My dear husband does not like to get gifts. Not birthdays or holidays. Not even Christmas or Easter. Not anytime or anywhere. Nope. Nada. Nyet. The other day—mind you, it’s only June—when I surprised him with the complete DVD series of Hogan’s Heroes, which he truly loves, while thanking me, he quickly deemed it his early birthday and Christmas present adding that there was absolutely no need to get him anything else. I just have to shake my head and smile because my kids and I love to give gifts. And we especially love birthdays. It’s a celebration of life.
Giving and receiving. It’s not so hard to do. Or is it? For some, giving is a way of life. Making someone smile. Bringing that ray of sunshine into a cloudy day. Loving. Ministering. Caring. But flip the switch and be the one given to, and whoa, hold the phone. It’s been said, “It’s better to give than to receive,” but I would submit it’s a whole lot easier to be the one bestowing than it is to be the one accepting. In a world where according to The Beatles, all we need is love, why then is it so hard to be loved on?
Wanting to be nice, or not wishing to trouble anyone, we unintentionally shut down expressions of love. No matter the gift—an offer to help, a word of reassurance or of appreciation—all are hard to receive. One of the toughest for me is the gift of a compliment. Whether it’s a pat on the back or a good job, I am usually ready with a seemingly sweet rebuttal stemming from the continual roll-a-dex of self criticism that lives in my head, of why that couldn’t possibly be true.
Is it because deep down we don’t believe we are worthy? Or is it because we don’t think the offer is sincere? Or is it stoic pride telling ourselves we can manage just fine on our own? Maybe it’s all of the above. But whatever the reason, responding to an offer for help with a Oh, that’s so sweet, but no thank you. I’m fine, or to any type of encouragement with I’ll be okay, I’m good, each of those replies can cause the one giving, in some way, shape, or form, to emotionally back away.
Vulnerability is hard to do. Letting someone see a glimpse of your true self is difficult in the best of circumstances. But when you take down the guard of pretending, to allowing the real you to come out and play, that is truly scary. But it is only then that honest friendship and love have a chance to grow.
The Lord wants us to be vulnerable to Him, to come to Him as we are. No masks. No hiding. No facades. He wants us to know without a doubt, He loves us. We are born into sin and live in a fallen world. But the Lord also sees who we yearn to be, who our pretend self tries so desperately to portray.
It is in His love for us, through the love His Son poured out on the cross, that He can bring about those heart changes we long for. To be loving, joyful, peaceful, long suffering, kind, good, and faithful, gentle and self controlled—the fruit of the Holy Spirit—this is who Jesus is and what He brings to our hearts.
He saves us from and out of sin.
He saves us from ourselves. (So many times our own worst enemy.)
He saves us because of His deep abiding love.
His is truly the best gift…. And a few years ago, my husband happily received this one.
In His Love,