Raise your hand if you don’t know how to take a compliment… ::raises hand::
Those who raised their hand, know it’s not a matter of not being grateful, but instead feeling like you’re undeserving and just not that good. My response to a compliment usually involves a, “thank you, keep me in your prayers,” with a huge dose of awkwardness to accompany it in the form of a weird smile and me trying to scurry away and hide.
It’s not just difficult for me to thank someone for telling me I’m good at something, it’s difficult to admit to myself what I’m good at. I can tell you what I do (sing, write, teach, speak), but to say I’m good at those things or that I do them well, seems like a stretch. When people compliment me, it’s not that I think they’re lying but I explain it away by saying it was just a good day. My father figure once told me that if this is my idea of being humble, it’s annoying and unattractive. Harsh, but he was right. I’ve come to realize me saying “I’m not that good,” is just another way of saying, other people are better. This is not a reflection of my gifts but a reflection of how I view myself.
I teach fifth grade, mostly boys, and one day we started talking about basketball, and they were telling me how good they were. They didn’t say, “I’m pretty good,” or “Yea, I play a little bit.” They spoke as though Lebron James had seen them play in an AAU tournament, recognized their ability, and was working out with them during the off season. “I’m better than all y’all!” “You not blocking my shot, I don’t care how tall you are.” “But you can’t beat me though!” They went on and on about how good they were and what was amazing to me was none of them had seen each other play. But that didn’t matter because they believed their own hype. They were unconcerned with someone being better than they were; they knew they were good at basketball. And to my surprise, they were.
Now if a bunch of eleven year olds can have that much confidence in their abilities surely I can, right? Proverbs 16:18 says “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” I have allowed this fear of destruction and falling keep me from acknowledging the gifts God has given me. I have made it about me and my ego instead of Him and His glory. I imagine every time I say I’m not good at something that I know is a gift God gave me, it is a slap in the face to Him. Instead of saying “Thank you for this gift,” I say, “well, You’ve done better with other people.” It sounds ridiculous to say out loud.
Jesus, the son of God, was our gift from God. Some did not believe He was the son of God, but it did not change who He was. Even when they did believe Jesus, it was not a surprise to Him. He knew who he was. The same goes for us: we are who we are, whether anyone believes it or not, including ourselves. It does not change who God made us to be. He’s a father who gives good gifts and that’s not to be ignored (Matthew 7:11).
There are some gifts inside of us that God may not have revealed yet, but there are others that we are well aware of. Not only do you feel the breath of God flowing through you when you use your gift, but other people notice. You can be humble and recognize the greatness of the gifts God has given you. It’s not about you, but what God is doing through you. Believe the hype, especially when it’s God serving as the hypeman.
Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
Psalms 139:14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well
Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
1 Corinthians 12:4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit