Life is a game of give and take.
It is better to give than to receive.
Be a go-giver.
Pay it forward.
All we ever hear is about how much we need to give. We need to give love, appreciation, thanks. We need to give of ourselves, our money and our time. We need to give, give, give.
I disagree…and here’s why:
You can give too much
You can give as much as you want. If that’s all you do, however, you’re going to get empty.
Just like our bodies need to take in food, we need to take in the same things we give. Life truly is about give and take.
Most Christians will say that our priorities should be in the order of God, others, self. Or, they will use the acronym JOY (Jesus, Others, You). That’s giving, giving, giving. We empty ourselves before we take anything. That’s just not a good practice.
It is not possible to always put others before ourselves. That persistence will lead to several things including, emotional and financial bankruptcy. No one wants that.
You need to take care of you before you take care of others. Fill your emotional bank account so you can then give some to others.
Taking is not bad
Those who talk all about giving and say we’re bad for taking, insinuate taking is a bad thing. That is simply not true.
In fact, it’s impossible.
You can’t give, if someone doesn’t take.
If taking is bad, then the person or organization to which we give of our time, money and energy is inherently bad.
Others must take what we give for us to be good givers.
You must give the right things
Giving, in and of itself, is not a good thing. What? Am I serious? Yes I am!
People get arrested and sentenced to prison for knowingly giving someone HIV. Yes, that’s an extreme example, I know. It’s still someone giving…which isn’t a good thing.
Have you ever given advice someone didn’t want? You had the right intentions but your giving attitude wasn’t received well. Maybe it was your tone of voice or the choice of words you chose to say. Regardless, that giving was not the right thing at that time.
My wife and I have discovered recently that we both try to fix each other. Our solutions, while meant well, are not received well. Instead, sometimes they are received with contempt. Thankfully, we’ve realized that and have learned how to be patient to give advice, and even how to accept it when it’s given.
We need to take more of these 4 things
We’ve established that giving isn’t always the solution and that taking isn’t always bad. As most things in life, there are no cut and dry answers. The game of give and take is the same. It’s not always clear.
However, it is clear to me (and hopefully will be clear to you in a minute) that we need to take certain things more often.
You need to take the following four things:
Time for yourself
We all could use a little more time for ourselves. We work all day, take care of the kids and the house in the evenings, go to sleep and then do it all again the next day.
Did you do anything for yourself today? Think about it. And, your commute to and from work or your time on the toilet don’t count. Seriously…what did you do for yourself today?
It’s hard to find “me time.” It is one of the most difficult priorities to set. It is so important though. Like we discussed earlier, you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others.
Until recently, I really struggled with finding time for myself. A few days a year I would get to go to the farm and go fishing. Because I do that so infrequently, I rarely went by myself. I invited friends to join me on most of those trips.
I really enjoy those times with my friends. I’m glad I invite them because that’s usually the only time I get to spend with those friends. However, I should use some of that time for myself.
Other than that, I had time in hotels while traveling or my commute time (which is extensive).
What did I do recently to enable time for myself? I started having a miracle morning.
I now wake up at 4 a.m. or before most mornings and follow a ritual of certain activities. I stretch, meditate, pray, read scripture and read/write for up to an hour and a half each day. This ritualized process creates energy that stays with me throughout the day.
It’s an amazing feeling to not dread getting out of bed in the morning. It’s also exhilarating to leave the house having already accomplished so much.
I highly recommend you create your miracle morning. To help you, you should read Hal Elrod’s book, The Miracle Morning. This is the secret sauce. It’s the reason I’m accomplishing and feeling so wonderful.
“Wow, you look great. Did you lose weight?”
Have you ever been asked this question? Instead of losing weight, maybe it had something to do with a new hair style or even a new suit. What is our usual reaction?
“Oh, um, I might have lost a couple pounds…thanks.”
Why don’t we answer like this:
“Yes, I love 10 pounds by just focusing on making the healthy choices. Thank you so much for saying something. That makes me feel great!”
We don’t know how to receive praise or take compliments. I know I’ve been terrible at accepting praise. At certain times, I’ve almost turned it around to make it sound like the praise-giver must be wanting something or say how that person should give it more often.
Instead, I should be thankful for the praise or compliment that was given.
Giving praise and compliments are always good too, when they are justified. Giving praise for no reason, isn’t praise. It’s an agenda. We don’t want to be guilty of living by an agenda.
Take advice or criticism
When most people give you advice, it is delivered with good intentions. We should recognize the intention more than the advice. Say thank you and take it into consideration. It’s meant for your betterment.
Criticism is an entirely different animal than simple advice. In the corporate world, we hear about constructive criticism all the time. It needs to be framed the right way, delivered in the perfect context and said with the right bed-side-manner wording.
That’s all the responsibility of the critic.
If we really want to grow intellectually, emotionally and financially, we need to learn to take criticism. Take it like a man. No, wait, don’t take it like a man. Men don’t take criticism well.
Instead, just take it. Listen, don’t judge the critic, say thank you and then think critically about what was said. Find at least some piece of truth in the criticism and apply it.
This is a tough give and take position. It it really difficult to be told we can be better. We all have egos and criticism can bruise are oh-so-delicate egos…if we choose to let it do so. It’s our choice how we react. Choose wisely.
Take time to be holy
You may or may not be a Christian. So this “take” may offend you. Take it for what it is.
William D. Longstaff, in 1882, wrote a beautiful Christian hymn titled, Take Time to Be Holy. Just thinking about it, I can sing much of it in my head. It’s an old song but so beautiful in word and meaning.
Here is the first stanza:
Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
Make friends of God’s children, held those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.
In my busy life, and it is likely the same for you, I don’t take the time to pray as often as I should. I also have not been as diligent as I should have been to read and study the Bible. My miracle morning routine has been such a blessing to me because I accomplish both of these each morning.
I realize every good thing in my life has come from God. I’ve accomplished nothing. God has accomplished it through me. I’ve received his blessing and I know I will continue to do so if I seek it. It is give and take with God.
You can receive that blessing too. It takes intentional action though. You will not just wake up one morning and have it. It takes an obedient faith. That’s a faith that is full of obedience to his Word.
Will you take the time to be holy?
The game of give and take
Don’t be fooled by Phil Collins’ song, “You Can’t Hurry Love” and the following line:
My mama said
You can’t hurry love
No, you’ll just have to wait
She said love don’t come easy
But it’s a game of give and take
You can’t hurry love
No, you’ll just have to wait
Just trust in a good time
No matter how long it takes
Love isn’t a game. And give and take isn’t a game either. Games are to be won and lost. Why does there always have to be a winner and loser?
Just for fun – Can you name the group (without Googling it) that sang this song before Phil Collins?
Give and take is universal. It’s for everyone. We all need to give and take. We need to give more of the good things to those who want them. We also need to take more of things that will help us grow to be better people.
Stop acting like it’s a game of give and take and start treating it as important as it is. Giving of yourself and taking for yourself, both under the right circumstances, will help you be better as well as those who are giving to you and from whom you’re taking.
Of give and take, one is not better than the other. Both are good. Both are necessary.
p style=”text-align: justify;”>Question for you: What examples of taking do you have that can help others be better?
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