You are now entering a no-complaint zone. . .
Last week we started looking at barriers that get in the way of living a life of thank you. Today, we continue to take that deeper.
One barrier that can get in the way of living life of thank you is complaining.
Certainly we experience feelings or see that a situation is hard. We are honest about that with God, with ourselves, and with those closest. Complaining is different than being honest and transparent about a situation.
Complaining is expressing dissatisfaction or annoyance about a state of affairs, an event, or a person — with no offer of resolution.
Throughout scripture we see examples of this. God reaches for his people. He leads them. He encourages them.
In return, they gripe. They murmur. They complain.
They thought he should do it differently. They wanted more. They wanted it now.
They resented the heat. They didn’t like the cold.
They wanted to hear his voice. They didn’t like it when he spoke through the prophets.
They were angry at uncertainty. They wanted an adventure.
They demanded food. They didn’t like the food God provided.
They were so busy complaining they couldn’t hear God. They couldn’t see the gifts he was trying to give them. They didn’t see the gifts they already had. They missed being in the center of his will, because they believed they knew better.
Do you struggle with complaining?
We all struggle with this from time to time, for we are human. But is it chronic? Has this become our identity, or the way that we communicate with those we love the most?
Last year, I asked thousands of women to join me in a no-complaint challenge. I invited them to honestly listen to themselves in this area of conversation, and to invite the Holy Spirit into the process.
This wasn’t about condemnation, but to truly take a peek into our heart.
The results were eye-opening.
One woman shared that she complained mostly to a teenaged daughter, and no one else. She was unhappy with her daughter’s attitude. She didn’t like what her daughter said, or didn’t say. When she started listening to herself, she was surprised to hear her words from her daughter’s perspective.
“I threw loads of complaints at her each day, never ever offering resolution. Never, ever stopping to think that my attitude was just as hard on my daughter as hers was on me.”
Another woman confessed that she and her family had moved earlier that year and she was unhappy with the move.
She 100% believed God brought her and her husband to their current city, but she was sad to leave old friends. She was unhappy to leave her church. In the 24-hour challenge, she realized that most of her day involved conversation wrapped around what she lost.
“It was a wake-up call,” she said. “I hadn’t asked God for direction. I wasn’t prepared to step into the new. I was unhappy and I wanted God, my husband, and the world to know it.”
When we are trapped in chronic complaining, we have little bandwidth left for gratitude.
[bctt tweet=”Give up complaining for a day. Maybe it will be a new beginning. wp.me/p4jbdw-3Yo” username=”suzanneeller”]
On day #13 of the faith adventure, Living a Life of Thank You, I want to invite you to a 24-hour “no complaint” challenge.
- Look at your watch. Note the time. For the next 24 hours you will completely give up complaining.
For the next 24 hours, ask these questions when tempted to complain:
What am I complaining about?
Does complaining make this situation better?
Is this a chronic complaint or an honest attempt to share how I feel?
Did I bring a resolution?
Am I open to resolution?
Write your answers down. You might be surprised at what you find.
As you answer these questions, cover them with grace. Celebrate the answers, even if they aren’t what you want. When we see an area that God can work miracles in, it’s a beautiful day.
If you join in this challenge, will you share your thoughts here throughout the day? We want to pray with you. We will cheer you on! I personally am joining in. I’ll share how it goes for me too. <3
Father, for the next 24 hours we hold up our grumbling thoughts and give them up. If there’s a problem, Lord help us to deal with it with wisdom rather than complaining. If we don’t like something, help us to be a part of the change. If we are complaining out of habit, show us and we invite you to help us break that habit. As we offer up grumbling, help us to notice all that is good and to verbalize that too. In Jesus’ name.
Living a Life of Thank You Day #13
A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired. Prov 17:22 (The Msg)
Q: Why is complaining so exhausting (for you or those on the receiving end)?
Q: Complaining is defined as expressing dissatisfaction or annoyance without resolution.
- Describe what it might look like to be honest about a situation, while bringing resolution.
Join me on my ministry Facebook page to talk about this more.
Listen to this audio where I share my battle with a “complaint” that was actually a blessing.
Suzie, I am in! Wish I could redo yesterday and take back my grumpy-complaining afternoon. It is a new day, a new focus hand-in-hand with Him. I am starting the challenge at 4:51 AM. Go!
Michele, Isn’t it wonderful that each day is a new opportunity to shine?? Praying that God will guide your words and steps today and today will be blessed!!
Hey, Nancy, Yes! Thank goodness for each new day. Thanks.
Fresh mercies, my friend. It’s a new day.
I woke up to snow and I wasn’t happy so I am taking this challenge! Good luck everyone we can do this!!! 🙂
Happy Wednesday, Desiree! We can do this together, girl!
I’m going to do this by Gods grace, pray that I will fully rely on him when tempted to complain.
Connie, Holding you up in prayer for this challenge and God’s grace to abound in your heart and day today.
I didn’t sleep well, and it’s raining. This WILL be challenging. But I know God is with me each step of my day.
I didn’t sleep well either and yes it was the first thing I complained about to my sweet husband! So I will lift you up in prayer,Sheila, as you walk through your day and I would so covet your prayers for me as I do the same!!
BTW Decided to set my “no complaint” time from 7am today to 7am tomorrow-want a domover with me??😄
I sort of complained already this morning about the temperature today. It’s going to only be 38 degrees, but I am choosing to find the good, and thanking God for the sunshine and the fresh feel of Spring that is still in the air!
Rachelle, thank goodness we have a “reset” button in God. It is called “Grace.” Enjoy your day and the sunshine! Michele, Living Free Together Serve Team
Thank God for heat, for a warm home, for the fact that you dropped by here today!
I’m in, but this might be hard. Is that already a complaint? For years I told myself I’m not complaining; I’m commenting. Until one day my daughter challenged my reasoning. What a refreshing start to the day. Thank you, Suzie!
Pam, I hear you on that-I’ve done the same thing-convinced myself that I was just commenting and not complaining!! This is definitely a hard challenge but we can do it!! God Bless your daughter for saying the words you needed to hear to see the truth and you for relieving them with the heart they were spoken!!
No, that’s not a complaint. You are recognizing the challenge in it, but embracing it anyway. Let’s call that courage!
I like that Suzie, today I stopped off at the grocery called Meijer, and steak and shake. It was a very bright sunny drive home , wish the sun was not so bright, thankful I made it home safely. God decided I needed half my Orange freeze shake. Thankful my cat is ok Mr Boots has an open wound on his chest healing, got him back from the vets, he is complaing to go outside. Oh life .
This will be challenging but with every thought that wants to bring complaint I want to express praise! There is so much to be thankful for!
Jodie, Love the idea of replacing every complaint thought with verbal praise!! When we change our focus from the negative to the positive joy will abound in all circumstances!!
Im sorry but Im helping Mom who having baby
I complained that I know my church could help with everything she need we just asked
Love would pour out . Instead God said you can go do want others won’t Im going make what I can for that precious gift God gave her that little baby on way
So i did complain lord told what do
Brenda, I’m so sorry that your church isn’t helping at this time. I pray that God gives you the strength and wisdom to help your mom at this time. This challenge is just for today so I’ll pray that God helps you in this area too! It’s going to be a challenge for all of us but we, together, can do it!!
Love this, Nancy!
You noticed a problem and did something about it. That’s a beautiful response!
Suzie, That pesky enemy thinks he is so clever!! He knows lack of sleep is one of my BIG challenges with attitude. Don’t ya know we had very loud thunder last night. Hardly any sleep and yes I did complain to my sweetie this morning about it, even though I had a heads up about this challenge, so I’ve set my “no complaint” time from 7am-7am (central). Prayers appreciated-going on a date day, with lots of walking and I don’t want to be grumpy!!
Hey, Nancy, the grumpy-bumpy that likes to cling onto us! I pray you enjoy your date day and the fresh air will keep your thoughts on thankfulness! Michele O.
Lord, today we lift such a prayer warrior, up in prayer! We all get exhausted and weary from life. Some days it’s easy to rest in the joy and peace of Your presence. Other days, the agitations, worries, frustrations, exhaustions, and everything else life can weigh us down with just makes us want to grumble and gripe. But really … that just leaves us feeling more drained. So today, we lift Nancy up – asking that You would refresh her spirit and give her renewed energy and stamina for the day. May her walk bring her peace and relaxation as she breathes in the air around her – and looks at all Your wonderful creation. By our own strength, we can’t always overcome. But by Your strength, we already have! Let Nancy rest in Your strength today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Nacny, I hope you have a wonderful day. May joy follow you with each step!
Thank you sweet sisters!! We had a wonderful day at Silver Dollar City a, fairly local, fun place to go!! It was kind of cold which kept the multitudes away (seriously-one of the sweet store clerks told us they expected 12,000 visitors one day last week and got 18,900!!) Even though tomorrow will be much warmer we decided cool and not crowded was our best choice. We listened to great music, went on the train ride and went in lots of shops-along with both breakfast and lunch out!! We REALLY needed a date day after the past 5 weeks of Bill’s post accident healing. God is so good!!
Seeing as how I complained all day yesterday (it was rough day) I’m going to do this today. 8:00 am today to 8:00 am tomorrow. Lord give me a thankful heart, and help me to trust you more. Help me to wait better, and not seek “back-up” plans. I give all my troubles to you Lord, and place in me a joyful heart. Amen. Let’s do this!!!
Amen, Chanda. Yes, through Him we can do all things! Michele, Living Free Together Serve Team
Chanda, I’m cheering you on.
Chandra you can do this through Christ whose mercies are new everyday. Praying for you.
Living Free Together Serve Team
This challenge couldn’t come at a better time. I have a difficult coworker. Yesterday was very stressful working on a project with her. I wanted to complain to other co-workers. But knowing about today’s challenge, I decided to get a head start and not complain. Last night at dinner I wanted to complain about her to my husband. Again, I kept my mouth shut. Thank you for challenging me to be a better person.
I’m right there with you on this! I have a very difficult air of negativity and difficult environment I work in… Makes it so easy to want to give in to that complaining! So glad I’m not alone!
What an amazing call for me today! It started from the get-go. When I cracked my first egg this morning I dropped it all over my counter. Then when I got my coffee out of the microwave (I like my coffee scorching hot people) I spilled it ALL OVER my stove top and white cabinets. My stove is gas so the liquid caused it to short out or something- causing the “click” of the burner to click on and on. It scared me initially- I thought it was going to cause a fire- and my husband is out of town. I ended up unplugging it. As I was cleaning up the mess I dropped my phone in the sink of running water. LORDY. What a day to complain! God is funny. I’m thankful for a warm home. I’m thankful for eggs to buy. I’m thankful for a stove to cook with. I’m thankful that my husband has a job to be out of town with. IM SO THANKFUL. And I’m not complaining!
Oh Shannon! I have to say (and I hope you don’t mind), this made me BURST INTO LAUGHTER when I read it! The gas stove! The gas stove! Ha! Our new home has a gas stove and the clicking scared the jeepers out of me when I first used it! Then yesterday the boiling water boiled over the pot and I thought I’d jumped out of my pants I jumped so high. Tzzzzzzzzz!!! ROFL And why do we just kind of stand there thinking “is the stove going to explode?” LOL Umm, if so, we’re gonners for sure. Thank goodness for well-designed gas stoves that can take a little clicking and extinguishing. #NoComplaints here!
Not going to lie, Suzie — this one slapped me right in my snarling face this morning. Up until 2:30 a.m. unable to sleep because my husband was working very late (7 am actually — an 18-hour day) — and then met with something that got my little attitude all twisted in knots. Yep, my heart was starting to grumble, and the path it was leading me down was one of discontentment, anger, and inner confrontation (you know, where I’m telling so-and-so just how the cow eats the cabbage). And then I saw your post. What!? No complaining!? Oh but today is such a perfect day for it! But how else will I get this off my chest!? And then … the Holy Spirit intervened. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled.” John 14:27 Yes, what a much better place to be! We don’t have to look for comfort and peace from the world. Most often, we won’t find it! And we won’t find it within ourselves, either. The heart is wicked above all else, and it likes to grumble. But we CAN find it in Jesus, and by drawing on the power of His Holy Spirit, which also lives in us and helps us overcome our nature – to take on the nature of Christ. Thank God! Thank you for this VERY timely post! Challenge accepted! #NoComplaining!
I’m just getting to the reading. I marked the time and then Complained. So I reset the time. Hope I can handle this. We are in a RV driving home from AZ. I’m not appreciating my husband’s driving ( but I won’t drive because of the size of the RV. This will really test me to sit and be quiet– lots of praying and talking to God.
Linda, Praying your trip home goes well and you are able to pray through your trip. I would be appr hensive about driving an RV too and oh so thankful for my husband to be driving!!!
Life happens. That’s what I hear you saying friends, and I’m not exception. There is a difference between having a complaint and complaining.
A complaint is a fact. It is dealt with, or we try to find our place in addressing it. We face it, but with faith.
Complaining is not dealing with it or finding our place in addressing it, but grumbling over it, even if that brings zero resolution. We don’t face it, but fret over it. Complaining takes root, going deeper, spilling over. It’s a fact, but we forget that faith gives it less power in our lives.
I’m proud of each of you for taking this challenge!
Thank you for the clarification!! So today when the driver in front of us was driving REALLY slow and I said “Gosh, I guess he’s sight seeing!!” Then let it go-that was a complaint but not complaining because I let it go….yes?? That has been my only slip so far!!
Enjoyed a cold, but much less crowded, Silver Dollar City with my love today!!
Thank you for clarifying. We’ve run into so many snags but my mouth has been shut as I worked through it. We needed a campground for tonight and it was very challenging but it’s taken care of now. Thank you God for helping us.
What a lovely spring day to reflect on the love we enjoy, because of Jesus!! God bless all in this sweet task of not complaining!!!keeping us ALL in my prayers of THANKFULNESS!!
I noticed that I complain more in my head than out loud. I feel like I spent today redirecting myself! I’m so grateful that even though I slip up, God doesn’t give up on me. I am goin to keep doing this. My dad was more positive for not complaining!
Let’s do this!
I’m in it sister! Wow- I love how your words speak to me. Let’s do it!1
I’m in-the last two weeks have given much fodder for complaining and it stops today, with God’s help and a visual of His hand over my mouth I am IN!!
Me too! Count me in.