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I love giving gifts. It’s totally NOT my love language, by the way. But it’s such a joy to shower someone with an unexpected gift or note of encouragement if they are having a tough day, celebrating a milestone in life, or simply because I think they are awesome.
I didn’t always love gift giving, or receiving for that matter.
I grew up in an abusive home where we were made to feel unworthy of kindness. Most of my childhood was lived out walking on eggshells, dodging verbal and fist-like bullets, never really knowing what would set my mom or dad off. Even when I was receiving straight As, making the honor roll or leading a school program, I still didn’t feel worthy of their admiration or affection. My parents often tried to buy back my love in the form of elaborate gifts and shopping sprees.
Talk about a bag of mixed messages. Living in a cycle of abuse is crazy. One minute you believe you aren’t worthy to even consume the air you breathe. The next minute, you are unwrapping the latest Nintendo or new laptop computer or a new car, simply because you “deserve” it? These gifts weren’t given in kindness, they had an ulterior motive, to buy back our love as part of a crazy cycle of abuse.
That kind of crazy “love” and gift giving can really mess a kid up. Big time.
Beliefs are often formed thru the lens of childhood experiences
I’m not sure what your childhood was like, but I really do hope it was much happier and healthier than mine. The reality is that no matter what type of childhood we had, it often plays a big role in how we live out grace with others and ourselves. It also factors into how we view God’s grace in light of who we are in Christ Jesus.
Your Grace Challenge
Pick the questions that call out to you and think through them today.
- What was your childhood like? Did you grow up in a safe home environment feeling worthy and loved? Or did you grow up in a broken home feeling unworthy? Were you disciplined in a fair and loving way, or quite the opposite? Did you ever feel you had to earn your parent’s favor?
- How does your childhood impact your view on God and His grace?
- Do you struggle with bitterness, anger or resentment within your marriage or other adult relationships with siblings, parents, coworkers, friends? If so, write down how you may be able to offer a gift of grace to someone in your life this week.
- Do you ever struggle with receiving the gift of God’s grace? If so, how? What steps could you take to accept this beautiful gift more freely today?