Sunday, 14 April 2013
One Way Street
Give and take. It is a well established and accepted partnership. If you give to others in whatever capacity, then it is deemed acceptable to take or receive; you've earned it. Taking, without its counterpart, is frowned upon; however giving selflessly is praised and regarded as sacrificial. Giving and taking is supposed to be a two way street.
I've always struggled with this concept practically. From a very young age I assumed the role of the Giver. I enjoy giving and meeting other peoples needs; I guess knowing that I have done something good to help someone else gives me a sense of purpose and maybe makes me think that I'm not such a bad person. I find it hard to accept help or gifts from others. When I have received from others it has always been accompanied by as sense of guilt and a need to pay them back somehow. When I really need help and have no option but to accept, part of me feels like I've failed. I have always been fiercely independent, priding myself on my ability to cope with the curve balls of life on my own. I guess I didn't truly trust anyone to help me; at some point people will always fail you and that wasn't a risk I could afford to take. I think in a way, I had also adopted a mentality of survival of the fittest; if I couldn't deal with a situation then I had lost the game.
This mentality is posing a problem for my current situation. There is no way I can go through cancer on my own. I am limited physically making practical issues a challenge such as washing and dressing, walking, getting food etc. I find it difficult, even when I'm in hospital to ask for help; I dislike having to ask the nurses to get things for me when I can't manage myself. I have been overwhelmed by the support, care and encouragement I have received from those around me. There is no way I can pay back such kindness and generosity and the words "Thank You" are so pitifully inadequate in expressing my gratitude.
Sometimes I think it is easier to receive from God than it is from people. I think it's because I can't physically see God or maybe I don't fully appreciate the gifts that He gives. But when I think about it more deeply, I catch myself trying to pay God back by maybe doing good things; as if that would stop me being indebted to Him. But the truth is, there is nothing I can give to God that isn't already His. I can't earn His love nor can I pay God back for dying on the cross for me so that I can have a relationship with Him. For someone who likes to give in return, this is mind blowing. All I can do is to take, to receive and in gratefulness, honour him.
Travelling on the One Way Street of receiving is hard because it requires me to be humble, acknowledge my need for help and relinquish my false sense of super woman independence. I am learning this lesson slowly, very slowly, but it is an important lesson to learn. Giving is important, not in order to pay back, but in order to reflect God's endless generosity and loving heart. When we give like God gives we share a piece of His heart and we find joy and freedom.