“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast”—Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV).
When someone gives you an unexpected gift, how do you react? For example, if someone blesses me with a Christmas present, and I have nothing for them in return, I feel the need to reciprocate. I apologize and then rush to purchase a gift in return.
At least that’s what I did in the past. I didn’t feel worthy unless I could respond to their kindness. Reciprocating with a gift, one I often couldn’t afford, put a strain on my holiday budget. Instead of appreciating the love behind the gift, I was embarrassed.
But I’ve learned buying a gift out of obligation, doesn’t leave you with a contented feeling. More than likely, you’re overwhelmed with expectations. Instead of accepting the unexpected gift with grace, we often stutter, “But I didn’t get you anything,” or “You shouldn’t have.”
Accepting the Unexpected Gift
Before rededicating my life to Christ in my 40s, I never felt “good enough.” I had trouble accepting help and compliments from others. Feeling a need to prove my worth, I became an overachiever. My achievements and my need to be accepted defined my identity.
I’ve learned, however, that striving for perfection and performing for accolades only wears you out. You can only hide behind a mask for so long. While others might not see behind the mask, God does. He sees our insecurities, understands our fears, and knows our hearts. And He says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).
Letting go of our burdens and accepting His rest requires us to realize and accept our need for His grace. Free. Undeserved. Unearned. Without accepting His greatest gift, how can we learn to rely on Him for everything we need?
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: Assist News Service