Restoring Joy to Giving

[With the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday here in the US, I thought it would be good to re-focus on giving and gratitude in the articles over this next week.]

People with religious tendencies are often profuse givers. Depending on your personality, the desire to give can be so compelling that it easily gets out of balance, causing feelings of resentment when receivers respond with a lack of gratitude.

Many of us are easily moved with compassion for people in need, desiring to respond with help in whatever way possible. When you are a personality type that is easily compelled to give, it is not uncommon for this desire get out of balance, causing feelings of resentment when receivers respond with a lack of gratitude. These feelings of resentment are compounded when you still feel compelled to give though you yourself have come to a point of being in need, from either stressful and exhausting circumstances or the void that has developed from those you give to rarely giving in return.

Compulsive givers frequently feel guilty when they try to back out of getting involved even though their own exhaustion is necessitating it, or when they allow someone to help them with their own needs.

I come from a very giving family. I joke with my sibling that we are “abusive givers,” referring to the personality tendency to keep on giving to people in need when we personally have gone beyond the limits of what is healthy for us—a compulsive giver being the actual term. Compulsive givers feel an urgency to personally respond to any need they see. It is also difficult for them to receive help from other people.

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More often than not, compulsive givers come to a point of being physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted due to a lack of balance in their giving which God never intended for them.

Just as there a natural laws, laws of nature in which we daily exist, there are spiritual laws as well. One of them is found in Lk. 6:38, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.” The spiritual law is that when you give of your time, emotional support, encouragement, etc., people will give back to you in all those various ways more than what you have given out, bringing restoration to the whole of your existence. The intended result is that your entire life—physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, financially, relationally—is blessed and nourished; consequently, you become even more capable of giving, rather than coming to a point of physical, emotional, and spiritual depletion coupled with feelings of resentment.

When our lives are in balance, enough people in our realm of existence should be giving back into our lives so that we do not come to a point of depletion.

Obviously, not everyone we give to will give back to us. There are people personality-wise that are “abusive users.” Here is where wisdom is necessary. Since there will always be people in need, and there will always be some people who take without giving back, it is essential for the protection of our own well-being on this earth, for the preservation of our ability to bless other people’s lives, that we choose wisely those who are the closest to us, our inner circle. The people to whom we spend the most time giving should be ones that are loving and unselfish, and will pour back renewal into our lives.

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