What is that little thing that can brighten your day no matter what? When my Real Simple magazine gets dropped in the mailbox, I'm a happy gal. Sometimes it takes me a while to get around to reading it, but it brings with it moments of rest, learning, and creative dreaming. I recently read in their new "Women and Work" section a survey fact about negative remarks. Far and away, women said that they are most likely to get upset over a negative comment regarding their...appearance.
At the bottom of the list were remarks about children. To me, this looks like an inverse relationship between the things we are most secure about. A negative remark about our appearance can throw us off all day, because it picks at something about which we can already feel insecure. But a remark about our career or children - well, we don't rely on the off-hand remarks of others for our whole sense of worth in those areas. We stand more secure in the things that deeply matter.
On the flipside, I wonder if a compliment about appearance would have the same weight as a negative comment. Sure, I appreciate a compliment, and you can always tell me if my hair looks good! But I fear we throw around compliments about looks just to make conversation..."oh, that's a cute skirt" or "you look nice today." Those remarks don't carry much intentionality. However, when someone gives a compliment about something significant, such as career, or children, or how they see God alive in you, that carries some weight. It means someone saw deeper than your trendy outfit and pointed out something worthy they notice about who you truly are.
Repeatedly in the Gospels, Jesus truly sees people. And his words are life-changing and healing - not mere compliments. May we see with the eyes of God and let that change how we speak to others as well as how we receive those remarks about ourselves.
On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God. Luke 13:10-13 (NIV)
But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV)
How can you compliment others more intentionally?
What negative remarks upset you?
How can that reveal insecurities? How do you respond?
What is in your heart for the Lord to see?