On Receiving and Giving Thanks

Someone recently gave me a gift that was unexpected, undeserved, and overwhelmingly generous.

And I was uncomfortable.

Ok, let’s be honest — I was down right itchy about the whole thing.

I almost didn’t say ‘yes’ to the gift in the first place.

(You realize, don’t you, that receiving a gift is a choice — requires action on our part? Even when someone dumps something in your lap, you still have the choice whether you’re gonna wrap your arms around it and take it with you when you get up. You still have a choice whether you want actually use it. For an unused gift is an unaccepted gift, is it not?!)

But as I was hemming and hawing and trying to figure a way out of accepting the gift, my wise Mother-in-Love said, in her direct, no-nonsense way, “If the only reason you don’t want to accept the gift is because you feel the giver is being too generous, than you need to just receive it!”

She was right, so I said yes.

But I was still itching.

In a conversation with another friend, we were both trying to get to the bottom of why we have trouble accepting gifts. In the context of our conversation — even as we spoke together, the Lord revealed to us that it all centers around the word “deserve”. I said,

“You know, I don’t mind accepting a gift on my birthday – ’cause that’s what birthday’s are for. And I don’t mind accepting a gift from someone I know well — if I’ve had a chance to invest in the relationship then I feel able to accept because…I feel like I deserve the gift…like I’ve earned it.”

My friend murmured agreement as it hit us both — we preferred receiving only when we felt we deserved it. An unexpected gift, from an unexpected source, disproportionate to our worth in the equation – that bothered us.

A lot.

But why? Well, pride is the obvious answer. But why does my heart only want what I deserve? God, why do I not willing take from Your hand all these blessings?

Because if I let myself free into the zone of grace, of undeserving grace, suddenly my math doesn’t work anymore. Two plus two may equal four, or seven only three. My good deeds may or may not get me the results, friends, attention, praise, affirmation I lust for, and I will have to go to God for my fulfillment.

Or, He may bless me over and above what I deserve, and I will have no recourse but to lift my hands, receive the gift, and praise the One who gave it.

To me. Undeserving, unacceptable-but-for-grace, not-nearly-good-enough me.

This whole thing has me thinking — what other gifts have I been given that I have not yet opened my hands to receive? Father, forgive and cleanse me of my pride, and help me to humbly receive all you have poured over me. Heaping blessings…

A hope I haven’t earned.

Friends I don’t deserve.

Answers I didn’t even pray for.

A peace I didn’t create.

A joy I have no formula for.

All gifts. I open my arms and say, thank You.

And thank you, and you, and you, and each one of you dear readers and friends that the Lord has used to fill my cup to overflowing.

Happy Thanksgiving!

10 responses to “On Receiving and Giving Thanks”

  1. Miki Avatar

    Just thinking of you this morning and wanting to send you a comment-shaped-((hug))… love ya darlin'โ™ฅ

  2. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    I had to decide what to do when a person was really giving me so much. Your mothers advice really blessed me to not feel bad. ๐Ÿ™‚ thank you. Jyl

  3. Trina Avatar

    Diane, I'm sure you'll have another chance at accepting that gift… ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Hmm. Lot of unworthiness going on here. I guess I'm not the only one who needs to focus on how God sees me? Entirely worthy because of His love and sacrifice. Trying to live that reality daily.

  4. Miki Avatar

    True. True, TROOOO-NESS!

    And I'm thinking of some sweet little dishes a sweet little someone offered me… and I didn't accept, for the exact same kinds of reasons you mentioned. eek.

    Oh my goodness, we all have so much to learn, don't we?

  5. Tanya Avatar

    Happy Thanksgiving to you, too. Great reflections.

  6. ~Jess Avatar

    I definitely have issues receiving gifts….particularly those given simply because. I also have this issue with accepting help, thanks and praise….I just don't feel worthy.

  7. DelightinginHim Avatar

    This. Is. Me.
    I struggle with this a lot. Because I feel so undeserving, unworthy. I am so glad you wrote on this.

  8. L Avatar

    This post really hit home with me! I have a hard time accepting gifts and help without thinking “I need to pay them back!” I now have a special needs 16-month old (who has a short life expectancy) and one of the many things I've learned from her is to how accept help and gifts! We're supposed to be kind and generous to others – that includes letting others be that way to us!

  9. nmetzler Avatar

    How very, very true.

  10. thenotesonmydesk Avatar

    yes… I forget this. Thank you. *smiles*

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