How to Receive a Gift
Sometimes one of the most awkward moments in life is the moment you choose to act on your decision to be generous to someone. I've found the easiest way to give is to go through a third-party or find another anonymous way to do it, but sometimes you just know you need to look someone in the eye and give it to them. This can be uncomfortable, and that feeling can exponentially magnify depending on the size of the gift and the relationship you currently have with the person.
Recently, I was on the receiving end of this experience (thanks, God, for blessing us through a couple friends!!), and I could feel the discomfort of the giver as she didn't want me to feel uncomfortable. And something popped out of my mouth that was so true that I wanted to write about it. Here it is:
"Generosity is usually only uncomfortable if the person you're giving to doesn't know how to receive a gift."
And it's true, right? I know it's not always the case, but this has been my experience the majority of the time (unless the person giving the gift has other motives... but that's a topic for a different day). So since Becoming the Generous means a) being able to receive a gift from God and b) teaching others to be and become generous, I thought I'd write a little How-To today. So...
How to Receive a Gift
- Say "Thank you". It's surprising how often people forget this. I understand that a gift out of the blue can be a surprise, but "Thank You" is a good first response. More than just letting someone know that you're accepting the gift, you're showing them that you appreciate the sentiment.
- Smile. If someone wants to give you a gift, they probably just want you to be happy. It might not be exactly what you were expecting or your favorite color, but smile and assume that the thought behind the gift was one of love and a hope to be a blessing.
- Say something nice about it. Or something nice about the person. Do you like the color? The texture? The function? The heart behind it? I know it might not be exactly what you had in mind, but we're doing our best and we could use a little grace.
- Send a Thank You Note. As a friend of mine says "If they took the time to get you a gift, you can take the time to send them a Thank You."
- List all the reasons you don't deserve the gift. Even if you don't feel like you deserve it, obviously the person giving you the gift thinks otherwise. Let them honor you in this way, without making them feel like they made a mistake.
- Act like you deserve it. A gift is a gift. If you earned it, then it's not longer a gift... it's a payment. If someone gives you a gift, don't act like you're the obvious recipient or that you somehow deserve this honor. The fact is, out of everyone they know, they chose you. And that's special.
- Point out what's wrong with it. The gift might not be perfect, but the thought is there. Don't make the giver regret the choice to bless you by pointing out everything they didn't get right.
- Rob them of their blessing. I have had some people decline gifts from me. Whether they decline because they don't want to seem needy or because they seem to think I'm in more "need" than them to be generous, it's difficult as someone who wants to be generous. The fact is, I often give gifts when I feel God leading me to be a blessing, and when someone rejects this gift they are rejecting my opportunity to see God's unique provision and blessing in my life. Don't rob someone of this opportunity.
These things don't just apply when you're given a gift from another person. When God blesses you in your life, don't make the mistake of thinking you have somehow earned or deserved it. Simply say "Thank You" and marvel in His goodness and His grace. The next time you receive a gift, accept it graciously. And the next time you give a gift that isn't received well, remember to give grace and enjoy the gift of giving.