Recently, a few people have asked me about this blog. What is it? What do you write about? Why do you do it?
It’s very easy to devalue the things that we do. I’m never quite sure how to respond to these questions – what is Simply Sweet? I suppose it’s a lifestyle blog with a Christian focus and an aim to encourage and entertain others while also making sense of my own thoughts and actions – however this kind of coherency rarely makes it out of my mouth in conversation. Instead, I find myself saying, ‘oh you know, it’s just a girly blog with bits and pieces of stuff I’m interested in. It’s probably pretty boring.’
In actual fact, I love writing on this blog. I love to think that in some way, I can be invested in the business of encouragement. As a personal project, it helps me to turn the crazy mess of thoughts in my mind into something that vaguely makes sense.
Do you ever receive compliments or questions about things and whisk them away with a contradiction? Sometimes, I think ‘encouragers’ find it the hardest to receive encouragement. We love making other people feel good about themselves, and seeing our friends succeed. We feel proud of the people we love, and most of the time we expect nothing in return – but when someone encourages us, it catches us off guard and we’re not quite sure how to respond.
What I’m having to learn how to do, is simply say ‘thank you’. If someone says, ‘you look so nice today!’ then don’t reply, ‘thanks but… (insert contradiction here)’. ‘Thank you’s shouldn’t be followed with ‘but’s! If it helps you, say thank you and compliment them in return.
Remember that it’s ok to be proud of yourself. Don’t let pride overtake your judgement, but let yourself be proud of your achievements, your projects, and the way that you look. I’m no expert in this – I’m writing this because I know that it’s difficult. I could write a whole post discussing the battle that we girls face with confidence, self-improvement and our ‘image’ – but the root of the problem lies in the value that we place on ourselves, and where this value comes from.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
– Psalm 139:13-16
This verse – God really packed a punchline in it, didn’t he? ‘I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.’ As insecure as we can be, and as much as we devalue ourselves and our achievements, it doesn’t change the fact that this is true. To acknowledge that God made us perfectly, and that in Him we are valued, beautiful and innately loved despite our flaws is a truth that we have to accept no matter what we think of ourselves and what we do.
I don’t know about you, but when I create something or write something, I find it hard to step back and actually like it. We’re always most critical of our own work – but when God created us he stepped back and said, ‘it is good’. The most creative and trustworthy guy in the universe made you and I and thought that we were great. Who are we to tell Him we’re not?
Next time someone compliments you, or questions you about something that you’re proud of, don’t shy away from it. Own it, and don’t be afraid to value what you do.
— Lauren x