The other day I was having a chat in which I thanked a friend for sending me a Christmas card. This friend makes her cards every year, and they are always different and beautiful. The conversation took a very interesting turn at some point and since this was an IM conversation … I’ll let it speak for itself.
Stephanie Levan: got your christmas card … btw. love it!
friend: did you? awwwww
friend: I hadn’t heard from anyone. I saw the one I sent to [another person] on the wall the other day when I was there, but no one had said anything about them, so I didn’t know how they were received.
friend: does that sound needy?
Stephanie Levan: it sounds curious. i do the same thing
friend: it’s really gotten to the point that I think of our Christmas cards as gifts to the people we send to, and I take it personally.
friend: meaning … I take making them personally … it’s meaningful for me
friend: I like that feeling of creating each card for the person whose name goes on it when I’m done
Stephanie Levan: i know you do … i go back and forth with myself on these kinds of things. where’s the line between self-satisfaction when we find out their reaction and trusting that the spirit moved through them and leaving that door open
friend: yeah … there are a lot of people I never hear from, and that’s ok.
friend: and there are people each year who say they wait for our card to come to see what this year’s will look like and that makes me smile (and also keeps me making then when some years, it would be easy to just not send them)
friend: and I get a little nervous about them each year because I want them to be received well … a lot, I’m sure, like you feel about your blogs and I used to feel about new music
friend: and then I feel bad a little if I feel good about the response because I don’t want to be prideful
friend: I just really enjoy sharing them, but it’s a piece of me, and it means a lot
Stephanie Levan: yeah, i can understand that one. and you’re right … i know this feeling exactly
friend: anyway … I want it to be a holy moment, but I worry about interfering with that by waiting for a reaction.
friend: well … thank you.
friend: thank you for commenting
Stephanie Levan: thank you for sharing that
friend: and thank you for knowing why that means something to me
The whole conversation was super honest, which I so appreciate. It also brought up feelings that I was actually feeling myself about things that I do in life where I know I shouldn’t probably be looking for a response from people, but I sorta, kinda, would like to know that they liked whatever that something was that came from me. (hello, run on sentence!) How do we send our blessings without truly expecting anything in return? And when we are the recipient, how do we ensure we express our gratitude and appreciation for the giver?
Where do we draw the line between pride and gratitude? How do you handle situations like this?
When you do something for someone else, don’t call attention to yourself. You’ve seen them in action, I’m sure—’playactors’ I call them— treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that’s all they get. When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out. Matthew 6:2-4, The Message