Faith · Gratitude · Personal Reflection

Humble yourself to accept gifts

I don’t know if it’s because society wants us to be independent and strong individuals, but I personally am not great at receiving gifts, unless it’s at Christmas or on my birthday. This is something I’ve been forced to work on over the past few years.

With my husband in seminary, we have churches, women’s groups, and individuals supporting us, financially, emotionally, or spiritually. It wasn’t easy to accept when this support came in. I had questions about why they chose to support us. What did we do to deserve this support? What should I do in return? Why us?

Shortly after moving to the seminary, I remember getting a letter in the mail with a check and a note that briefly stated the reason for the check: supporting us in our ministry, and I just remember breaking down into tears. I went inside, fell onto the couch, and just cried, reading the note again and again. This kindness and generosity didn’t make sense to me. I couldn’t fathom why this person would do this. I called my parents, and I remember my dad saying something that stopped me in my tracks:

“It’s humbling, isn’t it?”

Yeah. It was humbling. It’s hard to accept support when we’re conditioned to do everything for ourselves. When we receive any kind of support, we typically tend to feel as though we have to do something in return to prove ourselves worthy or to repay the debt we find ourselves in.

I think we could all use a little reminder in the day to day to allow ourselves to be humbled by the love of others. Instead of jumping up to repay a favor, allow someone to do something for you just because. I’m not saying it’s wrong to do something nice in return, but I think sometimes that gets out of hand. Let’s just let people be kind, and be kind to others.

The cool part is that this is true in our relationship with God. We have to just let him love us. We don’t have to do anything for his love or for salvation. He has done it all for us. We need to humble ourselves, knowing that we can do nothing, and thank God for what he’s done. Then we can let that thankfulness and the knowledge of the gifts from God lead us to loving our neighbors. You can do something nice for your neighbor, and when they try to return the favor, say no, because what you did for them was a gift, and a gift by definition is something given without payment. Let your example guide them to doing the same for another. And so on.

 

Image taken from Mental Floss. 20 Traditional Gift-Giving Superstitions.”

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