Why Is It So Much Harder to RECEIVE than it is to GIVE?
January 8, 2016
How often do we move through life, repeating the mantra “I’m fine…really…I’m just fine,” when really, we’re not?
So often, we buy into the lie that self-sufficiency is the ultimate accomplishment. It’s as though we are trying to be our own little gods.
We pretend that we are “fine” and, as a result, miss bountiful opportunities to receive from others and even from God.
Yes, Jesus did say: “it’s more blessed to give than to receive.” We’re not intended to be human sponges, just absorbing all that life has to offer.
But for many of us, it’s much, much harder to receive than it is to give.
It’s the emotional equivalent of a keeping a loading dock door closed tight when a well-stocked tractor-trailer backs in; ready to deliver it’s cargo.
What keeps us so closed to receiving?
Why do we resist asking for help or for prayer…or from accepting assistance when a sincere offer is made?
Why do we deflect heart-felt affirmation or, worse yet, stiff-arm someone who loves us?
My journey over the last seven years has shown me that I have often been resistant to receiving. And I’ve reached the following conclusions about why it’s so much easier to give than to receive:
Receiving requires vulnerability. You have to admit that you have a need. Many see vulnerability as a sign of weakness. In truth, when we admit our vulnerability, it gives others the freedom to express their own.
Receiving requires humility. You have to admit that you’re not perfect and that you really can’t do it all yourself. You have to finally acknowledge that you’re not Superman or Superwoman in disguise.
Receiving requires trusting and being open to others. It reflects a sense of dependence; something many of us fight at all costs. We might even feel “obligated” once someone does something for us. (Heaven forbid!) It’s easy to wonder about the motives of the person doing the giving. “What do they want?” “Am I safe with them?” are common concerns.
How, then, do we find an appropriate balance? How do we become better at receiving?
Take a deep breath and a baby step. Just DO IT. Ask for help with something simple. Yes, you’ll feel uncomfortable. It’s OK.
See how much joy it provides others to give. Remember how you feel when you are the one doing the giving. Don’t deprive someone of joy by pretending you don’t have any needs.
Open your heart to God. Be willing to receive from Him. Receive His love. Receive His care. Receive His promises. Most importantly, receive Jesus’ sacrifice on your behalf. Once you begin receiving from God, you’ll likely feel more comfortable receiving from others, too.
Let your “yes, be yes.” Be truthful. When you deny your need for help or encouragement, you’re still lying.
Realize that you will ultimately be a better giver once you learn to receive. You need to be filled up to be able to pour out. That’s part of the beautiful balance of life.
As you begin 2016, I hope you’ll join me in “Receivers’ Training Camp.” Take a risk. Learn to improve your receiving skills. You’ll likely learn things about God, about others and about love that will enhance your life.