Our modern lives have become too complex. Even with the advent of smartphones and recently invented gadgets that are intended to simplify our lives, stress levels are on the rise, the tolerance for substandard service and meager facilities are near zero levels and those voicing out their displeasure are doing so, very loud and clear both in social media and in personal interactions. The voices tend to be high-pitched, and the volumes on the high side. Our current culture has become so vocal about not being satisfied. We air it out, We let off the steam.
In the context of families, and in our very own homes and schools, kids are commonly caught all face down with all their attention glued to their tablets. Yes that “techie thingy” called the tablet provide our children all the attention or distraction they need at the moment. The kids just asked a question?….it’s not long before any member of the family would consult the “go-to-guy” nowadays, Mr. Google, (who else but the top search engine in the world). And with this very handy distraction, we are able to occupy our kids so that they “do not bother” us for the time being while we need to get things done.
On the other hand, we, the adults, even when we are already seated for meals are still holding on to, or at the very least are glancing at our cellphones. For breakfast or any other meal for that matter, we simply push a few buttons, or go through a few steps and we have it. We prefer things and options that are quick and easy. Thus, our tolerance for long processes and procedures have diminished greatly.
And if I were still in the workplace, I would remember myself to be one of those who often find ourselves congregating as “grievance groups” over coffee breaks or lunch outs. This happens because the act of complaining has become some sort of a stress reliever. “Vent it out”…seems to be totally acceptable. It can be about a gamut of so many things – the government, the neighbor, the adjacent cubicle, the neighbor’s pet, the in-laws, our painful backs, a dreadful injury, the prices of petroleum, the long queues, poor customer service, the volatile exchange rates, value-added taxes, the boss, the new hiree, and even the organization we are part of. So when something is not to our liking, we complain, we even grumble and go to the extent of sharing our status of displeasure to our close friends. But what does the Bible have to say about this overt behavior?
Oh this passage from Philippians 2 just strikes my heart head on!
Do Everything Without Grumbling
12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”[c] Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life…
Yikes! That arrow was just shot right through the heart. Here I am, claiming to be a follower of Christ, and at the first sign of hardship and inconvenience, I complain?
Whenever I complain or grumble for that matter, it reveals more of the condition of my heart and my attitude than it is about my situation. It is almost like that I am implying the following lies:
- Complainer’s MYTH #1 God is not in control of my situation and is not looking after me, this is why I am miserable. This is definitely a lie, My God is Sovereign and He is letting me go through this phase in my life because He is preparing me for my next God-glorifying assignment.
- Complainer’s MYTH #2 God lost sight of me and is unaware of my miserable situation, that’s why I am going through this phase. Our God is omniscient and He is perfectly aware of every detail in our life. He even knows the exact number of hair strands on my head. He also keeps count of every tear that I shed.
- Complainer’s MYTH#3 God expects me to lend Him a hand and exert effort to change all the circumstances surrounding me. This is another lie. God never needs my help or contribution. He is Almighty. He is Omnipotent. If He desires to change any of my circumstances, He can, even with just one word. My role, is to abide in Him, in His Word, and listen for His instructions. And if I do get to help, or contribute to His purposes, in whatever capacity, I can that would truly be a divine privilege.
- Complainer’s MYTH#4 I am just human, and just like everyone else am entitled to complain and voice out whatever I want. It should not affect anybody. There goes another lie. When you believed in Jesus, you were redeemed with a price and you are no longer your own. You have been set apart. Any “venting” or voicing out of complaints or grievances need to be done in the proper forum. Whenever you voice something out, you affect the attitudes and perspectives of someone else. We are called to “edify one another”, so unless you are certain that falls in that category, please consider shutting your mouth first. The best avenues for venting are usually those that are private and unknown. I am talking about your personal time with the Lord. Take it up with the Lord directly. Be that son or daughter reporting your issues to Your Heavenly Father. Consult Him about what to do, He will direct you on the specific steps you need to undertake.
And yes, you certainly can be emotional if you have to…
Lamentations 3:22-24 NIV
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
So in short, seek the Lord daily. We simply cannot afford not to. Spend time with Him in His Word. Pour your heart out, get all those trashy details out like you are confiding with your best friend. Cry if you need to,… if that helps you to get it all out. Get the refreshment you need there at the foot of the Savior. Ask for the mega portion of grace that would get you through the day. The Lord is more concerned about our holiness than He is about our happiness.
So what is your day like? To me, its a long day that begins with preparation of packed lunches and energy-packed breakfasts, then probably loads of laundry and a bunch of “pack-aways” in various areas. Then a series of mediating between kiddie fights, meal preparations and clean ups. Oh, I am not complaining, I am just explaining what God is making me go through at the moment. This is my current calling for the time being. I choose to be joyful. And when I do my best in this current calling of mine, full of joy and gratitude, I am also in worship of the GOD who put me here in the first place.
Lord, thank you that You have given me everything I need. You are my Shepherd. Change my heart, my perspective and my attitude, I am grateful to be alive and for that eternal privilege of being called your daughter.