The season of giving and receiving

Christmas time is almost here and although it’s my favorite time of the year, it’s also one of the most stressful times for many people – and for many different reasons.

Family and finances are probably two that top many peoples’ lists. I go into this season with anxiety about both.

However I’m also aware that the family and financial issues I’m stressing about I can’t do anything about. It’s a good lesson in practicing the art of letting go and trusting God.

I have noticed that many people are struggling and stressing about what they are expected to give to each other. Interesting that when giving should be a joyful experience that comes from the heart, it actually causes us heartache.

This year as I head into Christmas that’s actually not one of my stresses. Sure I’m not happy with my financial situation – in the ideal world the 30k that Mr X owes us would be in my bank account and I would have the security knowing I can provide for my kids. But, honestly, that’s a giving issue on his end. I can’t change that until the system in the states comes after him.

This year, knowing there isn’t a lot extra for things and stuff, our focus is much more on family. And at the end of it all, the relationships I have with my loved ones are so much more important.

I have learned a very valuable lesson this year. I grew up in a family who gave – they gave to friends and family, they gave to strangers, they gave to each other. They still do. For years I lived in the family I created in an environment where there was never enough to give We were always lacking. Even though we had lots of nice things, there was never enough. We couldn’t give because that meant people were taking from us. Not healthy.

I have found that giving to someone when I am at my lowest brings me more joy than I would have ever imagined.

The flip side of that is receiving which, it turns out, can be extremely difficult. This summer when I broke my shoulder I had to learn how to receive the gifts of others. I was hugely resistant to that and I had to explore why. It was like I felt weak and incapable because I needed to accept help. The thing is, I was weak and incapable and I did need help. Not one single person who helped me out ever made me feel like a burden. And I’ve never judged anyone I’ve helped out either. Yet it’s incredibly difficult to do – to say yes I need your help. Thank you.

We fight for our independence and feel successful when we do things on our own. Yet like the waves on the ocean we are all connected. We need each other. We need to give and we need to receive.

This morning when I got home from dropping the kids at school I noticed the girl had left her lunch. I texted the kids and my boy – without skipping a beat – offered his lunch to his sister so she wouldn’t have to go without.

I am so proud of those two my heart feels like singing. That is happiness.


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