It seems we don’t have to look far.
Maybe just in the mirror.
Or at our house or apartment.
Or our lack of house or Apartment.
Or at our job. Or lack of job.
Or at our kids or husband.
Or lack of kids and husband.
Before we find something to complain about.
There is always something to complain about.
Things to complain about are lying all around us, shouting to us their defects in neon blinking colors.
There is never a lack of things to complain about. Never a shortage. Rations are not ever enforced on complaints. No little man ever pops up and says, “Ma’am. I am sorry, but you’ve used all your complaints for the day. You will have to wait until tomorrow to begin complaining again. At midnight your allowance for complaints will be refilled. Until then I need you to refrain from complaining.”
And not only do we complain out loud to our husbands, friends, children, neighbors, the cashier at the grocery store, and anyone who we think will listen and not report us to the complaining police, we even complain in our mind. Silently, we complain and whine and think, “Oh no, not again.”
Yes, it seems, there is always something to complain about.
If you are not convinced, try and go a day without complaining.
Okay, if that is easy, how about a week?
It’s like trying to not eat for a week.
It’s darn hard! Nearly impossible.
Our mind likes to notice the harmful things, bad things, dangerous things. Things that are not right or safe. The faults in things and people. And that is not all bad. It is trying to protect us, help us.
How complaining keeps us from solving the problem.
Complaining never helps us. It never solves the problem.
It makes us feel like we are doing something (yes, we are venting our emotions and feelings, and our disgruntledness), but we are not doing something helpful.
Here is the truth about complaining. One complaint leads to another. And then another.
See one thing wrong with yourself, and it won’t be but a nanosecond before you notice something else wrong. Then two more. No four more. And soon we are heading into a downward spiral and about to sit down and start a pity party of one. Don’t forget the balloons and noisemakers! And if we notice someone walking by, someone we feel comfortable with, we may even start telling them our woes and ask them to blow up a few balloons and bring some chips and dip and join our pity party. Because who wants to party alone?
Yes, find one complaint, and more follow. Bam, bam, bam, until it is hard to stop the train from rolling down, down, down.
Let’s imagine there is something wrong. Maybe you find a big thick three-inch green hair emerging from your left eyebrow line. So is it time to complain. A big fat ‘NO’ is coming at you. And here is why. Complaining never solves anything. Nada. Not a single darn thing.
Complaining and whining and throwing a pity party won’t remove that three-inch green hair from your brow line. Girl, what you gotta do is grab a pair of tweezers and give a big mean yank to that stubborn green hair. That’s what will solve the problem. Now you can have a celebration party for solving your problem!
Remember, complaining never solves a problem. It only makes us think we are doing something towards solving it.
The only way to solve a problem it by taking action and doing something. Doing something involves an action verb. While complaining could be classified as an action verb, I am not going to allow you to employ it as an action verb. Mainly, because complaining only creates a bigger problem.
The 5 effects of complaining.
1. Complaining helps us see all the other things wrong with us and others and our situation.
2. It sends us in a downward spiral.
3. It sucks the joy and peace and grace from us. Out it rushes like an uncorked balloon. And just like that screeching balloon zipping around the room, it don’t sound pretty.
4. Complaining topples us into a negative attitude. And that can be a deep pit to climb out of.
5. We become critical, negative, sarcastic, and hard to live with.
Yikes. Who wants to be that unhappy person? Not us.
The real truth about always complaining.
Do you remember the story of Moses and the complaining Israelites? They had no bread. Meat was lacking. They were thirsty. Their feet were sore. Stones were poking into their ribs at night when they slept. They longed for the good old days of slavery to the Egyptians. Nothing was normal or the way it had been. They were tired of wandering and hot and dusty to the bone.
I used to hear that story as a kid and wonder why they complained so much. Chapter after chapter they complained. Even when bad things happened to them. They were chronic complainers.
Then I grew up and realized they were just like the rest of us. They were born complainers and whiners. Just like I was. If I thought for a minute that if I had been on that dusty hot trek I would not have complained, than I am fooling myself. Here I live a life of ease and comforts with tennis shoes and hiking boots and dish washers and clothes dryers, and I still complain.
But remember what God told Moses? Because I did not notice this part for years. God told Moses that all their complaints to him about lack of meat and onions and the long trek, where really complaints about God. Yes, ultimately they were complaining about God and his provisioning of them. Sure they complained to Moses, but God heard their grumblings as complaints about him and his actions towards them.
Well I sat up when I noticed that. And then started thinking.
So when I am complaining about my house, am I really saying that God didn’t give me the correct one? Or that he didn’t know what he was doing?
When I complain about my day, am I saying God is not giving me the kind of day I deserve and want? That perhaps he doesn’t understand me well enough?
And when I complain about my appearance, am I really saying that God made some mistakes when he made me? That he perhaps gave me the wrong hips or nose?
Surly I was saying that I was lacking faith in him to take care of me and know what is best for me or to direct my circumstances to my best.
And surely I was forgetting to count my blessings and rejoice in all things and know that all things were working out for my good.
Well girls, it was sobering thought and revelation. And it made me realize how seriously God takes our complaining. Because bottom line, it seems when we complain, we are really complaining about how God is taking care of us and provisioning us.
Complaining also keeps us from walking in faith. It shows we are relying on our current circumstances and our self, instead of God.
Why there is always something to complain about? And how to stop complaining.
See, there will always be something to complain about because we are living in an unperfect world with other imperfect humans. Trials, natural disasters, and time and chance strike us. Heartache and sin assault us. The actions of others affects us. We get sick and lose jobs and have nights of no sleep. And inside, our souls long for perfection. To return to the Garden of Eden where perfection was the norm.
But God’s plan is for us to learn and grow and overcome and change for the better in this beautiful and yet messy world where we learn to rely on him and learn about his love and plan for us.
There is always something to complain about. But God doesn’t want us to be complainers.
So have I quit complaining? No, but I am trying to complain a lot less. And that is a step in the right direction.
One thing I can do is replace complaining with counting my blessings.
Counting our blessings is the opposite of complaining. One is seeing the deficits, the other is noticing the positives. One is telling God how he is failing, the other is thanking God for his provisions.
Now I don’t expect we will never complain again. Far from it. We are human. And humans are known for complaining and seeing the worst. We will be fighting our complaining gene until the day we die. But girls, we can learn to stop ourselves and our downward spiral. We can learn to count our blessings. Learn to take steps to solve the problem. Learn to live with the problem. See the problem as a blessing in disguise.
We can rejoice and be thankful for what is right and good in our lives. Focus on the positive. And we can ask God to help us see his love and blessings, more than the complaints.
Remembering what’s important.
What about you? Are you ready to complain less?
There will be always be something to complain about.
Is that how you want to spend your life? Complaining?
Because likewise, there will always something to be thankful for.
I don’t want to be known as a complainer.
I want to be known as a thanker. A thanker of every good gift.
Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.
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Join the Discussion: How do you keep from complaining? Any specific tips?
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Thank you, this is an eye opener. Ouch, it hurts! But it points out what I should be doing. I am going to talk me over with God. I am pretty certain He will be willing to work with me on me! Thank you for another insightful posting.
Theresa Boedeker says
Remember God’s grace is abundant and freely given. So no need to beat ourselves up. Life is all about learning and small baby steps. Thanks for reading and joyful blessings on your day.
” God heard their grumblings as complaints about him and his actions towards them!” Wow, that hit me!! (I have also read that we complain to people who can not help us solve the problem. I.E. about boss to spouse.)
I used to wear a hair band on my wrist and every time I caught myself complaining or saying unnecessary negative things, I would snap the hair band. Ouch!! It was a reminder to change the way I was thinking and what I was saying. It helped me a lot.
I have also taken the 10 day challenge: No complaints for 10 days. If you catch yourself complaining, you have to start your 10 days over. Go ahead and try. If you are like me, you will have to restart your 10 days more then a few times. Lol But all this has changed my life and made me a much happier person.
Complaining, you will find is a habit. Instead make Praising/Thankful your habit. Make finding the good your habit. It made me much happier!
Theresa Boedeker says
Great point, Bliss. We do usually complain to someone who can not help us solve the problem. Yet, another way the problem does not get solved.
I like the hair band idea. Visual and sensory aids do help us form new habits. The 10 day challenge sounds great. I know I would be starting it many times over.
But the less we do complain and instead count our blessings, the happier we do become. And I don’t think those around us will complain about our happier state. 🙂
bethany mcilrath says
Wow is the bottom line convicting or what? Yes and thank you Theresa. NOT complaining is much harder than we think (at least I also find that’s the case.) It also seems to me that feeling like we’re doing something instead of actually doing something about it is a form of laziness. Thank you for this thought-provoking piece!
Theresa Boedeker says
Thanks Bethany. Great point about complaining and thinking we are doing something about it being a form of laziness. I don’t want to be a lazy complainer. Blessings on your day.
Rebecca L Jones says
Sometimes, I think just a comment can be perceived as a complaint when it is just a comment. Other people’s accusation might really lead to complaining, whether it’s dinner or a decision we should do it without complaining or arguing, i hope I get there. Phillipians 2:14
Theresa Boedeker says
Yes, sometimes it’s a fine line of sharing our day or burdens with another and complaining. Sometimes we are just making a comment. And sometimes we are complaining. I think that is where our heart or attitude come in.
And yes, that’s a great point. Other’s people’s accusations can cause us to start complaining.
Rebecca, thanks for your comments.
Linda Stoll says
Hey Theresa … I love that we’re both headed in the same direction with our posts this week. Yes, there is an antidote to our own tales of woe.
May we speak gratitude and offer others encouragement instead of focusing solely on our own situations.
Theresa Boedeker says
I agree Linda. Our words have such power for us and those around us. May we speak carefully.
Laura Thomas says
Yay for counting our blessings! It’s such an antidote for a complaining heart, that’s for sure. Who enjoys being in the company of a continual complainer? It’s not good for the moaner or the listener. Thanks for this reminder to have a heart of gratitude and to keep my complaints to a bare minimum! It’s a win-win. Stopping by from #momentsofhope 🙂
Theresa Boedeker says
Great points, Laura. Being in the company of a complainer is no fun. For the listener of complainer. Yup, counting blessings does lesson the amounts of complaints. Thanks for stopping by.