Our family was in the van the other day, on the way to the gym, and my 4-year-old is in the back whining that she doesn’t have the snack she wants (she wanted animal crackers and all we had was pretzels). You know that whiny toddler voice and how it can just make you cringe. My husband says, “You know you should be lucky you have any food. There are lots of kids who don’t have food to eat or clean water to drink.” I was thinking the same thing he was, but when he said it, I instantly felt conviction from God. I felt that loving, Fatherly voice say, “Look at yourself, Danielle. Would the people around you think that you complain too much?”
I felt God bring to my attention some things that have happened in recent weeks. Just a few days ago, I did a memorial workout called “Murph” at our gym with my husband. It is an intense workout that involves running two miles, which is not my thing. When I was running that last mile, I complained the whole time to my husband. I just kept saying, “It is so hot!” Yes, it was hot and difficult, but my complaining didn’t change anything…and it surely didn’t make me look different or point anyone to Jesus.
I volunteer in the children’s ministry on Sundays, and we just finished up a series on complaining. The whole time I sat with these kids, listening to Pastor Phil teach on this subject, I was thinking of all the ways other people in my life really needed to take these tools and use them, because they complain a lot. I didn’t dare think that I needed to change my behavior. How ignorant and prideful could I be? I mean, really?
God has put this on my heart to change this behavior in my life and to also share it with you, so you can change as well. Next time you feel the urge to complain, stop and remember a blessing that God has given you. Take some time right now, and if you are a writer, then write them down.
Remember when He provided financially.
Remember when He sent you words of encouragement through a friend at the perfect time.
Remember when He gave you peace when you were afraid.
Remember when He pulled you out of your dark pit.
Remember when you prayed for a miracle, and He provided.
Remember when you prayed for a friend’s salvation, and they were saved.
We can’t complain when we have a heart of thankfulness and praise. Today’s culture is filled with complaining. Everywhere you look, people are complaining because people’s views are different than theirs or because they don’t have enough money in the bank or a nice enough house. Parents are even complaining to their kid’s coaches and teachers about how they need to do better. Let’s be different, friends. Let’s look different than this world.
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.
Philippians 2:12-16 NIV
Praise God for all He has done for you, and take a posture of thanksgiving this week.
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalm 100: 1-5 NIV