What are we Complaining About?

Have you ever thought about the hypocrisy there is in the act of complaining?  Complaints are heard by all of us all day long.  We hear complaints on the media, through social media, through work, school, family, clubs, sports, while driving our cars, and even in our churches.  Some days I feel beat down and bombarded by complaints.  The conviction within my own soul when I fall into temptation to complain has become more and more overwhelming as my relationship with Christ deepens.  There are times that I really can’t stand myself if the nasty negativity virus takes over my thoughts and speech.  Through observation of complainers and unfortunately times of participation God has revealed a lot of truth to me.  How often is the very wrong you hear a complainer moaning about something you just witnessed that complainer do within the last twenty four hours or maybe even five minutes?  We are so often blind to our own downfalls and imperfections.  One very clear observation is that it seems everyone at one time or another thinks that they work harder than everyone else.  By deeming themselves the hardest working and smartest of the bunch they nominate themselves the official complainer and tattle tale.  This can be observed in toddlers age two to adults one hundred and two.  Human sin nature is so sneaky that it allows our pride to blind us to how ridiculous our complaints are.  Complaining breeds such nasty selfishness, bitterness, and anger within us.  The very act of keeping score destroys relationships.  Families, friends, and co-workers keeping score of who did or didn’t do something negates any kind of team work.  In a marriage it can be devastating to keep score.   In First Corinthians chapter 13 verse five says that love “keeps no record of wrongs”.  Is it love that is flowing from us when we keep a track record of who does or does not do?  It is quite the opposite of love.

Last week I had a day that was one of those weary days of hearing complaints and even coming across people that the tension of their anger just radiated from them.  The final kicker was a lady that abruptly drove up to the rear of my vehicle on a two lane road.  As I looked in my rear view mirror she was waving her hands, yelling, and had the most hateful look on her face.  It was obvious that she had very bright orangish red hair and that she was an older woman.  I then turned my eyes to my speedometer that read 48 mph and we were in a 45 mph speed zone.  Much to my unbelief she passed my car in a no passing zone around a blinding curve.  Whatever her complaints and anger was about I wondered if it was really worth her risking her own safety as well as who ever maybe coming around that curve.  She was driving in the opposite direction of all the schools and hospitals so I couldn’t even come up with that as an excuse for her poor driving behavior.  Can our complaints deliver us physical harm?  Most definately especially if we complain to the wrong person at the wrong time.  Complaining is a good way to have someone “clean your clock”, it also may cost a person employment, it diminishes one’s integrity, and definately will cause loss of respect.   Complaining also will set the bar much higher because it will set one up to be more closely observed.  If one chooses to complain then it’s best to be on one’s toes to not do the very thing they are complaining about. The complainer will be called out eventually.

My prayer personally is to not be a complainer.   Colosians 3:23 has been a huge help for me in this.  “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,”   I can never be treated as unfairly as Jesus himself was yet He forgave and laid down His life for all of us sinning complainers.

At the end of that rough day I was to help lead in our Awana program.  My prayer as I drove to church that evening was to see God’s love and peace.  For there to be peace and love that only comes from God coming from me after a day of being beat down.  He is always faithful.  It was a wonderful evening.  After spending time with my third and fourth grade girls helping them memorize their scripture verses there were a couple girls that were new to our Awana group.  With bright and beautiful smiles they kept saying how much fun they had in “this class”.  They had fun memorizing God’s Word.  God turned a day of feeling beat down by a negative world to raising my spirit high above it through these precious girls.  Phillippians 2:14-15 “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, chidren of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe”  Lord please help me to be a positive shining star!!!

 

I Am Weak Yet He is Strong

Music is one of the things I love most in life. Voices singing acapella especially stir me right to the very core. There is nothing greater than hearing a voice hit true tones without any other sounds to distract. Multiple voices harmonizing together to sound like one instrument often make my arm hairs stand on end from the goose pimples. One thing my thirteen year old daughter and I share a bond over is acapella music. There is one group in particular that we both are fans of. She is always excited to share a new recording found on I-tunes with me. There is a vulnerability that comes with singing acapella and singing in front of others period. So often my own moments of true worship at home are times I can just sing praises to God with no one else around and often my prayers have to be presented in song. It is funny how God had placed the thought of my love for acapella music on my mind this afternoon and then our pastor’s sermon was on true worship this evening at church. One of my greatest fears actually is singing in front of people. At the age of twenty I finally asked my mother to listen to me sing. I had our family room door shut and my back to her. After the song she looked at me with tear-welled eyes and asked “You have been able to sing this whole time?” It took years of singing specials at church for my dress to stop shaking giving away my nerves. Even twenty one years later before the music starts to a song my heart feels like it will explode from my chest. Every solo, every worship set with our praise team, and with choir I have to ask God for strength. Within my soul I have to cry out “Lord I can’t do this please sing through me!” It is still a fear and vulnerability that I have and at the completion of every song there is another victory for Jesus! Writing has become a second passion to me actually birthing from the same sense of fear and vulnerability. For the last twenty years as a nurse I have had to learn to chart in incomplete sentences and now with the computer age charting mostly requires just the click of the mouse. All that I know to write about are my own experiences and what God teaches me through them in this journey through life. There is such vulnerability with the transparency of my life and soul being exposed. It has become my prayer to ask God what He wants me to write each day. Sometimes a thought has to develop over the course of a few days. As I sit at the keyboard my prayer is Lord I have no idea, I cannot do this, please write through me. Now anything He allows me to write is yet another victory for Jesus. The two things I am actually most fearful of God gives me the most peace while doing. These are times I am completely reliant on His strength and wisdom. When reflecting on my life the two things that seem to have somehow helped someone else the most have been a song or writing. As far reaching as God is through me I will definitely not know during my lifetime. What I do know is that the greatest sense of fulfillment, joy, and peace I have comes when I am completely surrendered to Him and allowing Him to work through my simple life. 2 Corinthians 12:9 “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”