Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Complaining Attitude

     I'm facilitating the Bible study Lord Change My Attitude by James MacDonald with a group of ladies at my church on Monday nights. We're finishing up week 1 which is about a complaining attitude. I do verbally express my complaints, but mostly I'm an inward complainer and save the verbal complaining for Joshua or my mom to hear. This week was definitely a convicting week for me.

    MacDonald defines complaining as "to express dissatisfaction with a circumstance which is not wrong and about which I am doing nothing myself to correct." Every time I vent about personal preferences inwardly or outwardly-I'm complaining. Every time I express my dissatisfaction or frustration with no attempts to correct it-I'm complaining. Ouch! Complaining hurts myself by fostering a negative outlook on life that feeds my complaining. It leads to more complaints. It's hard to stop dwelling on and complaining once I start. Complaining denies who God is because essentially I'm saying, "I can't trust who You say You are, God. I can't trust that You'll provide for me the way You say You will. I can't trust that You're control." I choose to complain rather than trust God who always faithfully provides even when I'm not faithful to Him. Bigger ouch! I don't want to be that person who slaps God in the face and says "Your provision isn't good enough." I hurt others by bringing them down with my negative attitude. Honestly, I can think of people in my life that their attitude affects mine. I tend to complain more around them because they are negative and complaining. Another ouch! I don't want to be that person that brings others down because I'm negative and complaining. My complaining is a sin, it denies who God is, and it hurts myself and others.

     MacDonald writes that "True praise affirms God's character. It is more than just positive words; it's a powerful force in battling wilderness attitudes." (He calls negative, sinful attitudes like complaining wilderness attitudes because they figuratively send us to wander in the wilderness much like the Israelites did for 40 years before entering the Promised Land.) I know that when I praise God through singing or prayer or serving others that it drastically improves my attitude and I feel better, but I never considered that it actually benefits me. Fulfilling my purpose to glorify God benefits me. Whoa~that's an awesome truth! On Wednesday, I challenged my ladies to praise God through singing, prayer, or serving others. I'm looking forward to hearing how praise changed their attitudes. I know it did wonders for mine. The boys and I have been singing Chris Tomlin's Enough around here a lot this week. I'm realizing that one thing the Lord is showing me through this miscarriage is that HE truly is enough me. I'm afraid I've tied my happy and purpose recently to my boys and to having another baby. That's a bad place to be because they will never bring joy and fulfillment to me the way Christ does. As much as I love my boys, they will disappointment; Christ never will. This miscarriage is showing me no matter how bad it is[ and believe a miscarriage is world ending], I can pick up and move forward through Jesus' strength because He is enough for me. The more I praise Him and tell Him He is enough, the more I realize it is true, and the more my attitude improves.

     Psalm 116:1 says, "I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy." Another sobering truth, I've learned this week is that He hears my complaining just as He hears my praise and requests. Yikes, even if I'm not complaining to Him, He hears it. And it's an insult. Once again, I'm telling Him His provision isn't good enough. My lot in life is too hard. Instead of remembering and trusting His faithfulness.

     We forfeit God's grace and His strength when we complain about circumstances rather than realizing and accepting that they are tools He is using to draw us closer to Him, keep us humble, and make us more like Himself. Instead of trying to manipulate God, we should embrace it and use it to draw closer to Him. People look at me right now dealing with this miscarriage and they think I'm strong. I'm not strong; I'm a weak, broken mess, but I'm desperately clinging to the One who gives me His strength when I draw close and ask for it. I want this pain and my baby's life to have purpose, so I'm deliberately trying to choose thankfulness rather than complaining and avoid pity parties that keep me focused on me rather than on work Christ is doing to make me more like Him.

     He is faithful even when I am not. How can I complain about that?!

     Here are two of the three biggest reasons I have NOT to complain. They're watching my every move and mimicking my attitudes. I want them to know that God + nothing else = More than Enough.

"Do all things without grumbling or complaining, 
that you may be blameless and innocent, 
children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation,
among whom you shine as lights in the world."
Philippians 2:14-15

No comments:

Post a Comment