I was inspecting the tall Junipers along the side of our house, the ones that give us privacy along our fence line. They look disturbingly dry and the branches are beginning to show distress from lack of rain. I shook my head in frustration. The weather report promised rain, yet the bright blue sky mocked the forecast even as the temperature rose into the ninety’s.
“Seriously?” I grumbled to no one, out loud. “Why can’t the weatherman be accurate ~ just once?!” The thought of losing the whole row of aged evergreens is more than I can imagine right now.
Suddenly, words from a song came back to me, seemingly out of the nowhere. They were from one of the very first children’s musicals my BH and I directed at church ~
Are you humbly grateful or grumbly hateful?
What’s your attitude?
Do you grumble and groan,
Or let it be known
You’re grateful for all God’s done for you?
The tune is a catchy one, so I started singing the chorus over and over. I made a mental note to look up the rest of the words later, but completely missed the message that I now know was a nudge from the Holy Spirit.
The next night, my BH and I flipped on the T.V. just in time to hear the newscaster tell the viewers that our local water company will be raising their rates…get this…because residents of Southern California have taken the drought to heart, but evidently we’ve cut back on our water usage too much. Hmph.
This time I wasn’t alone in my grumbling. My BH and I ranted at the T.V. What?! That is so not fair, we lamented. We already pay too much!
Little by little, the Lord began to reveal to me just how much I was complaining on a fairly regular basis.
In a morning devotion, James 3:10 jumped off the page, piercing my heart.
“… from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.”
I began to see that complaining had become a habit that I had erroneously been labeling as simply “frustration”…everything from the weather and continual drought conditions, to high prices and bad traffic.
In fact, the Bible tells a much different story, naming grumbling for what it is ~ unthankfulness. And lest that sound innocuous and “not such big of a deal”, it is listed right along with a whole host of other ungodly behaviors in Paul’s letter to Timothy.
2 Timothy 3:1-3 “In the last days…people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, abusive, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving…”
I also realized that I was complaining about things which I had no control over. Those things which God has sovereignly allowed me to experience. In a very real way, when I voice my disapproval, I’m complaining against the Lord himself. Sometimes I forget that everything that comes to me in this life is for my benefit and growth.
Maybe you’re finding yourself in the same place. Perhaps you’ve picked up a poor attitude somewhere between the endless, daily grind of washing a sink full of dishes and the hard work of raising kids who argue and bicker and refuse to pick up their bedrooms. Or it might be a job you’re discontented with…or a relationship.
Fortunately, there’s a remedy. Have you ever tried complaining while simultaneously giving thanks? No? That’s because it’s impossible. If we set our hearts (an act of the will) to consciously thank the Lord for the things, people and circumstances we find ourselves in right now, we lose the desire to grumble and complain.
Need a little help? My friend Christin Ditchfield, has created a wonderful “Grown-Up Scavenger Hunt” to help us count our blessings in a new and fun way. Click here get your very own copy and join in on the fun!
Don’t forget to leave a comment naming at least one thing you’re grateful for today!