Oct 3, 2017

Without Complaining...


Thank you to everyone who shared their insight in my last post's form!  I have been reading over them, and I appreciate the time you took to share your perspective.  If you weren't able to fill out the form, you can do so here.




I've been in the company of unbelievers a lot this semester, due to being out in the community more often. (aka: school, soccer practice, plays, etc.)  So far, I've noticed a familiar trend:

Complaining.

It's unusual to not hear something like, "such terrible weather" or "I have the worst brothers".  People complain about everything:  where they have to eat tonight, how terrible so-and-so is, and how wrong their day is turning out.  They say they're too busy, too hungry, too clumsy, or not good enough.

What's even worse is that Christians often join in.  They nod along or add their own complaints.  More often than not, they start the muttering.

That's true in my own life too.  It's easier to complain than to rejoice.  How can I find something to smile about in my math?  Or when a sibling is too loud?

But let's put this into perspective.

The Creator of the universe gave up what was most precious to Him to save us (John 3:16).  He loves us and has adopted us into His royal family (Galatians 3:26).  We don't have to fear death or evil because He has won the battle (1 Corinthians 15:54-55)!

And we complain about the weather?

When we whine about our circumstances, we're saying that God's not doing a good job.  We think we could do better.  How self-centered can we be?!

If we want to have a relationship with God, let's praise Him for everything.  Let's see beauty in the brokenness.  Yes, it's hot outside - but the sun is shining!  Yes, school is hard - but we have the chance to learn!

Life isn't all sunshine and roses, but there's beauty even in the storms.  (Just read the book of Psalms!)

As Philippians says, 

Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world. - Philippians 2:14-15

And later...

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! - Philippians 4:4

I want to pause here before I talk too long.  Instead of diving into a long, detailed post, let's have some discussion and hear your thoughts.

How can you love God by erasing complaining from your life?  What are some practical ways in which we can rejoice instead of whine?  Is being joyful at all times an impossible goal?  Is this something you struggle with?

Complaining ruins relationships - both with God and others.  So let's not only keep our mouths shut against complaining but also replace it with something else.  Let's be people of encouragement and thankfulness.

It's your turn.




17 comments:

  1. Completely agree with this. I've also noticed at my new job that my non-believing coworkers lack so much joy. It makes the environment not so much fun to be in.

    Hailey
    www.haileyhudson.wordpress.com

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    1. I agree - it would make your job less enjoyable. But it also gives you the chance to share joy with those around you, Hailey! Shouldn't Christians stand out because of their joyful attitudes? We have so much to smile about. =)

      Don't become discouraged, my friend. Shine in your workplace! Be Jesus through your smile! And never, ever give up. I appreciate you sharing with us. =)

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  2. That is one of my favorite verses (Phil 2). It's amazing that by simply NOT complaining or arguing we can "Shine as lights in the world." It is a daily battle, but with Christ we can have thankfulness and joy bubbling from our hearts all the time even when it's too hot or too cold or the housemates are too loud. =) Thanks for the reminder to keep working towards stomping out complaining. =)

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    1. It's difficult when complaining comes so naturally. But as Romans 12 says, we need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Replacing complaining with rejoicing seems to fit there. ;) I like what you said, "with Christ we can have thankfulness and joy bubbling from our hearts all the time." We have everything we need for life and Godliness! Now to put that into practice... =)

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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  3. I think it starts with realizing that complaining is a sin. Most people don't recognize it as that. What I see a lot, even among believers, is they don't just complain about something once, they continue to complain until the situation changes. Praying we will walk in dependence on the Lord to change our complaining to praise!Thanks for the reminder, Hosanna.

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    1. Ouch...I also often forget that complaining is a sin. In 2 Timothy 3, Paul lists some of the traits that people will have in the last days: boasters, proud, blasphemers...unthankful... We (or at least I) don't always realize how important it is to have a happy heart. Even in the difficult times, God is in control. The book of Psalms is a beautiful reminder of praise amidst trouble.

      Thank you for the reminder. =) Let's live in joy, shall we?

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  4. Yeah, it's hard not to complain and instead rejoice. But that's what we're supposed to do. I mean do we really have the right the complain? We should try to be content in Christ and look at the bright side of things. Instead of complaining we should rejoice, as you said. Because there is beauty in the brokenness. By erasing complaining from our lives we show love to God because we are showing we are content in Him and in Him love.

    Thanks for this reminder Hosanna... it's easy to just complain when we shouldn't
    :)

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    1. I know! It's way too easy to complain, isn't it? And not just complaining verbally; I find myself complaining through my facial expressions, my actions, my attitude. But when I think of it in light of eternity, we really have nothing to complain about. Jesus died the most shameful, horrible death for US. We are loved, treasured, forgiven. Why does anything else matter?

      But I forget. I get irritated by little things, and joy slips between my fingers. Perhaps having an eternal mindset is the key to being joyful? If we meditate on God's goodness what will we have to complain about?

      It's encouraging to read your thoughts, Sarah. =) I like what you said, "By erasing complaining from our lives we show love to God because we are showing we are content in Him and in His love." ♥

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  5. Yes! It's sad how much this seems to be an "epidemic" in our world, but it's so amazing how everything can change when we put things into the right perspective. Like you said, we really don't have anything to complain about when we remember how blessed we are to have what we have. ♥

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    1. Epidemic is a fitting word, Emily. Complaining is a disease we can't seem to resist, starting in the heart and spreading everywhere. But praise God that there's a cure! I think complaining (and discontentment, the root of the problem) will vanish when we turn our eyes upon Jesus. Having an eternal mindset would cure us of so many problems, wouldn't it? =)

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  6. You asked some great practical questions about bringing Philippians 2 into our own lives. Honestly...

    I find it easy enough not to start the complaining - though it admittedly more often originates from a desire to keep a clean self-image than to do my part in honouring God's reputation. Usually, when I complain, it's in my heart not out loud. It's usually that I'm too busy or not noticed enough or too indecisive or not sure enough of my own convictions - all self-centred things. I don't have any anti-complaining tips that I proved in my own past. There are things I want to implement in the future, though. I want to find ways to continue the meditations I begin when I spend time with God in the morning so that they stretch into a day-long dialogue. And whenever I find myself complaining in my heart, I want to find three *related* praise items that put into perspective why I really should not be complaining.

    One thing that I find challenging - and perhaps you have some insight - is when someone else makes a complaint. When it seems (according to my best discernment) that they're saying it absentmindedly as a result of too many years of habitual complaining, I don't think it matters so much if I look over it, or even counter it with a reason to be glad. But what if it's something that is real to them (as opposed to a mere silence-filler). How can I best acknowledge the pain without joining in. And for that matter, how can I tell what sort of situation it is?

    Thanks for getting the ball rolling here. This is a good topic to consider!

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    1. PS - your picture with the butterfly is very beautiful! And the butterfly itself - and the flowers - are very beautiful. What a skilled Creator!

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    2. Indeed - what a skilled Creator! He's given us a beautiful world to live in.

      Yes, I also often find that complaining starts inwardly before it surfaces outwardly. Sometimes I'm able to stop them before they come into words...but guarding our thoughts is much harder. "Be transformed by the renewing of our mind." (Romans 12) How do we do that? How do we have pure thoughts?

      Perhaps what you said was the answer: Having a continual conversation with Jesus. Being in His presence all day. That's something I'm still working (or struggling) through. =)

      Yes, that's a challenge, and I don't have an answer. I've been in that place a lot - when others complain around me. Most often, I think it's from a habit of complaining...but if it's deeper, how do you reach out to that person without joining in? A suggestion might be stopping right there to pray with the person (depending on the circumstances). Or maybe they don't need you to say anything. Hugs mean a lot. =)

      But it depends on each person and their heart. We just gotta keep following Jesus. ♥ And He'll lead us through.

      It's been a while since I visited this post. Have your thoughts changed regarding this topic? Is this still a struggle, or has God given you answers?

      Chatting with you is always encouraging, Jordy =)

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  7. This is a very needed post for me, Hosanna, as you know. :) Thank you for posting it! I've been challenged a lot in this area especially in the area of struggles. How easy it is to complain to others about our situation or struggles. I think gratitude is the key to overcoming complaining. Whenever we have thoughts or words of complaint we need to turn it around and be grateful! Find the beauty in the brokenness as you said. :)

    Your words are a wonderful reminder to all of us! Keep up the amazing work, sweet Hosanna!

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    1. What's beautiful is that I know you are truly seeking to discover gratitude, Hannah! You've already grown in this area. How encouraging... ♥

      "Gratitude is the key to overcoming complaining." That's true. And if our words are negative, doesn't that mean our hearts are in the wrong place? It's hard, but we should be rejoicing in the truth. Praising Him for every blessing.

      Being with Christian friends reminds me of that. Thank you! =)

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  8. So true! We are incredibly blessed by God and yet constantly complain. Thanks for the reminder. :)

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    1. I apologize for taking so long to respond to your sweet comment, Tizzie. But coming back to this reminder to replace complaining with praise is something I needed to hear. =)

      God has blessed us so much more than we even realize! We're surrounded by gifts. A blue sky. Yellow and orange fall trees. A warm day in the end of October. Our first frost this morning.

      So let's praise Him!!

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