Do everything without complaining or arguing...Philippians 2:14
I heard a great story the other day that seems to fit perfectly with the times! There are some orders of monks who live very austere lives. There was a time when they observed strict rules of silence. In one monastery a monk was allowed to say only two words every five years, and those would be spoken to the abbot. After his first five years of silence, one monk said, “Food cold.” At the end of five more years he said, “Bed hard.” finally after his fifteenth year in the monastery, he said, “I quit.” “I’m not surprised”, said the abbot. “All you’ve done is complain since you got here.”
I’ve come to the conclusion that complaining is contagious. The other thing I’ve noticed about complaining is that it can cloud a persons perspective almost to the point of seeing nothing but those things that are “wrong” with the world. I don’t recall the Gospel telling us to go forth and COMPLAIN but sometimes we get stuck in complain mode and don’t know how to move forward. The other side of complaining is peace and joyful contentment. It’s not perfection or total satisfaction but rather a clear view of “God’s got this”, I’m not the boss of the world and I’m only going to be judged on how I live my own life, I don’t have to save or judge the world. Here are a few thing that might help get us over to the other side of complaining to that place that will allow us to live a life pleasing to the Father.
*Pray for peace in your heart, your home and in your world.
*Flip the switch. When you start thinking those complaining thoughts, catch yourself and flip the thought around. You can look at a rosebush and see the thorns or the rose buds.
*Vent with a friend who can offer perspective. There are always two ways to look at things and sometimes we just need to spit things out in a good conversation with someone who will challenge us to look at the stinky stuff through different eyes.
*For every complaint you lodge…match it with two things you’re grateful for.
*Stop the judging! We see a word on the page…God sees the whole novel and we have no idea what happened in the last chapter. To judge and complain cripples our capacity to show mercy.
*Act and think mercifully!
*If you know what needs to change, then be the change you wish to see.
*Do the things that make you happy.
*If social media and TV are fueling your complaining, turn things off. FOMO (fear of missing out) has us chasing our tails trying to decide which side is right, wrong, good, bad, winning or loosing.
*What will change the world…peace and mercy or complaining and fussing?
When the boys were little, they had a baseball coach who would always tell the them that at a game there were so many things going on at once it was hard to know what to pay attention to. He would yell to the boys, “Eyes on me boys, eyes on me!” When they followed that simple rule, he could lead and guide and coach them. He could help them through tricky situations and lead them to success. I imagine the Father looking down on each of us saying that same thing, “Eyes on me kids, eyes on me!”
A Seed To Plant: Choose a couple things from the list and make a commitment to a week free of complaining.
Blessings on your day!
And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. John 8:32
Last week our word of the week was courage. When I asked the middle lovelies to tell me what courageous things they’d done, I got some; I rode a roller coaster; I rode with my sister when she was just learning to drive and I ate the brown meat at my aunt’s house. They were great but I was trying to get them to something bigger and then…the Holy Spirit saved the lesson when one boy said, “I think it was courageous when I went upstairs on my own and told my Dad I had lied to him and blamed my brother for something I’d done wrong.” BINGO! That's exactly the kind of courage the week was about. It takes a lot of courage to seek and speak the truth.
It’s report card week so in order to complete that task so that I don’t loose my job…I thought I’d just zip out a short little post with some truths we might need to chew on this week.
**The world fills us so full, we're not hungry for God.
**Temptation is an invitation to leave the truth and enter deception.
**We're trusting Him for eternity but not for earth.
**If we’re jealous; we’re not grateful.
**Complaining is the greatest form of selfishness.
Now, lets pray for the courage to do something great with these truths.
A Seed To Plant: As you sit in prayer this week, carefully ponder those five sentences and ask God to show you how they fit in your life.
Blessings on your day!
What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31
Who remembers the game, Red Rover? It was the ultimate game in choosing sides. You wanted to pick the team that was strong and could serve as a powerful force to keep the other team from crossing through. It was a game that was hard for the little guy to win. Sometimes someone would squeak by as a surprise; sometimes the big guys would just plow through and knock you over and sometimes folks got an unwanted flip onto their backside. I don't think there is a play ground in America that still lets kids play, but these last few days have made me feel a little like I’ve been trapped in the middle of a nation-wide game of Red Rover.
One of the beautiful signs of a merciful person is their ability to show mercy and kindness to everyone; especially those whose ideas may differ from their own. Christ called us to love everyone; the folks who would love us back but most especially those who didn’t love us in return. Those aren’t new rules or new ideas but it seems like we could all use a little reminder. If a hundred people were offered two choices it’s ridiculous to imagine they would all choose the same thing. God made us each unique and perfectly designed in His Image, so why do we insist on making everyone else believe, think and feel what we do? As we get less and less cautious about our speech and actions we become a more hurtful society with each passing day. Folks aren’t speaking with kindness and compassion and the art of crafting a lovely, persuasive, intelligent, honorable debate has been tackled by nasty tweets, posts and emails filled with half-truth, hatefulness and inflated boldness. I think folks hide behind a screen and type anything that pops into their heads without fear of consequence because they don’t see the faces of those who read their messages. What has happened to “Truth Spoken in Love”? That’s kind of a big thing if we want there to be “Peace on Earth”. Were we just singing the song or did we really mean it?
I won’t pretend to be so simple minded as to think one silly post on a tiny blip on the screen blog will amount to national change but I do have a thought. We are drawing so many “lines in the sand” it’s hard to know where to step. Everything is analyzed and scrutinized and like that Red Rover game, the team that wins is the one who assembles the most brute force and blocks the others from passage. It’s all about who’s against what or whom! If our focus is locked on crisis mode all we see are the problems and faults. Good could whop us over the head and we wouldn’t even see it. The flip side is to pay attention to the possible outcomes, solutions and compromises. Another way to say it is we need to shift ourselves around and think more about what we’re FOR and not what we’re AGAINST. It’s bigger than positive thinking. If I know what I’m for, I can see those things in people and situations. If I’m focused on what I’m against that’s like a wet, heavy blanket because all I’m looking for is the negative. Constantly looking out for the things we’re against leads to attitudes that make us miserable, sarcastic, cynical and judgmental. I think we’ve had enough of that, don’t you?
So, the question of the day; what are you for? Once you make that list, start looking for those things and I’ll bet you find them. Imagine the feeling you’ll have when you discover something good about a person or situation. It will make it easier to understand, speak with love, judge with tenderness and show mercy. A search for the good and the noble is always a positive adventure and don’t forget if God is for us, and He’s the most important thing we’re “for” life will be so much more joyful and peaceful. In case you’re a bit weary from all the “static”, this message should be good news.
A Seed To Plant: Make your list of “I’m For’s” and ask God to guide you toward them.
Blessings on your day!
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