Do You Complain? Does Your Kid?


complain

People who complain. . .how do they learn to stop?

In this short article, you’ll learn:

  1. Complaining is the sad norm.
  2. The real message that complaining sends.
  3. 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.

God is trustworthy. He never makes mistakes. He loves you.

 A Solution to Complaining

Did you know that what you believe about God affects the way you think, feel, and act?

THREE TRUTHS:

  1. 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.
  2. When you believe is God’s sovereign, you believe the truth that he is fully capable of devising how to handle your situation.
  3. 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:

red geraniums

butterflies

friends who listen

dark chocolate

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,

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Adoption: My Story

Adoption. . .my story of how God made my family. If adoption has touched you — perhaps you’re a birth mom, an adoptive mom, of a woman who was adopted — I pray my story helps you understand how God makes some families.

You won’t find “three quick steps to a successful adoption” here. Just a story of pain and beauty and God everywhere. If you’re touched by adoption, why not send me a short message? I’d love to encourage you.

Adoption: Not Second Best 

Some say adoption is second best, an afterthought, the backup plan. May I say, It’s not “second best”?

Yes, my husband and I tried the usual way. When it didn’t happen — the it of morning sickness and ultrasounds, prenatal vitamins and expanding waistlines — we adopted a baby then another and another. Two girls and a boy. Now they’re grown up: one married, one in college, one in high school.

Yes, I asked God, “Women strung out on drugs are getting pregnant and having babies, so why infertility for us?” No booming voice from a burning bush in Charlton Heston’s Ten Commandments. I found comfort in the Bible that God is love and he loves orphans and had a child for us (James 1:27).

I concluded that my family isn’t second best because God designed it. Isn’t God’s design the best design? Didn’t he know before my birth and my husband’s — and the births of our great-great-great grandparents — that we’d make a family by adoption? Of course he did. The all-knowing God knew.

Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:16, NIV

Hello, Doctor

Infertility is usually the woman’s problem, right? Ah, no. According to WebMD, statistics suggest that 35 to 40 percent of the problems are caused by male problems, another 35 to 40 percent by female problems, and the last 20 to 30 percent a combination of the two, plus a small percentage of unknown causes.

When I didn’t get pregnant after trying for a year, I figured my doctor would prescribe me Clomid, and I’d soon be painting the nursery with a baby bump. Instead she followed protocol and wrote orders for my husband to have a test first. We thought, “Whatever. No problem.”

A bunch of tests and three months later, another doctor sat us down and gave us the news. No baby. Ever.

I felt numb, sad, even relieved because the findings were fast and crystal. I did not want to walk the infertility treadmill I had heard about. Awful, just awful. In you’re on this treadmill, my heart aches for you, sister. Know God is with you in your hurt.

How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you. Psalm 139:17-18

Baby in Arms

Steve and I jumped into adoption, eyes wide open, knowing it may take a long time before we’d hold the little one God had planned for us.

Typically when a couple decides to adopt a child, the labor of paper work lasts many years. Laura came along nine months later. Poetic justice, yes?

Our next two adoptions averaged 18 months each. We adoptive couples have love-hate relationships with social workers employed by adoptions agencies, which is the route we chose. (Some couples prefer adopting children by arrangement through attorneys.) Steve and I answered the social workers’ invasive questions. We jumped through their hoops.

With our last adoption, even the cat needed a physical!

I felt like I had to impress them, these gatekeepers. They opened and closed our chances to adding to our little family, didn’t they?

Then I’d remember that God is in control. He designs my family–and yours. I didn’t have to worry or be a people-pleaser. I just had to be me. . .

because God is God, right?

If you have experienced infertility or adoption (as an adoptive mom or a birth mother who placed her child for adoption), I’d love to here from you.

Sharing Hope with Your Heart,

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What’s Your Real Worldview?

woldviewWhether you know it or not, you have a worldview, and it colors how you see the world and how you solve your problems.

In this short article, you’ll discover:

  • what a worldview is and why it matters to your spiritual growth.
  • how to reclaim a Christian worldview if yours goes off track.
  • the super important link between your heart and your worldview.

PLUS: the best encouragement to stay sane in a crazy world. 

What Is a Worldview?

A worldview is the framework from which you view reality and make sense of life. It consists of the values—or, your fundamental belief system—that determines your attitudes and desires, and ultimately your actions. It is the sum total of your beliefs about the world.

EXAMPLES:

  • A toddler believes she’s the center of the universe.
  • A humanist believes the material world is all that exists.
  • A postmodernist believes what true for him is truth.

What’s a Christian Worldview?

A Christian worldview is based on belief that the Word of God—that is, the Bible—is true. When you believe the Bible is true, then you embrace the Living Word, who is Jesus. The Bible becomes the foundation of everything you think, say, feel, and do.

To determine if you have a Christian worldview, why not answer the following questions in a survey formulated by pollster George Barna?

Do absolute moral truths exist?

Is absolute truth defined by the Bible?

Did Jesus Christ live a sinless life?

Is God the all-powerful and all-knowing Creator of the universe, and does He still rule it today?

Is salvation a gift from God that cannot be earned?

Is Satan real?

Does a Christian have a responsibility to share her his or her faith in Christ with others?

Is the Bible accurate in all of its teachings?

Did you answer “yes” to these questions? Then you have a Christian worldview, specifically a biblical worldview. (Some liberal Christians would say they have a Christian world view but would say “no” to a number of Barna’s questions including the accuracy of the Bible.)

Your Worldview Matters

When you believe the Bible is true, you want your life to show it. You’ll read the Bible and pray – not out of obligation – because you have the life of Christ and He lives his life through you.

Your deepening faith that permeates your entire life:  marriage or singleness, relationships at work and with neighbors and family, your choices, your emotions, and your thinking.

Yet the secular worldview encroaches on every believer like a rising flood, desiring to suck you into its undercurrents. You see it on billboards, TV, and internet ads; you hear it in popular music and many a teen’s slang.

The world’s enticement is one reason a Christian believer might fall into muck the Bible calls sin. Sin is unholy wrongdoing that offends God.

He might be look with lust at a woman. She might crave a shiny Corvette. He might trip into an addiction. She might lie. He might slander a coworker. She might bow to the idol of materialism to find her worth.

Colossians 2:8 speaks to empty, worldly philosophies:

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits[a] of the world, and not according to Christ.

Reclaim Your Worldview

Christian believers who ascribe to a biblical worldview can become confused and make strange choices—strange for a self-identifying Christian.

EXAMPLES:

  • Shanna visits a Reiki practitioner who uses a technique called palm healing by which “universal energy” is said to encourage healing.
  • Liz discovers the underbelly of Internet porn and frequents online chat rooms.
  • A mother of four young children increasingly uses profanity while yelling at them.

In every case, the Christian has fallen into a secular worldview to solve problems. Shanna looks to New Age for help with emotional pain. Liz enters a sex fantasy world to escape a loveless marriage. In anger the mother uses the coarse language of the times. Haven’t you acted unChristian too at times? Haven’t we all?

To reclaim your biblical worldview, agree with God where your went off the rails. Did you gossip? Yell? Get jealous?

Then repent. Repent is a church-y word that means to “do a 180” and go the opposite direction you were headed. The gossiper starts speaking kindly about others. The yeller embraces a new approach of being “quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry” (James 1:19). The jealous one remembers to be thankful.

Worldview and Your Heart

In the Bible, your heart refers to your mind, your emotions, and your will. At the heart of your heart is your worldview, or the sum of what you believe. It is “your control center.”

A healthy heart has godly thoughts, godly emotions, and godly actions—all because you have a worldview set on the truth of God’s Word.

May I encourage one important activity to keep your worldview and heart healthy? Read your Bible every day. The Word of God renews your mind.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2, ESV)

It changes the way you think. It encourages and instructs you. It teaches you right from wrong.

It keeps you sane in a world gone crazy.

Sharing Hope with Your Heart, 

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Does God Help Those Who Help Themselves?

God-help

You’ve probably heard the saying, “God helps those who help themselves.” Is it true or false?

If you picked “false,” you are right. Yet, according to 82 percent of Americans, “God helps those who help themselves,” is a Bible verse. Born-again Christians did better–by a single percent.

What Is Godly Righteousness?

In his Sermon on the Mount Jesus said to his disciples,

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. (Matthew 5:6, NIV)

Pleasing Jesus is the passion of a woman who hungers and thirsts for righteousness. She’s totally driven by it. Desiring God’s righteousness changes her priorities, her schedule, her attitude.

How would your schedule change if you were passionate about God’s righteousness? How about your priorities? Your attitude?

You are made righteousness by the presence of Christ’s life in you. You received his life the very moment you trusted in Jesus as your Savior.

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21, NASB)

God made you a brand-new person at salvation. God didn’t just improve your life. He radically transformed you.

But you may not feel righteous. You might fail to understand the gift you’ve been given and trip into legalistic self-righteousness.

I did this, and I’m not the only one.

Self-Righteous Christians

My life revolved around to-do lists, and things got done. . .but contentment eluded me.

I worked My List. Another accomplishment. Another reason to feel good. I was sucked into thinking, “God helps those who help themselves.”

Satan, the world, and my sin nature fooled me.

Allie was fooled too. She dove into activities at church, unable to say no, risking her own health because she gobbled the lie that she had to work work work to keep on pleasing God. When I saw her in the counseling office, she complained of anxiety, sleeplessness, and lack of contentment.

The Bible speaks clearly that God helps those who cannot help themselves. Here are a few examples from the Bible:

~ Jesus fed 5,000 men and probably as many women and children with two loaves of bread and a few fish.

~ Jesus healed a man who had waited by a pool for 38 years but couldn’t get to the water. “I have no one to help me,” he said to Jesus “and I can’t do it myself.” Jesus healed him on the spot.

~ Jesus sought out Zacchaeus, a cheat, and ate at his home with the dregs of the community, sharing the good news.

So what does this mean and why does it matter?

Knowing God helps the helpless means that you can rest in Jesus.

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28, NIV)

You may even discover that God helps those who cannot help themselves and turn to him for the real answers of life.

Sharing Hope with Your Heart,

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Forgiveness: 12 Things You Must Know

forgiveness

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!

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)

Choosing Forgiveness

“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,

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