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A generous man forgets what he gives and remembers what he receives.
~Old Proverb

On the way to living a spiritually-balanced life, one of the major life lessons we all must learn is how to graciously be open to receive from others.

Oh, yes, you’ve probably heard that it is better to give than receive. That’s the counsel I was given as I grew up. By the time I reached adulthood, I was habituated to give, give, and give some more. I would be the first to volunteer to help. Heck, I would even step in and give when it wasn’t desired!

Naturally, there came a time when I was simply exhausted. I didn’t know how to say, “No do it.”

There are many caregivers, kind-hearted people who desire to make a difference and contribute positively, who end up reaching a point when they are exhausted and burned out. Perhaps you’ve experienced that yourself.

Because giving and receiving are two side of the same coin, it is desirable to seek a balance between them. After all, if everyone is doing the giving, who is left to receive?

As a result of my recent surgery, I have had a golden opportunity to surrender my self-sufficiency and become open to receiving support from others. I watched my reluctance to accept help break through to gratitude. I could not have done so without the help of untold numbers of people, not the least of whom was my ever-present husband. (By the way, I am doing just great and back to a full schedule.)

Along with opening to accept help there is also the necessity of asking for help at times. Others may not always anticipate what we need. Sometimes we need to ask. An additional challenge is the fear that you might get turned down. However, you are unlikely to get help unless you ask for it.

Also, you may give to someone who cannot return the favor or receive help from someone you can never repay. Balancing giving and receiving comes from considering this.

For an example, let me describe an exercise I experienced in a workshop I attended. The group formed a circle with everyone putting their hands on the shoulders of the person to their right. When you are giving a shoulder massage to the person ahead of you, you are simultaneously receiving a shoulder massage from the person behind you. Ultimately, everyone gave and received.

So how are you doing with balancing giving and receiving in your life? I challenge you to resist the need to be the giver all the time, while finding gracious ways to accept others’ gifts. You will be contributing to your own balanced, Spirit-filled life while letting others enjoy the act of giving.