I was talking with a friend yesterday about some of her financial challenges. She's a wonderful, kind, loving and generous person, yet something about her money struggles makes her feel guilty – as if she must be doing something wrong in God's eyes.
I know her very well and could assure her there is nothing she has to feel guilty about. Together we began to explore what could be metaphorically "tying God's hands" in blessing her. In other words, what is she doing that isn't allowing her to "receive" the bucket of blessings God has hanging right over her head?
The word "receive" triggered something in both of us. We looked at each other. Her eyes widened as her mouth drew into a circle, "Ohhhh!" She was taught all her life that you never take anything from anyone. If you do, you must pay them double or triple in return. This was hard-coded into her, modeled by her greatest mentor. She felt she must earn everything she receives. She must deserve it because to do otherwise would be wrong.
Yet, how can any of us ever deserve or earn all the blessings that God showers upon us daily? We are forever in His debt. He is constantly trying to illustrate that we could never repay Him..
As my friend and I explored her feeling that receiving is "wrong" she was able to verbalize three distinct reasons why she felt receiving from someone else is bad.
- If I take what you're offering me, then you will have less.
- If I receive something from you and don't pay you back for it, then I'm in your debt. You can lord that over me later. There will be a price to pay.
- If I'm a taker – or a receiver – then I'm "less" than or inferior to you.
Let's take a look at each of these reasons for the inability to receive.
If I take what you're offering me, then you will have less.
This assumes we live in a world with a finite number of resources and that there's not enough to go around. If you have 100 pennies and I accept one from you, then you'll have less than you would have had. Now you only have 99.
But, God shows us with the majesty of His expanding universe that resources are not fixed. There's always more and more coming. The truth is if you give me a penny, God could easily replace that penny with 10 more, even 100 more. He's the one who fed the 5,000 with a few loaves and fish!
Rather than looking at resources as fixed and that everyone is fighting for them, what if we shifted our beliefs about this? What if we saw everything as a flow of energy and matter? God gives to me. I give to you, God gives more to me. You give to the next person and God gives more to you. What if money, resources, love, and serving energy are meant to flow? What if refusing to receive dams up the flow as much as refusing to give?
"Cast your bread upon the waters and after many days it shall return to you." What if you don't pick up the bread when it returns because it came from someone you can't or don't want to repay?
If I block the flow by refusing to receive what you want to give me, then I not only block the flow of blessings to me, but I also block your blessings. What's more, I block the flow of blessings to the people I could have helped and blessed. Why? Because now I'm missing a critical piece you could have given me. I can't pass it along because I refused to receive.
If I receive something from you and don't pay you back for it, then I'm in your debt. You can lord that over me later.
I must admit that there are people who feel this way … "I helped you, so now you owe me." But there are people in this world who are not that way. There are people who model God's love and light. They stand symbolically in your life to show you that God wants to help you. He wants to bless you and give good things to you. He expects nothing in return except perhaps your love and gratitude.
I think of the people in my life who have given me priceless understanding and insights. These gifts bestowed upon me by loving friends can never be repaid in my estimation. I am forever in their debt and forever in God's debt for His bringing them into my life.
I feel no sensation that these people will lord this over me, rather my heart is drawn out in love toward them, forever grateful, forever blessed. I want to assist them in any way I can. As we receive from God, our hearts are also knit together in love with Him -- if we are grateful and acknowledge His hand in all things. This attitude of gratitude helps us unlock the blessings of heaven and binds us to God and to others with love and unity.
If I'm a receiver – then I'm "less" than or inferior to you.
As we receive and then "pay it forward" to others, we are living in God's grand design. When we are in the service of our fellow beings we are only in the service of our God. How can others reap the blessings of serving if we are unwilling to receive it? There is no greater, more exemplary way to live than to live as Christ lived. One is certainly not less for living in this state of flow.
Can you see now that receiving is every bit as important as giving? Receiving is not about stealing or taking without permission. It's not about living with a sense of entitlement either. It's about stepping into a natural flow of God's love and resources and being equally as liberal in giving and paying forward as you are in receiving.
As one lives in this state of flow long enough, she quickly realizes that the person we give to, doesn't need to be the one to repay us. It's a state of trust, knowing that as you give, God will repay wherever, however and in the most optimal way He chooses. I have learned that I would much rather have God's repayment than something my mind could fathom to ask in return. His payments are wondrous, amazing gifts that almost always come through the hands of others. In order to receive what God wants to give me, I must receive from others!
If you're suffering lack in any area of your life, I challenge you to examine your own beliefs about giving and receiving. Could something so simple be blocking the flow of blessings into your life?
Learn more of the laws of abundant living here.