Gratitude? Or embarrassment?

Thankfulness? Or thinking you don’t deserve it?

Amazement? Or wondering what they want in return?

Happiness? Or thinking there is something wrong with the person to give you something?

Why is it harder to receive gifts, than give gifts. Stop being critical of them or yourself. Receiving gifts graciously is a gift we can give the giver.Why is it harder to receive gifts, than give gifts. Stop being critical of them or yourself. Receiving gifts graciously is a gift we can give the giver.

 

Why it’s hard to be a gracious receiver.

 

If you are like me, you are a doer. And probably feel best when you are the one doing the act of kindness.

Maybe because then we feel like we are in control. (We decide where, who, when, etc. )

Maybe because it is a bit scary to be on the receiving end. (What if we don’t like what they are giving? Or would rather do it our self? Or have someone else do it?)

Maybe we don’t want to be indebted to others. Or think strings will be attached.

Maybe we see receivers as selfish, and we don’t want to be selfish.

Maybe we feel we don’t deserve the thing given. Or haven’t earned it.

Maybe we have heard the verse, it’s better to give than receive, and we want to be the givers. (They do sound more important, don’t they?)

Maybe we just have a hard time receiving due to our childhood, feeling of worth, background experiences, or our thoughts on giving and receiving.

Whatever the reason, my guess is that some people would rather be on the giving end. And they have a hard time being on the receiving end.

Why is it harder to receive gifts, than give gifts. Stop being critical of them or yourself. Receiving gifts graciously is a gift we can give the giver.Why is it harder to receive gifts, than give gifts. Stop being critical of them or yourself. Receiving gifts graciously is a gift we can give the giver.

Learning to graciously receive gifts from others.

 

It can be hard to be on the receiving end. I would rather give than receive.

One Christmas season I was mainly in bed due to morning sickness. I was worried my husband would forget to get me a gift. And then when he gave me a ring, which I thought was rather extravagant, I was worried that he spent too much. And of course, said so. Taking some of his joy as the giver.

You see, I wanted a gift, but on my terms and guidelines. (Which isn’t very nice to the giver, because if they don’t do it right, according to us, then we can get blamed for not doing it right).

Over the years, I have come to realize I need to do a better job at receiving gifts. To receive them with without feeling indebted. To receive them joyfully.

I know I don’t want to do acts of service for others and then get grilled about my gift

Be questioned about my motives.

Be told it was unnecessary. A waste of money or time. Or told I did it wrong.

And neither do others.

It leaves a sour taste in the giver’s mouth, and our prideful mouth too.

We need to learn to be appreciative and gracious receivers.

Take the focus off our self and put it on them. They don’t give gifts or do things for us because we earned it or deserve it. But because they want to.

When our five-year-old gives us a back rub that feels like a tickle fest on our back, say thank you.

When a friend brings us a dinner of minestone soup, when we had a hankering for fried chicken, tell them what a blessing they are.

When someone motions for us go first at the four-way stop, graciously nod your head and go first.

When someone gives us what we consider an extravagant gift, stop your mouth from saying anything unkind. A thank you, a big hug, and a smile will do.

When someone offers to babysit, say yes and thank you.

When your kid throws their arms around you and says they love you, quit thinking about how you are not a good enough mom, and love them back.

Learn to receive the gift without scorn, guilt, embarrassment, or thinking they should not go to all that trouble.

Why is it harder to receive gifts, than give gifts. Stop being critical of them or yourself. Receiving gifts graciously is a gift we can give the giver.Why is it harder to receive gifts, than give gifts. Stop being critical of them or yourself. Receiving gifts graciously is a gift we can give the giver.

 

We need both, so be a grateful receiver.

 

My dad used to say, “We need receivers for there to be givers.”

He was a giver. He did for others. Served at church. Fixed wash machines of single mothers. Gave gas money for families in need. Took his neighbor grocery shopping. Listened to people no one had time to listen to.

I know it was hard for him to be on the receiving end of someone doing for him. He was lecturing himself too.

But he was right. If we were all givers, who would be receiving? And without receivers, how would the givers be blessed?

We want to be gracious receivers.

Receivers of the gifts from those around us.

Receivers of God’s free gifts. Which can most definitely seem extravagant. (Especially on our not so good days.)

He gives grace, not scorn. Forgiveness, not condemnation. Blessings not curses. Good, not bad gifts.

Not because we deserve them. Or have earned them. But because he loves us. Wants to shower them on us. Because he sees us and knows us intimately. Because he sees us through Christ’s worthiness and work. Because we are part of his family.

Let’s be grateful receivers. It’s one of the best gifts we can give the giver.

Joyful for what we are given.

Why is it harder to receive gifts, than give gifts. Stop being critical of them or yourself. Receiving gifts graciously is a gift we can give the giver.

 

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa


Having trouble enjoying life? Reconciling your current reality with how you wish life really was? Get a free PDF with 12 tips to help you enjoy your life right now. Subscribe and join the journey. You will also receive weekly encouragement and hope tied up with some humor. Because life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the discussion: How do you feel on the receiving end? What has someone done for you that surprised you?

Why is it harder to receive gifts, than give gifts. Stop being critical of them or yourself. Receiving gifts graciously is a gift we can give the giver.

May link up at Kelly Balarie (#purposeful faitht), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Maree Dee (#Grace & Truth), and Kristin Hill Taylor (#porchstories).

Why is it harder to receive gifts, than give gifts. Stop being critical of them or yourself. Receiving gifts graciously is a gift we can give the giver.

Why is it harder to receive gifts, than give gifts. Stop being critical of them or yourself. Receiving gifts graciously is a gift we can give the giver.

 

The Life of Experience and Changing Perspectives

An out-of-state friend and I text back and forth. Setting a time to call and discuss a book we were reading.

(Which of course, often turns into a catch-up-and-gab time. Oh, and let’s-talk-about-the-book before we hang up time.)

We decide to call tomorrow. 2:00

Tomorrow arrives, and after looking at my calendar that morning, I remember the scheduled chat. I even remember once again as I was eating lunch.

Next thing I knew the sun was setting, I was cleaning up dinner plates, and 2:00 had clearly come and gone.

It wasn’t the first self-made plan that hadn’t taken shape at my house. Nor will it be the last.

I know this fact – that plans can fail to turn out as planned — as deeply as I know my name. Time and experience have instilled this in my mind multiple times over. (As if I keep forgetting it and need to be reminded yet again.)

I texted my friend. “Dear me!!! I think we both forgot we were going to talk today at 2:00. Oh well! Life!!”

And I could almost hear her laughing an hour later when she texted back.

Learning from life experiences changes everything. Suddenly those things you thought mattered so much, don't really. Because now you have perspective.Learning from life experiences changes everything. Suddenly those things you thought mattered so much, don't really. Because now you have perspective.Learning from life experiences changes everything. Suddenly those things you thought mattered so much, don't really. Because now you have perspective.

 

Life’s Education.

 

Life has a way of educating us. Smoothing us. Calming us. Providing perspective.

If this had happened in my earlier days, say my 20’s. I would have been horrified I forgot to call. Embarrassed and worried when she didn’t call me. Stressed that I had somehow given her the wrong impression of me or my intensions. I may have even worried it into a shape bigger than a bread box and asked my husband’s opinion. By bedtime, I would have worried it into the shape of an empty room complete with a trapped rhino.

And this I know for a fact. Rhinos are not good bed fellows. They keep you up with all their moving and leg kicking. And then their horn is pretty sharp, so you have to be careful of where their head is located, in relation to you.

By the first light of dawn, I would have had blood shot eyes from lack of sleep. And convinced myself that I was now facing a mini crisis.

I do not miss those sleepless days where I doubted and mico-analyzed myself and life.

Nope, I have told that rhino to sleep elsewhere. That the bed is to small for him to sleep with me anymore.

Yup, after life educating me over and over with anything and everything not going as planned, and still the world not collapsing in on itself like a black hole sucking me into another dimension, I am much calmer and am able to take things more in stride.

At least most of the time.

Because I am done with churning stomachs and stress and worry turning into a downward funnel that sucks my joy into nothingness.

Well, at least most days.

And if I catch myself soon enough, the rhino is only a squirrel.

Learning from life experiences changes everything. Suddenly those things you thought mattered so much, don't really. Because now you have perspective.

 

In the big scheme of things (and life), it probably doesn’t matter that much.

 

That’s what I have learned over the years.

After many mishaps and things going zig and zag, instead of linear as I planned in my Day-Timer and brain. I have realized that most things don’t carry as much weight as I initially think they may.

What things? You may be asking?

Not getting dinner made.

Forgetting someone’s name and calling them something totally unrelated.

Little boys peeing in the front yard. 

Babies shooting things from both ends onto my clothes.

Showing up a day late for a birthday party.

Tossing the unopened Amazon box out and the garbage team collecting it before I remember.

Forgetting to bring food to the potluck.

My son’s bird pooping on a guest.

My child having a meltdown during church.

Being late. Being early. Not even showing up.

Not getting the bible study lesson read before the meeting.

Burning dinner minutes before company arrives.

Forgetting to call my friend at 2:00.

Yup. Things like this happen to most people. (Even if they don’t admit it.)

This is all just part of life. (Or at least my life.)

Learning from life experiences changes everything. Suddenly those things you thought mattered so much, don't really. Because now you have perspective.Learning from life experiences changes everything. Suddenly those things you thought mattered so much, don't really. Because now you have perspective.Learning from life experiences changes everything. Suddenly those things you thought mattered so much, don't really. Because now you have perspective.

 

The benefits of perspective.

 

Finally learning that life rarely goes as planned, but instead takes detours and crosses mountain passes without warning, has its benefits.

I am calmer.

I can laugh at myself and life more.

I can save my energy for more important things, like that afternoon nap.

I can just breathe and let it go.

And I try not to base my worth on what I do or don’t do.

I have also leaned grace and compassion for myself and others. (Because I see their life not going as planned sometimes!)

Yup, if your kid has a meltdown in swim class, I am more sympathetic and don’t judge. I think, hey, I can relate. And will probably toss you a smile and words of encouragement. Because I have been there.

That’s the great thing about the Life of Experience. It slowly chips away and changes your perspective.

You begin to take yourself and the detours of life a little less seriously.

And that’s a beautiful thing.

Learning from life experiences changes everything. Suddenly those things you thought mattered so much, don't really. Because now you have perspective.

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa

 


Having trouble enjoying life? Reconciling your current reality with how you wish life really was? Get a free PDF with 12 tips to help you enjoy your life right now. Subscribe and join the journey. You will also receive weekly encouragement and hope tied up with some humor. Because life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the Discussion: How has your perspective changed over the years?

Learning from life experiences changes everything. Suddenly those things you thought mattered so much, don't really. Because now you have perspective.

May link up at Kelly Balarie (#purposeful faitht), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Maree Dee (#Grace & Truth), and Kristin Hill Taylor (#porchstories).


Sometimes you meet a friendly, but wild squirel, who wants a little petting!

Learning from life experiences changes everything. Suddenly those things you thought mattered so much, don't really. Because now you have perspective.Learning from life experiences changes everything. Suddenly those things you thought mattered so much, don't really. Because now you have perspective.Learning from life experiences changes everything. Suddenly those things you thought mattered so much, don't really. Because now you have perspective.

Learning from life experiences changes everything. Suddenly those things you thought mattered so much, don't really. Because now you have perspective.

Truth for When You Feel Far from Beautiful

Hey beautiful! Yes You!

Quit swiveling your head like a steering wheel. Looking to see if I am talking to someone else.

Because I am talking to you.

And you are beautiful. So beautiful and loved.

I know there are days you feel unloved. Days you feel about as beautiful and put together as a smashed crayon with the paper ripped off. Days you ask what am I doing? Days you doubt your impact on anything more than your ability to ruin things.

But I am here to tell you that you are beautiful. You are loved. Even when it feels like you are not.

Encouragement for those days when you don't feel beautiful. Because even if you think you are not, you still are. Here's why.Encouragement for those days when you don't feel beautiful. Because even if you think you are not, you still are. Here's why.Encouragement for those days when you don't feel beautiful. Because even if you think you are not, you still are. Here's why.

We see people differently.

When I met my husband, he was so gorgeously handsome. I mean my girlfriends could not keep their eyes off him and kept telling me they would be happy to take him off my hands.

And when we got engaged, people were telling me that we would have the best marriage because he was so handsome. (As if his looks were all that were necessary for a great marriage!)

Well years have passed, and time has diminished some of his jaw-dropping looks, but to me, he is looking better than ever.

And no, it is not because he undertook some ab-defining exercise program or got some cuts and tucks here and there. Or started using some eye un-crinkler, line disappearing moisturizer. It’s because I know him so much better. I see his actions. I know his attitude. His heart.

I see how he patiently talks to our teen son and explains things to him. I notice how he looks out for us and plans for our future. I observe how he sweeps our daughter’s floor and plays peek-a-boo with her toddler. I see how he mows the lawn on the hottest days, so our yard looks nice. I notice how he helps his sister and mother, using his vacation days to do chores and tasks for them. I hear him ask me how I slept last night and encourages me to take care of myself. I appreciate how he encourages me to get together with girl friends and go on sister trips. I watch as he cleans the dining hall after the homeless have eaten. I watch how he wipes the inside of the fridge until the shelves sparkle.

This and a million other things.

Things that serve his family and others.

Things that communicate his love to those who matter to him.

I love him more than when I married him and find him more attractive. Not because he romances me on weekends. Surprises me with flowers every month. Or whispers how beautiful I am at odd times during the day. Or gets me diamond jewelry every birthday. (The usual things movies and advertisements say communicate love and devotion.) Because these are not his normal ways of communicating his love. (And if I was looking for only these things, I would miss his unique way he shows his love.)

No, I love him more because he gets up in the middle of the night to retrieve an escaped dog. He spends hours researching his sister’s health problems. He works hard to provide for his family. He communicates his love by doing, serving, and showing concern.

His actions. His attitude, romance me.

Encouragement for those days when you don't feel beautiful. Because even if you think you are not, you still are. Here's why.Encouragement for those days when you don't feel beautiful. Because even if you think you are not, you still are. Here's why.

What makes you beautiful?

And the same applies for you.

It’s not make-up and high heels and jewelry that make you beautiful. It’s your heart of service. Your love and devotion you show to your family and others.

It’s getting up to comfort a sick child in the middle of the night. It’s the hours you spend planning the family vacation. The multitude of dishes you wash each and every day. It’s making meal after meal when you no longer even know what to make. It’s getting up early and doing the morning routine so that the house is ready to welcome the rest of the family as they tumble out of covers.

It’s choosing not to buy that new dress so that the kids can have new clothes. It’s wanting the best for your family. Not leaving them just the leftovers of time and materials at your disposal. It’s you defending your tribe to others. It’s your encouragement on their down days. Your cheering them on. Your laughter that circles the house and brightens their day.

It’s thinking of them daily. Thinking about their needs. Helping them achieve their potential.

All these things make your beautiful. And more beautiful as time goes on.

It’s your heart. Your attitude. Your actions of service.

These make you beautiful to others. To your tribe. To those who know you.

Encouragement for those days when you don't feel beautiful. Because even if you think you are not, you still are. Here's why.

Encouragement for those days when you don't feel beautiful. Because even if you think you are not, you still are. Here's why.Remember you are beautiful, despite how you feel.

I want you to realize this.

Even when you don’t feel beautiful.

And when one of your tribe members says, “You are beautiful.”

I want you to quit thinking deafening thoughts aloud in your gray matter that you are not beautiful. Quit listing reasons you are not beautiful. Or the reasons you will never be beautiful. Or why you don’t deserve to be called beautiful.

Even if you are standing in the kitchen in your torn nighty with un-brushed teeth and night sweat skin and feet that need some serious lotion to stop the flaking.

Quit the talk that negates their proclamation of you.

Because to them, you are beautiful.

Even standing in your nighty.

Because they are looking through eyes different than yours.

Because they are seeing straight into your heart and soul. They are seeing the real you who fiercely loves them back. The you who serves them day and night and even worries about them in your dreams.

They are seeing the true you.

The beautiful you.

Sure, high heels and makeup may shine up the outside a bit and make you feel a little more beautiful. But your tribe doesn’t need those reminders to see your true beauty.

Just hug them back and say, “Thank you.”

Accept their free-word-gift of encouragement without criticism.

And keep being your beautiful self.

Because maybe the real question isn’t if you are beautiful, but what makes you beautiful.

Encouragement for those days when you don't feel beautiful. Because even if you think you are not, you still are. Here's why.

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa

 


Having trouble enjoying life? Reconciling your current reality with how you wish life really was? Get a free PDF with 12 tips to help you enjoy your life right now. Subscribe and join the journey. You will also receive weekly encouragement and hope tied up with some humor. Because life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the Discussion: What makes others beautiful to you?

Encouragement for those days when you don't feel beautiful. Because even if you think you are not, you still are. Here's why.

May link up at Kelly Balarie (#purposeful faitht), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Maree Dee (#Grace & Truth), and Kristin Hill Taylor (#porchstories).

Encouragement for those days when you don't feel beautiful. Because even if you think you are not, you still are. Here's why.

Encouragement for those days when you don't feel beautiful. Because even if you think you are not, you still are. Here's why.