This may seem strange to you, but one of the hardest parts of becoming an author was learning to receive compliments. How well do you do this? Although some in the general public struggle with this, I wonder if this is a bigger problem in Christian circles.
Here’s part of my dilemma. Matthew 5:16 says, “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” So, I’m supposed to let my light shine. But, as both this and 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
So what do we do with compliments? Should we receive them? Or not? Or should we be giving them to another while somehow placing the focus of the praise on God?
Compliments are very un-British, but when someone pays you one, you should take it.
I remember one person in particular who really made me stop and think about this. Whenever I complimented her in any way, she immediately said, “Praise God.”
Every single time.
She wasn’t the only one. I’ve run into these type of people many times over my years in the church, and I struggled over it for a long time. I felt like I was doing something terribly wrong.
My heart behind the issue.
You need to understand that I’m a big introvert. I like sitting quietly in my home by myself. It’s relaxing and enjoyable. Peaceful. (Yes, my kids are older. I’m not sure relaxing is the word I would have used ten years ago.)
Additionally, for a great many years, I didn’t think I had anything valuable to say. To anyone. Ever. Yes, I had serious self-esteem and personal value issues, but that’s another post.
The point is that every time I ventured to say something nice, it cost me dearly. It’s like I was handing a gift that I doubted was good enough to someone I valued and cherished.
And those who automatically responded as the lady above, it was like she immediately tossed my gift at God without opening it. Without looking at it. Without bestowing any value on me, the giver.
Receiving Compliments Better
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t send God the praise He deserves. After all, He’s the one who planted the love of story into my heart. He’s the one that pushed and prodded me into writing and then publishing. He’s the one who whispers storylines in my heart and arranges meetings with those I need to keep moving forward.
But He also lovingly sends me encouragement to keep going through you, my readers, when you send me compliments and tell me how something I wrote affected your life for the better.
So what do we do with compliments? How can we value the giver without taking credit that belongs only to God?
First, say, “Thank you.”
You can even add something along the lines of, “That’s very kind.” A simple expression of appreciation for the person’s time and effort goes a long way in the other person’s heart without taking anything away from God.
Second, acknowledge God’s part.
Most of us wouldn’t feel rejected at all if after saying thank you, the person before us said, “It’s only because God intervened in my life that I was able to do that.”
Third, don’t dismiss the compliment or try to outdo the praise.
That enters the realm of rejecting the giver or dismissing their input. Refrain from saying, “It’s not that big a deal,” or “But you did more than me.”
Take time to be kind and to say ‘thank you.’
Jesus said that the two greatest commandments are to love God and love people (Matthew 22:36-40). One of the ways we can love others well is to acknowledge their gifts to us.
And say thank you.
Spring is the time for Military Families!
April is Month of the Military Child, and May is National Military Appreciation Month. One way you can love our military families well is to offer them resources to make the journey easier, which is exactly what my little Allie tries to do for kids who just received orders to move. How about purchasing a copy for a military family you love, or asking your local library to purchase a copy?
A New Home for Allie strikes a chord for constantly-relocating military families and is a must-have for any child’s library!
Kellie Artis, Director of Communications, MILLIE-Bringing Military Families Home
Allie loves her home in Kenya. But her dad works for the Animal Jungle Patrol, and he just got orders to move their family to Somalia. She has many questions, and the journey will be long. Will the new place be like what she knows? Will she find friends in her new home? And will she ever see her best friend again?
What awaits her in A New Home for Allie?