This morning before I left for work, I woke up to one of those random funky smells that you wish you could identify. Or not. And my first thought was..."hmmm...I'll bet one of the dogs left me a 'gift'". Fortunately...not.
Well, with that notable exception, don't we all love gifts?
For me, gifts are getting more and more optional now in the physical sense. I have the ability to purchase anything that I really need, and many things that I want. When buying for others...I have stress of trying to buy the perfect gift for people who...like me...have everything that they need and then some.
I find now that I am older, the best gifts that I can give are the ones that are unique to me. And likewise, I love receiving gifts from others that reflect their talents, interests, and abilities.
My favorite gift last Christmas was the one that my friend Carol gave our scrapbooking group...a goat. Yeah!...it was though World Vision. How many people actually can say that they've received a goat as a gift? And the beauty was that I didn't have to do anything (like house it or feed it)...but smile.
Another friend sends me cards and surprises in the mail. She just loves to think of her friends and honor us with a small item or a note that lets us know how much she cares. One makes cards that I am supposed to give away to other people. I haven't quite mastered the surrendering part yet...but I love that she has faith in me. And then there is a friend who uses her enthusiasm and planning skills to keep me on track and my husband gainfully employed.
I also know people who make casseroles to take to people, take elderly people to the doctor, visit people in nursing homes, take in foster pets, teach people to make bread, and make scrapbooks for people because they ask. The funny thing is...most people do not see these activities as the gifts that they truly are to the recipients.
To me, the sharing of the gifts that we have is important and far more meaningful than buying items for people that they can easily buy for themselves. I mean...I like a gift card to Bonefish Grill as much as the next person. But, I find that what really touches my heart is a gift given by someone using the gifts that God has given them.
Many people miss the point that each of us is blessed with multiple gifts. We can all do something...make something...teach something. Our biggest barrier to doing this, however, is ourselves. Many of us do not fully understand how much we have to offer. The things that come easy for us are not fully appreciated by us. Talent that we did nothing to possess is often highly underrated.
How many times have we said..."oh...that's nothing..." when to someone else it is not only impressive but perfect for them? We somehow miss the fact that although something isn't difficult for us...it is so that we will be generous in sharing that ability. And when we don't - because of our insecurities - people miss out.
I think of people who can decorate, arrange flowers, paint, sing, write songs, play the guitar or teach children...and I am amazed. I can do none of those things without effort. Instead of being energized...I am drained in the attempt. But if you need something written, or thought out, edited, or someone to talk to about something troubling you...I'm your girl.
I find that when I can quiet my inner dragons...those feelings that my offering is insufficient...I am often surprised by how blessed people are when I do what God put me here to do. I am likewise blessed by other people employing their unique and special gifts.
So, as you ponder giving something in the coming weeks...think first of what you can give of yourself. Don't be afraid...step out there. The wonderful thing is that you will probably be unexpectedly blessed in the process.