As overseas workers, we are conditioned to a lifestyle of servanthood.
Perhaps service is your spiritual gift and that’s what led you into cross-cultural work. Maybe you wanted to learn how to be a better servant, and a life abroad seemed like the best way to practice.
Either way, you are likely more than chest-deep in experience of dying to self. You’ve learned another culture’s language. You’ve embraced another people’s customs. You’ve sacrificed your creature comforts. And all of the putting yourself aside has become a part of your DNA.
That’s why – at least for me – it is incredibly awkward when someone wants to give me something.
I get some kind of sick high off of being the person that’s always giving. So when it’s time to receive, I stammer and resist and try my dang best to get out of someone buying my coffee.
Noooooo, I say. I should be buying YOUR coffee! (in America, my home country)
Noooooo! I can’t accept this chicken from you! (in Asia)
This year has put me in a crazy season of helplessness. My family moved straight from SE Asia to Uganda for four months this summer to adopt our 6-year-old daughter. We knew no one, had nothing to offer, and were going through the most stressful transition of our lives.
I had what I could fit in one suitcase and our entire family was sharing one bedroom. There was no money. There was no mode of hospitality. I literally had nothing to share. But God raised up a community to surround us and I felt terrible crying into their shoulders with the emptiest of hands.
We’re now in America and I’m finding myself again completely void of anything to offer anyone. I have no serving platters for nice food. No extra car for meeting or helping anyone. No money for substantial gifts. And it’s driving me crazy.
But here’s what I’m learning:
My obsession with giving has become a control issue for me. My desire to always be the giver means I want control over a situation making ME the person who is providing the generosity.
And I’m really starting to believe this:
If I can’t be comfortable receiving good gifts from my neighbors, I’ll never be comfortable receiving good gifts from God.
Perhaps the Father dropped me in this season transitioning kids through three countries to teach me that He desperately wants to give me great gifts. That the Christian life is not only about ministering to others, but about allowing others to minister to us.
I’m wondering here at The Grove, can anybody feel me on this? Who has some advice on how to grow into a posture of comfortable receiving?
What have you learned about gracious ways to accept other peoples’ gifts? What good gifts has God given you recently?
I’m learning how to be okay with going into other peoples’ homes instead of always having them in mine. I’m learning how to be okay with having nothing to offer friends except good conversation and a listening ear. But whew, this has been a painful self-discovery of my love for control.
What can you teach me about our Father’s desire to give us good and perfect gifts? I can’t wait to link up with you in the comments!
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Here’s our Instagram collection from this week using #VelvetAshesGift. You can add yours!