learning to be a good receiver...

Confession: I am not a good receiver.

When it comes to giving, I have no problem there at all. I love the giving part, especially when I know that someone really needs, or would really love what I am giving them. Love that.

But turn the tables, and I start to feel all awkward and prickly. Last week my mom asked me to give her a list of things I would like for my birthday. I understand her request, we do live pretty much on opposite sides of the country, and she doesn't have the ability to just stop by and see what is going on in my life. But putting together a list of things that I would like for someone else just seems so very uncomfortable. Like asking for something.

That being said, I do have a friend who tells me that my inability or unwillingness to ask for help is not good, and while it is uncomfortable to hear, I know she is right. Somewhere along the way I have equated independence with the need to do everything on my own, or I shouldn't do it at all. For someone who is part of a faith community, I am beginning to see the dangers and pitfalls in such an attitude.

Then yesterday, Henri Nouwen joined in on the discussion, in his book, Bread For The Journey...
Daring To Become Dependent
—Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey, April 4

When someone give us a watch but we never wear it, that watch is not really received. When someone offers us an idea but we do not respond to it, that idea is not truly received. When someone introduces us to a friend but we ignore him or her, that friend does not feel well received.

Receiving is an art. It means allowing the other to become part of our lives. It means daring to become dependent on the other. It asks for the inner freedom to say, "Without you I wouldn't be who I am." Receiving with the heart is, therefore, a gesture of humility and love. So many people have been deeply hurt because their gifts were not well received. Let us be good receivers.
So, I am in the process of learning how to be a good receiver.

What about you?
Are you a good receiver, or do you need to work on it like me?


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