"Do everything without complaining or arguing
so that you may become children of God who are
pure and blameless...
in which you shine like stars in the universe..."
I grow weary of listening to my children complain.
Especially considering how blessed and fortunate they are...great health, roof over their heads, tons of toys, cupboard full of food, clothes for every season, money available for extra-curricular classes like soccer and swim lessons, and loving parents.
Nonetheless, they FIND reasons to complain...
time to brush teeth...complain
time to clip their fingernails...complain
time to take a bath...complain
time to help mom and carry something in from the car...complain
time to clean up the basement toys so I can see the carpet again...complain
time to be patient and let your brother go first...complain
time to do chores...complain
time to do something they don't feel like doing...complain
time to give grace, show mercy, grant forgiveness, demonstrate kindness...complain
Sure, there are moments when they choose to have thankful hearts and demonstrate contentment in word and action.
In those moments I rejoice and thank God.
I am delighted WHEN I see their little hearts maturing and demonstrating the virtues of thankfulness and contentment.
Just as the Philippians verse says, in those moments they DO "shine like stars."
But there are still many ugly moments where their hearts are ungrateful and they show it.
Here's what's tricky...I am also very blessed and fortunate, yet I have many ugly, complaining moments too!
Last night I spent the last hour with my children grumbling and complaining about pretty much EVERYTHING I had to do. Most of the complaining was in my heart and thoughts, but some of it came out in my actions and words. It was ugly.
After all the kids were in bed, I pressed rewind in my head and played back the evening to myself. I quickly realized that I had looked and sounded a lot like my boys do when they complain.
Hmmmm, turns out they may have learned a little bit of ungratefulness and discontentment from ME.
The saying goes, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."
Oh Jesus, it is anything but flattery watching my kids imitate my own ungrateful, complaining heart. Help me to LIVE OUT 1 Thessalonians 5:12, and to "give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for me in Christ Jesus..."
This is a challenging task God is asking of us. Unfortuantely, it is sometimes easier to find reasons to complain than it is to find reasons to be thankful.
This week my goal is to come up with a LIST of all the reasons I have to be thankful EVEN when my heart wants to complain.
I plan to hang it up in the house and share the LIST with my kids.
I will explain that when mommy starts to feel unthankful and wants to complain I am going to look at this list and switch my focus to one thing from the list.
My hope and prayer is that THEY will want to make their own list.
Join me today and let's pray the following:
Jesus, I pray that my children would learn to have thankful hearts in ALL CIRCUMSTANCES and IN EVERYTHING THEY DO. I pray they would begin to understand how destructive complaining is to their hearts and to those around them. I pray in those difficult moments where it can be easy to complain, that they would learn to switch their focus and choose thankfulness so that they can become pure and SHINE LIKE STARS!
1 Thessalonians 5:18