JUST SAY "THANK YOU"
A few years back, a dear friend of mine complimented my outfit and called me beautiful. Instinctively I dodged her kind words responding with, "Oh no; this dress was only like $20! But YOU, you look absolutely radiant!" My kind and honest friend then gently brought to my attention my tendency to refuse compliments; sometimes even going so far as to boomerang the praise right back at the person who gave it initially. Fortunately, because my friend provided such a safe space for me, I was able to explore the depth and truth behind why it was so darn difficult for me to receive any kind of admiration from anyone.
Not even a week passed by before another person offered a compliment and I caught my old behavior creeping up on me yet again. The moment the affectionate words hit my heart, I could almost physically feel a wall within me harden and catapult the words off my heart like a bouncy ball off pavement. That night I fell to my knees before God in prayer, desperate for answers.
I remember how impossibly intimidating the wall in my heart felt. I was a little David trembling before a raging Goliath. But before fear could wash over me, I felt the Holy Spirit's leadership take over. A peace and strength that surpassed all my understanding prompted me to take that scary wall apart, piece by piece. Brick by brick I began to dislodge the monster, shocked by the hundreds of lies each one represented.
1 Timothy 2:9 says that "we have a mind of power, love, and self control." Like a secret weapon crafted for that exact moment, I activated my mind to call out the truth over the lies. This brick said, "Never enough"; Jesus said, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (1 Corinthians 12:9). Another said "Less than"; Jesus said, "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." (Romans 8:37). Little by little, the voice of truth began to dissipate lie after lie. The impossible weight began to lift off my shoulders for the first time in many years. Finally, the last brick that was especially large remained. It said, "Shame"; Jesus said, "The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love... For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us." (Psalm 103:8-12). With a deep breath, I asked God to help me fully believe this truth. I picked up the full weight of the final lie off my heart and flung it far, far away until the only remaining evidence was a million shattered pieces in the distance.
As I wiped away tears of joy and relief, I closed my eyes and no longer saw a colossal wall. In its place stood a majestic temple assembled with golden bricks declaring empowering truth; reinforcing the woman of supreme value and worth I am through Christ! Even more than that, I suddenly became aware that I wasn't doing the heavy lifting at all; Christ had me covered and my only role was to CHOOSE to let go and allow Him to rebuild my broken identity!
No longer did doubt have the last word! For the first time in a long time, I found myself free to rejoice in a deep confidence rooted in the gospel. My security was no longer tied to affirmation from others or the latest definition of beauty in Vogue Magazine. No, no; my validation drew from a bottomless well of eternal love that would never ever run dry.
I finally realized that the reason it was nearly impossible for me to receive compliments was that I genuinely didn't feel like I deserved them. I felt so unworthy because of the guilt and shame that marked my past that in response I was deflecting all signs of love. In a disordered way, I felt that by cowering into self pity I could somehow compensate for my past sins and regrets.
WOWZA right?! I have a strong feeling that I'm not the only woman (or man) who has become an expert at dodging compliments like bullets over many years of self deprecation. Friends, please hear me. Does the stubborn wall I referred to earlier resound somewhere deep within you? If so, you need to know two things. First, you are not alone. Second, that wall is never coming down without your permission.
You must CHOOSE to roll up your sleeves and dismantle your fears one by one. It sounds incredibly daunting, I know. But what if I told you that the foundation of freedom from this bondage mindset has already been made available to you? Good news; that is EXACTLY what I am telling you now! "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." (1 Peter 2:9)
Oh my, that is the ULTIMATE compliment! You are chosen, royal, holy, special... called into wonderful light! The first step is humbling yourself to confess that your own way has been a complete and utter mess (Can I get an AMEN?!); laying down your sins at the cross of Jesus who out of his unconditional love for you, died as punishment in your place so that you would know eternal life. Once you give over your life to be renewed and sanctified, The Holy Spirit then takes up full residence within you; empowering you day by day, moment by moment! GOOD FREAKING NEWS RIGHT?!
Being able to receive compliments is great, but the gospel truth gives you access to so much more than that! Rooted in the knowledge of your precious identity in Christ, you are able to celebrate your inherent beauty and dignity while simultaneously remaining humble and eager to share this incredible message until the whole world hears!
So the next time someone gives you a compliment, just say "thank you"; letting your gratitude roll back up to The One who moved Heaven and Earth so that you would know that you are worth the most relentless and passionate pursuit.
Xoxo, Diwa Doll
Featuring Sachin & Babi,
Photography: Haoyan Ge, Instagram @hycvision