My friend told me I was a gracious receiver. Really? Like most women, I find joy in my care of myself and my family. An offer of help made me admit my inability to fulfill “my” responsibilities, and sometimes I fear my frustration came out as ingratitude. It’s hard to be nice when you feel lousy, when you really want to say “go away and leave me alone in my misery.” Sometimes your first response to a generous heart may be “no, it’s too much,” not realizing how your words can hurt the ones trying to help. Because of God’s direction to me to seek praise, thankfulness and laughter, I worked at keeping my heart, and words, grateful. Here are three of the thoughts that helped me.
Help #1: Bruce Wilkinson’s book A Life God Rewards reminds us that God rewards those who do good deeds. I laughed when I read Hebrews 10:24, which says to “spur one another on to love and good deeds.” (NIV) You helper, me spur. I’d rather help than be helped, but I had been chosen for cancer, and I needed to accept this role with as much grace and gratitude as possible.
Help #2: If I felt like what someone was offering was too much, I would ask myself: “Would you rather do this for them, or have cancer?” In every case, I would have jumped at the opportunity to be giver rather than cancer patient/receiver.
Help #3: I believe we are only able to do good deeds if God enables us. Time and again I’ve watched God orchestrate opportunities for me to do good deeds for others. One day during chemo I “just happened” to drive by a linen store and realized I had a little time to fill before picking up my children at school. A friend who had lost everything in a flood had mentioned how odd it felt to not own linens. Here I was at the store where I had recently purchased great dish towels for myself. It felt so good to do something sweet for her while I was being the recipient of so much from others.
Remembering how God rewards good deeds, how much I needed what was being offered, and how fantastic it feels to give helped me be a gracious receiver.