When God Told Me to Quit Whining

The Lord asked me to give up complaining for Lent.

The transition to motherhood was pretty hard for me. I've never been a "go-with-the-flow" sort of person, and there are days and weeks of motherhood that are pretty much all flow. I just got caught up in the 1, 462, 863 daily details that come with raising a child. So I began voicing my frustrations, often, and mostly to Kyle. 

When Lent came around this year, I felt the urge to do some sort of fast, but honestly couldn't think of anything. My two token fasts: caffeine and Facebook, were out. I'd already given up Facebook, I was barely drinking caffeine because of the pregnancy, which also prevented me from doing any kind of food fast. (Okay I guess I could have given up sugar, but thankfully the Lord didn't convict me to do that because ALL THE CRAVINGS were happening.)

I prayed about it a few days, and then the Holy Spirit spoke pretty directly to my heart and said, "Work toward giving up complaining." 

It was kind of an embarrassing thing to admit, to be honest. At first I wasn't sure if I heard correctly. I was all, "Lord, complaining? Isn't there something a bit more, I don't know... serious that we could work on?" 

And then He was all, 

"Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life." -- Phil. 2:14-16a

As if that wasn't enough, Z hit a whole new "whiny" stage of his own. He having way more of an excuse  than I, since he lacks most basic communication skills. Still - on a particularly bad day when my patience was past gone I turned toward him and said (as my eye was twitching), "STOP. WHINING."

And then I felt a tiny little voice (let's call it the Holy Spirit) say, "He can only do what he sees you doing."


It's been kind of messy, actually. It's not like God gave me a twelve-step process to be free of negativity, but there are a few new habits I've begun to cultivate. 

- Filling my mind with positive things. Too Oprah? Maybe, but it works; and way more importantly, it's also scriptural. (Phil. 4:8) This doesn't mean burying my head in the sand, not by any stretch of the imagination. It's a pretty simple filter actually: will reading/watching/listening to/thinking about [blank] help me look more like Jesus?

Jesus was able to engage the world without turning into a hot mess of pessimism. I figure I could attempt to do the same.

- Being thankful. I have attempted to work on this ever since reading Ann Voskamp's 1000 Gifts. It's a sloooowwww process. I try to think of five things, every day, for which I'm thankful. Some days it's pretty easy, other days it's not.

When I was in highschool, my youth pastor challenged us to take someone we didn't like and for two weeks, every time a negative thought popped into our head, stop and think about something positive about that person. Doesn't matter how trivial it is. "Wow... their hair is always so clean." You know, whatever you can drum up.

I tried the experiment and found myself enjoying conversations with someone that a few weeks previous it was hard for me to be in the same room with.

So my most recent step has been to take not just people, but everything in my life that is a source frustration, and replace the negative thoughts with something about it or them that I'm thankful for.

And it's working out pretty well.

Granted, there are the small, trite inconveniences that I really just need to get over... I've found these are the easier things to stop complaining about, obviously.

And then there are the not so trite, kind of sensitive areas of hurt and disappointment that I don't think the Lord is asking me to, "just get over." There's a lot of pain in this world and I don't think Jesus wants us to mask it with a false Pollyanna-esque cheerfulness. I think He just wants us to trust Him. Trust Him more than we do ourselves.

Trust Him when we really can't keep our heads above water. When it seems impossible to focus on anything except how unfair or difficult our situation in life is. Truthfully, it seems hypocritical to write all that knowing how absolutely terrible I am at it.

But I guess that's why God told me to quit whining, so I can try to start trusting Him instead. 

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