“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” – Acts 20:35
I have to work so hard at gift giving. My love language is words of affirmation, and I can typically cross over into three of the other four – quality time, physical touch and acts of service. But gifts? Not so much. In fact, not so much at all. And I really get put out about that.
I love to receive a thoughtful gift, but when it’s my turn to give, I way over-think it.
When someone’s birthday is coming up, I see it on the calendar and get a teeny panic attack. I ask myself over and over what I should get them. I might have grand ideas and good intentions as I look at gift baskets on Pinterest, but then I have to decide what to put in the thing … and that’s when I go into a big ol’ Texas-sized mental lock-down.
Wedding gifts are a little easier for me, because the couple has registered for specific things they want to receive. Even so, I’ve already started over-thinking the gift I’ll be buying in a couple of weeks for a bridal shower.
I can write cards and letters all day long, and I enjoy telling people how much I love them. It’s a breeze for me to go on and on extolling their virtues with words, but when it comes to purchasing a gift …
The struggle is real.
(That’s a millenial saying you should adopt into your vocab.)
I just hate that I can’t come up with an “original” or “signature” gift. Maybe there’s a secluded spa somewhere on a snow-laced mountain for people with this condition. If there was, I could go there and just soak my feet in some warm water, drink cucumber tea and meditate on it for a few days. I bet that would bring some gift-giving clarity.
Did you know that Paul is quoting Jesus in this scripture, but it’s not recorded in the gospels? Bible scholars have dubbed this verse “the lost beatitude”, because it’s not part of the list Jesus gives of other “blessed are” things in the sermon on the mount. Maybe Matthew, Mark, Luke and John struggled with gift giving, too, and they skimmed over that part. (OK, that’s a stretch, I know.)
But here’s the thing. Jesus said it. Paul lived it. And even though it doesn’t come as easy for me as writing a note, I need to work at being a better giver.
So, what do I do? I copy.
That’s right. I’m a big, fat gift-plagiarist.
Every once in a while, I strike it rich and come up with something on my own. Recently, my attorneys and I had a discussion about pocket squares. Guess what I gave them soon after? I was kind of proud of myself for remembering that whole conversation, and, not gonna lie (another little nugget you need to use with the millenials in your life), it was a little thrilling to shop for and give those silky squares.
But, as I said, most of the time, I just flat out copy. If someone gives me a super cute butter dish from the new Pioneer Woman collection (someone did), someone else is about to get the very same thing from me.
When my newlywed daughter told me they liked the H-E-B gift card they got as a wedding gift, I filed that information away under the category “gifts” in my little brain. Next shower I go to, I’ll be pleased as pink punch to take my plagiarized gift.
Christmas is right around the corner. Birthdays are highlighted on my calendar and yours. Somebody around me or around you is in a crisis, or concerned about a wayward kid, or just having a hard day at work. Could he or she be blessed by a gift today?
That warm water and green tea sounded like a great idea. Maybe I should stop right here before I overthink it and order a gift card to my favorite Austin spa for that sweet friend who’s really going through a tough time.
Feel free to copy me.
Encouraging a life filled with everyday intentional adventure as we become those who are more blessed by giving,