Learning to Receive

Jennifer Waddle

iBelieve Contributor
Updated Dec 04, 2023
Learning to Receive

Remember, the Lord is a Giver – He’s the Giver of life, love, and limitless grace. That means, as His daughters, we are to be receivers of His abundant life, eternal love, and endless grace.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” Ephesians 1:3

Most women I know are excellent givers, but not always good at receiving. As I ponder this, I wonder if it’s because of how God created us as helpers for our husbands, companions to our coworkers and friends, and even nurses for our kids when they’re sick.

It comes natural for us to serve our families, contribute to our workplaces, and give of ourselves until we have nothing left to give. Yet, learning to receive is vitally important to our health and growth. It’s part of who we were created to be - to receive every blessing we’ve been given through Christ Jesus.

If you’re an excellent giver but struggle to receive, I pray this post is of great encouragement to you. It is possible to receive with a joyful mindset, open hands of faith, and a heart of gratitude. 

It Starts with Belief

When we read the verse in Acts 20:35 that says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” we might assume Paul is telling the early church that receiving is bad. However, in the context of the entire chapter, we see that Paul is talking about covetousness and how he avoided this issue by working to supply what was needed for himself and his companions. 

What we believe about receiving matters greatly. If we have the mindset that we must always give, serve, and help but never get, be served, or be helped, we’re going to run ourselves ragged and miss out on the blessings around us.

Many times, I’ve witnessed my mom or mother-in-law busy in the kitchen while the rest of the family is enjoying time together. Usually, with a bit of coaxing, I’m able to get them to stop and join the fellowship, but it’s apparent their natural tendency is to serve.

In Psalm 34:8, David said, “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes. refuge in Him.” This passage invites us to partake of the Lord’s goodness and take refuge in Him. It doesn’t once mention giving, but instead, receiving.

Learning to receive starts with belief - the belief that God gives good gifts to His children and wants us to accept them with joy and thanksgiving. Pray and ask the Lord to change your mindset around “receiving” and begin to embrace the amazing blessings He pours out to you.

Here are more helpful resources for your journey:

Why Does the Book of Acts Say It's Better to Give Than Receive?

A Prayer for Changing the Way You Think

15 Things to Do If You Need a Change in Perspective

It Requires Humility

It can feel awkward when someone gives us a compliment or word of affirmation, especially when we’re not good at receiving. Our tendency might be to say things like, “Oh, it’s nothing, really,” or “If only you knew the real me!” But what could happen if we humbly received the kind words of others with sincerity and gratitude? Imagine how their words of affirmation would continue to bless us instead of being instantly dismissed and forgotten.

In the ESV, Proverbs 22:4 says, “The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life.” This verse first emphasizes humility, but it also highlights the riches, honor, and reward we receive when we are humble before God.

Learning to receive requires humility - the kind of humility that accepts things from others with genuine appreciation. Instead of glossing over the act of kindness, or receiving it flippantly, we are intentional about pausing long enough to realize the graciousness of others and the blessings of God.

This isn’t always easy, but the more we practice humbly accepting what others give with a simple and sincere “Thank you,” the better we’ll get at receiving. So, the next time you’re offered a compliment or unexpected act of kindness, pause for a moment before you respond. Look the person in the eye and let them know you truly appreciate them. 

Here are more helpful resources for your journey:

What is Humility? Bible Meaning and Importance for Christians

Why We Need to Learn to Take Compliments Well

The Grace and Greatness of True Humility

It Takes Practice

Learning to receive well isn’t going to happen overnight, but, fortunately, there are many times throughout the year when we can practice it. Holidays, celebrations, work gatherings, church settings… all of these provide opportunities to not only serve others but receive from them as well. This can be in the form of:

-Tangible gifts

-Awards and promotions

-Verbal compliments 

-Help with projects or tasks

-Wisdom, counsel, and guidance

In each scenario, we can learn to receive graciously without false guilt or false humility. Yes, it takes practice, but just like anything else, the more we do it the better we get at it. At your next gathering, be intentional about receiving. Don’t let compliments slide. Don’t downplay the promotion. Don’t reject the help people offer. Be willing to receive what others are more than willing to give. Before long, you’ll be an expert giver and receiver!

Here are more helpful resources for your journey:

6 Ways to Seek Wise Counsel in Your Life

What James 1:17 Means By 'Every Good and Perfect Gift' is from Above'

It Grows with Gratitude

It might seem counterintuitive to give more in order to receive more, but when it comes to gratitude, that’s exactly how it works. In fact, have you ever prayed with open hands, waiting in eager expectation for what God has for you that day? 

This is a simple habit to incorporate into your personal time with the Lord, and as you do, you’ll find yourself growing in gratitude for His abundant blessings. With anticipation, you’ll seek His truth, His will, and His way and learn to receive the spiritual blessings He’s already given you according to Ephesians 1:3.

Remember, the Lord is a Giver – He’s the Giver of life, love, and limitless grace. That means, as His daughters, we are to be receivers of His abundant life, eternal love, and endless grace. When we view receiving from this perspective, it will become wonderful and joyful for us. And the more lavish we are in gratefulness and praise to our good, good Father, the more eager we will be to receive daily gifts from Him.

It was John Wesley who said, “Thanksgiving is inseparable from true prayer; it is almost essentially connected with it. One who always prays is ever giving praise, whether in ease or pain, both for prosperity and for the greatest adversity. He blesses God for all things, looks on them as coming from Him, and receives them for His sake.”

Let’s learn to receive as we grow in our gratitude to the God who loves us and blesses us with every good thing. Let’s practice receiving with sincerity and pause. And let’s humbly accept the kindness others offer by believing in the goodness of both giving and receiving with joy.

Here are more helpful resources for your journey:

4 Ways Gratitude Can Change Your Mindset

There’s a Good Reason for Gratitude

The Attitude of Gratitude

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Tom Merton

Jennifer WaddleJennifer Waddle is the author of several books, including Prayer WORRIER: Turning Every Worry into Powerful Prayerand is a regular contributor for LifeWay, Crosswalk, Abide, and Christians Care International. Jennifer’s online ministry is EncouragementMama.com where you can find her books and sign up for her weekly post, Discouragement Doesnt Win. She resides with her family near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains—her favorite place on earth.