give and take

We all know that every healthy relationship is two-sided, but what we may not recognize are the ways we tend to make them unhealthy and one-sided. Some of us are great takers and awful givers, while others enjoy giving but become too prideful to receive the care others hope we take.  This can be true of every relational environment we're in, be it where we live, work, play, or volunteer.

Consider how in your life you may take part in the following attitudes and actions that may ultimately derail your connections from being a two-way street:

  • Unhealthy "takers" tend to struggle with:
    • "You represent a way for me to get ahead."
    • "Unless you give me praise or a raise, I have no interest in sticking around."
    • "Where's the clock? Because that determines how much effort I put forth and when." 
    • "Is the spotlight on me?  Good... now let me do something good."
    • "Good enough is good enough."
    • "If I overlook something, someone else will sweep up after me."
    • "I'm sure somebody will take care of that."

  • Unhealthy "givers" tend to struggle with:
    • "Do this for everyone else, except for me."
    • "When are you going to realize what I did for you?"
    • "You decide... whatever makes you happy."
    • "How can you criticize me when you have no clue about all that I do around here?"
    • "Well, I don't really have time to talk... but... okay."
    • "Fine, I'll do it. Argh!"
    • "I can't remember why I started doing this in the first place."
As you can imagine, all of this creates a disconnect in communication, emotional distance, unrealistic expectations, control issues, and a lack of true intimacy with those around us.
A glimpse at the first few chapters of the Bible remind us that we were created to give and take, from the food we take care of and eat to relationships where mutual sacrifice matters.  Aim for this balance in all things, knowing that there may be seasons of life where you need to do one more than another.

To be able to have it all, you gotta be able to give back.  To be able to give back, you need to be able to receive it all.

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