Saying Thank You
"Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body." Proverbs 16:24 (ESV)
My girls once accused me of being the worst when it came to accepting a compliment.
"Mom, you look pretty today."
"Thanks, babe," I'd say, "You're kind to say that when my hair is kind of crazy."
Or I'd give that look. You know, the "You're just saying that" look.
Some might say that it was self-effacing. Maybe even humble. But it wasn't either of those things. It was a bad habit, one that was sending a not-so-great message to my two beautiful daughters.
I bounced back their sincere compliments with a negative. I sent a message that I just didn't measure up to their words.
One day I heard my daughter do the same thing and it stopped me in my tracks. She was beautiful. Intelligent. Insightful. How could she turn a compliment into a negative?
Oh, yeah. She had heard me do it.
From that day on I made a conscious effort to change my words. As I did, I began to listen to conversations among friends, women who were strong and beautiful. The conversations went something like this:
"Love those shoes."
"Oh, these? Bought them on sale. Cheap as dirt."
"You did a great job on that lesson!"
"I was so nervous. Couldn't you tell?"
"You look nice."
"Do you see this blemish? Right on my nose!"
Like a game of verbal ping-pong we often negate the good, bringing it down a notch . . . or two or three.
Saying thank you is a form of gratitude. Sure, it's acknowledging a compliment, but it's also accepting the thoughtful words of the person who gave it.
But can we take this deeper?
Recent stats say that our girls' self-worth takes a nosedive after the age of 9. It would be easy to point out other factors, but what about us? What do our daughters and the young women we influence hear us saying?
When someone offers a sincere compliment, what is your response?
When someone acknowledges a trait they value in you, do you remark on the things you wish you could change about yourself?
When someone tells you you're talented, do you point them to your imperfections?
It's been many years since my daughters' words made me stop and think. They are grown and they are beautiful, but what I love about them best is the women they have become. I tell them often.
You are beautiful.
I see God in you.
I love the way you love others.
And they simply say, "Thank you."
The next time someone gives you a compliment, whether it's as simple as, "Mom, those were great pancakes." Or as sweet as, "Hey hon, you look pretty today." Or as kind as, "Thanks, that was thoughtful." Receive it.
You might want to point out the messy kitchen, or your bed head, or your not-so-gracious attitude, but someone sees something they like in you and that's a gift.
Let's say it together.
Dear Lord, today I offer up a grateful heart for those who stop long enough to say something kind. Let me offer a gracious response in reply. Help my words lift up those around me, rather than point to the negative. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say thank you? ~William Arthur Ward, author of Fountains of Faith
We often collect things that are of interest or value to put on a shelf. Today collect the kind words, little and large, that are spoken to you. Write them down in a journal. You can come back to them on the days you need a little encouragement. Thank God for the people who say them, and ask for the grace to receive them.
Proverbs 25:11, "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver." (ESV)
Colossians 4:6, "Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person." (ESV)
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