A lot of months ago, sitting in a mall somewhere in Asia after an incredibly long day, I started to complain to my friend Kev. I was tired, probably sick, annoyed and impatiently waiting for our friends to finish shopping so we could go home.
Kev opened his bible.
“Gimme a verse.” He said.
“I can’t think of anything right now.” Oh Lord, I repent!
“No, I mean, just pick a random chapter and verse and I’ll read it. It’s like a game. Don’t pick one you know.” (I’m paraphrasing. It was a very long time ago)
“Ugh, fine. Philippians 2. Verse 14?” I kid you not, I had NO idea what that verse was going to be. He opened his bible and read.
“No way! ‘Do all things without grumbling…’ haha!” I’m pretty sure I perked up at that point.
“Shut up, no way does it say that.” It did. Still does.
I read that verse again this morning and I remember so well the feeling of excitement I had when he first read it to me. It was the most lovely and fun way the Lord has ever rebuked me. I’d love to say that I carried that verse into the rest of my time on outreach but I know a few people who would definitely tell you I did not. *cough*myentireteam*cough*
Now, I’m pretty sure this verse is talking about how we interact with others. In King James Version it uses the word ‘murmurings’ rather than grumblings. But if I’m going to work on my attitude when interacting with others, it needs to begin with changing my attitude when I’m alone.
It’s a big challenge of mine. I admit that at times (like, from sunrise to sunset) I have a bit of a grumbling problem. My natural inclination is to complain. Call me what you will but I’m sad to say that I have definitely been guilty of actually enjoying a ‘good’ moan.
Not anymore. Being reminded of that verse this morning has shaken me. In the best way. I know that the power of life and death is in the tongue. Complaining is selfish and ungrateful behaviour. Whether we are complaining to/about someone we know or by ourselves muttering under our breath about something that bugs us. (no, just me? ok, moving on…)
The better thing is to be thankful. There is always (yup, always) something to be thankful for and although it sounds like a cliché, if you choose to focus on those things instead of what’s getting on your nerves you will find yourself feeling lighter, more joyful.
Today I have decided to once again choose thankfulness, joy, praise. I challenge you to do the same. I also give you full permission to keep me accountable. If you hear me grumbling or complaining, please remind me (as lovingly as possible) to choose the better way.
(Unless you’re the one who has annoyed me. In that case I suggest you go away and think about what, if anything, you’ve done. Just kidding! Probably.)
All things for His glory.