I was listening to the radio as I got ready for bed - there was a speaker talking pretty strongly about complaining and that is the reason we are still in the wilderness. I opened up my Bible study this morning and it was about complaining and how that colors our lives. I was driving down the road and a sign in front of a church read, "Complaining is just a fancy word for unthankful."
Do you think God is trying to get my attention about something? I have been very convicted about what is coming out of my thought and the tape that is playing in my head. I think complaining can become, for lack of a better term, a bad habit. I get so used to complaining about things or saying things in a negative way, that it just becomes sort of second nature. The verse, "Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord." Are my words and thoughts acceptable to God? Unfortunately, a lot of times they aren't.
I looked up what complaing actually meant. I found this definition in Webster's: "beating of the breast (can anyone say drama queen?); to claim/express pain or discouragement; to find fault; declare annoyance; to make an accusation.
This doesn't mean that you can never talk to someone about a concern or problem. It doesn't mean you can't ask for advice and/or prayer about a situation. We are to share each others burdens and we can't do that unless we are vulnerable with each other. But what it does mean is that complaining about things often drains our joy and enthusiasm for life and for God's work.
God showed me three things about complaining. First, when I complain it is often an expression of not trusting God. When you look back at the children of Israel - the most famous complainers - many times when they started murmuring, it was a result of fear. "God why did you take us out of Egypt? Where is our food? Where is our water? Are we going to die out here? What are You doing?" How many times do I complain out of fear and distrust? "God, how will I ever get all this done? Why aren't you changing this or that? How come this is happening?" Fear is often the root of my murmuring and complaining.
Second, when I complain about things I am expressing a complete lack of thankfulness for all God HAS blessed me with. Let's face it, compared to 2/3rds of the world, I am rich beyond measure. Just the fact that I have a roof over my head, two cars in my driveway and food in my pantry makes me in the top 5% of the materially blessed. Do I sometimes have to juggle bills around? Yes, but usually that is because I wasn't disciplined in my spending or didn't plan ahead. God has shown me over and over again His provision and not only has He provided my NEEDS, but He has also provided an awful lot of my wants too. When I complain, it is like a slap in His face instead of a thank you.
Third, when I complain sometimes it is a form of procrastination. Let's face it, it is much easier to complain about something than to actually take action to solve the problem. It is easier for me to complain about my weight than to start keeping track of calories, take the time to cook/prepare nutritious meals or start working out. It is easier to complain about my lack of time than it is to sit down and take a hard look at what I am doing and how that all fits into the hours of my day. It is easier to complain about a lack of time to write than it is to take the scary step and just start doing it! Complaining is easier than doing, at least for me.
This morning, as this truth hit me square between the eyes, I had to confess that my words and meditations often are not very pleasing to God. :( I was ashamed of myself, truth be told. I asked God to make me very aware of any complaints or murmurings that start in my mind or on my tongue.
Phil. 4:14, 15, "Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that wyou will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God in a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world."
I want to be a light in this world, not turn off people from Christ by my negative attitude and words.