Our sermon this week was about complaining. I am a complainer. I know I am. I come from a long line of complainers. That’s no excuse, but when its surrounding you, it’s harder to escape. Complaining is an “acceptable” sin. Meaning, we are immune to it. It doesn’t really bother or convict us. In the world we live in today, we don’t consider complaining a sin. But God does. God says to do EVERYTHING without complaining (Phil 2:14) Complaining is an accusation against God. It is a focus on the one thing we don’t have. And when we do that, we forget all the things that we DO have.
As I have been mulling these things over, one thing David said keeps repeating in my mind; “When you complain, it is impossible for you to see what God is trying to do in your life.” When I complain, I am actually blocking my vision! I CANT see what God is doing through my complaining. How mind-boggling! But it also makes so much sense. If I am too busy being ungrateful for what is going on in my life, why would God present me with something better? In the Old Testament, God actually burned up a whole bunch of people because He was so sick and tired of their complaining! Yipes! You can’t complain AND please God at the same time!
I have been searching and searching for what my next step should be. And I have been begging God to show me what to do. I wonder if my ungrateful and complaining heart has been bouncing back His answers. I wonder, if I stop complaining and start looking for the good in every situation, will I begin to see His will more clearly? Its hard, let me tell you. Its been 3 days and I am blessed to live with and be surrounded by people who also heard the sermon who have been jumping in as soon as someone starts complaining. “Hey! Complaining!” “Do I hear complaining?” Its great. But man, its hard to stop them from coming out of your mouth. I have to be far more cautious at guarding what is coming out of my mouth.
So hey, what’s the opposite of complaining? Thanksgiving! And how awesome is that, it made me happy to think that by giving thanks more often I can hopefully eventually eliminate complaining. A great book I read about giving thanks is called 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp. She goes through her journey from complaining to contentment. It’s such a great book, I highly recommend it. It really motivated me to start my own list of things that I am thankful for: https://cragsandclay.wordpress.com/books/1000-gifts/
It’s obviously not complete, but I try to work on it every day. I know Ann’s site has many ideas and opportunities to help you be creative with thanksgiving: http://onethousandgifts.com/ And, there’s even an app you can get on your iPhone that allows you to list your gifts and even take pictures of them! I just downloaded it so I haven’t had time to play with it yet, but I am excited!
“Run to the cross. Remind yourself of what you deserve, and compare it to what you have been given.” (David Whiting) Ask yourself what is the most common thing that you complain about? And begin to turn it around by giving thanks. God wants to help us look and act more like Jesus, and the obstacles and situations He puts in our path are there to help Him accomplish His goal. It’s up to us how we react to them.