The Practice of Gratitude Part 4
Tramping at dusk through a field of weeds with my 12-year-old, Micah, my eye was on the prize: a porta potty. As we got closer, I saw the door bolted shut. Nooooooo! My bladder was ready to explode. About to utter my feelings on the situation, I heard Micah call through the weeds, “Remember, you said you aren’t going to complain for 40 days and you asked us to hold you accountable.”
You see, a few days before, I had proclaimed to my family that I was giving up complaining in the 40-days leading up to Easter. I asked them to call me out when they hear me (or, in Micah’s case, before they hear me). In my practice of gratitude, I’ve noticed that complaining and thankfulness don’t get along well. Therefore, I chose the Lenten season to take it to the next level by banishing the whiner in me.
And it is HARD (oops, I just complained).
As I grow in my practice of gratitude, my complaining needs to decrease. I want to trade grumbling for gratitude.
This 40-day fast has been eye-opening. I’ve discovered I tend to grumble when I’m tired, hot, my computer acts up, I don’t get my way, or have a full bladder while walking through weeds. I’ve learned that I whine more than I thought I did. When beginning this exercise, I did not think it would be as challenging as it has been. Nor did I realize how irritated I would become when “caught” by family members.
In Philippians 2:14, the Bible is clear on the subject: Do everything without complaining. Just typing that sentence makes me want to complain. Yet I have committed to grow in gratitude, so I embrace these 40-days of deliberate non-grumbling. As I feel a grievance coming on, I try to flip it and find something I can be grateful for instead. I am learning to reframe my view in any given situation. I fear this will be a lifelong process.
So, how about you? How are you doing in the Complaint Department? Would you like to join me in examining your outlook? Your complain-o-meter? Your inner whiner? Your outer grumbler? Let’s look for treasure in the weeds and note how our attitude and mental health changes along the way. Not to mention, how pleasant we’ll be to hang out with.
~What triggers lead you to complain?
~How do you and how will you exchange grumbling for gratitude?
~Pick a verse to memorize (such as Philippians 2:14) as a reminder of God’s heart on the matter of complaining.
~Set your phone to remind you over the course of the day to stop complaining.
~Evaluate yourself at the end of each day.
~Ask loved ones to call you out (you’ve been warned!).
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