Saturday, April 9

Let Someone Else Praise You

One recent afternoon, as I was putting a huge pot of water to boil on the stove to start dinner, two tiny little boys I’d never seen in my life came wandering aimlessly up our driveway.

There was no mama in sight, and no car waiting like before whenever a child came to the door selling raffle tickets or magazine subscriptions. There was nobody except two mousy brown-haired boys wearing backpacks.

The older one was around six or seven, the younger didn’t look a day over five.

They came cautiously, yet confidently. At least the older brother seemed to know what he was doing.

I greeted them on the porch to save them the agony of deciding whether or not to knock on a stranger's door.

“Hi guys. What’s going on?” 

The older tiny guy proceeded to tell me their bus driver dropped them off at the wrong stop, and they didn’t know where home was. What brave little guys! I know they had walked quite a ways just to get our house because I never saw any bus.

After asking a few questions and calling their mom because oldest little dude knew his mom’s number (winning!), I figured out they were a couple miles from home. What. How this can happen is beyond me. 

After reassuring the panicked mom I was a safe person (hello, mom of eight kids), she agreed that it would be helpful if I brought them home to her instead of her coming to collect them.

I loaded them up in our 15-passenger with three of my own kids to make them feel comfortable, and headed off toward their house.

As I drove, my mom-dar was working overtime. What if they had chosen the home of a person who wouldn’t have taken good care of them? Why did the ever-lovin’ bus driver drop them off miles from home? Why did they come to our house, out of all the houses on their walk to nowhere? 

In the middle of all of these questions was also this embarrassingly telling one: What would these little boys have done without ME? 

Oops. There I go again making myself the hero.

Yeah, I called their mom to inform and reassure her and drove them home. I did the right things and thought fast on my feet. I hope any person with a heart would have done the same.

It's easy to slip into hero mode because it's tempting to want our work to be noticed and praised.

I'm not proud of it, but I'm an internal eye-roller when other people peg themselves as the hero and tell big stories touting their heroic help or good deeds in a situation.

"I did _______. And then I __________ and ______. They were so appreciative of my help. I'm just so glad I was there when I was." 

I guess it bothers me when other people praise themselves because I'm prone to do the same and dislike it so much in myself.

It's inviting, yet repulsive all at the same time. It's inviting because recognition for a job well done feels good. It's repulsive because it's pride.

We are supposed to step in. It's the way of God's people.

We do heroic things. Some of us do extremely difficult, inconvenient, and costly things in our everyday lives for the good of others.

But even then, should be we drawing attention to ourselves for it?

God's Word speaks about it in this way:

Let someone else praise you.

Such simple words. When we try to convince others of our praiseworthiness by recounting all the ways we've been plain awesome, it's awkward.

What if no one saw us and there is no chance for another person to praise us? How will they know how great we are? (You know it's true.)

If nobody hears about it, did it ever really happen? Will anyone ever know what we went through or how hard we've worked unless we tell them all about it?

Maybe not.

But is that really so bad?

The good deeds we do in secret will be rewarded by God (Matthew 6:1-4), and the good deeds someone happens to notice might be recognized here in this life.

Are we okay with that? Can we stop seeking to attract admirers? Can we recognize it as pride, and work to eradicate it from our lives as we're instructed in scripture?

It's what God is asking of us.

Do the right and noble and heroic thing.
Don't boast about it.
Do seek the reward that comes straight from God.

Let someone else praise you. One day of being plain awesome at a time.

1 comment on "Let Someone Else Praise You "
  1. Hi Amanda,

    I so needed to read this post. I read it a couple weeks ago right after you posted it, but haven't been able to comment until now. I always need to be reminded about letting other people praise me. I too tend to be like "I did this_______then this happened_______then I went here and did this________then I showed so and so this and she said such and such_______and then I got this and that" Unfortunately, I'm afraid that I like the sound of it when someone praises me. Lots of times when someone else is telling the story of this happened, then that happened, then I did this or that, I cringe and I want to scream "Stop making yourself the hero!" Yet, I find myself doing the exact same thing every single time! I was convicted not so long ago that I don't need to announce every single thing I do. I was studying Matthew in Bible Study Fellowship a couple years ago, and one of the things was not to always draw attention to yourself. I always found myself saying, "Hey, I did such and such, doesn't it look nice?" or "I cleaned the cabinets out, aren't they nice and clean?" or whatever else I did, I was always announcing it to the family. I got convicted that I was doing exactly what the Pharisees were doing in their day, and now here I was 2000+ years later and doing the very same thing that I was repelled by from the Pharisees. It is an everyday "struggle" not to announce everything I do, because I unfortunately like the recognition from it. However, I need to keep quiet and let others praise me.
    Thank you so much for posting and for the reminder.
    God Bless!


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