“A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.”
John the Baptist in John 3:27
“Whoever abides in me, and I in him, he it is that will bear much fruit. For without me you can do nothing.”
Jesus in John 15:5
What Others Need Most in Me
I often remind myself as a care provider that what others need is the Person of Christ. He is our bread; our wine; our living water; our very life. He is who we need. We have more information than we can assimilate; more tools than we can often utilize; more books than we can read. The workshops, presentations, debriefings or whatever I provide are each platforms to bring Christ to people and people to Christ.
Yes, these platforms are important and it is wise to master them. Yet, we are invited to master another priority practice.
Care Givers as a Care Receivers First
What I have to offer to another must be more than just my own best effort or ideas. I want to be a conduit, my life an overflow of Jesus.
In order for that to happen though, I must receive from him. His invitation to me is a constant sort of reception. Jesus infers this when he invites us to abide as a branch to a vine. That branch is always receiving nutrients from the vine, day and night. So too for us.
Why Do We Struggle to Receive?
It intrigues me that we caregivers are far more comfortable being the one who is extending care as opposed to being the one who is receiving care. Am I afraid of being weak? Out of control? Seen as being a mess and incompetent to handle life? Honestly, yes, yes and yes. The reality is that I am weak, I am out of control, and I am a mess. Period. I need God. And I need others to shepherd me to God. And I love it when Jesus overflows from another person into my life.
Thus, in order for me to be able to tend to others, I first ask God to teach me, show me, shape me into being a constant receiver of himself – all of his life, blessing, goodness, love, and mercy. That is the fruit I will have to extend to another. I’ve learned to remind myself that life, blessing, goodness, love and mercy are all a Person. These elements are not to be objectified as if some sort of commodity. They are a “who”, not merely a “what.” I am constantly invited by the Spirit into communion with the Father and Son.
When I am privileged to extend care to another, Christ is the One I have to offer.
Personal Practices: A Means of Reception and Overflow
Taking time to linger in the word, sit with my God for extended times, Sabbath, reflection, fasting or any other practices are all means of communion in Christ. AND he is the one who in-fills me as I commune with him that he may overflow from and through my life to others.
Thus, we caregivers are invited to become master care receivers from God. How are you being receptive to God’s continual movement in your life?
I’m currently struggling with my identity and how easily I deceive myself into thinking I’m okay. I’m realizing that I stand on performance, compliments, even flattery (yuck), instead of The Rock who gives me life. Then comes the disgust. The Holy Spirit revealed just how much I turn to shame instead of Him. This “good girl” mentality runs way deeper than I know. Please pray for a new level of receiving for me. I’m not sure what it looks like, but I know it is good.
Grateful for the article
Feeling Less Messy
Julie I am so grateful for your comment. Thank you for your courageous honesty. I write this response to you knowing (hoping) many other eyes will see it as well. All of us struggle with this dynamic of identity.
We know (cerebrally) that our Father loves us, but we really don’t believe him…I was reminded of a great Henri Nouwen quote this morning, “Listen to the voice who calls you beloved, because otherwise you will run around begging for affirmation, for praise, and for success.” This is so true in my own journey. (I think this might be a blog-worthy topic….)
Father, as my sister Julie has requested, I pray for her and any of your other children reading in on this thread. I would ask that you would take each of us by the hand and teach us how to listen to your voice and to receive from you on a constant basis. Thank you that we belong to you. Amen.
Be encouraged today Julie!
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