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. [Read more…]