‘Your hair looks amazing today’
Me: ‘Oh no, it’s so greasy’
‘You are great at singing’
Me: ‘Yeah I just can never hit those really high notes, though’
‘I love that top on you’
Me: ‘Hmmm it would probably fit better if I lost some weight’
How many of us take a compliment and bat it away or twist it into a negative? I am certainly guilty!
Maybe it’s because I don’t want to seem ‘big headed’ or ‘arrogant’ and trying to be extra humble or something, but I find it so hard to hold my tongue and say a simple ‘Thanks’.
I used to be a pro compliment batter-awayer having every excuse under the sun lined up until one day my then boyfriend, now fiancé (VERY exciting!) turned round to me and said ‘actually Ruth when I say you are beautiful or kind or great fun and you deflect the comment or add a negative to it, you are not only speaking that over yourself but you are actually de-valuing my opinion of you’.
I had never seen it that way before but it really challenged me. I am not saying we should seek compliments from people all the time but it got me thinking about how many times I also deflect what and who God thinks I am.
Do I really believe that I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139), that God thinks I am beautiful or that he loves the creative talent I have? Have I really heard that or have I pushed it away with the ‘but God did you see how much make up I put on to hide those spots I had last week?’ Or ‘yeh but that painting over there that’s ripped up in the bin? That was rubbish’
It’s so easy to do isn’t it? But actually, unlike just de-valuing our friend’s opinions of us, when we don’t fully take in God’s opinions we are challenging the one who created us, who knows us intricately even down to each hair on our heads. Seems silly doesn’t it!
When someone compliments us, we can actually say ‘Thank you’ not to be big headed or arrogant but to accept what they have said and also to appreciate that they have clearly seen something in us that God intended to be there – almost like they are seeing a little glimpse of God’s handiwork in us.