Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thank you. No. Thank YOU!

Someone told me thank you today. She was thanking me for something that I did for a group of women. She kept telling me thank you. After a while, out of her mouth came - "You're welcome". All of a sudden, I thanked her. Then it dawned on me. She wasn't saying you're welcome because I was needing to thank her, she was saying you're welcome because she was instructing me on what I should have said to her.

See, here's the thing. I don't receive compliments very well. Stranger still, I love compliments. What in the world is wrong with me? I've known this about myself for a while. I've even had it pointed out to me by a few people over the years. It usually involves my singing. Someone tells me how good I sounded, or how they enjoyed my voice. I smile awkwardly and either walk away or try to find a way to tell them it wasn't that great because I messed up that one note. 

Today was almost laughable to me though. Never have I had someone stand there longing for me to accept their compliment to the point of instructing me in what it is that I should be saying to them. Maybe laughable isn't the right word, but since I'm all about awkward responses, laugh is what I'll stick with. 

So I had to wonder why. I think about this every now and then, just not very often. 

You know that song, "She don't know she's beautiful"? That's the story of me and Aaron. He tells me I'm beautiful. I laugh at him. Someone tells me I sing well, I nod and cringe and say thank you to them. Someone tells me how great I am for adopting kids, and I try to not to throw up on them. Someone notices something I've done, and I try to find an escape. But why?

I have no clue. I know I'm not the only one that responds this way to accolade's. Most would say it's because I don't have a healthy view of myself. Maybe they are right. But what I always come back to is this: credit is not being given to where credit is due. (Aside from Aaron telling me I'm beautiful. Perhaps I'll go with the common response on that one.) 

See, what the world sees me doing - singing, cooking, cleaning, adopting, teaching, counseling, opening my home, giving .... whatever it may be .... I'm not doing it for anyone to see ME. Confession: of course, I've been guilty of wanting to be noticed. I have done it for me before... more often than I care to admit. However, the rest of the time, my heart in doing what I do is because of what HE did for me. Everything I have, everything I do, every  effort I put forth is to pour out His love to those around me. I don't think I'm super gifted in any one area. I think I do a lot of things okay. Sometimes I wish I just did one thing really well, but this is me. I do lot's of things half ... well... you know. But I do it because I've been given the resources to do so. And with those resources, I want to honor the One who gave me them to me. 

Knowing this doesn't necessarily help me understand how to receive compliments. Actually, it doesn't help me at all. I remember one time hearing someone say that when people notice us, we should respond with - "all glory to God". There's a time and a place for such a response, but it's not often that it is that time or that place. So what about the rest of the time? How are we supposed to accept such gratitude's? If I just say "you're welcome", my fear is that it comes across a bit cocky. ("Of course you should be thanking me - you're welcome to have benefited by my greatness.") But today's scenario must have been a complete opposite - perhaps to the point of annoying the one complimenting me. She had to tell me how to respond to her. And I still don't think I ever said, "you're welcome".

I just don't want people to see me. It's not me. If it were me, I wouldn't be doing it. I'm too selfish for that to make sense. So then how do I say "your welcome", or "thank you" while acknowledging that such an act of service came from something (someone) outside of me? 

But then my brain can't help but wonder .... I compliment people all the time about the great things they are doing. Why, when I acknowledge someone, do I focus on the good that they did, rather than finding a way to exclaim how great God is - and that I saw that through what they did- through how they served Him. Maybe compliments would be easier to swallow then? Maybe.

How do you handle compliments? Do you receive them well?

1 comment:

Sharilyn said...

It is a good habit to deflect praise to someone else that is more deserving or at least partly deserving for the praise you are recieving. i.e. Great dinner mom!
Thank you dear, but I couldn't have done it without Anna's help!