For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)
“You look great, have you been working out!?” my girlfriend exclaimed as she leaned in for a hug. Feeling my shoulders sag and confidence shrivel I quickly responded, “I wish, haven’t been to the gym in months!” as I pinched my side roll as proof.
Why is it as women, we tend to deflect compliments that come our way? We get uncomfortable when someone compliments our weight or our hair and especially, our strengths. The words gracefully flow into our ear as a compliment, only to unwittingly stumble out of our mouth as a criticism.
Someone compliments our hair, and our response is, “Actually, I’m in need of a haircut, see right here – all these grays and split ends!”
Someone compliments our home, and our response is, “Oh this place? It’s really a mess right now, and it needs so much work, see that broken pipe and terrible paint job…”
And what about our gifts?
Someone compliments our gifts and strengths, and we immediately deflect it by saying, “Oh it’s nothing, just something I enjoy doing.”
We tend to use this self-criticism as a defense mechanism as if accepting a compliment would make us proud or self-indulgent; instead, we find a way to divert the spotlight by minimizing our abilities. The dilemma in this is, when we convert compliments into criticisms we fail to acknowledge the beauty and greatness God has personally planted within us; by criticizing what appears to be insignificant or unimportant things like our hair or our weight or especially our gifts, we begin to believe the lie.
Each time we speak a criticism about ourselves, we pluck out what God has planted and replace it with seeds of doubt. Doubt that we’re not good enough, strong enough or worthy enough. By gutting out what God intended to grow we never fully live out His potential within our lives.
As our key verse states, we are His workmanship. He is the master crafter, creator, and tender over our hearts. He has given us all that we need to complete the good works he has prepared for us. Everything about us has been handpicked and hand-planted. God ordained us with that beautiful hair and gleaming smile. He has given us the strength to lose the weight, the ability to care for our home, and that gift that is brushed off as unimportant.
Often, when we receive a compliment, what others have noticed is not the outward appearance at all, but something deeply rooted in us–a glow, an inner beauty, a glimmer of Christ’s love emanating from within.
So, the next time a compliment flows into your ear allow the words ‘thank you’ to gracefully flow from your mouth; resist the temptation to deflect it, to sidestep it or to criticize it, and instead, walk in confidence just as God intended.
“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6 NASB)
Did today’s post speak to you? I’d love to hear your thoughts, please share your heart in the comments below.
Thanks for stopping by, God bless.
(P.S. Today’s post is part of a series for the month on Confidence – stay tuned for more.)