I’ve got a confession to make! It’s something I’m not proud of. It’s something that I keep trying to stop. It doesn’t just affect me. It affects others negatively too.
Now I have your attention and you’re wondering what I am going to confess. The habit I want to stop is…complaining. I’m a fairly optimistic person but lately I notice that I am complaining.
Complaining, whining, grumbling, ranting, griping – whatever term we use – it means we’re not happy about something and we’re telling anyone who will listen, all about it.
It’s so easy to complain these days. Here in Ontario, Canada we are in lock down again. It’s been a long haul with this pandemic and it looks like we will be in lock down for a while yet. I can complain about the government restrictions and the impact on small businesses. We are expecting our second grandchild to arrive soon and we probably won’t get to go to the hospital to meet him or her. Oops that’s sounds a bit like complaining doesn’t it?
We have conversations and interactions on social media. Complaining and negativity can take over.
“An attitude of grumbling, griping, murmuring, or squawking doesn’t change anything or make situations better. It only amplifies frustration, expresses unbelief, spreads discontent among others.”Dale A. Robbins
I’ve been really convicted these last few weeks to stop my complaining. Just this week I was complaining when the clothing department was closed off in my favorite grocery store.
I had camaraderie as I complained with fellow shoppers. But it was not helpful or uplifting.
Now I know some of you have very real problems and I do not want in any way minimize what you are dealing with. Life is just hard. This pandemic has caused real financial difficulties for many people. It’s also separated families and has been really hard on the mental health of countless people.
I also don’t want to negate the efforts that some of you are making in the political arena. Yes, our governments need to hear from us. Yes, we have a voice and yes we have our right to representation. But I think if we are contacting our elected officials then those complaints are going to the right source, to someone who can take action on the complaints.
I’m talking about the complaining we do with others just for the sake of complaining. It just puts me in a negative frame of mind.
“The more we complain the more unhappy we get.”Dennis Prager
As a follower of Jesus Christ I know that complaining is not a good thing to do. I’ve been thinking about this verse from the Bible.
“Do everything without complaining or arguing.” Philippians 2:14.
Did that verse really say everything? It didn’t say that it’s ok to complain because everybody else is?
It didn’t say it’s ok to complain because I’m in a bad mood?
It didn’t say that it’s ok to complain because this pandemic seems endless?
Complaining implies that Jesus is not good and that I can’t trust Him. It suggests that Jesus does not give me good things.
Complaining says life should revolve around me and what’s best for me.
Complaining is contagious.
Complaining takes away my joy and contentment.
Complaining for the sake of complaining doesn’t do any good. That’s why I want to stop.
As a follower of Jesus Christ I should be the person who isn’t complaining, because I have hope!
I have hope because Jesus loves me. I have hope because Jesus wants what is best for me.
I have hope because Jesus is in control.
I have hope because Jesus has proven Himself trustworthy in my life.
Another verse from the Bible says, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3: 15
That’s what I want to do today with you. I want to be the one who offers hope. I want to be the blogger that encourages you and doesn’t add any more negativity to your outlook.
So what can we do to stop the complaining? Here’s what I am going to work on.
Every morning I will write out 10 things I am thankful for. That gets my focus on what is good. Big things like health and little things like hot tea and toast.
“Thanksgiving is an expression of gratitude and faith in God, and is the very opposite of complaining.”Dale A. Robbins
When I am speaking to someone who is complaining I will affirm the person’s feelings being expressed. But I won’t add more negativity.
When a complaint comes to my mind I won’t let it get any further. I won’t speak it out loud. I don’t want to bring anyone down.
Instead of a complaint I will swap it out for an affirmation statement.
I will try to be thankful and express that thankfulness when I interact with people. I want to be the person that is hopeful.
When I do complain, because I am a work in progress, I will tell Jesus I am sorry for complaining and ask for His forgiveness.
I am so glad He is loving and forgiving.
I hope this has encouraged you, my friend.
It was more of a self-discovery kind of post but I thought you might be interested in what’s going on in my heart and mind.
Today’s little step: Focus on what is good. Don’t add to the negativity.
I’d love to hear from you. How do you cope with the negativity?
Peace be with you,