We all have things that we dread doing, and we all have situations in our lives that seem to merit complaint.
Recently, I started taking a Bible study by James MacDonald called, Lord Change my Attitude Before it’s Too Late. This week’s lesson is about turning our complaining into thankfulness. How aware I have been this week of how much I complain, and it is the small stuff that does not seem like a big deal. I have caught myself this week saying things like, “It’s so hot and humid outside, I wish the weather would get cooler soon.” I began painting my kitchen cabinets this week and found myself saying, “This is a lot of work.”
I am learning that we can CHOOSE to point out the positives or what we can be thankful for in our circumstances. For instance, I reframed my thought about painting my kitchen cabinets and said, “Painting kitchen cabinets is hard work, but I am thankful to have cabinets to paint, and hands and arms to paint with.” I instantly felt better and my attitude shifted to giving thanks instead of murmuring and complaining.
Complaining means to express our dissatisfaction over a circumstance, which is not wrong, but do nothing to change or correct the situation. For example, I complain it is too hard to paint kitchen cabinets but I do nothing to correct that situation such as asking for help. Not only is it important if we have a complaint about something to correct what we can, but also find what we can be thankful for.
Another example: I complain to my friend that I believe mothers that have abortions are wrong and selfish, but I do nothing to correct my complaint such as pray for these mothers or volunteer at a local crisis pregnancy center. After I correct my complaint about women having abortions, I then take it a step further and thank God for the ability to pray for these mothers and unborn babies and count it a privilege to do so.
Complaining is a sin. God hears our complaints, and we can become like the children of Israel who wondered around the desert for 40 years because of their whining and murmuring instead of believing God’s promises for them (Numbers 11:1-35).
Some things are just harder to give thanks in, but God’s word says, ” … give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18.
It can be challenging to find what to be thankful for in difficult circumstances, but the Apostle Paul was not teaching that we should thank God for everything that happens to us. Evil does not come from God, so we should not thank Him for it. When evil does strike, we can still be thankful for the good that God will accomplish through the distress.
“All things work together for good to those who love God, and to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28.
This means that when evil or distressing events come against us, God’s Word promises that He will work it all out for our good. We then can give thanks–not for the hardships we encounter, but what good can come from them.
God gives grace for the adversities that we go through, but we will forfeit that grace if we become bitter about our circumstances.
What types of things do you find yourself complaining about? Weather, traffic, family, marriage, chores, desiring what others have or your health? Some of the consequences of complaining are lack of peace, joy, favor and blessings. Complaining drains your energy and can make you sick.
Complaining is additive and it can become a lifestyle. Thankfulness is a CHOICE and complaining is a CHOICE, CHOOSE thankfulness!
Start this week by finding what you can be thankful for, and watch for those times that you catch yourself complaining about something. If you find yourself complaining, and you can bring correction to that situation, then do so. If you are complaining just to gripe, repent and ask God to help you see what you can be thankful for.
How does being thankful rather than complaining make you feel?