Accepting gratitude for a job well done seems to be a hard thing to do. Our desire to be humble doesn’t mean that we can’t accept thank you without a qualifier.
“Thank you for staying late to help.” “No problem. It really wasn’t a big deal.” Even though I had to have my husband pick up my son from tae kwon do, change dinner plans, and cancel another meeting.
“That dessert is awesome.” “It’s just something I threw together.” Even though I had to make an extra trip to the grocery store, not go to the park to play with my little boy, and feed my family sandwiches for dinner since I had to baby sit the cake to make sure it didn’t fall.
“My kid loves being in your class. Thanks for all the extra help.” “It’s my job and I’m happy to do it.” Which I am, but it takes a lot of extra effort and time to text parents after school, put together meaningful assignments that help each child, and means I usually work from 7:30-5:30 everyday.
Maybe some of these situations sound like something you have encountered. Do you find yourself, like me, brushing off the compliment? I wonder why that is. Why can’t we just say “Thank you” and move on?
A Desire to be Humble
I have a theory that women have a predisposition to appear humble. Humbleness means we are gentle, cooperative and together therefore accepting a compliment that includes “thank you” is difficult.
But I submit to you lovely, humble readers that “thank you” is exactly what we should say and leave it there. Don’t diminish your work.
Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips.
Proverbs 27:2, NIV
As long as you are not touting your own accomplishments, you should accept the gratitude of others. Let me ask you, do you want your daughter to brush off her accomplishments? Do you want God to brush off your accomplishments done in His service? Absolutely not. That sounds absurd doesn’t it?
God invites us to a life of gratitude and thanksgiving. He is so proud of us when we choose to follow Him and the path He sets out for each of us. Sometimes that involves baking a cake, making a meeting that was unplanned, or teaching His children. Saying “thank you” acknowledges the hard work you did.
Pray like it depends on God and work like it depends on you.
Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker
These are cherished words in my heart because they show the partnership I have with my Heavenly Father. We are together in this world and He is always near. In a very real way I need to accept the “thank you” for both of us. And so do you.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18, NIV
The Take Away
This is something I need to work on. Recently I was talking about why I have such a hard time accepting “thank you” without a qualifier that makes it seem like it is no big deal. I think the need to be humble is part of it, but not all. Maybe some of it is because all the women in my life have made similar statements in the face of gratitude and I am following their example.
But I don’t want my children to do the same. I want them to feel proud of their accomplishments because we pray over them. We give thanks to God for His direction, we ask for help when things don’t seem to be going exactly right, and we give glorious praise when the course ends up being more wonderful than the bumps along the way. How can we not accept gratitude when He is part of the equation of our lives?
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
Colossians 4:2, NIV
So in light of my new discovery, I want to ask God to help me be more accepting of the gratitude of others.
Please open my ears and heart the the thankfulness of others. Help me discern the difference between boastfulness and gratitude. Let me remember that You are a part of all gratitude and that in accepting it fully I am drawing closer to You and the path You have set before me.