4.5.12

A list of complaints...

How many times are you moaned or complained today?
I happen to be a reading a novel based on Aaron, Caleb and the Israelites' walk through the desert at the moment. One of the over-riding themes that always hits me in the face when I read that bible story is how much the Israelites complained.
God provided for them through amazing miracles, and yet only a few days later they are back to their moaning and grumbling against God.
It’s easy to read it and think ‘what are they doing?! Can’t they see how God was working through that situation?’...but are we really any different?

I’m also currently reading ‘What is it like to be married to me’ by Linda Dillow as part of the 2012 Blog Bible Study and this week God really challenged me about moaning and complaining.
Firstly, the author makes the point that when we complain (about our marriage, work, home, food or whatever) it is not just harmless griping. As well as our harmful words often hurting others (in the example of a nagging wife), we’re also complaining about God’s provision for us.
How many times have you asked God for something, but then when he’s provided it later down the line you’ve started moaning and complaining about certain aspects of it?
A good example for us is when we moved to Cardiff. We prayed and prayed that Josh would be accepted into the ministry and knew that would involve a move to the city, but how many times have I complained and moaned about the traffic noise or the lack of countryside since we got here?
I’ve blogged about this before, and it’s something that God continues to challenge me on, but reading this book has taken is one step further...
Linda Dillow introduces the idea of the 21 day no-complain-challenge. She suggests that you put a bracelet on your wrist and move it from arm to arm every time you find yourself complaining or griping about something. The aim is to keep the bracelet on one arm for 21 days straight...apparently most people take four to eight months to do it!
She points out that it’s OKAY to have worries and frustrations but it’s not okay to turn to others and vocalise those frustrations in complaints. Instead we should be turning to God and pouring out our hearts to him.
It was funny this morning; I was thinking about all of this while I was getting ready for work when Josh came into the bathroom to brush his teeth. My first reaction was to whine “I’m so tiiiirreed...I don’t want to go to work!” but instead I sweetly said “I’m so grateful that I have a job today when so many people are unemployed”. We both laughed because we’d been talking about the no complaint challenge and we both knew what I was really thinking...but the fact is I stopped myself from whining and that’s a really important attitude to practice.
I feel like this could really improve my prayer life. When I catch myself thinking “uuuggh, I’m so tired. I hate this!” I can remember to pray and give it to God – ‘Lord, thanks for the opportunities you’re going to give me today. I’m feeling really drained though, please can you help me?”
I’m sure I’m going to fail over and over again, but I’m really encouraged by this challenge from God and I hope that my attitude and relationships will improve as a result.
What do you complain about most? Do you think you complain too much, or is a bit of a moan helpful sometimes?

5 comments:

  1. I partly agree with what you're saying. I think with the small complaints (like wanting to stay in bed of a morning) it's great if you can channel them into something more positive. With bigger ones, or worries, or things that could actually affect your relationships or the way you are being treated by others if they are not voiced, I think it can be important to speak out sometimes and talk about what is wrong.

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  2. That sounds like a great challenge. It reminds me of the old hymn where it says "take it to the Lord in prayer".
    Have a wonderful weekend :)

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  3. That's really interesting Rachel - I'd like to do that too :)

    I complain about work, singleness, having a bad back - all sorts! I'm really ungrateful sometimes. Even as I write this I nearly complained about something! Funny, I do think the British complain WAY too much about EVERYTHING. I'd like to change that though :) starting off with me!

    xxxx

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  4. Really helpful thoughts there. Also helpful for your prayer life is this talk that I listened to in the car today :) http://www.theologynetwork.org/theology-of-everything/getting-stuck-in/how-to-enjoy-your-prayer-life.htm

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  5. So sorry the linky was giving you trouble! I, too, think that this is changing my prayer life. There have been so many times when I've caught myself starting to complain and I instantly change my mindset and what I was about to say. It's a work in progress!

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