"For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead..." Romans 1:20

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Giving vs. Sharing

This morning I was reading in Shakti Gawain's book Awakening.  She said concerning our inability to let people give to us, "To be able to receive, you have to be in touch with your vulnerability and be comfortable with the part of you that needs. You have to be comfortable allowing another person to feel strong and powerful in your presence."  It made me stop to wonder if, sometimes, my motive in giving is SO THAT I can feel powerful?  We are told it is "better to give than receive"--that we will be happier in the long run.  But now I suspect  sometimes it's because it gives us a sense of power over the "needy" person.  I am sure this is not what God intends when He calls us to help others.  

So, how can we be sure we're giving out of a place of love and not from a place out of our own need to feel empowered?
I found my answer as I read Alan Cohen's chapter, "Transforming Relationships" in his book The Dragon Doesn't Live Here Anymore.  In speaking about our motivations for entering into a marriage or a relationship he writes, "...[it] can be distilled to two basic dynamic attitudes: I am going to get something from this person OR I am going to share with this person......The first is seeking to get; the second, to expand."  I thought it was interesting that he did not use the word "give."  He said "share."  This takes the "power struggle" out of the relationship.  We no longer need to concentrate on keeping it in balance....to give just enough....to receive just enough.  Instead, our focus is on sharing all that we have--all that we are, and in doing so we and they will expand.  

As I read this my own words came back to me.  I recently took on the responsibility of leading the Maryland Chapter of the Tasha Tudor Museum Society.  The reason I gave whenever asked was that I wanted to share all my books and videos I've collected and to find other people who shared my interest in Tasha Tudor.  It's not because I have a great need to be in charge (power) or to give my time and other resources to people because they are lacking (which would quickly become a chore if I felt unappreciated).  The Lord had already shown me months ago what I was hearing Cohen say this morning.  This, I realized, is how I need to be in all my relationships.  The love and forgiveness I give to others is really only sharing the love and forgiveness God has given me.  When I love and forgive, no one is taking anything from me because it was not mine to begin with.  I am merely sharing what has been given me, and there is plenty for all of us!

I'd like to close with quoting this long paragraph by Alan Cohen concerning marriage since that is the relationship most of us are in or have been in, or will be in.  "If we can sustain our awareness as full beings, and enter into a marriage as an overflowing expression of the celebration of life, then the marriage will probably work.  If, on the other hand, I marry to 'lean out' on someone who will fill a gap within me that I feel I cannot fill myself, then I am in for big disappointment.  If I love you because you say you love me, or because you will have sex with me, or because you agree with my way of looking at life, or because you have a character trait that I feel I am lacking, this is not love, but a business arrangement based on lack.  In depending on you to fulfill my needs, I am affirming my weakness and establishing a marriage on marshlands. . . .The relationships that I have seen work are those in which the partners seek to serve and support each other with encouragement and confidence; where the partners refrain from making demands upon each other; and where the individual creativity of each person is honored and encouraged."  Cohen concludes, "More important, the relationships that have God at their center, or that have at least some kind of commitment to a higher purpose than to fulfill each other's fantasies, are the ones that are the strongest."  I agree, but personally, I feel that even relationships established with a "commitment to a higher purpose" will only survive if their higher purpose is God because it's only in sharing His Love, His Forgiveness, His Mercy, that an unbreakable bond can be created.

Father, Share is such a beautiful word!  May I always be quick to share all that You have given me and continue to give me.

Link to scripture:  1 John 4:19

Take action:  If you only knew how much God loves you, you would know you have everything you need in order to share what you have with others. . . .

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