Several of my friends forgot my birthday last week.
And it wasn’t completely their fault.
A couple others had no idea what to get me, or what I’d like to do. Wasn’t their fault either.
Long ago, I adopted an unhealthy stance and many times people adapted to my bad habit. I decided to be the “celebrator” and avoid being the “celebrated.” I went to nearly every birthday gathering or other celebration with something in hand, ready to celebrate and sow. When my turn came, it often felt different. But, I never said a word. Even convinced myself it didn’t matter. That made it easier to hide when depression came knocking. Never identified the ways I’d built walls and how I’d been responsible for much of the distance.
Now that I’m older, folks aren’t cooperating. They expect me to actually receive sometimes! I found myself having to ask for forgiveness several times this birthday season.
One night, I felt God wanted me to call the friend I was headed to meet. I knew she was having trouble deciding what we’d do and I needed to own up to why. Where I was attempting to be “simple” or “easy” in our time together in the past year, what I really did was avoid intimacy. Well, we ended up having a great evening. After our talk, she was free to celebrate me in a way that was fully her and allowed her to learn more about me. It was just perfect.
Maybe you’re like me. If so, let’s do better. Here are 3 suggestions to make your life and relationships richer by learning to receive from others:
1) Give permission to plant seed, especially if your ground is good.
I used to believe that I was helping my friends by not allowing them to give to me. Yet, I was spending a lot of time working on my ground. What if it’s better for them to give, than receive?Your ground may be more beneficial than your gift.Tweet This
2) Prepare a space to produce and cultivate trust.
Allowing your relationships to be fueled by exchange builds a foundation that shows you can be trusted. Reciprocity isn’t about keeping score and matching gift for gift. It’s about matching heart for heart in ways that are best discerned through relationship. Receiving lays a foundation of trust that giving alone cannot produce. Tweet This
3) Reject the pride that puts up walls to intimacy.
It’s not humility to refuse gifts; it’s actually pride suggesting that you’re self-sufficient. I recently finished Scary Close by Donald Miller where he suggested, ‘If you want intimacy, don’t settle for applause.’Tweet This Those weren’t his exact words, but that’s what resonated with my poor habits. Being a ‘one-sided giver’ is a form of settling for applause. It takes vulnerability to receive. Pride pretends it has no needs.Tweet This
What are your stories of growth? Do you need to apologize and set yourself or someone else free?