Friday, June 24, 2011

complaining...or how to make people run the other way when they see you coming.


"I promise...if you let me out for just a few minutes, I will NOT
sneak into the garden, plop on your deck or stare you down
through the back door until you give me a treat. I promise!!"
Sweetie...looking demure...doing her best to "will" me into
letting her roam the yard. Not a chance sister!
 So the other day I was told by two people....one a friend, the other my favorite cashier at the local discount grocer...to "stop complaining". Just like that...those words were tossed in my direction. And they were tossed at me (but felt heavy as a medicine ball in the gut) right after I'd commented about the excruciating, horrible, suffocating, draining, incessant, obnoxious, heat.

Now I can understand someone telling me not to complain about my new shoes hurting my feet. At least I have new shoes, right?

Or maybe asking me not to complain about the steak being a bit undercooked. (What can I say, I'm a medium-well girl. Blame Noni.) Um...hello? At least I have food, right? And a steak, no less!

Or perhaps someone doesn't want to hear me complain about my humble abode...I'm not living under a bridge, now am I?

But to blurt out the words "stop complaining" when I'm merely making a very factual statement about the weather? Really? Everyone complains about the weather. There are summer people...and winter people...and the fair weather friends who prefer spring or autumn. And when it's not to their liking they complain.

People complain about too much rain...too much snow...too much wind. Why can't I complain about too much heat?

I was boggled. And I will admit...taken aback a bit. And maybe, possibly even a teensy bit offended and self-righteous.

Each time the statement was tossed my way I'm absolutely positive one of my eyebrows raised...and my chin tucked in a bit. I'm pretty sure my eyes bulged and then narrowed into questioning slits. And my lips pinched up, too...just a little.

I'm also quite sure my head cocked to one side and my chest puffed up a bit.

I even got defensive. And pointed out the pointers own complaints. (Of which, I was wrong about, apparently.)

But then...as I stood at the checkout counter baffled by the scolding of my favorite cashier, doing my best to conjure up a reasonable argument as to why it's totally fine and acceptable and within my constitutional rights for me to complain about the heat...about the weather in general, about the traffic, my dirty floors, the person in front of me, the news, the shirt I was wearing, my chippy toenail polish, the price of gas, the service at Starbucks, the audacity of my neighbor to park in MY spot, the fact that neither of my boys can ever "remember" to make their beds, the government, the church, the beggars on every corner, chronic pain, the whatever I want to complain about thankyouverymuch...

...I was convicted.
And a bit embarrassed.

As I loaded my bags and bags of groceries (that I had plenty of money to pay for) and headed home (in my luxury, gas-guzzling SUV with the a/c blasting) I got to thinking...

I don't know about you, but sometimes God uses people to get something across to me. And as I was driving home it began to set in to my thick, stubborn, prideful, opinionated, complaining skull that this is exactly what was happening.

God had something to say to me: "Stop complaining."

It took me a good 24 hours to really process what had happened.
It took me a good 24 hours to really get that it was God pointing out a personality trait that is not helpful to me or anyone within earshot of my incessant whining and complaining.
It took me a good 24 hours to realize that...God is right. I really do need to stop complaining.

So...because God said so, and if nothing else I do my best to be obedient to Him, I'm going to work on not complaining. I don't know that I'll stop complaining totally and completely. (Isn't that humanly impossible? No? Dangit...I guess it IS just me.) But I am going to work on it. Diligently. Pray for me, would ya?

This is gonna be a process...an interesting, challenging and I'm sure, at times, a very humorous process.

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.

Philippians 2:14-16

7 comments:

MAYBELLINE said...

I'll complain for the both of us.
It's too danged hot!

Denise said...

send some heat here - gray skies and low 60's. We've had one day of summer so far. I don't have people tell me to stop complaining but I have been told "it could be worse" - maybe that means the same thing :)

Nancy said...

i've told you before that i've vowed to not complain about the heat this summer because i was miserable this winter due to sub-zero temps and a bitter cold north wind.
somehow, my dad managed to be a non-complainer for his 83 years on earth. not once did i ever hear him say something negative about another person, weather, or anything for that matter. i'll always remember him saying, "that's just the way it is. can't do anything about it so you just better deal with it."

Janet said...

Awww gee this is a wonderful post! (Ive been here bf but not for a good while!) Yes I too have found myself complaining then caught myself at what I was doing!! I was telling my husband many months ago.."I hate Walmart..you can never get a parking spot, that the lines are long, I hate coming here". And Ive said that before too. Then I caught myself say Good Gosh look at you ungrateful! We have food lots of food at out fingertips in this country, lots of gasoline, rain fine homes! And I felt humbled and asked the Lord to forgive me. For you hit that verse on the head. He hates complaining! He knows we are human as He made us. But its always to go back to him and learn!

Mountain Mama said...

I don't complain out loud much but I sure grumble to myself a lot. I'm sure that I should stop it! It's a challenge. Good luck to you and I will keep you in my prayers :)

Elyse said...

Hey mama - love this post! I want to let you know I am blogging here now - http://happyorganicmama.blogspot.com
sort of like a fresh new start...or something. :)
xoxo

pinkpeppercorns said...

I am the worst of the worst when it comes to complaining. (You've probably noticed. :) ) I complain to everyone about everything, but I complain to myself even more. For the past couple of weeks, I have tried really hard to find that when I mumble a negative statement to myself that I stop and either tell myself it isn't so or try to counter it with something positive. It's sure made me notice just how much I complain.

I sure don't see you as a complainer. In fact, I see you as one of those habitually positive people. And, good heavens, find me someone who DOESN'T complain about the weather. As you know I love heat, but if it gets TOO hot (or if it comes with humidity, which it does most often here), I'll sure complain about it. You'd love it here the past month or so. It's rained nearly every day or every other day. I don't normally appreciate rain (in fact, I hate it), but because watering the mini-community garden plot is a major chore (the water is in barrels and the only watering can there is a joke), I've been rather thankful for the rain.

Blah, blah, blah. I can sure ramble on.