“Oh, thank you!” I insisted, as my friend dropped off a surprise Starbucks latte on my doorstep. She wanted to express her gratitude for our friendship, to provide a small token of appreciation in the form of caffeinated sugary delight.

But I struggled to receive it.

I repeated “thank you” and “thank you” over and over until it reached the point of embarrassment. What’s wrong with me?

I already knew the answer.

I’m so used to giving. We all are as women. We give and give. We give to our husbands, give to our children. We serve in our churches, help our neighbors, volunteer here and there, wherever the need exists. And isn’t that what we’re supposed to do? Isn’t that what this season is all about? Thanks…giving?

Yes, it is.

But we can’t forget the importance of receiving thanks too. Of taking that latte in hand with grace and truly letting the gratitude someone else wants to bestow sink down into our hearts. It can be unfamiliar territory to receive. It may mean listening and letting uncomfortable light shine down on us for a time. Yet receiving is needed to keep the swinging door of intimacy open.

Giving requires receiving, just as receiving depends on giving.

Galatians 6:7 tells us, “…whatever one sows, that will he also reap” (ESV). But if that harvest isn’t reaped, there will be no food to eat for winter and no seed to sow next season. The same is true for our lives. Therefore, let’s receive from God, our most generous Giver, and then let’s ask Him to help us receive from those who want to offer their thanks to us.

Stirring a little thanks-receiving into our Thanksgiving isn’t so bad. After all, receiving may be the best gift you give to those around you.

It’s the gift that can fuel your own giving, if you let it be.

*Originally published by the Joyful Life Magazine.