What You Are Saying When You Complain

We all do it.  It is universal.  My kids and I talk often about first world problems when we complain about blessings which we may not have access to readily such as our phone being out of charge or the fact we have to wait 5 more minutes for dinner to be ready.  In a society which caters to self and instant gratification, it is no wonder we complain, but what are we really saying when we do complain?

complaining

I myself have struggled with complaining the whole month of June with the weather.  People often speculate that being from the South that I must hate the winters in Montana.  They are usually surprised to find out that I actually love the winters here, but the summer is when I really struggle.  In the south, the thought of snow was a magical prospect which rarely ever happened.  So, to see the snow, feel it, and be able to play in it for me is a great gift.  The summer is when I struggle, because I love and miss the heat of the south.

I am a cold-natured person naturally.  My normal body temperature is around 97.5, and my blood pressure is usually somewhere around 95/50.  I want the heat.  I love the heat.  Many summers are not anywhere hot enough for me.  I would like for the kids to get out of school and be able to take them swimming or to the splash park, but it is usually not hot enough for that until July.

I wanted to scream my complaint from the Facebook platform many times in June when I put on my fleece jacket to go to work, when I couldn’t take my kids to swim, and when I couldn’t even sit out on my deck on a summer evening without shivering.  However, what would I really be saying if I had?  I believe what I would have been saying is I was discontent about where God had me.

One of the biggest things I think we say about God and about ourselves when we complain is …

I think I deserve better than what I have been given.

Many times complaining is discontentedness at its core.  We are discontented with what we have and are therefore ungrateful for what we have been given.  Those days when I felt that discontentedness about the weather, I tried my best to turn it around as a praise by saying…

Thank you, God, for giving me another day to live.

Thank you, God, for giving me air in my lungs and health to live today.

The Bible says in Psalm 118:24 (KJV), “This is a day that the Lord hath made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.”   Do I dare to be prideful enough to tell God what temperature I believe it should be outside and when?  That thought is absolutely insane.  He is God, and I am not.  I should just be glad and thankful for each day I get no matter what.

Some of us complain about a stable job, a faithful husband, or even a car which is working fine for our needs.  We live in a society which says, “You deserve it, and you deserve it now.”  God says, “I know what is best for you.  Trust me.”

When you are tempted to complain, examine your complaint first.  Are you defaming God, your spouse, or a friend?  Are you being prideful or discontent with what you have been given?  I fully know some circumstances can be awful and gut wrenching.  God is still sovereign even in our sufferings.  Seek out a select Godly few for accountability and prayer if your circumstances call for it.  Otherwise, try to resist the temptation to complain and turn it into a praise to God instead.

“Do all things without complaining or arguing so that no one can criticize you.” Philippians 2:15 (NLT)

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