Do you know someone who is constantly complaining? A family member who is perpetually whining? That friend who invades your personal space with a constant stream of personal problems and negativity. The co-worker who is ceaselessly griping about their health, family, relationships, work, church and the topic of the day? That one person who’s only happy when they are more miserable than everyone else around them?
Is that someone you?
That someone is me.
My Monday morning started out with an upsetting text message about a subcontractor who is a big part of the remodel we are doing at the church. That was the beginning of the whiny day parade as I grumbled about the subcontractor. Then I whined about the wait in the drive-thru for my coffee. I complained about the Facebook updates I was scrolling through. Whatever was said in the office, I had a negative comment. I grumbled because it was Monday. I even complained about other people complaining. At one point I headed down the hallway to the bathroom only to realize it was out of order. I whined about having to walk downstairs and a few extra steps to another bathroom. And of course, I was justified in every complaint and dispute. It was somebody else’s fault and I was the victim!
Later that day I stumbled upon these words:
Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world… Philippians 2:14-15
Uh oh. It was staring back at me like my face in the mirror. I had become the very thing I have a dislike for. I mean, I know a thing or two about grumblers, complainers, and whiners – I’m a pastor! The grumbling lands in my inbox. The complaints get mailed to me. The whining happens in conversation on Sunday mornings. And now the mirror was telling me I had become an Eeyore among Eeyore’s. In fact, I was the chief Eeyore! I wasn’t a shining light but instead was being a dim witness. How can I lead others to use their words to bless and build up when I myself was using my words to discourage and tear down? It was like I was hearing God say, “Just stop the whining already!”
So for the next thirty minutes, I sat with a notepad in front of me writing down everything I could come up with that I was thankful for. Instead of focusing on the things that I wanted to continue to grumble and complain about I chose to give thanks. From the chief whiner to any others…it works! Try it!
Forgive me God for my complaining spirit. Allow me to just stop the whining already. Empower me with your Spirit to use my speech to bless and to build up and not to tear down or discourage. Allow me to constantly be reminded of those things for which I should be giving thanks. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.