Stop trying to downplay your gifts.
Stop trying to minimize your successes.
Stop trying to skim over your strengths with, “Oh, that was nothing.”
It was not nothing.
It was the spark of God within you.
It was who He created you to be shining bright.
It was what He called you to do coming forth into the world.
Don’t listen to the whiners, the discouragers, the critics, the-good-in-your-life-makes-me-feel-bad-crowd.
You have nothing to be sorry for, sister.
Those things aren’t a reason for an apology–they’re reasons for gratitude, celebration, and praise.
Hold your head high. Keep that joy in your heart. Let your light shine.
It’s the proper response to what God has done (and is doing) through you.
And if anyone tells you to tone it down–they can take it up with Him.
Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matt. 5:16
Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God says
Well said indeed! I had to smile at the last line, “And if anyone tells you to tone it down – they can take it up with Him.” I have been a chronic apologizer, but am learning to accept praise with a gracious “thank you”. When someone praises me now, I turn to God and say thank you for my gifts. I’m still a work in progress, so thank you for a sweet reminder!
Judie McLaughin says
SO TRUE…tone it down??!!! are you kidding me!~WHY? my daughter and I have that in common and there are those who cannot handle it..IT IS HIS LOVE, that’s all…and it cannot stop in my life. THis morning I was struggling with the task before me to get a Biblical certification in order to one day have a transition home for women leaving prison…after prayer and reading this I AM ON IT! I am praying that He will place a person in my life with wisdom and understanding who can be there for me through this. I Know HE is with me and I will get it done, for it is for HIS GLORY…that I live! AMen…love you Holly!
The last line was my favorite too! Thank you for the reminder. I am about to go do something this weekend that is very exciting but WAY outside of my experience. But, you know what, I don’t think it’s outside of my giftings so I am exited to see what God will do!
“I am about to go do something this weekend that is very exciting but WAY outside of my experience. But, you know what, I don’t think it’s outside of my giftings”. What a beautiful way to live! I’m excited for you!
Absolutely. I think that often I minimize because I tend to think that beneath the compliment might be a hint of envy, or a petty “She-thinks-she-is-better-than-me-because…” thought. Why my mind even goes there is a mystery to me…. a troubling mystery. Why can we not just celebrate each other and our accomplishments with love in our hearts for each other and nothing more? I pray for that kind of envy-less world where women can truly give and accept compliments with nothing more than love behind them.
Doris Swift says
Wow, I truly needed to read this post today! I struggle all the time with the balance of gracefully accepting compliments, while trying to avoid any appearance of boasting in myself. Your post has blessed me, confirming the fact that being thankful and graciously accepting compliments is not boasting in myself, it is boasting in God given gifts. This will really help me in my responses to these words of affirmation from others. Actually, it will open more doors to witness about gifts God has given them as well! Thank you, and may the Lord abundantly bless you 🙂
Laura Malley says
Outstanding. I want to print this and carry it in my pocket and read it every day. I am a hard working, out going and happy go lucky person who sometimes wonders if I should dance a little less or sing a little more softly. I am not happy doing either. So I am dancing and singing my heart out today!
This is fabulous! Just the encouragement we all need! 🙂
Amen. Walking boldly today. Thanks for your sweet encouragement and loving truth 🙂
Patty Muich says
Awesome! It is such a bad habit most of us have. I am getting ready to start the bloom book club and go through ‘a million little ways’ by Emily Freeman. I was wondering if I would be able to ‘spark’ and if I could share that spark. Now I know it is God and won’t try to hide him! Thank you so very much!
I love your faithful encouragement. I’m so blessed by your books because of the scripture-filled pages. You bring encouragement to light in a godly perspective.
I’ve been studying Colossians and thinking about how Paul addresses himself in verse one, “Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ…” Apostle means one sent. (Tell me it doesn’t take confidence to address yourself in that manner!) He was confident that He had a mission to fulfill and was sent by God. He knew a godly ministry was placed within him regardless of his past failure.
We need to be humble and yet at the same time recognize our gifts in God. He has given us all a mission and we shouldn’t be shy about it. Demonstrating our gifts and being prideful are two totally different things that people sometimes confuse.
We must encourage, rally, and support each other. Thank you for for your obedience to His call on your life!
Amanda B says
Thank you for this, Holley. I loved it so much, I read it twice. While I don’t have real life critics (yet), I do have imagined ones who are wishing I’d just keep quiet. (I know… craziness.) But I can’t keep quiet, because Jesus has given me a life to live for His glory, and I’m busy keeping the rocks from having to cry out on my behalf. Thank you, thank you.
“Stop trying to skim over your strengths with, “Oh, that was nothing.” – I tend to say “It was easy…” Tears… as I thank you for your wonderful gift of encouragement to those of us who do find it difficult to accept compliments. I find that “knowing” this gift and “accepting” abilities as a gift are two very different things for me. Thank you for your words and heart! 🙂
This would not apply to me as I’m an elite athlete. We are trained to grab the gold medal. Take it without a flinch. Between us and the gold is nothing. We are born winners. There is no way anyone could … stop us. Bred from birth by the ONE who created us. So, in life, I have to tone it down. We are totally focused. Nothing can break our focus.
Today I recalled what was said to me when I was at the top of my game. Remember who you are and you can do anything you put your heart to.
Millions was spent …… by my government, yearly, just to train me to be a winner.
I have to tone it down.
I was born a winner.
I need to learn – humility. I really do.
I love your lovely pink flowers btw. 🙂
Shereen Lynn says
Is it just me, or do others notice a bias within the Church toward women who serve at home and in their church body full-time? A 30-something career woman at my church asked, “do you DO anything beside your role at church” (which made me defensive). A 30-something career woman who is agnostic told me, “what you do at your church is like being a CEO of major corporation!” (which honored my role). Stark contrast.
I’m so grateful for you, Holley, who always tells me I’m AMAZING because of Jesus, not what others think of me.
Oh wow… my initial response to that was to be astonished that anyone in the church would say something like that.
Then I realized that yeah, there is a certain lack of appreciation and gratitude within the church for all the hard work (both seen and unseen) that people put into growing it, tending it and serving it. I think we can take for granted everything we’ve been given and so don’t stop to thank God for it or those people who are doing the giving. And I am, most shamefully, guilty of this as well.
So, I just want to say, I don’t know who you are or what you do, but I am truly grateful for all you do in service to our Father and to others. I look forward to one day meeting you in Heaven!
Suzanne Russell says
I have never received a more timely exhortation. Thank you! I spent an hour and a half on the phone yesterday with a dear sister in Christ who really wanted to tear me down and remake me in the image she thinks I should have to do the job she thinks I am called to do.
Holle Gerth says
Reading your words this morning and smiling, sisters. So glad we can stand tall together because of Jesus. Big hug to all of you!
Thank you for these wise words! I can’t count the number of times I’ve been told to stop shining, stop laughing. I’ve literally been told to stop being so encouraging and optimistic. It’s baffling to me why Anyone at all would want to cut down hope like that. I don’t get it. But sadly, I’ve listened to those voices and silenced the joy inside until even the sparkle in my eyes went out. It’s taken years to get that back. Thank you for the reminder that I’m not here to shine for those who want to put out the light, I’m here just because God liked what he made. ♥ Thank you for your words, Holley!
Yep you post is convicted esp since God made me to spread joy and when ppl suppress it im sure Hes sad
Holle Gerth says
I’ve been told similar things as you, Julia. I don’t think people realize how painful it is to hear those things. Let’s keep shining no matter what…
Beverly Chong says
Oh, girl, I do love this one. Yes girls, let your light shine and all that He has placed within you and if ANYONE asks or politely TELLS you to tone it down, just tell them to take it up with Him! Love it!!!!
Thank you Holley for these words! I have a bad habit of downplaying my gifts, underestimating myself and apologizing waaay too often. I also allow my reserved nature get in the way of being open and friendly. God is in the process of teaching me not to do these things. Just in the past week I have seen the words “be yourself” and heard the song “Hello My Name Is” by Matthew West more times than I can count. The message is ringing loud and clear. Thank you so much again! 🙂
There are a lot of people who aren’t going to like your post, Holley! I am not one of them. Careful, critical reading of The Word involves parsing each word and phrase and extrapolating meaning. Case in point (as Jennifer, above states): Paul, identifying himself as an “Apostle.”
The naysayers camp out on Romans 12:3, “…do not think of yourselves more highly than you ought.” But read it in context, Romans 12:2-4, in the Amplified Version, and it reads differently. It says not to have an exaggerated opinion of your own importance in the body of Christ. That is not the same thing as recognizing what your gifts are. Is humility important? Of course it is! It is fundamental to knowing your place in the order of things. But I believe we delight the Lord when we grow our giftedness; when we work hard at it and live it out, for His kingdom. We were created in His image and when we live that out in love, we are reflecting Him to the world!
Yes that’s right!
Holle Gerth says
Thanks for chiming in with those Scriptures, Linda!
The Spirit knew I needed to read this today. Thank you for always encouraging me when I am feeling down and out about what I am trying to do for the Lord. Always enjoy your page!
Jennifer McAlister says
Holley Gerth! You are indeed a Christian Warrior with insight that surpasses many of us who are advocates and counselors for Christ. I say that because most seniors don’t want to believe that young people can be so wise, so insightful and such a blessing to US. Nevermind being such a blessing to the young people. That almost goes without saying. But – when seniors, grandmas, those of us in the autmn and fall of our lives can be so inspired, rejuvenated and encouraged by you, I’d suffice it to say Go God – You have definitely chosen the right young lady. My small group of women stop to listen, recall, and be reinvigorated by your books, etc. Thank you for being passionate and obedient for God!!!
Deanna Wiseburn says
How I needed those words this morning. 🙂 I just found myself earlier on twitter telling people what I do not claim to be, saying that it is just a hobby, and totally downplaying the things that God created me to do. So your post was right on time to show me that God would rather I stop doing that and simply embrace ALL that I am.
Love your blog
Hey thnks this is very timely sometimes i wonder if i have a kick me sign on my face. Its open season on folks with gifts. Never mind EVERYONE has gifts those that fail to see them sometimes think im a punching bag. Thanks for this i dont have to apologize for being born
Thank you Holly. I journaled about this very thing this morning:
As a little girl I was very creative. I was a dancer, a writer, a poet, and I loved to draw and color. I felt close to God when I was creating in some way. I was a very shy girl. When I would get up on that stage to perform in a dance recital, all of my fears would melt away. I was a very good dancer and I still am. My dream was to be a dancer on broadway with my own dance studio, as well as a published author. When I wrote a poem or play and shared it with others it brought joy to my heart that I was sharing a little piece of very shy me.
Well, I locked up the little artist inside of me for well over 25 years. The world told me that art was free spirits and people who had too much time on their hands. When artist me finally came, albeit very slowly, out of her cage I was so happy to see her. It felt like home.
Every day is a battle to prevent myself from locking up my artist. Voices, who don’t understand the heart of an artist, can often cause me to think that expressing myself through art, poetry, short story, is immature, reckless, and a waste of time. When I share a poem or a piece of my writing I do it with the intent of sharing a little piece of me that the world would not normally see because the shy girl still exists to some extent.
God created every single one of us in unique ways. Psalm 139 makes this very clear. We all express in different ways. I express through art and story and I am grateful that God made me this way. I’m throwing away the key to the cage and holding the hand of my artist and loving her just as she is. Christina Hernandez, Oct 18, 2013
Holle Gerth says
Let your artist be free, girl. We need her! Have you read Emily P Freeman’s new book, A Million Little Ways? It’s all about this. Loved it.
Amy P Boyd says
Thank you Holley !!! Thank you for the conformation and encouragement I needed today. This week I have been considering if I needed to stop chasing my God Sized Dream or not. Although I have not had any direct naysayers I also have not had (in)RL friends to come along side and walk with. However God has blessed me with this incredible online community to speak truth to me just when I need it. Again thank you
I can’t thank you enough for –ONCE AGAIN–speaking (what seems like DIRECTLY) to my heart, making me take a GULP, and bringing tears to my eyes. Why? Because you have a divinely inspired gift that seems to address the very issues God wants ME to address!
I too have been a chronic “apologizer” for years–constantly denigrating my work, talents, gifts–GOD’s gifts in response to being rejected by so many women (even my elders) for the attention I received as a result.
Thank you for teaching me, based upon God’s word, how I should respond instead…with an ever-burning BRIGHT light, and a gracious thank you pointing others to what HE has done for and through me!
KEEP SHINING BRIGHTLY, HOLLEY!
Thank you so much for your encouragement! I have always found it difficult to receive any compliments. I want to be a “light” and used by the Lord whenever and wherever, but somehow don’t feel worthy. Now, I will try to be more gracious in accepting a kind word from others and be inspired to keep on keeping on—–A smile is always worthwhile!
that last line…Amen! I am learning to celebrate, and not apologize, although I catch myself doing so sometimes, who God made me…it is one way I worship Him and give thanks because I know all I have is a gift from Him…hugs to you 🙂
Just a simple “thank-you.”
I have been blessed by your words of encouragement and I sit hear and cry. I am too a chronic apologizer; it comes from my abusive past when something went wrong it was my fault. I was to be quiet head down and just obey. As a result I easily fall back into the patterns of the past. Minimizing and denying who I am. It reminds me of a poem by:
“…Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Lynn Bowman says
I love that poem and it totally fits! Be blessed my sister! Lift up your head and let your light shine!!
What a lovely poem, thank you for sharing your past.
Lynn Bowman says
What a blessed word! Thank you, Holley, for the encouragement!
Christine Wright says
I want to stand up and cheer!! Yes, yes, yes!!! Good stuff, Holley!
Amen & Amen! Another great word, Mrs. Holley!
Oh yes to all of this… Straightening my knees today!!! Thanks Holley!
Beth willis miller says
Holley, i love your writing…especially this: “It was the spark of God within you…It was who He created you to be shining bright.” Reminds me of the greatest compliment I’ve ever received, which is included in the newspaper article I included in my blog post below, “She was like a shining light coming through the door.” Just a few months ago our pastor’s wife described me the same way. I know that “light” is Jesus shining through me, and your post today helped me realize that I don’t need to apologize for who I am…just thank God and rest in Who He is in me <3
I love your post today. Haha if they have a problem with your light shining too bright, they can take it up with Him. That is most awesome!
Co Lawalata says
Thank you, thank you so much, amen And I love our Father so much.
That last sentence is cool, love it
Big hug dear Holley
“You have nothing to be sorry for, sister. Those things aren’t a reason for an apology–they’re reasons for gratitude, celebration, and praise. Hold your head high. Keep that joy in your heart. Let your light shine.”
Girl… it’s like you really GET me or something? 😉 Can not WAIT to meet you at Allume next week, friend!
Thank you & Amen to this! I’m tired of apologizing for who God has transformed me to be. I like me. Everytime we say ‘sorry’ or hide, it shows God that we are ashamed of the gifts He has blessed us with. I’m not ashamed of my gifts nor my God. :0)
Beautiful encouragement! Just the thing I needed today.
Susan Dominikovich says
I found myself apologising to a friend for “being so strong” the other day. In the midst of being torn down and torn apart by church leadership that is intimidated by my light that shines, and hoping this friend would actually encourage me and support me, I actually ended up apologising for “being so strong.” Why did I do that? I wish I’d had the courage and insight then to say, “take it up with Him.” In actual fact, the whole lot of them can “take it up with Him.” I am gospel-confident and know what God wants of me when it comes to the gifts he has imparted to me. I also know it’s nothing to do with me, but everything to do with Jesus in me. Thanks for this. Good to know I’m not alone. 🙂
Valerie Hohenberger says
A HUGE AMEN sister! So uplifting on this dreary day here in the south! Love it!
You comfort. You encourage. You inspire. Thank you!!
That was…good and needed! Thank you and God bless you Holley!
Daniele @ Domestic Serenity says
Oh, thank you. Thank you so very much….much needed today.
Nancy Ruegg says
Oh, yes–Gratitude, celebration, and praise to God for the gifts and talents he’s given each of us. Thank you for always cheering us on, Holley. Every post is like a spiritual energizing drink!
Holle Gerth says
Thanks for joining in with all this encouragement for each other and kind words, friends! Appreciate you!!
Thank you for this timely affirmation! I am currently being guided into new creative/career space which includes sharing full radiance…after having been told by family and a few friends to dim my light, I find your words quite inspiring/encouraging!
Absolutely love this! Will be reposting…thank you!!
LOVE this, Holley. Gosh, beautiful encouragement, in so few words. And now I’m free. Did you hear that deep exhale? How do you do that? Thank you.
Oh….my heart did a happy dance in His presence! Thanks for this royal reminder dear Sister! I am encouraged!
Sara Torbett says
This is just what I needed to hear. I’m guilty of downplaying my God-given strengths. Thank-you for the reminder to stand tall in Christ!
luv it!!!! thanks for the encouragement.
Thanks for your encouragement Holley. So needed in a hyper critical world.
I want to shine for Jesus, and just be who God created me to be. This often involves what often feels like a military operation, to avoid the critical words, either from what other people say to us, or the words we express about ourselves…
Yes, if they don’t like it they can take it up with Jesus 🙂
Kimberly Edwards says
I love that attitude. If anyone has a problem with it, they can take it up with HIM… Praise HIS Name! Amen.
Affirming and encouraging. We should walk boldly in our gifting’s, while remaining humble. What a conundrum. Thankfully, Jesus is the Giver of all things, and as you encouraged us to do – let us walk in freedom. In Christ alone.
Oh Holley, thank you so much for this post. It also warmed my heart when saw you called us ‘sister’
I love you sister!
Mary T says
Holly, as a very active volunteer and involved community member, I often struggle with accepting compliments or praise. What has made this easier for me is to use it as an opportunity to share my thankfulness to the Lord for putting me in these places, for having a plan for me, for saying “with God all things are possible” and many more ways that all works are accomplished through faith in my Jesus and perseverance. I can accept these compliments much more gracefully in God’s name. God bless!
What a timely word for me! Thank you Holley! Immediately sending this on to a friend whose confidence has been shaken this week because of critics she has only just met… Woohoo
THANK YOU!! I needed that 🙂
Why is that so hard. I want to be humble and worthy of that praise. And yet if I’m given that praise it is hard to hear it. But to hear what you do wrong is so much easier to swallow. Seems backwards right? I turn to The Lord and he immediately makes my heart freer. He allows me to praise him and that helps me to feel better about myself. So, then I feel a glimmer of hope. Thank you for your words. However hard and easy they were to read.
I like to turn the compliment back on the giver and say something like, “It’s so kind of you to say so.”
Tracie Syck says
Loved. I needed to hear this today and felt like it came straight from God. We do little things in our life, that people thank us for and think nothing of it. Your right that’s when his light shines the brightest. Thank you.
Sheila Dailie says
Holly, This is so beautiful, true and succinct! I need to print this out and post it by my bathroom mirror. While I have learned all this, sometimes painfully, your reminder is so necessary. And I love that it is about God, not my own self-worth. “The truth will set you free.”
Dear sweet sister in Jesus Christ, Holley ~ it’s difficult to express how I’m feeling right now, having read your beautiful Godly words of wisdom and the all the responses to them. I too, feel like you were talking to my heart. After more than 17 years of writing a book God called me to write when I as completely unqualified educationally and even knowledgeably regarding the subject-matter, I get lots questions like, “are you almost done?” And how close are you to finishing?”, etc., the underlying gone being “are you EVER going go finish that book? I’ve finally learned to say, “It’ll be done when God says it,s done, and He hasn’t, told me that yet.” Thank you SO MUCH for your words of encouragement! God is good, all the time! I love your blog! I am a 69 yr. old, 30-yr. Believer, and you teach me so much!
Bam! Thanks for that! I needed to hear it.
Mia Herne says
Thankyou for your wonderful words of encouragement. It was written just for me.
Yes we are daughters of the KING ! That makes you and I princesses ! Yes those who have a problem with us need to approach our KIng , our Abba , our LORD first . Its fillour thoughts with WHO we are in Jesus . He will take care of the circumstances in our lives. He can even change them . We need to just focus on HIM and follow thru onour job assignments. Those can be found in God’s promises to us as He needs us to do our part so HE can do His.
Diana Trautwein says
Preach it, Sister!! Oh, wait. You just did. THANK YOU for preaching it so well.
Holley – I have your webpage bookmarked and whilst doing something else on the computer I inadvertently clicked your “bookmark” and found these wonderful words of wisdom. What you write is so so true. I love the line “let your light shine, sister”. It made me laugh. Yesterday I met with a bunch of friends and they were saying exactly the same thing as what you’ve written. SO thank you for putting into print what my friends told me. With grateful thanks from the UK
Thank you so much, Holley! Be blessed! xx
Thank you Holley…
After many many years I found out that someone very close to me has only ever resented me 🙁
God doesn’t! 🙂
Holley, great words of truth. I found myself yesterday saying, “I’m sorry, but this is how I feel.” Was I sorry for feeling compassionate about the Truth? Or was I sorry for showing emotion about heart felt issues? Whatever the reason, I wish I wouldn’t cry when I feel I am right and people I care about need to understand my feelings are important. It just goes with not thinking I am important enough to have feelings.
Thank you for sharing.
Beth Williams says
Great and powerful words. We were created to be a shining light for Jesus in this sin sick world.
I have always been a people pleaser. Constantly wanting people to be happy–regardless of how I felt. But no more. No more apologies for who I am–a lovable, wonderful woman created in the image of Almighty God!!!
I love all kinds of music and enjoy listening to them and dancing some. My real talent is doing sign language to music at church. I love doing it to express my admiration, joy & thanks to the one who died for me!
Lazondral Nelson says
This spoke to me! I downplay everything thinking I was being humble. I was just masking my insecurity and feelings of inferiority. Thanks for letting God use you to speak to us!
Although as a child I memorized this verse, it became more real to me awaiting the birth of my 1st child 47+ yrs ago. According to the dr’s calculations, she was overdue by 10 days & he wanted to induce labor. I was discouraged & afraid, went home crying to my dear husband & he shared this verse w/me. That ended up being all I needed to get thru this first-time blessing of becoming a mom. Today when I come across this verse again in my Bible reading, it means even more to me ’cause my husband has been in Heaven for 16 yrs & God’s desire is for me to keep letting His Light shine thru me 😀
Thanks so much, Holley!
It was all that I needed for today. I’m feeling like I’m doing a new start again. Living closer to my God and don’t looking back what was before I choose to live with more passion for Christ. Feel hugged and be blessed!
Thank you so much for these words. My sister keeps chastening me over this very subject. Finding the dividing line between humility and self-abdengnation can be a real challenge. I will keep you words in my digital reminder list so I can re-read them every week. God Bless You!
My Sweet Sister,
Thanks so much for your words of encouragement — every time! I have always had a hard time accepting compliments. The Lord gave me a response, and I use it all the time since I don’t know what else to say: “I’m so happy (pleased) that the Lord blessed you through me.” It takes the focus off me and gives glory back to Whom it belongs (and allows me to thank Him).
Praying God’s richest blessings on you as He uses you to encourage us 🙂
This is beautiful. Thank you. 🙂
I am a professional apologizer. Especially for anything that may come across as me even possibly sounding like I think I am “all that.” Thanks for this encouragement to keep shining. 🙂
Extremely encouraging ! Thank you Holly
Critics, yes. I have them in my family and so many times, I’ve left a family get-together feeling bad about myself and my life. My brother is obsessed about money and every time we get together, he always wants to talk about pension plans and whatnot. There’s so many other wonderful things to talk about without talking about money. Money is good, but it isn’t everything and never will be. Thank you for posting this. I feel good about who I am.