When I was 25 years old, I was doing rather well as an insurance agent. I was married to my wonderful wife and our beautiful daughter had just been born. We had bought our first house. Life was good.
In the process of all this, I had a disturbing realization that this was not the right time for this decision. We made it as far as my home town – about 2 and one half hours northeast of New Orleans.
Have you ever been confused to the point of despair? I was.
We rented a place and decided to stay a while so I could figure out this confusing matter. We had made a good profit on the sale of our house, which was good since I could not locate steady work right away. After a time, this money began to run low. As I worked through the job search, it seemed nothing would go right. I took some odd jobs to fill the gaps. This only worked for a time.
The gaps soon could not be filled by odd jobs. Bottom-line; we were in Need.
We didn’t talk about our situation to others – but those who know and love you sense these things. Just as things were really appearing bleak, two different friends showed up – one from the town we’d just left.
They each came bearing checks.
I have to tell you at this point – we could not have made it without that money. I also have to confess, I struggled greatly with taking this money. When my good friend Ressie handed me his large check and told me it was not a loan, I said I just couldn’t take it. He responded by asking me if I’d eat a steak at his house. I said, “Well yes.” You see, we had all shared many meals at each others homes. So I accepted the money.
Even after taking the check, I still struggled inside with it all. My wife said to me, “You must learn how to receive.”
I considered myself a good giver up to that point – giving a good portion of my income to our church and such. I also was struggling to understand exactly why I was in this need. Has your self-esteem ever been in the tank? Well, my self-esteem was pretty low.
I then began to consider the words of my wife, “You must learn how to receive.”
I knew she was right. But I didn’t know exactly why. And I surely didn’t know where to start in considering this thing about receiving. So I started where I could – with something that came naturally to me – stepping back and considering what was good about my situation.
And guess what? There were some good things:
- I had been given the wisdom of how important Decisions are in our lives
- I had been given the understanding of what it’s like to be in Need and that it can happen to anyone – AND – it was not a statement about my worth as a person
- I had been given the loving support of my Friends
- I’d begun to learn how to be Thankful in the trying times – not just in the good times
And becoming thankful had focused me on things this time of need had actually given me
- Time to consider my life’s direction
- Time to reconnect with my wife
- Time to bond with my baby girl – and that is still paying big dividends today
Becoming thankful had forced me beyond the embarrassment and shame of need so I could see what I’d received – not as charity – but a loving gift. And finally, becoming thankful had led me to a commitment.
My friends had given me gifts that I would not be able to pay back. My friend Ressie said to me, “You’ll find someone in need one day, and that’s when you’ll pay me back – through your gift to them.” And that became my commitment! I’ve since found many opportunities to keep that commitment.
Be thankful for the opportunity of this day to give. And where you get the blessing – be thankful in receiving.