On the Receiving End

"I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency]. But it was right and commendable and noble of you to contribute for my needs and to share my difficulties with me."---Philippians 4:13-14 (AMP)

"Drop your feeling of resistance when the Universe gives you more than you think you deserve. That's what the Universe does -- it gives us more than we could ever deserve. Open your arms wider and take it all in!"---Laura Teresa Marquez

OK, all "over givers" (and is there such a thing? We'll get to that in a moment), this one is just for you!

I have had several people ask me how my "inner court" friends know if they are truly close to me...being that I naturally put so much of myself "out there" for the world to see. Good question. The truth (and I'm quite free in it-John 8:32) is that God created me as a candid person and so yes, most of my life is an open book. I made peace with that a long time ago.

I remember my mother telling me that as a child, she never really knew WHAT was going to come to of my mouth. As a toddler, if I was acting up in church, if she had to take me out, she said I would be yelling, "Help!" One time, while riding on a bus, a woman said to me, "You are such a pretty little girl." My response? "And you look like a clown." Fast forward 30-something years, while I'm sure my mother still holds her breath at times, I'm also certain that she is not shocked (so much anymore) by what God revealed to her about me eons ago.

That said, let me share this with parents who may have a "truth-speaking" child. DO NOT DISCOURAGE THEM; DO NOT BREAK THEIR SPIRIT. I was recently reading about the fact that children are born with all of the tools that they need to fulfill their purpose in life, but because many people around them are not in tuned with them...because a lot of parents don't ask God (Jeremiah 33:3) for their children's purposes to be revealed, even from the womb (Jeremiah 1:5), they toy and taint with the very things that make their babies individuals. When you don't know how to deal with a truth speaker, your brand of discipline can evoke fear...which will turn a lot of us into liars (Ephesians 6:4)...the very opposite of what God created us to be (which is the Enemy's mission out the gate-John 10:10).

Now, if you are a truth speaking adult child, here's the fine line. I am still learning how to speak truth without offending. Proverbs 18:9 (NKJV) says, "A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city, and contentions are like the bars of a castle", and Ephesians 4:14-15 (NKJV) encourages, "...that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head-Christ..."

A couple of years ago, I had a two-day discussion about if there is such a thing as being "brutally honest". Sadly, there is, but it's not what a disciple of Christ should be. (John 8:31) We should make a concerted effort to speak truth patiently...kindly...not rudely. Now, that doesn't mean everyone will like, or even immediately accept what you say; truth is often a form of medicine and medicine is not something most people will readily digest. BUT, I am working on watching my motives before I speak. WHY am I sharing this truth? WHEN am I sharing this truth? HOW am I sharing this truth? Get those three down, and it will be a lot easier for you as the giver and for those on the receiving end. (Oh, and asking God WHOSE TRUTH IT IS, first is a big liberty tip, as well!)

OK, but back to the point about me and my friends. How can people know if we are truly intimate with one another? It's if I am vulnerable with them. When you are vulnerable with a person, you are opening yourself up to being "capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt". My platform (freedom from sexual misuse) makes me somewhat vulnerable (open to moral attack, criticism, temptation, etc.) to the Enemy, but greater is he (God) who is in me, right? (I John 4:4) However, although not necessarily predictable to the masses, there are certain things that can get to me; there are certain ways that will, if attacked, rock me to my core. And so, I am about to make a vulnerable statement, but I am sharing it so that other people like me can get free in this area: I, at times, tend to be a martyr giver.

Martyr:a person who willingly suffers death rather than renounce his or her religion; a person who is put to death or endures great suffering on behalf of any belief, principle, or cause; a person who undergoes severe or constant suffering; a person who seeks sympathy or attention by feigning or exaggerating pain, deprivation, etc.

Giver: to present voluntarily and without expecting compensation; bestow; to hand to someone; to place in someone's care; to grant (permission, opportunity, etc.) to someone; to impart or communicate; to set forth or show; present; offer; to pay or transfer possession to another in exchange for something; to furnish, provide, or proffer; to produce, yield, or afford; to make, do, or perform; to cause; be responsible for; to care about something to the value or extent of (something fanciful); to relinquish or sacrifice

Now, while I think ALL DEFINITIONS could use some (re)visiting, it's the ones in bold that I want you to really ponder upon at this time.

Another thing that I was given, from conception, was a heart to give. I LOVE TO GIVE. It's a huge life source/force for me...some would even say, supernaturally so. As a matter of fact, I just had a conversation yesterday on what I would do with a Bentley if someone gave it to me. Me? I would sell it and use the money to bless other people. A car the cost of a house sitting in my driveway? To me that is vanity at its best. However, most of the people in the room totally disagreed. They actually believed it was insulting to "re-gift" a gift; that to give away the car is refusing the giver as well.

On that note, let me share something else that I have learned the hard way; ONCE YOU GIVE SOMETHING (MONETARY) AWAY, IT IS THERE'S TO DO WHAT THEY WILL. You shouldn't give something to someone and then tell them how they should use it. No, that is not called a "gift"; that is a "loan"...or "bribe" (which is why I believe God watches how he gives things...he wants to make sure we will be responsible with it once he gives it to us). However, the truth is that there was no "right" or "wrong" in that discussion. A part of my purpose is to give and so I am going to see a scenario like that as an opportunity to do just that: give. Other people may receive the gift in the spirit that it was given: something for them to have.

But you see just like truth, if not properly nurtured, can turn you into a manipulator/liar, if giving is not honed in the way God intends, it can also make you less than what he created you to be. If you are someone with a supernatural heart for giving (and you know who you are: the ones who give without expecting [from man or God]; the ones who don't need a parade for doing it; the ones who want to make more money only to help more people; the ones who are not sitting up creating ways to make money or flip a plan/scheme; the ones who hate to see anyone---family, friend or even foe suffer; the ones GIVE more than LEND; the ones who think nothing of feeding a stray, giving to the house-less man or sacrificing your needs for another; the ones who go shopping, but not for themselves; the ones who desperately search for new ways to give and come up with crazily creative ways to do it; the ones who can name something they did today that was over the top; the ones who give and people say, "How did you know that I needed that?"), God is not going to take that gift away...even when you find yourself being used/abused by/for it. It's a gift and his gifts are irrevocable. (Romans 11:29) What he will do is show you how to use that gift responsibly; how to give in a way where it is not such a sacrifice...especially to your psyche and spirit. (I Samuel 15:22)

This week, I found myself beat...and resentfully so. I was giving and doing...and giving and doing...AND GIVING AND DOING. And yet, there were a few times this week when I made myself vulnerable enough to ask for assistance (cause it's often hard for givers to ask---bookmark that), and when those people weren't available/refused/ignored, for whatever reason, I found myself letting bitterness set in. Now, here's what you need to watch about being/becoming a bitter person:

"Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright."---Hebrews 12:14-16 (NKJV)

This is why God advises husbands not to be bitter (hard to bear; grievous; distressful; characterized by intense antagonism or hostility; hard to admit or accept; resentful or cynical) towards their wives (Colossians 3:19); trouble most certainly, eventually, on some level, will follow. For me, bitterness was tempting me to have a jaded perspective. When you are a martyr giver, by the time you do reach out, if they are not available, you assume that NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOU. The Enemy's objective in that? Well, if you continue to feel that way, eventually, it could cause you to stop being the giver that God created you to be. You can find yourself so focused on the suffering that comes with giving (in an imbalanced way), that you end up a selfish individual. As a matter of fact, because I am a firm believer that in the ways you are called, you are attacked, I am willing to bet that some of the most selfish people in the world were called to be supernatural givers and either didn't submit to God, or let the bitterness of humanity take over their lives. (Philippians 3:3)

I don't want to become that person and so I asked God to reveal to me the root cause of my issues in this area; why I find myself in cycles of "give resentment". Here are the three points that I received (thank you, Holy Spirit!-Luke 12:12):

1) My belief of giving is not fully God's principle on giving. Did you see what the bold definition of "martyr" was? Someone who "endures great suffering on behalf of any belief, principle, or cause". God's Word says that if we suffer for righteousness' sake, we are blessed (I Peter 3:14), but not all of our suffering is righteous. I John 14:27 says that God does not give as the world gives. John 6:32 tells us that it was not Moses (man) who gave/gives bread, but the God of heaven. First point? All giving should point man (including ourselves) back to God; it should be a reflection of God's goodness. God gives because it's an extension of who is he...plain and simple. As those made in his image (Genesis 1:26-27), we should do it for the same reasons. Second point? "So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Corinthians 9:7-NKJV) Giving must always have a purpose (an intended or desired result; end; aim; goal). But here's the really deep part: did you catch what follows that? NOT GRUDGINGLY OR OF NECESSITY? BAM! Now, this is gonna be a little touchy, but this is where mercenary giving---in or out of church---is a slippery slope. Don't give with an attitude, yes. BUT also don't give because you need to get something. To give out of necessity is to give due to "an imperative requirement or need for something" or because of an "an unavoidable need or compulsion to do something". Give $100 so that God can bless you with a particular prayer request? I don't care who advises that, it's not biblically-sound and not only that, it's manipulative (which is a form of a lie, which keeps people bound). God wants us to give because giving restores us to who he created us to be. Some of us are greater givers than others, but at the end of the day, a selfish person is an ungodly person (John 10:10) who reflects the Enemy's nature. As a Christ follower, this should be our focus: "Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." (Matthew 19:21-NKJV) Treasure in heaven is what we should desire most. Giving prepares us to receive just that. (Luke 12:34)

2) Receiving is as much of a spiritual principle as giving. For years, I had a hard time receiving...too long of a story made short, it's disobedient and on some levels, even demonic to be that way because not being able to receive is usually rooted in insecurity and pride. (Proverbs 16:18) Some of us are in dire straits right now and it's because we are refusing the help that God is trying to give to us through other people. (I Corinthians 10:26) Luke 6:38 (NKJV) tells us, "Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you." It doesn't say HOW it will be given. It just says that it will. Oh, but God respects your right to accept a gift...or not. One of my favorite instructions from Christ was, "Don't carry any money with you-gold or silver or copper. Don't carry a bag or extra clothes or sandals or a walking stick. Workers should be given what they need. When you enter a city or town, find some worthy person there and stay in that home until you leave. When you enter that home, say, 'Peace be with you.' If the people there welcome you, let your peace stay there. But if they don't welcome you, take back the peace you wished for them. And if a home or town refuses to welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake its dust off your feet. I tell you the truth, on the Judgment Day it will be better for the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah than for the people of that town." (Matthew 10:9-15-NCV) Family, GIVING IS A FORM OF MINISTRY. To do what you do to your fullest ability, you will need to help/support/assistance/provision of others. Now all of us have heard, and probably quoted, that we can do all things through Christ, but do you see what Paul said immediately following that? That it was RIGHT...and COMMENDABLE...and NOBLE for people to contribute to his needs and share in his difficulties with him. IT IS RIGHT TO DO THAT! Workers should be given what they need. On the flip, God tells people who are trying to give that if you are not received, you should leave that place and shake the dust from your feet; that you shouldn't stress it. Giving should be a joy, but receiving should be as well because ALL OF IT IS GODLY. You are not impressing God by making someone beg to help you with a bill or nag you to take you to work because your car is broken down. Giving and receiving is a cycle that is never meant to be broken. Like the Godhead and marriage, it is to be an eternal union between God and his people. Which brings me to the final point.

3) The levels/timing of giving should always be discerned. PLEASE CATCH THIS, PEOPLE:"This is what I think you should do: Last year you were the first to want to give, and you were the first who gave. So now finish the work you started. Then your 'doing' will be equal to your 'wanting to do.' Give from what you have. If you want to give, your gift will be accepted. It will be judged by what you have, not by what you do not have. We do not want you to have troubles while other people are at ease, but we want everything to be equal. At this time you have plenty. What you have can help others who are in need. Then later, when they have plenty, they can help you when you are in need, and all will be equal. As it is written in the Scriptures, 'The person who gathered more did not have too much, nor did the person who gathered less have too little.' "(2 Corinthians 8:10-15-NCV) IT IS NOT GOD'S DESIRE THAT ANYONE LACK AS THE RESULT OF GIVING. God does not want you to have troubles while others are at ease. And you see, those on the receiving end, this is what I had to receive in my spirit. A lot of people that I was giving to, because it was not with a God-led purpose/time, a lot of times, I would find myself in trouble while they were at ease. It could be the gift of my money, resources, time, energy, emotions...whatever. They would take and take and take and really care less if I received anything in return. THAT IS NOT GOD'S INTENTION FOR US. But, here's what I am really having digest in this season: I need to give from what I have; from what I currently "possess; own; hold for use; contain". A man by the name of Harold Hockett used to say at his church during offering time, "Do not write us a 'faith' check. We end up paying for that. Write from what is already in the bank." A lot of us give from "faith emotions", "faith provision", "faith security", "faith assumptions" (about the validity and sincerity of a relationship) and, because it's not really in us to give, we---and the person on the receiving end---end up paying dearly for it. A gift shouldn't have to cost anyone. Don't give from what you wish you had to give; give from what you already and actually have: time, energy, feelings, money, whatever. You don't HAVE your rent money to give. You don't HAVE commitment space for someone who is not prepared to reciprocate. You don't HAVE time for those who are not prepared/willing to receive/embrace/appreciate it. In other words, it is not in your possession to hand over those kinds of things; to try would be already giving out of lack and not surplus (that's how we end up feeling taken for granted). There are some people in my life that I can sacrificially give to because I know they desire for our giving/receiving ratio to be equal. But there are others where, I HAVE TO GO TO GOD EVERY SINGLE TIME, because their heart is not in the same place (I have squeezed "the fruit" and seen it-Matthew 12:33). For those people, it's not about establishing a godly mutuality when it comes to blessings...it's about having their needs met and moving on. I have it to give to people that I know, who have proven, to have my back. I don't have it to do with/for people who have proven otherwise. With those people, I have to let God use me...so that they won't. By patience, we possess our souls (Luke 21:19) and what our souls can/cannot handle.

Praise be to God! I can't tell you how freeing this all has been for me! How I had to accept the truth in love that I am a martyr giver, only by choosing to be. And that God is just as much in support of my receiving as he is in my giving:

"The wife of a man from the groups of prophets said to Elisha, 'Your servant, my husband, is dead. You know he honored the Lord. But now the man he owes money to is coming to take my two boys as his slaves!'

Elisha answered, 'How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?'

The woman said, 'I don't have anything there except a pot of oil.'

Then Elisha said, 'Go and get empty jars from all your neighbors. Don't ask for just a few.

Then go into your house and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and set the full ones aside.'

So she left Elisha and shut the door behind her and her sons. As they brought the jars to her, she poured out the oil. When the jars were all full, she said to her son, 'Bring me another jar.'

But he said, 'There are no more jars.' Then the oil stopped flowing.

She went and told Elisha. And the prophet said to her, 'Go, sell the oil and pay what you owe. You and your sons can live on what is left.'"---2 Kings 4:1-7 (NCV)

You see how the neighbors had to get in on it? The need nor the prophet were enough? A miracle manifested often requires the assistance of others. My prayer for fellow martyr givers in recovery this week?

"Complaining about anything, holds you in the place of refusing to receive the things you've been asking for. Justifying about anything holds you in the place of refusing to let in the very things that you've been asking for. Blaming someone, holds you in the place of refusing to let in the things that you've been asking for. Feeling guilty, feeling angry, it doesn't matter what you call it, it is a refusal, not a conscious one. You're asking; you can't help but ask. The Universe is yielding; it must yield. It's a big question, folks: why aren't you letting it in?"---Abraham

I'm not real sure who the Abraham cat is (found it while quote search hopping), but he is definitely on to something. Don't refuse to receive. It only causes people (and yourself) to suffer when you do. If God has you on the receiving end, it's for a reason.

For both the giver and the receiver. Amen and amen.

©Shellie R. Warren/2009

"Inside of Me: Lessons of Lust, Love and Redemption", now in its second print, is available at Barnes & Noble Dot Com and Amazon Dot Com.

Upcoming releases later this year.

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Here's to a divine connection,

Shellie R. Warren

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