I was given a book recently. It was lovely, the pictures were incredible and the recipes amazing. My friend was in Portland and saw it and thought of me. She wrapped it with a bow and wrote a card and gave it to me.
A few years ago I had a big birthday and I had a group of friends fly from various places around the country to come together simply to give to me of their time and their words and their selves. It was such an honoring weekend. I sat around a table for the big birthday meal and one by one each friend shared a word of encouragement and a story of God being good and faithful to them through me in some way. As each person spoke my ability to listen and hold their words as truth increased.
One day, I was weeding my flower garden. As I was unwinding a weed from choking one of the flowers I heard in this spot in my brain where I hear from Jesus, “Cari, stop trying to garden your own life, just be the flower.” I paused. The words felt profound. I began to pay attention to what I was doing as the gardner and what the flower was doing, as the flower. The flower didn’t actually do a whole lot. I unwound and pulled weeds. I gave it water. I made sure the plants were getting the sun needed. I fed them with plant food in the soil. The gardner did all of the work and the flower had one job, the flower had to receive. The flowers receives the sun and the rain, the nutrients from the soil, its home, and even getting rid of that which could destroy the flower was not the flowers job, the gardner had to do that as well and flower simply receive the benefit of a weeded flower bed.
Receiving is incredibly important. What if I had said to my friend, “you shouldn’t have thought of me and spent the money? Keep the book.” or what if I had gone to the weekend, planned by friends, and whenever they began to do something for me, I would say, “oh don’t waste good words on me.” or “you really shouldn’t travel to celebrate me, that is just too much time and money, and really it’s okay I don’t need it, don’t go out of your way.” What if I did all the work to feed, care, look for sin, manage my self so as to never receive from Jesus, because he did enough for me, it’s mine to behave for him and work for him and be used like a tool for him?
In all three circumstances, not receiving would have resulted in missing a blessing and rejecting someone I love. Receiving is remarkably important, and it a posture of humility.
Today’s Practice is: Receiving
Take a few moments to quiet your spirit. Breathe in deep and exhale your breath slowly. Breathe in again and say “Giver of good gifts” and breathe out “I receive you today.” Do this several times, until your mind is stilled and you fill centered around the generosity of Jesus.
Think for a moment about the things you must receive from Jesus. Hold your hands open and thank Him for his good gifts. Make a list.
Ask if the Spirit would reveal to you any place where you are hesitant to receive or afraid to ask for what you desire or need because you don’t want to be needy or ask too much. Confess back to the Lord what is revealed to you.
Throughout your day, as you partake in anything good, the sun, the rain, a good conversation, a small thank you from someone you love, people who love you… Breathe in deeply and say, “giver of good gifts” and breathe out “I receive you today.” Pay attention to all that is given and do not fight it, but simply acknowledge the gift and the giver and receive it.
Listen: Lord, I need you
Pray: Lord, giver of all good things, help me receive your love for me. Forgive me for working and striving to perform for you. Forgive me for believing that you desire my work more than you desire for me to receive from you every good thing. Open my hands, open my heart and increase in me the ability to receive you. Give me a humble heart and an awareness of your work in me. For, Lord it is in receiving you that I am able to give anything. Today give me eyes to see your good gifts and receive them as your love for me. Amen