You know that I love to share with you my favorite household “How-to’s.” But this week, I want to share with you a principle that my mom ingrained into my head at a young age. Today’s experiment: Blessing by Accepting Gifts.
I want to define my use of “gift” here. I am not talking about it’s-your-birthday, bow and wrapping gifts. When I use the word “gift” in this post, I am talking about anything, absolutely anything, that someone desires to give you. It could be hand-me-down clothing for your toddler, food from someone who is cleaning out their cabinets, or a piece of furniture for which you have no use nor space.
Here’s Mom’s mantra: “If someone wants to give you something, never tell them, ‘No.’ If you do, you would be robbing them the blessing of being generous.”
Put yourself in the giver’s shoes and this one makes sense right away. Imagine cleaning out your back closet and finding something that you just know that Aunt Susie would enjoy. You set it aside for her and give it at the first opportunity. She holds it in her hand, gives a slight look disdain and passes it back to you, saying, “Oh, thanks, Honey, but I already have one of those.” At best, you’d feel deflated in this situation.
But what if she accepted it and gave you at least a simple, “Thank you for thinking of me.” You are gratified and your propensity to be generous has increased. You will look on Aunt Susie with kind feelings.
What if someone offers you a bag of clothing for your child where most of the clothes are half-stained and need to be washed? Go on and give a hearty thanks, accept the gift, weed out the ones you don’t want, and shoot off a thank you note. The giver will be gratified and you will be blessed by their gift.
My husband and I have moved four times in the less than four years we’ve been married. With each move, it seems like people are ready or awakened to giving us gifts. Items are constantly circulating in and out of our house. If we don’t need it, we pass it on. If we do, we hold onto it until we don’t need it any longer. We have been the recipients of many items that we did not desire. Often, those gifts have ended up in the dumpster or at our local Goodwill Donation Center.
I admit, sometimes I do get nervous that someone will ask me where that such and such item is that they gave me five years ago. But I need not worry, I think, because they received much more pleasure from my initial excited acceptance and thanks than would in finding evidence of my lasting enjoyment.
I want to know your thoughts about this. Do you agree that accepting everything can be a blessing? Or do you believe it’s being deceitful?