Everyone likes to get compliments, right?
When someone hands me a genuine compliment, I feel like they're handing me a treasure chest with diamonds and rubies inside. The joy and love I feel from these compliments shine in my eyes far above any precious gem.
Yet I've found something very dangerous about this treasure. It is so easy to become fixed upon it, desiring still more and more. My hunger for it is never filled, because the precious jewels of compliments are only earthly, temporary treasures. Yet it is so easy to put it above everything else and make it the one thing I'm living for. So easy to get into the mindset that my life is worthless unless I can receive a compliment from someone.
You know how sometimes when you realize a problem you swing to the opposite extreme? I've done that with compliments. Instead of basking in compliments (and even fishing for them), I will discredit each one I get. I think "Oh, that person just said that because it was the right thing to say in this situation," or "Well of course they don't mean that." I might even say something to them like, "Thanks," but they can tell from my voice that I don't really think I deserve the compliment. This, unfortunately, isn't the right way to handle compliments either. It's only the opposite end of the same coin.
All these wrong ways to handle compliments. What is the root problem? In essence, it all comes down to worth and what you derive it from. When I fish for compliments and hold them close, I'm trying to get my worth from the people around me. I figure as long as I look good in others' eyes, I must be valuable. When I discredit compliments and myself, I'm trying to get my worth from a false sense of humility. I figure as long as I look like I'm being humble, I must really be humble deep down inside.
But where is my sense of worth supposed to come from? From God, my Maker and Creator. If I view myself rightly in relationship to Him, only what He says about me really matters. And you know what He has said about me? In John 15:9, Jesus says, "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love."
This is the perfect balance. I recognize that my worth is in Christ alone, yet I can still accept compliments. If I take each rose and daisy with thankfulness and appreciation, I can then thank God for the compliment and the person who gave it to me.
So what about you? Where in your life do you "coast on compliments?" How do you accept them gracefully?