Do everything without complaining and arguing. WHA-A-AT? Is that really possible?
After a no-helper week, I wake up to clutter, clutter, clutter, and that provokes me to nag and grumble. The danger with grumbling is its tendency to suck life out of you and others. It also intensifies. As soon as I start, I find more things to complain about much like a no-fail woe-magnifier. True enough, though I wisely exercised restraint by not voicing them out (that’s a little progress there), aside from the clutter, I saw stuff unkempt, trash unthrown, chores undone, and so forth and so on, silently counting my “un-blessings” and slowly poisoning my soul.
Thankfully, it happens to be a Saturday morning and I have the luxury to spend a bit more time in solitude. Restless, I recognize my condition as a signal to process, a red flag not to ignore. I rush to my room to do what I have learned to be the best thing—PRAY.
As I prayed with Bible in hand, I was reminded that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and how His truth sets us free. I did not feel free that moment. I felt enslaved by negative ideas so I continued to seek and wait on the Lord with the question, “What truth, Lord, will set me free today?”
My reading for the day was Philippians 2:12-18. It was verse 14 that spoke directly to my circumstances, “Do everything without complaining or arguing… so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God, without fault in a crooked and depraved generation in which you shine like a star…”
Today, to shine like a star is hardly associated with an uncomplaining spirit. But this is Jesus’ Way. How is it possible then to walk His way? How does one go from disorientation to God’s orientation?
When tempted to complain, here are a few steps that may help gag the grumbling:
Return to God. Prayer helps me release my anxieties to a God who is able to handle each one. Prayer puts me in the presence of my Maker, the only One able to renew my mind and re-orient me. A change starts from within.
Replace complaints with thanksgiving. The antidote to counting our woes is to count our blessings. Thanksgiving diminishes the impact of our woes, allows us to focus on what is going for us in a situation rather than what is not, magnifying the Giver’s many mercies towards us. I just started an Unending Thank You Lord Journal, and as of this writing, I’m at entry no. 925: Truth that God Enables.
Reach out to others. As I struggled with complaining, I received text messages from two friends, one sharing that her father passed away and another needing prayers for physical healing and recovery. (That ought to be enough for me to stop grumbling and be grateful that my dad was just discharged from the hospital recently with a good report and I was fast recovering from a back pain.) As I shifted focus from myself to others, I began to intercede for them, and as I prayed, the prayers I said for them addressed my own need as well. Boomerang prayers, I call them. “May Jesus soothe that pain, give you grace to keep trusting in His sovereign plan and the power to stay thankful. Soon you will taste and see how He transforms our trials into blessings for your good and His glory.”
And the last, but mind you, not the least step, is to remember the truth in Philippians 2:13. It is not I, but His spirit in me, that can do all things without complaining or arguing. He is able to enable. I am not alone in my pursuit of a thankful heart. Though I stumble, He keeps us from falling, giving us the grace to stand once more.
And just as He helped me up today, I pray these steps benefit you in your journey towards Christlikeness. Go, shine like stars!
Felichi Pangilinan-Buizon, co-host of The 700 Club Asia, is a homeschooling mom, gospel songwriter, and seminar speaker on parenting and early childcare. She is involved in the ministry of teaching at her local church, Christ’s Commission Fellowship. She welcomes your messages and comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her at Twitter: @FelichiOfficial