About the Author

Jennifer Dukes Lee is the author of several books, including Growing Slow. She and her husband live on the family farm, raising crops, pigs, and two humans. She’s a fan of dark chocolate, emojis, eighties music, bright lipstick, and Netflix binges. She wants to live life in such a way...

Recent Posts

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Jennifer,
    I, too, used to receive compliments with a self deprecating remark. It was my MO. That was until I had my own clickity clack lady who spoke truth and affirmation into me and made me take it. She reminded me of Psalm 139 – I am “fearfully and wonderfully made”. If God is gracious, then I, too, can be gracious in receiving compliments. The simple words, “thank you” still do not easily roll off my tongue, but I’m getting better. Thank you for a wonderfully affirming and much needed reminder this morning. I love your writing. (pause) You’re welcome 🙂
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • Thank you so much for being here Bev, and for your kind words. 🙂 … I appreciate your Scripture reference here. So helpful and affirming!

  2. It used to be so hard for me to accept a compliment because I felt I didn’t “deserve” it. Then it was hard because I thought I always had to deflect the praise to God. Now I know that is false humility for me…and that it’s okay to say thank you. It’s okay for someone to praise God by acknowledging my gifts and obedience to Him. It’s okay to simply say thank you. What a relief!

    • My road to “thank you” and “you’re welcome” looks similar to yours, Holly. When we’re able to receive affirmation in a healthy way, I believe we can more comfortably and boldly walk in our giftings, for His glory, without timidity.

  3. I used to hate compliments because I didn’t feel like I deserved them. Too much criticism in my life. I’ve slowly gotten better over time. Now when someone tells me I’m nice (I wasn’t the nicest person before Jesus) I say thank you and then tell them how Jesus is changing me.

    • Michelle! This is wonderful. Your acquaintances are seeing and affirming God IN you — not only in what you do with His giftings in your life, but who you ARE in Him. Beautiful.

  4. The first verse that came to mind after I read this was Romans 12:10 (ESV): “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

    If I don’t accept a compliment, I’m not letting others live out this verse! It’s just like what the woman at the retreat told you: “In fact, you’re honoring God by allowing me the blessing of encouraging you.”

    And then the word “outdo” brings out the competitive spirit in me. Maybe the next time people give me compliments, I’ll give compliments right back. To outdo them, you know. 😉

    • Yes, YES! That’s it, Monica. I appreciate your wisdom, and for pointing to such a fitting verse. Does it sound like I am now trying to “outdo” you, in showing honor? 🙂

  5. This is something I learned Jennifer—I learned to receive compliments when I became committed to giving them to others. So much gratitude and affirmation goes unspoken and so we don’t get much practice in receiving the gifts of kind words. I think “Clickety-Clack Woman” gave you a double portion when she helped you receive the gifts she wanted to give in words of praise. You are so right. When we “light up” at another’s affirmations, we are shining for the One who gave them to us.

    • Yes, a double-portion. She gave me a double portion. I had always enjoyed offering encouragement and praise, but had great trouble receiving affirmation until she spoke truth.

  6. Jennifer,
    Thank you for this post. I read something over the weekend in Derwin Gray’s book, Unlimited Life, that spoke to me about this very thing – He spoke about someone commenting about beauty in his life, and he thought to himself, They see Jesus…from now on I hope to respond to compliments and say Thank you out loud, and say Thank you, Jesus, I hope they see You, in my heart.
    And if they like my shoes…well, just Thank you, aren’t they fun?

  7. As we have become caretakers for my mother-in-law, I am reminded that one is never too old to enjoy a sincere compliment. In fact, as our ability to “do” diminishes, the need for compliments increases.

    Thanks, Jennifer, for reminding me that compliments are one way that we can build each other up in Him!

    • Good point. You know, how often do we offer affirmation to people, encouraging them simply for who they ARE, not just what they do?

      Last night, before we went to bed at Mom and Dad’s little cabin in north-central Minnesota, Mom told me how much she enjoyed spending time with me. And it was so simple, but so personal, and it was such a lovely affirmation. I felt valued and loved.

  8. I like you, and I like your words. And I praise God for the gift of writing with which He has greatly blessed you! Keep shining for Jesus, friend.

    (Lately I’ve been saying “thank you for saying so” when people pay a compliment to me. I just realized why. It’s my way of saying I don’t believe they’re right, but I appreciate it anyway. Hmmm. I think I’ll start to practice a simple thank you.)

    • Yeah. I get that. The added “for saying so” diminishes the actual beauty of what someone sees in us. It’s like we don’t really buy it, right? Like they’re just … “saying so?”

      So hard to retrain ourselves to do what our mamas taught us when we were little… to simply say thank you, and you’re welcome.

      (P.S. — I like you, too, Sarah.)

      🙂

  9. It’s so hard! When someone tells me something nice, my instinct is to say, “No! I’m Melanie! I’m gross!” Thanks for this reminder and permission to say thank you.

  10. Yikes – I am terrible at receiving compliments. I do not teach Sunday school, bake brownies, sing in the choir… for accolades. I do it because I feel led to teach and sing, which gives me deep joy and I love to bake just because. I will remember to simply say thank you next time. Thank your Jennifer for this convicting post.

  11. I have a blog post in the making about lacking confidence. This hits squarely on top of my thoughts that I had put on paper- rounded them out in fact! Thanks for your encouragement!

  12. Thank you, Jennifer, for using your God-given gift and for your words of wisdom! You’ve said it all, and yes, I do thank you!
    Lynn

    • And I will practice what I preach by saying: “You’re welcome!” It brings me great joy to know that your heart has been encouraged today.

  13. Thank you so much for this post! What a great reminder!
    It was just the other day someone said something very nice about my hair and I started to find excuses why it didnt actually look as good as they said it did….half way through my excuses she said “Lidia, just say thank you! and leave it to that !:)” and she’s not even a christian…
    It has lingered with me since and made me think how, us women, often struggle with our self image, how we under value ourselves, our gifts and talents are just something we do and have – nothing special there; and all along, deep down, we are desperate to know we are SOMETHING worth the trouble, we are not just ordinary, and what we do and have is unique. And I believe God wants to tell us it, and He uses people to tell us just that, every single day – because He loves us with an everlasting love – and He made us SOMETHING, someone worth the trouble, someone with unique gifts and talents, and that what we do, up front or behind the scenes, is good and pleasing to Him. So He compliments us, through people! And what do we do?! We reject it with a wave of the hand, with excuses, with unbelief….I am so guilty of doing it! But I am also trying to be more aware of it and, like you said, just accept it and give God praise for it. It takes practice I am sure, but oh how Im looking forward to the day when I can just say “Thank You” and not feel guilty about it. xxxx

    • Lidia,

      So grateful for your words in the comment box this day. I think it takes practice, like anything, to figure out how to accept praise in a way that doesn’t dismiss the praise-giver or the Gift Giver. I am still trying to get comfortable with it.

  14. I think I’m going to need to read this over and over again. I am an encourager who believes the best for everyone except myself…

    • Pattie … I. Get. That. Totally.

      Let’s practice believing better things about ourselves … believing the beauty of Christ in us, the promise that He’s doing great things through us, for His glory.

  15. Oh Jennifer… You have described me…I too am created to be an encourager… And how the enemy had robbed me for far too long of being a receiver. God and I had been on this journey when He lead me to blog… This was way way out of my comfort zone.!!!!!!! When people would leave encouraging comments about a post…my gut response was…oh they just feel sorry for me….my dear dear hubby challenged my thinking…through this and others things…God got to the root…for me…I have come to see…the root of our twisted thinking comes from a twisted veiw of Abba and His love for us… Once Truth comes and wins us to Himself…every twisted thinking about ourselves starts to be made straight…the two go hand and hand…it is a journey indeed …and I am go glad there is not ceiling…but a life long journey of finding deeper freedom in Him! I love seeing your journey…you’re amazing …your welcomed( just responding to your thank you☺️

    • You truly ARE an encourager. It’s been a joy to see how God has used your gift of encouragement to bless so many people around the Internet. And my heart has been on the receiving end of that encouragement.

      What’s more, you encourage others through your beautiful, heartfelt blog, Ro. I’m so glad you have a supportive husband that can help you see through the self-doubt to find the truth about those kind remarks left in your comment section.

      Grateful for you.

  16. You really hit the nail on the head with this one. I felt exactly like I was “stealing praise from God,” as you put it, whenever I accepted a compliment. I am way too prone to get “puffed up” (ridiculous when I know I can only do anything in His strength), so that factored in as well. Yet it felt overly pious to try to say something to deflect the praise to God right at that moment. Sometimes I’ll say, “I’m glad the Lord was able to use it” if someone compliments something I’ve done for Him, but overall it seems the kindest response to the one giving the compliment is just a smile and a sincere “Thank you.”

  17. I just wanted to Thank You for your words! I have struggled all my life accepting compliments because I never thought I deserved them! Yet recently The Lord has been teaching me, once again, that I am beautiful in His eyes because I have been created in His image…. And He has given gifts to be used for Him! As I read your post it felt that God was speaking to me through your words … Helping me to understand in my head and feel it in my heart! Thank you! What a blessing!

    • Sandra,

      It’s a joy to hear what the Lord has been teaching you, about you — the one and only, God-designed masterpiece of YOU! You keep on shining for Jesus. Because of Jesus. Your life shines a beautiful light.

  18. I, too, have a hard time claiming my strengths, but it’s no problem to claim my weaknesses. I do now try to graciously accept praise and say thank you, but I still don’t always accept it in my heart. Got some work to do yet… Thank you, Jennifer, for this wise insight into truth.

  19. I can do “Thank you!” when complimented re hair or clothing or . . . , but after singing or playing an instrumental number for church, or a testimony my usual response today is a smile and a heartfelt “Praise God! I’m glad you were blessed.” That removes the focus from the agent to the One who gave the gifts.

    • So glad that you’ve found a way of accepting praise that feels right for you, Carolyn. Grateful for your thoughts shared here in the comment box. We appreciate you!

  20. Have you been reading my mind again, missy? My head nearly fell off from the excessive nodding that was happening while I read this. (I appreciate you.) xx

  21. I had to stop and read this today, because lately I have felt God urging me to distinguish between humility and insecurity. I spent my adolescent years certain that everything about me was awesome because I did it all on my own power. Now, as an adult living for Jesus and relying on his power…how do I point to him if someone is praising me? And you answered my question so succinctly. Thank you! Thank you for sharing the words you were given with those of us who needed to read them 🙂

    • I’m immensely grateful to hear that my words served your beautiful heart today, Rachel. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

  22. Hi Jennifer,

    I had that same glory to God thing happen to me. I was afraid of pride coming in too. I can see by your post I can receive compliments and it still will reflect our Father’s glory.

    And I do give a lot of sincere compliments and encouragement myself. We all need encouragement. I remember those same encouraging words from someone for a long, long, time, I just didn’t receive them well.

    I will remember those 5 points you made and receive compliments with grace and a blessing for the other person and keep on extending the encouragement to others.

    Blessings,

    Joanne

    • So glad that the words ministered to your heart. May we rest in His praise alone, but may we also know that it’s okay to receive a kind word from a person who appreciated Christ at work, in us. Amen?

  23. Goodness gracious, we’d get along well. Jennifer, I just adored these words today. I think my face turned red three times because this comes in the wake of a very difficult part of my story I needed to share today. Your words are such a blessing!

    • Hi Jennifer … I am so glad the words found you, right on time, just when you needed to hear them, brave soul. Keep telling your story — even the hard parts.

  24. Graciously accepting praise is a toughie for many of us. Thanks, sweet friend, for the reminder to just say ‘thank you’, and accepting the blessing God sends.

  25. The Lord wanted me to read this today! I’m currently on a blogging hiatus for this VERY reason! As people have started to “notice” and encourage my writing, I’ve started to clam up, feeling great stress over this. I’m concerned that the more publicly recognized I become for writing about spiritual things, then the more I’m taking glory away from God and onto myself (being like a pharisee who likes to be seen and heard). When people compliment me, I also try to deflect and remind them it’s all God, or at times I’ve even told people, “I really don’t like this attention. It makes me feel awkward.” (how awkward is that response?!!) So I’m wrestling with this right now, and while I AGREE with what you are saying, I have yet to believe and accept it for myself. But I want to live in a world where people can compliment me without making feel like I’m stealing praise and glory from the creator. Thanks!

    • Emily,

      I am praying for discernment for you. I think it’s very wise to step back and take a look at what’s happening on the inside of you. To ask the questions about motive and how to deal with praise or attention. The blog can wait, as you process those important questions with the Lord. But do know that if you continue to write a message that resonates with people, they will indeed “notice” and will likely encourage you and likely spread the word about your writing to others. I pray that you can strike a balance where you can use those very gifts that God placed IN YOU, and share them with the world. God calls us to shine our lights into the world. Hide it under a bushel? NO! 🙂 (Remember that old song?)

      We can live for God’s praise and approval alone, but we also don’t have to fear human praise. Praying for you!

  26. Oh my – you really touched on a recurring nightmare here, Jennifer. This happens to me often and I learned a long time ago to brave that smile and say “Thank you” – and try to resist the urge to tell people everything wrong with what I just did that they thanked me for. I tend to accept the compliment but then disarm its value by trying to make whatever blessed them from my hand or mouth of less value and certainly not as good as the next person’s offering. This completely undercuts the blessing the individual received at the outset. Not honoring to God at all. Kindness and cordiality and then turn the conversation to the other person. Say an encouraging word back to them. Sharing the goodness of the Lord who is the ultimate Encourager – gratitude belongs to Him as our hearts swell with the joy of knowing by putting a smile on someone’s face – we’ve put a smile on His face, too. Blessings all around – and thank you back-atcha!
    Joy!
    Kathy

    • Thank you for sharing you wisdom in the comment box, Kathy. “Sharing the goodness of the Lord who is the ultimate Encourager…” <—- Yes. That.

  27. Jennifer,
    I am currently in a group study of your book “Love Idol” I was invited to check out (in)courage. My first time on here today I open the screen to this blog! It is like looking in a mirror of myself. I have always had issues with accepting complements. Even if I felt like I might deserve some part of the complement. Most people know that they make me awkward and uncomfortable, so they start to shy away from giving them at all. I never wanted the attention on me. I always confused self-esteem with pride. I had a list of short comings to pull out in case of a complement. Just like your book says its all about the “process.” I think our lives relate really well to the kid’s song that says “he’s still working on me, to make me what I ought to be.” As I grow in Christ I find all of the good in me is only because of him. I know a complement to me is truly a praise to him for how he created me and how he is living through me. Thank you for this! It’s a relief knowing you and others in the comments have dealt with the same feelings!

    • Angela,

      I’m so excited to hear about your group study of Love Idol. It brings joy to my heart to hear from readers who are in the midst of the journey. Isn’t it a relief to know that God loves us while we are in process, in all areas of our lives? He is ever-refining, and always, always loving.

      Grateful for your words here. Be blessed, Angela. Hugs to your group study!

      • It is a relief! I’m almost done with the book! I’m so grateful to you for writing it and sharing your heart with us! I’m thankful for Marina Bromley for your book anddeciding to lead the study. 🙂 I have always had a love for writing. I have feared rejection and opening my heart to others. Your book has really inspired me to pick up my pen again. So grateful for your obedience. Thank you!

  28. Thank you for your words Jennifer and your reception of the words of others… your clicky/clack lady spoke about accepting compliments in a way I also grew to understand what it is like to be ‘given to’ by others. A wise friend once said to me that by allowing others to help me, I am allowing them to use their gifts (bring a meal, give a ride, visit if sick). In a very similar way, I believe that complimentary words and acknowledgements from others are in that same vein. I am often complimented because of work I do as an artist (in a religious context) – early on I felt awkward and realized I needed a polite response. Pondering for a while it actually came easy because I say, and mean, and know deep down that my gifts and talents are a gift to me (and through me) from God, and I say that without fuss or pretention. And I am thankful. Always.

    Thank you for your presence online and in the lives of many!

    peace
    Lynn

    • I love your confidence … your secure knowledge that what you have comes from God. Surely, that gives you a boldness, in Christ, to create beauty without timidity. Grateful for you, Lynn. Thanks for stopping by this week.

  29. For many years I struggled with receiving compliments, and by George I thought I was past it, but what you wrote about dismissing compliments with the phrase “it was nothing” was a jolt to me. I do that ALL of the time. I never looked at it as dismissing what He has given me to share. I always thought of it as nothing because I wanted to do it to glorify Him, but if I say it is nothing, where is His glory? Thanks for the new perspective 🙂

  30. Oh, I struggle so much with this. You express it so perfectly – this Christian conundrum of glorifying God and yet not getting stuck in false humility when aren’t sure what to do when He chooses to use us to display His glory in a specific way. I am an encourager at heart but for the life of me it feels like pulling teeth to even maintain eye contact when someone offers a compliment. I’m realizing there are a few areas of my life I’ve shrunk back in for these very reason.

    I appreciate your words and wisdom. Straight to my heart today. You are a gift! ((hugs))

  31. Gotta admit, I’ve struggled with this…still do. But this I love:

    “What comes out in His name is a product of what He designed us to do.”

    THANK YOU so much for sharing your heart! This is a post I will go back to several more times, as I attempt to soak it all in. 🙂

  32. I too have encountered replies like “Praise the Lord or It wasn’t me, it was all God.” I go back and forth between just saying “Thank you” to “Really, thank you,” and then quickly change the topic. I need improvement in this area to understand it’s okay to just say “Thank you” guilt-free and “without fear of stealing glory from God.” 🙂

  33. I can say “Thank you,” but, I feel embarrassed. I am more comfortable complimenting others, rather than accepting a compliment.

    Sometimes I will try to go past “thank you” and blather on about how I processed it and how it was a God thing, when a simple smile and “thank you” would be just perfect standing alone on its own.

    Great post, Jemmer.

  34. I used to be just like that. I would get so embarrassed and blush and stutter and feel awful. i was in my late 30’s before someone taught me that all our gifts and talents are from God and He wants us to use them for HIS work and glory. When we are doing this we are doing what is right in HIS sight.
    I love to encourage others and that helped me to realize that was what others were doing to me too.
    Its so easy to give service yet so hard to receive it ………..and if we don’t receive it ………then other cannot get blessings for giving service. So when we say Thank You then the other persons gift has not gone to waste.

  35. Just like you mentioned, I love to encourage but find it hard to receive a compliment, which can be offensive to the encourager speaking to me. I have a hard time remembering that, but someone reminded me that I need to say, “Thank You”. So, I sincerely try to do that. It is so much easier to believe the bad things I think, than the good that others say though, so I am learning to let go of those condemnation thoughts ( Rom 8:1) and embrace the beauty He brings in the blessings of others. 🙂

    Thanks for the reminder! 🙂

  36. A few weeks back the Lord led me to deliver a word to my co- leaders for the recovery ministry we serve in at our church, nervous and a little fearful, I obeyed.
    Afterwards, several of them complimented me on hearing a great word from God.
    I gave God the praise in my heart, but thanked them all as well.

  37. I have problems with this too. I am working on just saying thanks, but it feels weird. I just started singing in the worship band at church and I got all kinds of wonderful encouragement, but because we are new there I don’t want to come off as stuck-up and I really had to pray about how to react. So I went with “Thanks! I had so much fun!” I hope that;s okay :). Thank you!

  38. Hi Jennifer,
    Sometimes, when you read a title of a blog post, you just *know* the Lord is speaking to you through it. This one hit me. Thank you so very much for your words. I could see Clackity Clack’s eyes, and feel her hand on your shoulder. And on mine. This is a deeply rooted issue for me – it has taken years for me to even be willing to *use* the talents God gave me, and I thought I was handling compliments better but just yesterday I received a compliment that was aimed at me, instead of one of my artworks, and I denied it. I will be praying that the Lord embed the words you shared in my heart, and that they echo when I am tempted to deny how He has made me. This could be huge for me. 🙂 Bright Blessings and Sincere Thanks

  39. thanks a lot,it’s a mighty lesson i have to learn;i usually have that kind of habit,when someone compliment me i feel strange,like if i shouldn’t desearve it;i think there are lots of womans whose habit is like that,is it possible that it has something to do with the culture whthin we grow up?!….

  40. Jennifer,

    I, too, am an encourager. I love telling people how good they are, nice the music was, thank you for doing this, etc. It hurts me when people say things like “it’s my job, or it was nothing.” I want a nice thank you. God gave me the talent of encourager.

    There have been times when people compliment me and I think to myself “oh it was nothing or really that good it just came from a box, etc.” I will always say thank you and let them know I appreciate their compliments 🙂

  41. Thank You, this is very encouraging, i have had such experience and the Lord is teaching me to receive…i have learn how to positively respond to compliments, i realized my challenge was how do i respond to the blessing of giving into my life,, i am used to giving…..I have learn that when someone gives into your bosom, your reception activates his/her blessing in return. ..Jesus Gave his Life for me…i received the gift of salvation…His name is magnified always,,,, Thank you Jesus, Thank you maidens of the Lord.