Is it possible to give a gift out of love, if there is no “knowing” behind it? No relationship? No time taken to discover the preferences, personality and desires of the recipient? This question has been brewing in me all week.
Say, for example, someone decided to give you a car. That would be pretty awesome. That’s a big gift. The day arrives, and there it is in your driveway: a brand new mini van! All else aside, a new car would be a cool gift. I bet you’d be grateful for sure. But what if mini vans have nothing to do with you. It doesn’t fit your preference or your lifestyle at all. You’d probably still feel grateful. But in that case…what were the motives of the giver anyways? Was it love? Or maybe…maybe they just wanted to feel generous. Or be known as a good person. Or feel like they accomplished their charity to society for the day.
But what if you’ve always dreamed of speeding around in a little mini-cooper? Red and white, with a little angry bird hanging on the rear-view mirror. Then what if someone took the time to discover this about you? They took you out to coffee, or to your favorite restaurant just to talk and get to know you. And out of that conversation they discover this hidden desire for a mini-cooper. If you woke up the next day, looked out your window, and saw a red and white mini-cooper in your driveway with a little bird glaring at you…you wouldn’t just feel grateful- you would feel loved.
Can a gift be given out of love…if there is no knowing behind it?
Do we come to God in worship or prayer and bring Him a gift that is connected to the time we’ve spent with Him, and the things we’ve discovered about His heart? Or do we simply come and bring Him a pre-packaged worship that we saw someone else bring out of the corner of our eye? I’d dare to say that these gifts are more motivated by wanting to feel good about ourselves, than genuine love for Him. I’m guilty of it more often than I’d like to admit. But more and more, as I start from a place of just wanting to know Him…I wake up in the morning and cant wait to explore His depths even more. (And if you know how I feel about waking up, that’s saying a lot!)
But it doesn’t stop there. What if God was desperate for you to understand, that He doesn’t have any pre-packaged gifts for you either!
No typical, mass-produced, selfishly-motivated gift has ever passed from His hand to yours.
Each one is intricately labored over and crafted to suit everything He has taken the time to discover about YOUR heart. Yes- though He knows everything, I believe He still takes time to sit with you, and learn. This is why it is so vital that we are honest with Him. Not bringing into our worship and prayer a polished and prepped image of what we’d like to be. But our raw, real, and often ragged true self.
This is a hard concept to grasp when we’ve been so conditioned to bring God what we’d like Him to see- instead of who we are. It takes time to transform our mindset until we can step into His presence and just. be. honest.
But start with that question as you sit with Him. What am I honestly feeling right now? What do I honestly desire? David did it all the time. He’d gush out his true feelings, only to bring it all back around and fix His eyes on God’s good heart over his feelings.
For me this has looked a lot like this lately:
“God, I’m not dumb. I KNOW that You see the big picture, and I can’t. And You know that ultimately, I want YOUR best over what I’m desiring right now. But…if I’m honest…THIS is what I want right now (I list my deepest desires & dreams)- from my vantage point. And I’m just crazy enough to ask You for it.”
It’s a scary place, being this raw before God. A lot like holding your beating heart out with an open hand- soft and vulnerable. And the truth is, there’s no telling what He’ll do with it! Our God is good, but that doesn’t mean He’s safe. But as I continue to be completely honest with Him, I’ve experienced this: My times with Him are more personal, and they fill me to the brim. My heart is suspended in the most precarious position it’s ever been in, yet there seems to be a force field around it. In situations where the “old Jewel” would be having gladiator-battles with her own emotions, there is now a peace that makes no freakin sense at all. I tell Him my desires- even ask for them- but I don’t bank on them. I bank everything on His good intentions towards me, and His power to work wonders even through the moments I’m disappointed.
God gives no selfish, pre-packaged gifts.
Even Jesus- available to all- somehow reveals Himself uniquely to each of us.
That is why it’s so crucial that we are honest with Him. A friend of mine once said, “I just want the real me, to know the real Jesus.” And that has become my prayer. Because when He knows the real me- He is then able to offer me gifts from a deeper- knowing -love. Gifts that leave me stunned, breathless, and aching for more.
Dare to be honest with Him.
Because all His gifts are out of love…
..the love of knowing YOU.