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Do you admire the gifts of others and your own? If someone compliments you on your talent, gifts, looks, or personality, do you accept the compliment or shrug it off?
While driving down the highway on a Sunday afternoon this fall, I couldn’t help but notice how beautiful the trees had become almost overnight. Lining up along the highway were tall, short, skinny, and chubby trees full of differing saturated hues of orange, burgundy, violet, and yellow. Alone, a fall leaf is a beauty to behold, but when it’s paired against another hued leaf, the differences complement one another. This helped me realize just how much more beautiful something can be when it’s compared to something that’s vastly different.
Isn’t that the way it is with people too? Alone, you’re a spectacular work of God. An intricately woven sight of human form. But paired with another person, the differences add to the uniqueness of you and they complement one another. The contrast of your looks, voice, build, gifts, talents, and personality set you both apart, giving glory to God, the ultimate artist.
As individuals, we all have our own unique set of gifts and talents. Some are innate and known since birth. Some take longer to nurture and grow, but when they do, it’s amazing. These gifts are purposed to be shared and bring joy to others. And when other people enjoy these gifts, compliments are destined to come.
According to the Bible, we are “God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). You may be one that shrugs off a compliment because you think it would make you appear proud or self-absorbed.
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Sure, some people may be arrogant, but taking an honest compliment from an honest person is a way of being gracious to the deliverer and our Creator.
Here are 4 more reasons why we need to learn to take compliments well:
Honoring someone isn’t just about doing what’s best for them, but also taking what they say at face value. It’s a version of doing for them what you’d want someone to do for you. Would you want someone to accept something positive you said about them, or have them shoot it down? When we negate what someone says it’s usually from a place of wanting to be humble or low self-esteem. But we can season our humility with graciousness. By being gracious to the compliment giver, we honor them and our Creator.
Many times we have to work at cultivating and fine-tuning our gifts. Maybe you’re gifted at baking but spend many hours in the kitchen. Are you gifted at music, writing, or craftsmanship and practice daily? We put time and energy put into our gifts. By accepting another’s compliment of our talents, it honors God’s good work in us. We show respect to God by growing what He has instilled in us.
We remember the negative more often than positive, don’t we? As much as we wish we didn’t, it seems to take around 10 compliments to rub out 1 negative comment. In a world full of comparison and negativity, it is to our advantage to take the compliments we receive as tiny golden nuggets to be treasured. Write them down in a journal, keep the cards you receive, and breathe in the moments when you feel like you’re on cloud nine. Those moments in time are what can fuel you for weeks or months to come. And take lessons from others’ positivity. Compliments breed more compliments. Let that person’s golden nugget burn a hole in your pocket so strongly that you have to pay it forward!
Can you think of a time when a person complimented you unexpectedly? Maybe you’ve taken yourself for granted. I have sang and performed numerous times in front of others, but I received a random compliment one Sunday morning from a lady standing in front of me in the church pews. That moment meant so much to me. My harmonizing had no intention of being heard above anyone else, but her praise really touched my heart.
So maybe you’ve been helping with the nursery every Sunday for years. You have a knack at leading a group of businessmen like it’s nothing. Or you can get 3 kids dressed and ready for school in less than 30 minutes. It’s the things we do often that we become “numb” to. You may see your life or gifts as unglamorous, but we should step back and see ourselves as others do.
Like the vastly hued and gorgeous leaves hanging off of a tree branch, our uniqueness comes from our deep roots in our Father. We all complement one another in His radiant glory.
Gratefulness has a way of emerging when our hearts are open to taking in positive words, and encouragement from others. Receiving a compliment is a great way to practice accepting something that you may think you don’t deserve. I’d say it’s a lot like grace. Our Savior gives it to us unconditionally and the love that flows through us has nowhere else to go but outward to someone else.
Let’s share grace. Let’s give compliments. Let’s accept them in our hearts. Let’s love one another.
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Mandy Smith is a joyful 30-something single living in GA. She is a full-time Speech-Language Pathologist. Her loves include Jesus, her family and friends, creativity, playing guitar and singing, coffee, laughing, and of course, writing! You can read more of her writing on her website www.myjoyousheart.com and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.