People who complain. . .how do they learn to stop?
In this short article, you’ll learn:
- Complaining is the sad norm.
- The real message that complaining sends.
- A solution to complaining.
Join the Crowd
Haven’t we all been guilty of complaining at one time or another? The other day, my 17 year old complained that:
- He wasn’t allowed pizza rolls in his bedroom.
- We said “no” to his plan to drive 60 miles on unfamiliar roads.
- He had to pick up wet towels and hang them on a towel rod.
Your complaints may sound different from a teenager’s complaints.
Your friend forgets your birthday. A virus invades your hard drive. Your boss gives the better project to your coworker. Each of these scenarios are fodder to complain and grumble. What circumstances led to your complaints this week?
Real Message of Complaining
Complaining sends a message through words, tone or voice, and body language: “It’s not fair.”
A kid might say or think, “It’s not fair that my friend gets an iPhone and I don’t.” Or, “His family is spending the day at a water park and I’m stuck at home.”
Ultimately the “it’s not fair” message points a finger at God.
When your kid complains–when you complain–your heart reveals self-centered sorrow. You feel angry and your anger may turn to bitterness. You think God hasn’t treated you fairy. You might even think that God’s made a big mistake.
In the Old Testament, Job (pronounced jobe) questioned God’s wisdom in letting horrible things happen to him–the deaths of his ten children and the obliteration of his livestock as well as his own ruined health. In chapters 38 to 40 of Job, God reminds him that he alone has limitless wisdom.
God’s main point: Who do you think you are, Job?
Speaking from a whirlwind, God says to Job:
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone,
when the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God shouted for joy? 38:4-7
God is wise, just, good, sovereign, love. Nothing happens in your life or your child’s life surprises God. When you feel confused and angry, God doesn’t need your advice or my advice. God invites you to deepen your trust.
A Solution to Complaining
Did you know that what you believe about God affects the way you think, feel, and act?
- When you believe God is all-wise, you accept the truth that what God does is for your good and his glory, even though you may not understand God’s reasons.
- When you believe is God’s sovereign, you believe the truth that he is fully capable of devising how to handle your situation.
- When you believe God is good, you acknowledge that God knows why you have problems and shows you the best way to resolve them.
As you choose to act as a child of God, guess what happens?
Gratitude bubbles up in you and overflows your life. Gratitude isn’t a blindly optimistic. You don’t whitewash the bad things in life. Pain and injustice exist in this world.
When you focus on God’s gifts of life, you gain a feeling of well-being. Gratitude brings balance and hope. Do you have a grateful heart? Think of several things to write on your very own gratitude list.
Here’s how I began my gratitude list:
friends who listen
the color purple
the ability to read and walk and sleep deep
As you practice gratitude, you’ll complain less often. When you fall back into grumbing, you’ll be quick to confess your grumbling to God, and repent. You’ll discover new hope. As the psalmist says,
The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him and I am helped; Therefore, my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him. Psalm 28:7
Sharing hope with your heart,
Forgiveness is often tough, isn’t it? When you forgive someone who has hurt you, it may feel like you are letting the other person off the hook. (You aren’t.)
What’s worse than not forgiving someone? Holding on to unforgiveness!
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Dr. David Jeremiah says, “Someone has described unforgiveness as the accumulation of unexpressed anger Because it is denied, it can often be ignored, while all the time it is building and growing like an invisible tumor.”
Unforgiveness becomes bitterness. You don’t want bitterness to take root: it entangles you and suffocates you like a giant boa constrictor. The apostle Paul encouraged:
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31-32, ESV)
“Forgiveness is not a method to be learned as much as a truth to be lived,” writes Nancy Leigh DeMoss in Choosing Forgiveness, Your Journey to Freedom (Moody Publishers, 2008).
Unfaithful spouses. Gossiping friends. Wayward kids. Nasty neighbors. Unfair teacher, employers, coworkers. This world gives you and me many opportunities to grant forgiveness. Did you know many women who seek counseling also need to extend and accept forgiveness? It’s a huge issue.
If you’ve lived in unforgiveness — a dark, uncomfortable place where you’ve hidden your heart — isn’t it time to step into light and experience freedom through Christ?
12 Things to You Must Know
1. Forgiveness is both a choice and a process.
2. Make a decision to give up anger.
3. Pray to be made willing to forgive.
4. Feel your feelings in a safe place, with a safe person.
5. To say, “I forgive,” but never feel your pain denies the truth.
6. To feel your pain, anger, and sadness but never choose forgiveness hurts you.
7. Ask for grace both to feel and to forgive.
8. Read Jesus’ words on forgiveness. To get you started, check out Matthew 9:2, Matthew 12:31, Mark 3:29, Luke 23:34, John 20:23,
9. To forgive is not to condone
10. To forgive is not to excuse.
11. To forgive doesn’t mean you don’t matter.
12. Trust God for justice.
When you forgive, you let go of your supposed right to get even. Why not let go of the hurt after you share your pain with Jesus. . .and be free?
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Sharing Hope with Your Heart,
Does joyful mean “REJOICE ALWAYS”?
I bumped into this two-word Scripture just before life spun like a Tilt-o-Whirl. The command to “rejoice always” looked so good on the pages of my Bible that I selected it as a memory verse to lift me up.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ESV
Then the school year began and my rejoicing withered.
My basketball girl headed north for her first second of college, excited, and my eyes leaked. The eldest just found a few gray hairs and says she feels old. . .in her mid-twenties. My boy-man doesn’t like school and has told me so, over and over and over. I felt tempted to pop an Advil and stave a headache.
Does God really expect any of us to be joyful always? Always is a big word, wouldn’t you agree? What is an obstacle to your joy?
There are hurricanes and identity theft, AIDS and divorce, school shootings, Internet porn and battered women, meth labs, sex trafficking. . .
and the Bible says, “Rejoice always”? To be joyful. . .always?
An Impossible Command?
Was Paul philosophizing the impossible when he wrote these two words under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit?
Then I pondered the words that followed, and as my thoughts began to line up with God’s thoughts, my anxiety diminished
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. What helps your anxiety turn-around?
“Pray without ceasing; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Think about it. When you and I choose to pray through my day, then we’re talking with and listening to God, right? And God knows us best and wants the very best for us. He wants you to be joyful in him.
By reminding myself of what God says in Scripture, I know I’m his daughter, beautiful and cherished. You and I don’t need to earn his love. He gives his love to us freely. This is grace. A gift, unmerited.
Pray, Thank, Know
And as I give thanks to God in all circumstances–not for them–I recognize that he is completely in control. Nothing takes him by surprise.
Thus, I can rejoice always. Cultivating a thankful heart matter and knowing he’s good and in control allows me to rejoice always. This really is God’s will (i.e., his plan, his purpose) for me.
My joy has little to do with my circumstances and everything to do with two choices: how I view God and myself.
Joyful Choice #1
Many, many years ago I thought God was out to get me, and I feared him in a bad way. This admission sounds horrible. How could I think such a thing? But like many women, I had someone in my childhood who should have protected me but didn’t.
Worse, his neglect exposed me to a painful situation. At a young age I wrongly thought, “If they say they love me but hurt me, God will hurt me too.”
As an adult, God cleared my eyes as I read my Bible day after day. My choice: to stubbornly hold tight to my twisted god or to agree with the one true God that he is absolutely nothing like the lie I believed.
Joyful Choice #2
Ugly to the core – this was how I summed me up. I saw myself as a crumpled up paper that belonged in a trash can. Do you relate? Do you know someone who does?
Beautifully, God says that you, me and everyone is wonderfully made with the deepest respect by him, the Creator. As God spotlighted another lie I believed, he gave me the strength to hold it up to the light of Scripture. My choice: to believe God is a liar and I really am trash or to agree with him that I am beautiful in Christ. I can be joyful.
With humility and awe, I attest that God says I am beautiful in him! You are too!
This is joy:
to know the one who made you completely loves you, wherever you’ve been, whatever is happening in your life now.
You don’t have to do anything to win his approval. You only need to accept the gift that Jesus bought for you. This gift is the truth that you are who God says who are: blessed, forgiven, complete and. . .beautiful.
My ministry to counsel hearts to hope was born out of my own pain.
Among them, loneliness and isolation. I’d go to church desiring friendship with godly women, but it seemed everyone was talking to everyone else and they knew the secret handshake or the secret password or whatever and I didn’t. I was the wallflower, just another pretty daisy lost in the lobby.
Can you relate? Have you known loneliness? Felt out of place? Even in church?
Know this, my sweet sister: You are not alone in your emotional and spiritual struggles. You are not alone in the pain that tags along with your physical problems.
I encourage you to soak in God’s truth that you are valued, significant and loved. Our God is tender toward you, my sweet sister. He knows your name and has written it on the palm of his hand. He calls you. . .beautiful.
From Depression to Hearing God
Back in the early 1990s, I didn’t understand these biblical truths, even as a follower of Christ. Depression had darkened my mood. Anxiety had rattled my mind too. On top of this tough stuff, difficult memories jabbed me. Yes, there was my parents’ divorce but something even worse.
How could I tell anyone my pain? Especially women in the church who seemed to have it all together? Have you found a trusted Christian friend? Or are you still looking?
Fast forward to 2000, the year of God’s specific call on my life.
A summer day. Sunny, a soft breeze. Me alone, in prayer.
God whispered to my heart: “Lucy, comfort my sheep who are hurting with the comfort you’ve received from me.”
“Who me?” I asked
“Trust me, Lucy.”
“I don’t know what to do.”
Like the fuzz of a dandelion, my arguments floated away and I said, “Okay, Lord.”
Since then I’ve ministered to hurting Christian women and to the people who love them. Fearful women. Lonely women. Abused women. Women caught in addiction: shopping, alcohol, pornography. Women who’ve committed adultery. Women with hard pasts. Women like me. Like you.
To Becoming a Biblical Counselor
Then the Lord led me to training in Pastoral Care to Women (Western Seminary, Oregon) and certification in biblical counseling from two certifying ministries and a third (in process) from Association of Certified Biblical Counselors.
On staff as a biblical counselor at Biblical Counseling Center in greater Chicago, I reach even more Christian women with the loving truth that God cherishes you and wants to heal you. Counseling is in person and by Skype. Doesn’t the convenience of Skype appeal to you? Did you know Skype-to-Skype calls are free?
I invite you to check out my counseling page and set up a time to chat over the phone before deciding whether biblical counseling would bring you help, healing, and hope. To set up a chat, please contact me. Thanks.
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,
When I began Real Hurts, Real Hope more than a year ago, my purpose was to give hope to Christian women who hurt and to the people who love them. This remains my passion.
Healing the brokenhearted is my heartbeat. It’s God’s work for me and my joy.
God spoke a “second step” to my heart too: The Sisterhood of Beautiful Warriors. Click the link and take a peek.
My beautiful warrior blog encourages Christian women who have struggles — and don’t we all? — to acknowledge their pain, bring it to the Lord and leave it at the cross AND to embrace the truth of who they are: God’s little girls all grown up, completely loved and accepted by him.
In a few days, I’ll pour Real Hurts, Real Hope into The Sisterhood of Beautiful Warriors and I’m asking you to come along. I plan to send you the Beautiful Warrior blog and let it minister to you. If you don’t want it, tell me. Just send an email to Lucy@LucyAnnMoll.com. Sound reasonable?
A few things my Beautiful Warrior blog gives you:
~ encouragement, just as you are
~ reminders that you are who God says you are
~ opportunity to hear from other Christian women who’ve faced difficulties and found hope
I’ll post Monday through Thursday and some Fridays at Beautiful Warrior. If you have suggestions, I’d love to hear them.
Here’s the lineup, which’ll change with your input 🙂 ~
Rainy Days and Mondays
Blog Talk Tuesdays
Let’s Give Thanks Thursdays
In case you’re asking, Why the change? I can’t keep up with two blogs and do both well. A girl’s gotta know her limitations and where God is leading.
You Are Loved!