I need to practice something.
I need to practice being more generous with compliments and praise of others.
Yesterday, a colleague asked if she could speak to me. I naturally thought I had done something wrong.
When she began by saying, “you know, I always speak my mind,” I thought, “oh, no. Here it comes.”
Then she told me, “the other day in a meeting I mentioned how much I love hearing you speak. I’ve given a lot of training for years and I sit through a lot of presentations. I’m very critical of presenters and speakers.
“When you’re presenting, I am completely captivated. I don’t know if it’s your knowledge or what, but I could listen to you present all day.”
My heart almost burst. I was so elated.
I love public speaking. I love being on stage. I love it even though it scares me. My heart races. My mind jumps around just before I speak. It’s all I can do to even recall what the topic of my presentation is supposed to be.
Then, when I step on stage, everything slows down. It’s like the world is moving in slow motion, except for me. I’m running at normal speed.
But I realize that just because I like speaking in public doesn’t mean the public likes my speaking. Maybe I’m torturing them. Who knows?
When my friend told me those sweet, kind words, I could have flapped my arms and flown around the room.
When we praise God, I wonder if He feels as great as I did yesterday? He, the creator of the universe, must like creating things. But, most of all, He must love praise for His public speaking because the answer to everything is the Word of God:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. —John 1:1
But it gets better:
The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. —John 1:14
When we praise Jesus, we praise God for His perfect public speaking. When we praise each other, we give them a tiny, imperfect taste of how praise makes our creator feel. When we receive praise, we recognize how great our praise makes Him feel.
Look at all the great things that happen when we compliment someone:
- They feel good.
- God feels good.
- We feel good.
I’ll try to remember that when I receive compliments or praise, I am actually just a conduit for praising God. Because my gifts and talents are just gifts on loan from God, as Rush Limbaugh reminds us. It’s humbling, but it’s the truth.
So, those kind words I received yesterday were for me to pass along to God, the perfect public speaker and presenter whose Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. And rescued us from hell.
I need to practice giving compliments because compliments make God and man happy, and happiness loves company.