Note: This is the first in a series.
Of all the lessons we learn in life, learning to receive may be the most important. I know that’s a pretty odd statement, but receiving is an integral part of who we are as humans. None of us can be our own source. Have you ever tried to work up love or faith or kindness out of thin air? Your willpower may produce a good effort, but you’ll soon find yourself worn out and discouraged. Even physical tasks require building upon what has come before. In one form or another, we are required to receive in order to move forward.
You can strive to live disconnected and off-the-grid in a myriad of ways, but all of life was created to function in relationship with God, each other, and creation.
Why is It so Hard to Receive?
If we’re honest, receiving isn’t always easy. We can know what we want. We may even ask for it, directly or in roundabout ways. But the act of receiving, itself, is often awkward and uncomfortable.
Most of us have been taught to not be greedy. To not get our expectations too high. That humility steps back instead of forward when a gift is offered. On the other end of the spectrum, receiving also challenges our desire to be in control. It sets off independent and prideful tendencies of our old nature, which are not easy to admit.
When I was diagnosed with epilepsy many years ago, I was a wife and mother of two young sons. We lived a typical, active lifestyle that comes with a four and six year old. Suddenly, my driver’s license was taken away and a question mark hung over my head.
- How was I going to do everyday errands?
- With seizures coming at any moment, was it safe to walk or ride my bike with the boys?
- Could I rearrange my life and schedule to fit this new obstacle?
- Would I humble myself to receive rides when offered and help when given?
It wasn’t long before I knew: that season of my life was much more about learning to receive than about dealing with sickness. I had to face the resistance within myself with honesty and humility. I needed to see the underlying honor and beauty in my place of lack. In the coming months, I gained deeper understanding of what it means to be on the other end of giving.
Giving vs Receiving
We’re used to hearing that it’s better to give than to receive. And this is indeed true, in the context it was intended. Jesus taught us to always be generous with what we have. As we give, we tap into the heart of God. In generosity, we walk in His likeness and partner in His purposes. But Jesus also taught through His words and His life that our giving must always begin with receiving — receiving from a Source greater than ourselves.
Jesus’ disciples witnessed Him going off to be alone with His Father on a regular basis. When Jesus humbled Himself to become a man, He chose to become a resource in the hands of His Father instead of being the Source. He understood the human need to receive a constant flow of our Father’s goodness, wisdom, and power. He only spoke what His Father told Him (John 12:49) and only did what His Father was doing (John 5:19). In this posture, Jesus perfectly reflected the Father and perfectly demonstrated our potential.
Receiving was key to Jesus’ life on earth. As His disciples, learning to receive should be high on our priorities.
Let’s Go on a Journey
- If you find yourself running on empty, not just physically, but deep in your soul…
- If the weight of squeezing out one more thought or word or step seems overwhelming…
- Or if you know there must be more hope, freedom, and peace than you’re currently experiencing…
You’re not alone. We all have those days, and sometimes, those seasons. We want to do more, but we also want to hide away from everyone and everything. We’ve given all we have to give. We’re just not sure how to reboot.
You may be able to find a temporary reprieve or catch a burst of energy and inspiration here and there, but I want to talk to you about something much deeper. Something permanent and constant. I want to help you connect to the Source of life in the same way Jesus did. In John 17:20-21, Jesus asked His Father for this divine relationship for you and me:
And I ask not only for these disciples, but also for all those who will one day believe in Me through their message. I pray for them all to be joined together as one even as You and I, Father are joined together as one. I pray for them to become one with us so that the world will recognize that You sent Me.” (TPT)
This life of being joined together and one with us is a mystery of God’s Kingdom that He loves to unfold to those who lean in to know Him. It was His idea and He invites us, each one, to live fully by His Spirit within.
With that in mind…
I’d like to invite you to join me on a journey for the next few weeks to explore this concept of learning to receive.
- What does it look like?
- Why is it so important?
- Exactly what are we receiving?
- How can we do it better?
If you have questions, please comment below and we’ll add them to the discussion.
I look forward to hearing from you!