Contemplating Complaining

Last week, I encountered two chronic complainers. As I sat listening to an acquaintance list transgression after hardship after annoyance I internally complained. It was ugly. I stewed for a bit at how one could spend so much time complaining. Then I packed up my bag, came home, and read a reply to an e-mail I had sent earlier in the day. Here is when I started to pause in my mental grumble. The e-mail was in response to my complaining about silly stuff! In an attempt to salvage my pride and prevent conviction from actually reaching my heart, I closed the computer. Then, I opened Elisabeth Elliot's Keep a Quiet Heart. Refuge was found, but not how my soul had initially desired. I read her devotional on "Where will Complaining Get You?" followed by "Humdudgeons or Contentment".

Friends, I don't know about you, but I sometimes think that my complaining is a direct result of living in the 1st world. I have all, and much more, than I could ever need. My life is full of cushion, comfort, and carefree attitude. So why do I complain? Why do I create worry, angst, and self-loathing situations? As Elliot points out, complaining kept the Israelites from seeing the promised land (Deuteronomy 1) and true godliness should be permeated with contentment not whining. I love how Elliot sums up this whole battle--
Everything about which we are tempted to complain may be the very instrument whereby the Potter intends to shape His clay into the image of His son... Not a morbid martyr-complex but a peaceful and happy contentment in the assurance that goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our lives. (pg. 91)

I wish I could say that I never complain or that I'm not a moaning Myrtle. Instead, I'm taking a harder look at where and how I complain. Perhaps looking inward will help in my outward pursuit of parenting my daughter to not whine. Above all, I want to claim and walk in the truth that as a believer my situation in life is not defined by this world but by His goodness and mercy toward me.

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