I’m not sure why, but I don’t really react to compliments too well. I guess I feel that most of them aren’t really genuine and are given out of some sort of obligation or lack of anything better to say. As a preacher (at least occasionally) I often get the, “great message” compliment. I know the person is being encouraging and might actually mean it, but part of me wants to call the bluff and say, “really, what in particular was great about it?” I usually chicken out of that reply due to the fact that I am scared they might not have an answer. So, all that to say, probably to my detriment, I don’t really react to compliments.
So, the other day I was in the basement with my son and I was playing guitar and singing while he played the drums (he’s 2 and I only know 7 chords so it wasn’t anything amazing). After a while I picked a The Family Worship Book which has about 60 hymns in the back and began to sing some of those. About that time Asher ran upstairs. I can only assume that it was my off key singing that sent him to flee. So, as any good father would do, I continued my singing and followed him upstairs (It’s my house and I’ll sing off key wherever I’d like).
At that time Jennifer was cooking dinner. I finished whatever hymn I was on and stood there quite content. I then told Jennifer that I would really like to attend a church that sung hymns… and not just modern upbeat versions of them, but rather, straight hymns with an organ or piano accompaniment. I told her, “I really just love hymns.” To which she replied (and this gets to the compliment part of the story) “…as all good reformed men do.”
Even as I write it here it makes me smile. Why, you ask. Well, I guess it is this… My beliefs in who God is run very much in line with those of the reformed faith. So, my wife was affirming that:
- She knows what reformed people believe (that is sexy)
- She knows I belive what reformed people believe
- She thinks I am good
- She thinks I am a good reformed man
It was nice… It actually made me smile. I can’t remember that last time a compliment made me smile. I think it is number 4 that makes the biggest impact. See, I try on a daily basis to live my beliefs in the context of my family, my relationships and career. I look at great men like Jonathan Edwards, John Calvin, John Piper, and so many others and say, “I want to live lives like these guys… good reformed men.”
So, Jennifer, thanks! I love you. While I am no Piper or Calvin, I do have this one thing in common with them… I have an amazing reformed wife who brings me great joy. Thanks for being there for me.