Neighborly Love, Part IV
Point to Ponder:
Do you rest and receive?
As I continue to read the book The Art of Neighboring (the inspiration of our Neighborly Love journal series), chapter 8 “The Art of Receiving” has my soul stirring. Why…because I am a terrible receiver, and I think it’s safe to say that most of us prefer being the giver and doer for others, rather than being the receiver. We are women who are designed to nurture, give and serve which is all wonderful and beautiful; however, I’m curious if the pendulum has swung so far to the service, giving and doing side that our ability to be available and receive love, help and service from others has become painful and next to impossible. I suggest this because this is me and my life.
To be absolutely honest, receiving makes me squirm and feel weak. Just last night a sweet family invited us to dinner so they could introduce us to their friends. Being “the new kids on the block”, we were beyond grateful for their kindness, hospitality, and generosity, but Russell and I left asking one another, “beyond writing a thank you note, bringing a bottle of wine, flowers and saying thank you a million times, what more can we do to let them know how grateful we are?!” While my restless and discontent soul desires to take action and do something for them, I know that my opportunity is to practice receiving my neighbor’s beautiful love, and I wonder if this is an opportunity for you too?
In Chapter 8, The Art of Receiving, the authors wrote this,
“Great neighborhoods are built on reciprocal relationships, on two-way streets. At the end of the day, no one wants to feel like a project. We want to feel that we bring something to the table. But, when it comes to neighboring well, one of the biggest temptations is to turn neighbors into projects. We put on the “super neighbor cape” and rush out to serve our neighbors and make a difference on the block. This really isn’t a bad thing, but if this is all we ever do, then our relationships will be empty. If we don’t allow people to meet any of our needs, we limit what God wants to do in our neighborhood and in our life. To be on the receiving end is very difficult. Our tendency is to put ourselves in a position of power- being the one to give. We want to be seen as the capable one with the resources and answers. But being in a relationship where we allow others to meet our needs is always a good thing. The art of neighboring involves our being able to give of our time and energy, and just as important, to receive from others.”
Ay-yi-yi! That’s me! I loathe feeling weak and always want to be in a power position–even when it comes to my relationship with my husband (my closest neighbor). Ironically, last night while at the dinner table, I had an incredible conversation with one of the women, who like me and maybe even you, is blessed and cursed with the perfectionist, achievement, accomplishment and busy bug. She reminded me that our greatest opportunity is to rest and receive God’s love, which often is our neighbors love. However, if we’re busy doing all of the time, how will we ever fully receive all of the love? More importantly, if we don’t allow ourselves to fully receive the love, how will we ever be able to fully give the love we are created to give?
So, what’s the formula to being able to receive? According to the book, it’s humility and vulnerability. Having humility allows us to admit that we actually need help, and vulnerability gives us to the courage to put ourselves out there and ask for help. And, per the wisdom from my new friend, I am also adding rest, meaning a little time everyday– away from all of our ridiculous distractions (I mean really?!? We are inundated!), like our phones, computers, television, radio, work, people, and busy schedules, where you can be still and available to meditate, pray, and tune into our Divine Source. For me, this is a time of prayer, asking God to expose my weaknesses and prideful ways so that I can hear Him and be fully present and available to receive all of the love He has for me, which is also the love that we allow ourselves to receive from our neighbors.