Michele is a Christian, wife, mother of six, and an aspiring writer, and she still manages to work full-time. Her blog is about her non-traditional, blended family, the everchanging worlds of parenting, relationships and working, and keeping her eyes on God through all of that.
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A Moment of Insight
I have many flaws.
Okay, I could easily stop right there and be done with my confession. I can already hear my husband saying, “Can we have an amen?” Sigh. I have many, many flaws. I am very aware of most of them. However, every so often it takes someone else lifting the veil from my eyes to reveal a few of my deeper hidden issues.
Over the summer, one of these blemishes on my character came screaming to the surface. Learning that I had this particular flaw did not surprise me. I have struggled with it my entire life. The shock came from the revelation that I hurt others unintentionally. I had focused so intently on how I felt that I neglected to comprehend how my reactions affected others.
During one of our frequent visits to my parents’ house in East Texas, my aunt and I chatted pleasantly about various subjects as we lounged peacefully by the water’s edge just after sunset. Suddenly, my aunt announced, “You don’t know how to take a compliment.” Taken aback by the sudden change in topic, I cautiously glanced in her direction to determine the seriousness of her statement. The look on her face confirmed my fears.
It’s not that I disagreed with her observation. I have always had difficulty accepting compliments whether from family, friends, teachers, co-workers or bosses. The thing is compliments make me uncomfortable. Over the years, I have found that it is easier to disregard or downplay the remarks, than to graciously accept them.
Taking a deep breath, she turned fully towards me. My stomach dropped, she had more to say on the topic. I braced myself for the cold, hard facts that I knew followed that look. However, what she said next took my breath away.
“When you downplay a compliment that is given to you, it makes the other person feel that their opinion is not worthy or good enough for you.”
Speechless, my eyes widened as the truth of her words fought their way into my heart. My insecurities with accepting kindly offered words of gratitude and recognition caused others to think that I didn’t value their thoughts or perspective. The crushing weight of her words left me feeling humbled.
How many times had my efforts to conceal my uncertainty and discomfort leave others feeling discounted and unappreciated?
That night as I lay praying before drifting off to sleep, I asked God to help me to learn how to accept a compliment and to be able to gratefully express how much others’ thoughts and opinions matter to me.
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. - Hebrews 12:11 (NIV)