One of the biggest challenges that stand in the way for me when trying to build up and edify my children is my obsessive need to complain! Now i call it other things: directing, guiding, doing things the correct way..the list could go on and on, but at the root of it, I am simply complaining. Telling my kids that what they did, how they did it was not good enough and in fact just wrong! I have realized though that all this does is give them low self esteem, discourages help, and it gives them a bitter taste toward me! So what can be done to prevent this?
Why We Complain:
There are usually two main reasons why we complain. 1. We complain because we feel powerless. 2. We complain because it’s a habit. I think I personally have a nice unhealthy mix of the two combined. Sadly, my nasty little habits are forced upon my family, mainly my children. So what is the cure? Is there a cure? All through out the bible the tmaining of the tongue is discussed and how to bind it and how greatrly is displeased God.
“Now when the people complained, it displeased the Lord…” – Numbers 11:1 (NKJV
“Do all things without complaining and disputing…” -Philippians 2:14 (NKJV)
Our Shadow: Complaning
But complaining isn’t something new. Think about the Israelites who had spent years as captive slaves and within a short time of being freed they start complaining. They complained about being hungry. They complained about not having enough water. They complained about living in the wilderness. They even said it would be better to be back in Egypt as slaves rather than be free in the desert. Four hundred years of slavery, and they didn’t appreciate the freedom and blessing they have been given.
Here’s the thing, God doesn’t want us to be complainers, He wants us to live with a spirit of joy and thanksgiving.
So today I want to encourage you to adopt a No Complaining Rule and go on a complaining fast. Not because it will make everyone around you happier, although it will, but because it will help you experience more of the peace and joy that God wants for you, and it will help you build strong, positive relationships with others.
To help you break out of a “complaining” rut here are five things you can do instead of complain. These tips will help you realize you are not powerless. You have the power to choose your beliefs and actions. And in your focus on the positive instead of the negative you'll find the faith, strength and confidence to take on life’s challenges and identify the solutions to your complaints.
Well John Gordon a writer for streaming faith had some wonderful tips in his September article, on how we can tame our tongue and start prasing and uplifting one another instead. I have added to some of them, as i am sure you could add your own to ths list too!
1. Practice Gratitude. Research shows that when we count three blessings a day, we get a measurable boost in happiness that uplifts and energizes us. It's also physiologically impossible to be stressed and thankful at the same time. If you are focusing on gratitude, you can't be negative. (Psalm 118:24)
2. Praise Others. Instead of complaining about what others are doing wrong, start focusing on what they are doing right. Praise them and watch as they create more success as a result. Of course, point out their mistakes so they can learn and grow, but make sure you give three times as much praise as criticism. You can energize and engage your coworkers by encouraging them and their work. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
3. Focus on Success. Start a success journal. Each night before you go to bed, write down the one great thing about your day. The one great conversation, accomplishment, or win that you are most proud of. Focus on your success, and you'll look forward to creating more success tomorrow. (Philippians 4:8)
4. Let Go. A biggie I know. We like to tend to hold onto things to use later in life against someone. We sadly even do this with our kids. We nag, complain and hold it over their heads as a reminder of their "incompetance" Instead we need to focus on the things that you have the power to change, and let go of the things that are beyond your control. Give it up to God and trust Him with the outcome. You’ll be amazed that when you stop trying to control everything, it all somehow works out. Surrender is the answer. (Proverbs 3:5)
5. Pray. God wants to hear from you. Pray without ceasing! He wants to have a personal relationship with you on a daily basis. Take your worries to Him and He will help you. If you’re a skeptic, also know that scientific research shows that daily prayer reduces stress; boosts positive energy; and promotes health, vitality, and longevity. When you are faced with the urge to complain or you are feeling stressed to the max, stop, be still, plug-in to the ultimate power of God and recharge. (Philippians 4:6)
Scripture of the Day: “Do all things without complaining and disputing…” -Philippians 2:14 (NKJV)