Why is it that so many of us struggle with either the give or take of life? I have always been a giver and find it easy to help others, give when needed, or put others first…but when it comes to letting others give to me in return, I really struggle. There have been difficult times in my life, and many more to come I’m sure, where I was in a situation where simply giving was not enough to fill my cup. Have you ever had experiences where you had to humble yourself enough to bite the bullet and surrender to help from others?
I often am told, “Let me help you…” or “I need the blessings too…” thinking about it this way often makes it easier to accept the help of others because deep inside, I trick myself into thinking I am still giving to them. In a way, that is true. Allowing others to bless and serve us is a very important aspect of giving that sometimes we don’t always understand.
Recently, my thoughts have been turned to much more pondering on this subject because being pregnant makes life harder to give somedays. I am blessed with a husband who is a giver 24/7. I think the Lord knew I would need someone like this in my life to teach me a lot of important, soul-connecting lessons. Overtime I have learned to soften my receive, and am allowing Skyler to help me more and more as the days go on. I am grateful for these lessons I am learning now, because I know once the baby comes, there will be a lot of receiving that I must allow to take place in my life without my pride getting in the way.
Pregnancy has brought a whole new meaning to the word receive, because some days I feel kind of, well, helpless. Pregnancy is tiring, and draining, and makes life unmotivating at times – which is really hard for someone like me to deal with. As the weeks go by, I have had to learn to let go. To let go of my control. To not allow self-guilt to creep in when I willingly choose to receive something that has been meant as a gift.
My husband offers me nightly foot massages. When we were first married, my favorite words to say were “No thanks.” or “I’m good.” Did I want a foot rub deep down? Yes! But I had come out of a rocky marriage where there were no gifts given without strings and expectations attached. To protect myself from this unhealthy relationship, I had chosen to become extremely independent, not needing help, not wanting help and walling myself away from any thoughts of needing or receiving anything from anyone. Throughout my marriage to Skyler, I have had to do a lot of “soul cleaning” and “thought purging” to really change my thought processes and take control of the false beliefs I had been allowing to live in my head for so long.
A few months went by in our marriage, Skyler still would ask me every night if he could give me a foot massage. I started saying yes, braving my fears and stopping my thoughts that kept screaming, “Say no. Strings attached. You don’t need help. I’m fine. You don’t need anyone. ” Awful, isn’t it? But how many of us have similar thoughts when help is offered in our lives?
Last week Skyler was giving me a foot massage. We’ve come a long way, to the point where I am not afraid, nor too proud, to ask for one. During the massage I mentioned my back hurt, to which he offered a back massage. Immediately my thoughts turned to guilt – because I felt if he gave me one, I had to return the favor, and I was too tired to do so. I quickly refused, but made sure to thank him for the foot massage. It wasn’t until the next day that I realized I was still in the same mindset – trying to control the receiving end.
This law operates on the principle that nothing in the Universe is static, and in order to receive, we must continue to give. In other words, giving and receiving are simply two different expressions of the same flow of energy. If we were to stop the flow of giving and receiving—by refusing to do one or the other—we would cause stagnation and cut off the flow of powerful energy. For example, what happens when blood stops flowing through our bodies? It begins to coagulate and clot. The same principle can be applied to energy; when it becomes stagnant, the flow is cut off, and it becomes difficult for the things we truly desire to come to us. – Traci Pedersen
Throughout my pregnancy, I have had to face this lesson over and over. I have been healthy and not nearly as sick as most women, but nevertheless, I am tired and face my daily struggles. Day in and day out, my husband sits helplessly, wanting to offer his help, not knowing how to support me. As I have learned over the past few months the false ideas behind my thinking patterns and have slowly allowed him in more and accepted his help, our connection has deepened. I love him more and trust him more than I ever did before. He also feels more love because he feels needed and supportive.
Being vulnerable is scary, especially when it comes to being humble enough to say, I need you. Please help me. I had a long talk with a wise friend a few days ago who counselled me to not hang on to the guilt and ego I was still carrying every time I decided to accept Skyler’s help. She told me that there would be many times in our marriage when the giving and receiving would not be equal. There would be times I needed him more and then other times I would need to step up and carry more weight when he struggled. It was a lot to take in, especially for someone who is extremely independent and proud. But as my thoughts linger on her wise words, I am learning to accept the profound beauty in what she was teaching me.
Sometimes in life, we are the givers to those who at those times, are the receivers. And sometimes we are on the other end and must be willing to be humble and accept the blessings that the givers in our lives are so anxious to bestow upon us.
Blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble. Yea, [they are] much more blessed than they who are compelled to be humble. – Alma 32:15-16
It is through the lowest moments in history, especially our scriptural accounts, when humbled to the knees, a child of God submitted their will to His and allowed Him to help them. I have seen this pattern in my life, multiple times, because sometimes we don’t learn our lessons the first time, or the hundredth time.
How do we accept service from others? Sometimes it is a matter of changing our perspective and realizing that although we may not be able to give physical service back to those who help us, we can offer service of a spiritual nature. When we allow others to serve us, we can invite the Spirit by asking Heavenly Father to help us grow closer to the individuals serving us….On the other hand, pushing the Spirit away with our discomfort and discouragement in our own abilities is not the Savior’s way. When we decline needed service, we are more focused on our own problems than we are on the people around us. We are succumbing to pride rather than being humble. – Alison Palmer
I am learning in my life, as I apply the Law of Give and Receive, that the blessings from God do flow more abundantly. He not only answers prayers, but when we choose to receive gratefully and without pride, He in turn gives us more opportunities to give. How beautifully painful this lesson has been to learn in my life but also how extremely instrumental it has been in opening my eyes to the false beliefs I sometimes allow myself to think. We do need one another, but most importantly, we need our Heavenly Father – who often works and blesses us through the hands of those around us.
It is my prayer that you, too, can join me in opening our hearts, humbling ourselves, and being open to the belief that giving AND receiving are important parts of our mortal journey on earth. I love the power that comes from these two mantras, or patterns of thought:
- Wherever I go, and whomever I encounter, I will bring them a gift. The gift may be a compliment, a flower, or a prayer. Today, I will give something to everyone I come into contact with, and so I will begin the process of circulating joy, wealth, and affluence in my life and in the lives of others.
- Today I will gratefully receive all the gifts that life has to offer me. I will receive the gifts of nature: sunlight, the sound of birds singing, spring showers, or the first snow of winter. I will also be open to receiving from others, whether it be in the form of a material gift, money, a compliment, or a prayer.
Keep giving. Keep receiving. It is through both of these gifts that we will grow more exponentially and come to love those around us more profoundly.