When people say well done, do you try and deflect that compliment? I know this is something I’ve always struggled with!
I’ve led worship for more than 3 decades. Ever since the age of 11 I’ve been part of the worship group in a church, leading worship to children, or adults, or both. By the age of 15 I was leading worship in a church of 350 to 400 people, and a worship group behind me of perhaps 10 or more people on occasion - frequently either older, or more experienced, than I was.
People would frequently come up to me after the service and say how good it had been. Sometimes they were thanking the worship group, through me, which I quickly passed on to the others who had been involved in that service. But, it was always easier for me to deflect that thanks – when it was given to me personally, rather than the group as a whole – and say it was because of the musicians behind me or it was all down to God. Simply taking that encouragement was something I struggled with, badly! But there are a few fundamental problems with this approach.
When we say it was others, or God, that deserve any praise, then we’re also, additionally, - albeit perhaps unintentionally and inadvertently - blaming them for everything that was also not so good.
Work with me here, because it’s worth it, I promise!
Someone says ‘Thanks, that was great’. You respond by saying ‘It was all God’.
Someone says [of the same thing] ‘That was awful’ You respond with ‘It was all God.’
We’d never say the latter! But we say it every time we don’t let somebody simply praise us for something. Because, when we deflect thanks and praise, we both risk offending the messenger, as well as not taking responsibility for all that we were doing, both the good and the bad.
God gives us gifts. If you have a gift of leading worship as I do, it is only because of the breath He has put in your lungs. Sure, we can be skilled and talented, but gifts like the one the Holy Spirit gave me, do take it up a notch from what you can humanly do.
Chris Eaton, a well known British Christian songwriter, regularly received songs from people that ‘the Lord had given them’. He threw pretty much all of them in the bin because, as he said, it was obvious the Lord had gotten rid of them because they were so truly awful!
Let’s not shoot the messenger when they simply want to say thank you. But let’s not blame others for the good that God has put inside of us.
God deserves all the glory. Absolutely! But He also hand made us to be amazing creations capable of some amazing things, so don’t just dismiss praise and thanks, but accept it, humbly. We’re made in His image, and He can do some amazing things. But, then, so can you!
Just a thought…
So another Andy B, two minute video.
Now I wonder how good you are accepting praise or thanks. I've mentioned this example before. It's the idea of the parent whose children are out of control, and they're trashing the supermarket. And people will say, 'Oh that's the parents' fault'. And they'll probably go, 'Yeah, yeah, I've made a mistake somewhere.' But actually, as parents, quite often, we're not so good at, 'Wow, your children are amazing!' 'Oh, yeah, they've worked really hard'. Rather than going, 'Yeah, well, we've worked really hard'.It's very easy to take the criticism, but to pass away the good.
U, UK, Christian Bloggers is a group we've got, we've recently started some of us, bloggers from the UK, who are Christians, as the title would suggest! And we've got together over a little while and we've just started doing some videos. Now we've got a web page, currently sitting on the BerryBunch website, just because we're getting ourselves going. And I threw this together. It took me maybe 5 or 10 minutes to knock it out. And there we go. And then I thought, oh, well, let's get some write ups, some photos and I've put all that together. And the page looks okay. And I didn't really think much of it. And yet, each of the other bloggers, as part, who are part of this team, they've all been Wow, this is amazing. That's really good. And they've been really building me up and saying, Wow, how do you do this? This is so fast, and it's so good. And and I really didn't take that encouragement very well.
I know I said, thank you and all the rest of it. But I just thought, well it really wasn't much of a bother. It took me like, you know, 5, 10 minutes of my time. Perhaps 20 minutes over a couple of days. It's really not not a big deal!
But actually it is a big deal, because I've done something that they were struggling to do. It's not that they can't do it. But I easily can. And in some ways we can put ourselves down so much. We just, we don't stop and think, do you know, I've done something that's actually quite good. It's not about the quality necessarily. It's about the heart and saying I've done something for others.
Maybe you're a bit like me and you struggle to, to take that thanks. Can I encourage you? The next time someone says thank you for what you've done, that was amazing. Don't say 'Oh, yeah, well, it was a team effort'. Just, do, take some of that praise. 'Cos when you don't take that thanks it's actually quite an insult to the person that's saying thank you.
Just a thought.
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Written by Andy B