Thursday, August 7, 2008

Confessions of a Re-gifter

Once when I was visiting some friends, before I left they gave me a gift. When I got home and opened it I saw it was a very nice candle. I love candles but what was I going to do with another one? I keep some on hand for gifts and I really didn't need it or have anywhere for it to go. So, I thought I'd regift it. Yes. I confess. I am a regifter, and not at all ashamed of it. I have a "gift closet" where I keep gifts on hand that I've purchased and some I intend to regift. BUT in my defense, I do so for two reasons.

First of all, being the efficiency expert, I think we hold onto way more stuff than we need. How can I continue to help others downsize if I can't let go of some things myself?

Secondly, I am a teacher. As if that reason weren't enough, let me clarify. At my school, we receive lots of gifts - nice gifts at Christmas time and others during the year. I once received a cake from a well known bakery on the FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!!! Can you imagine if I held onto every gift I received every year? What would I do with all that stuff?

Those of you who know me well already know that I don't regift everything. I love making things for people as opposed to buying gifts. However, my feeling is when I give someone a gift, what they do with it once it leaves my hands is up to them. If they regift it, it's their's to give away. So, with reasons for why I'm a regifter set aside, I will continue.

As I was thinking about who I could give this really nice candle to, I heard the Lord say, "Don't give that away! Keep it for yourself. Why do you do that? That gift was meant for you and while it's sweet that you want someone else to have something you may have in abundance, that person meant for you to enjoy it. I want you to enjoy the gifts given to you whether you think you should keep them or not. Whether you have need of them or not. Whether you have room for them or not. They thought of you when they made it or bought it, so receive it as it was intended - a gift for you."

That was rather eye opening. I never really thought of it like that before. Then I started thinking about how easily I overlook some of the gifts the Lord has given me and gives to me every day. What gifts have I placed in the gift closet only to collect dust? Pondering this even now, I can see the gleam in His eye as He offers them to me -- eagerly waiting as I open them to see what He picked out just for me.

Have you ever considered that? God watches us to see how we will respond when we recognize His gifts being presented to us. A sunset. A child's laughter. A friend's funny personality or their warm hugs. Your creativity. Your ability to love in all things. Your keen sense of direction.

Now, I reconsider all gifts. Someone thought of me in love and made me a priority on their list! I'm glad the Lord thought of me enough to include me on His. Aren't you?

ADENDUM...

A funny thing happened not long after this story occurred. I received the most bizarre gift from a dear, dear friend. They were so excited about watching me open their gift - just sure that I would love it. Bless their heart! I had no idea what they were thinking. It was one of the weirdest gifts I had ever received, but I kept it because of this story and because it apparently meant something to them. Months later I figured out they had given me this gift as a reminder of something very profound that happened to me just a few weeks earlier that only they and a handful of others knew about. How very thoughtful! I would've been devastated had I given away that precious gift.