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Giving or Receiving

  I was constantly taught as a child and as a young man that “it is better to give than to receive”! Generally, I believe that this is excellent advice, most of the time. However, I wonder if it could become a problem if that is all that I ever do. Is is possible that this strength could move toward being something out of balance if I get so focused on giving that I struggle to receive? 

  Giving to others whenever possible has frequently created for me a special feeling of joy and satisfaction to be able to meet someone else’s needs. It is a wonderful experience to be able to bless others when I have enough and others have lack. However, if I love this emotion, could I actually deny others the same special inner jubilation when I insist on always being the giver? What is wrong when I will not be humble and permit others to take their turn as the giver? 

  I recall a season in my life when I could not “take a compliment from others”, even when sometimes it was warranted by my efforts. I frequently made some trite response, which actually downgraded the efforts that they were trying to make. I was unaware of what I was actually doing to “poorly receive what others were trying to give” because I was so focused on being a giver. My great training from my parents had not really prepared me to humble myself and let others be in control of the process. 

   A very mature and spiritual young man recently shared with me some similar thoughts from his own . He said, “learning to receive gifts from others, even when you have enough, is humbling and allows you to be more sensitive to the needs of others and to be wildly generous”. He continued, “if you are always the giver, you are always in a place of power. When you are always in the place of power, it becomes difficult to receive from the Lord and even more difficult to submit your will to him”. 

  Regardless of how/if you may consider this new line of thinking, it might be time that you consider that only being the receiver or “the taker” all of the time is unhealthy. However, it is just as one sided when I find myself the perpetual giver and receiving is foreign and uncomfortable.