What's Not To Love About Gifts?!

Gifts! Who doesn’t love a great gift? Whether it’s prompted by a celebration, such as Valentine’s Day, or a birthday, or simply a spontaneous expression of giving, what’s not to love about gifts? Well, if we are honest, sometimes the gift just doesn’t align with what we were hoping to receive; like the Christmas pajamas your sweet Aunt Margie gives the family, that when worn, make us all look like outcasts from the late Teletubbies show. (If you need a visual image and a good laugh, check them out!) What do we do with these “gifts?” Often they end up in the bottom of some closet or drawer, never to be gazed upon again and eventually packed up and donated, or even “gifted” to some other person as the white elephant gift at the next gathering.

I see people and circumstances as gifts. I love spending time connecting with people and getting to discover the gift that they are. I have a core belief that each of us has something incredibly beautiful and wonderful to bring to our community, by being our most authentic and true self. I love creating that space that says, “You are welcomed here…just as you are.”

But, are you welcomed just as you are? What do we “do” with those people, who by being their authentic self, just don’t align with what we think or believe? What do we do when people share their perspectives, opinions, or beliefs and they are different from our own? I know what I used to do. I would label them as “porcupines” aka prickly and hard-to-be-around people. I would judge them, then nicely condemn them by placing them in the bottom of my “you don’t fit in here” box, and then do my best to avoid being around them. Maybe you can relate?

Today, I practice a different approach with the porcupine people and circumstances in my life. I press in and search for the gifts with in them and the circumstances. I choose to set my little judgmental thoughts around the person to the side and get curious about my reactions and what they actually say about me. I get curious about why they believe or feel the way they do, as everyone has a really good reason for doing what they do. I try to discover the gift that they are and celebrate that with them. Why do I do this? Because I’ve learned that often the porcupine people are the greatest gift of all, as they reveal what’s truly going on in my own heart. They allow me the opportunity to address my own judgmental ways, to practice receiving everyone and everything as the gift they are, and to look for Christ in all.

Who are the “porcupine” people or circumstances in your life? What are the “gifts” that are buried in them and you? Let's be courageous people and practice receiving all people and circumstances as the gifts they truly are!

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