Let Encouragement Echo

Lately, when someone gives me a compliment I try to force myself to hear it twice. This is because I feel like we often have a habit of shrugging off praise. Meanwhile, we take even the smallest criticisms deeply to heart, even ones that we have fabricated in our own minds.

Sometimes we are too hard on ourselves and beat ourselves up for failures instead of taking time to feel good about ourselves for equal-sized accomplishments. Maybe partially because we hold up our accomplishments against those of others and believe that ours are "accomplishments" since they seem small and ordinary in comparison. But I shouldn't let the highlight reels of others undermine my own achievements. Just because the successes are small, it doesn't mean that they need to be subverted by quotation marks. I need to stop being ashamed of what I have accomplished. My offering to God is imperfect, but an offering nonetheless. I will trust that he can and will use it for his glory.  

Another reason I have a hard time accepting compliments is that I have a hard time believing that I deserve it. For a long time I have struggled with feelings of worthlessness. In my mind, I cannot believe that I could do something our amount to anything worthy of praise. And yet, I realize that this is wrong. Satan uses my insecurities to sabotage the words and acts of encouragement that my loved ones take time and thought to give me. I say that I trust these people (and I do), so I need to try harder to believe them when they tell me that I'm not worthless and when they tell me that I'm important to them. 

On the other side of this, I put a lot of thought and heart into the compliments and encouragement that I give others and I am careful to make sure that I really mean it when give praise. It's important to me that my loved ones know that I speak sincerely because I want to reassure them and comfort them and let them know that I truly love them. 

So now when someone offers me a compliment, I try to hear it twice. I may shrug it off at first or deflect it out of habit, but the second time I try to really hear it and believe that the encouragement from my brother or sister is genuine. Let love pierce through shame and doubt. When Satan tempts me to despair, I will let the kind, uplifting words of my brethren drown out his treacherous accusations. I will let encouragement echo.