I’m terrible at taking compliments. And I know I’m not the only woman who can say this. Many of us hate being put in that spotlight, even if its only for an audience of one. We deflect, qualify, or make excuses. It takes everything I have to just say “thank you” when someone says I look nice or I’ve done a good job. I always want to qualify it, saying “Thank you, I just threw it together,” or “I only did what anyone else would have done.” We like to minimize, take the attention away from ourselves, because deep down we don’t truly believe we deserve it.
Men hate when we do this. I’ve been told by several guy friends that there is nothing more awkward than a woman not taking a compliment. It makes the guy look like he’s lying, just saying something nice, because they feel they have to. If a guy is taking the time to pay you a compliment, its because he means it. He wouldn’t go out of his way otherwise, especially when silence is easier. But one of my good guy friends once said something that rang true: “When you don’t take a compliment seriously, when you try to brush it away, its like you don’t trust me.” Trust. I hadn’t really thought of it as an issue of trust. Probably because I was trying to make light of the whole situation and ignore it. But he was right. Women have a hard time trusting. I most definitely do.
Christians say they have faith in God, that they trust in Him to provide for their needs, whatever those may be. We trust that He will always be there for us, even when we feel most alone. We trust that He will not give us more than we can handle. And we trust that He will fill our lives with love, joy, and happiness. Christians not only have faith in or believe in God and His existence, we have trust or confidence in Him.
At least we say we do.
Over the past few years, I’ve learned the true difference between faith and trust. I believe that God exists. Period. No one will ever, come hell or high water, be able to persuade me otherwise. I believe that Jesus walked on this earth as the Son of God and was crucified for my sins and the sins of humanity. I believe that He rose again and ascended to heaven. I believe that He is the way, the truth, and the life. I believe we are filled with the Holy Spirit. And I believe that He will come back for me.
But I am suspicious by nature. It is my absolute worst quality. I have difficulty trusting people. I’m not completely sure of where this suspicion has stemmed from, but I have to work through it every day. So while it may be easy to say that I believe in God, it is far harder for me to trust Him, to have confidence in Him.
While studying religion throughout American history, I learned about Deists from the Enlightenment period. This was the era of colonial and early America, and many of our founding fathers believed in this religious philosophy. It is based on reason, claiming that one does not need supernatural intervention in order to determine that an all-powerful creator or god exists. Its often called the “clockwork theory,” which is the idea that god designed and created the world, but then removed itself to let the universe run on its own like clockwork. This god does not interfere in human affairs, is not supernatural, does not perform miracles, is not personal.
Sometimes I feel this is the god that many Christians, including myself, believe in. We believe in a god that has left us to our own devices, allowing us to make our own decisions and be responsible and accountable only to ourselves. We want to be in control, to hold the reins. We don’t trust anyone else to do things the way we want them done, so we take it all upon ourselves. The result? Nothing goes the right way. We struggle, become beyond frustrated, and slowly breakdown. We lose our faith in God, because we blame Him for the problems we never truly gave Him a chance to fix in the first place.
In Matthew 6, Jesus talks about not being anxious. What are things people worry most about? Food, clothes, the basics. Jesus says not to fret, because God will take of it. The passage I always come back to (probably when God sees that I need it) are verses 28-29: “And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they neither toil nor spin, and yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”
The writer in me loves the imagery of this and the woman in me loves the flowers. I adore flowers. Most people, man or woman, do because they are beautiful. And their beauty makes us smile. What is absolutely lovely about flowers, however, is that they do not have to ask to be beautiful. They do not ask for sun or water or petals to make them look stunning. God gives them these things willingly. If God, our Father, can give such comforts to a flower, could He not provide us with everything we need, we who were made in His image?
We need only to trust in Him. To seek His kingdom first, and He will provide everything we need. While trust will probably be something I will have to work at every day of my life, I know that God will, in His love for me, be patient. He will, if I give up control and allow myself to truly let Him take me where I need to go, He will make sure that I have everything that I need. We may not always get what we want, but what we need. And God always knows exactly what we need. I just need to trust Him enough.
And ladies, we need to trust the guys in our lives enough to know they mean those compliments. Sometimes, they know just what we need to hear. And we need to believe and trust they are sincere. Besides, if we can’t trust a friend when he says you look beautiful today, how could we possibly begin to trust God?