How receptive are you? Do you allow others to assist you? Do you appreciate compliments?
At a Sunday afternoon retreat, the speaker made one point about allowing ourselves to “receive the gift.” This could be anything from an offer to pay for a meal to a compliment on what we are wearing, to a door being held open. In our culture of being self sufficient, it can be a difficult thing to grasp. How many times have people responded, “this old thing?” when complimented on their dress? Perhaps when eating in a restaurant with friends, one person may offer to pay, but how many people will speak up to say it’s not necessary? Or even that someone else will get it next time? Why do we feel the need to make everything equal?
I think one of the greatest examples of receiving is my 85-year-old dad who has Parkinson’s. As the disease progresses, he gets slower and even the small daily activities are monumental tasks. He is constantly thanking me when I visit for all the help I give both him and my mom. Part of me thinks that since he’s my dad, of course I want to help; I love him and don’t like to see him struggle. Another part is being appreciative of all he did to raise me, it’s now my turn to help him. I know I can never pay like for like, but I want to use the opportunity to show my love in action, rather than just saying it. It also makes me wonder if I could be even half as gracious and appreciative if I was in that state?
God wants to bless us and give us gifts. But are we open to accepting them? Or do we get annoyed when they are not quite what we wanted or don’t happen the way we expect? Can we just receive God’s gift with a smile and say thank you, regardless of what it is? Perhaps if we can practice with the earthly things that others give to us, we can be more receptive of those that come from God.
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