Thursday, January 7, 2010


Jobina and I recently gave some friends of ours a gift. It wasn't like a car or anything but it was something substantial. We wanted them to feel special, appreciated, and blessed. When the person came to thank me they were appreciative . . . but, they hesitated. I laughed sensing what would come next.

They were having trouble receiving my gift!

First he wasn't sure if there was some agenda involved. A little paranoid he admitted. After that passed he felt like they didn't deserve such a gift. And so I could see this friend was struggling, can I really be OK with receiving this? We talked it through and I assured him gently that it wasn't about deserving it, but enjoying it. That's what gifts are for after all. No strings attached.

The ironic thing is that this person is extremely generous and benevolent. Sometimes the best gift givers are the worst gift receivers!

I thought about it and realized I'm not that great at giving, but I'm excellent at receiving. Maybe it's because when I give I try only to give with a generous heart (unfortunately this means my gift giving is not consistent - a problem). The other thing that helps me to receive well is that I try not to be guilt based. Guilt doesn't usually get traction with me so I don't mind at all if someone gives me a present. They have free will to give and I have free will to receive. In fact, I kind of feel like I do them a favor by receiving - I'm giving them an outlet and a face to give to! And since it is better to give then to receive, they are actually getting more out the encounter then I am. Why would I feel guilty about that?

It is rare that I will feel guilt about receiving a gift. Humbled, yes. Guilty no. Receiving is pretty easy for me. Now if I can just get cracking on becoming a better giver! So how about you. Do you find it easier to give or to receive?


Jay Boaz said...

I find it way easier to give than to receive. I like giving people gifts; it doesn't have to be anything big, but I like doing things like picking up the lunch bill. I actually struggle with not buying Riker a ton of stuff since I see so much superhero merchandise these days I would have loved as a kid; I actually bought part of his next birthday present while in Phoenix because I found a great deal on something I thought he'd love.

I guess when I receive I kind of feel like a mooch, even though I'm probably not being so. I still remember our...awkward...conversation about going shopping for the tent you got me for my wedding present (which we still absolutely love, by the way)!

Jobina said...

I don't know if I could honestly say that I excel at either. More than likely people would think that I don't receive well, but sometimes it just takes making the gift my own. I hope that once your friend makes the gift his own, he'll really enjoy it for what it is.

Mark said...

Jay: Our awkward conversation was probably (OK, definitely) my fault. Sorry for making that worse then it needed to be!