Have you ever watched someone complain? Their body stiffens, and their face contorts. Can you feel the sour when someone on social media starts griping, even though you can’t see their face? A lifetime habit of complaining can literally make you ugly, and possibly, physically and mentally sick, because our bodies interlace with our spirits. And when I complain, I feel ugly inside, don’t you? It never makes me feel better.
We all know about those complaining Israelites that ended up walking around in the wilderness for forty years. God HATED their complaining and ingratitude. He felt angry when they started that. But life was difficult for them, was it not? Didn’t God understand how hard things were? There’s plenty in this world to complain about, so what’s a girl to do? We need to vent or explode, right?
Consider the instruction from the Apostle Paul on how to handle such things:
“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Meditate on These Things
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you…
I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content… I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” From Philippians 4, NKJV
We bring our requests before God, not our complaints. There’s a difference between complaining and addressing a problem. And we all know people who just want to complain instead of resolving a problem (maybe it’s us?). We think about good things (see the list above), aka counting our blessings. Give thanks. Once, during a difficult time in my life, this was so hard for me that I had to discipline myself to list five blessings in a notebook every day.
Most of us are familiar with these verses, but one thing we often miss – the last verse. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” These things are too hard for me! I am literally incapable of doing them. My flesh is sinful through and through. I am worse off than I can imagine. But Christ. His Spirit lives in me. When I release control and ask Him to take over, good things happen. There really is power in positive thinking.